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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I am an S2000 owner who is seriously contemplating selling my S2000 and stepping into a Porsche. Like so many here, I had the Porsche posters on my wall as a kid, and now, after 16+ years of driving I'm thinking about finally doing it.

I have a hardtop on my S2K that never comes off, as I did not buy the car for the convertible. I also have an aftermarket turbo kit on mine, with low boost. Still, it puts down virtually the same horsepower as an 987.2 CS (280whp, or roughly 325hp at the crank), but less torque (190 at the wheels, it is a 4-cylinder afterall). A conservative estimate of what I could get by selling my 2005 S2K with 43K miles and parting out the aftermarket goodies is roughly $20K. I would then put that $20K with some other money and go with one of the cars in my title.

My S2K is rarely driven, which is why I'm looking to sell. I don't prefer commuting to work in it and obviously we don't take it out for family drives either as I have two young children. I have an Acura TSX as my daily and my wife has an SUV. If I get a Porsche, I'll probably drive it about 6K-7K miles per year (vs. the roughly 2K miles I drive my S2000).

So, with that said I've narrowed my choices to the following:
1.) Keep the S2000- (it's paid for)
2,) 2009 Cayman S- ($45K+)
3.) 2006-2007 911 Coupe- (~$45K)
4.) 2009 M3- (~$45K)

Those are rough estimates based on what's out there. Obviously there are deals to be had and I'd be willing to wait for the right car to pop up and then travel to get it. I'm just trying to decide if the cars 2-4 on my list would be worth me dropping another $25K on top of selling my S2000. I do well financially, but am by no means rich, and I can only spend but so much on a 3rd car. I'm not entirely sure any of the above are worth more than double my S2000. By the way, I've driven a 986 Boxster S and liked it, and used to own a 335i which was tuned and very quick. I've never driven a 911 of any type.
 

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... I also have an aftermarket turbo kit on mine, with low boost. Still, it puts down virtually the same horsepower as an 987.2 CS (280whp, or roughly 325hp at the crank), but less torque (190 at the wheels, it is a 4-cylinder afterall).

Even after installing a turbo, your S2000 is still making just 190 lb.ft of torque at the wheels? That seems quite low. My Audi is a 2.0L turbo and it puts out 258 lb.ft. (crank) from 1500 rpm to 4200 rpm, right off the showroom floor. So I'd say that a 4-cylinder engine can quite easily be set up to make a decent torque curve, especially if it has forced induction.

Honestly, the lack of low-end torque is something that always kept me away from the S2000....but I'm really surprised that an aftermarket turbo kit doesn't dramatically increase the torque. Don't get me wrong, it's nice to have high-rpm pull, but I find it much more important to have the low-rpm grunt.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Yeah, the stock wheel torque figure for these car is somewhere in the 120-130ftlbs range, so even though 190ftlbs at the wheels is light, it is a huge increase over stock. Plus, I have a very conservative turbo kit and tune because I wanted to maintain all of the Honda reliability I could without stressing the rear diff or transmission. Plenty of guys who go with bigger turbos and high-boost superchargers on these cars are making over 300ftlbs at the wheels.

That said, I had a BMW 335i with a $500 turbotuner and put down 315ftlbs no problem. The S2000 is the "torqueless wonder" for sure, making most of its power at high rpms.

Here's a pic of my car:
 

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Here's a pic of my car:
Your car looks nice. What is it about the car that makes you not want to drive it very much? I mean, you said that you'd put three times as many miles on the Porsche (if you get one) than you currently put on the S2000. Why don't you drive it more?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Your car looks nice. What is it about the car that makes you not want to drive it very much? I mean, you said that you'd put three times as many miles on the Porsche (if you get one) than you currently put on the S2000. Why don't you drive it more?
Honestly, I think it is a bit of boredom plus the fact that it is a little raw. It is a fantastic sports/race-style car, but it really seems to be more of a toy than a Porsche would. It's kind of like a go-kart or a motorcycle with 4 wheels, and as you mentioned, you really have to wind it out to get any power out of it (even with the turbocharger) and that just isn't practical or legal in a daily driving scenario. I like the car though, and really I SHOULD drive it more than I do.

My thought is that with a Cayman or 911, and certainly with an M3 I'd drive it to work on most of the nice days spring-fall.
 

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if you have two young children, I would go with a 2008 M3 sedan. That's what I did. You can fit them (barely) in the back of the 997, I did it with my 996 C4S but you won't have room for strollers etc.

It would be hard to fit the baby seats/kids in a E92 because the rear head/shoulder room is a lot less than the E90 sedan. You'll keep banging your head every time you try to get them in the seat.

If you are not going to put the kids in the car any one of your choices work. Test drive each and decide. I have a Cayman S and a E90 M3 sedan. Sold the 996 C4S recently.
 
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Discussion Starter #8
if you have two young children, I would go with a 2008 M3 sedan. That's what I did. You can fit them (barely) in the back of the 997, I did it with my 996 C4S but you won't have room for strollers etc.

It would be hard to fit the baby seats/kids in a E92 because the rear head/shoulder room is a lot less than the E90 sedan. You'll keep banging your head every time you try to get them in the seat.

If you are not going to put the kids in the car any one of your choices work. Test drive each and decide. I have a Cayman S and a E90 M3 sedan. Sold the 996 C4S recently.
This would not be the kid-hauler, so don't let that factor in to the equation (if so, the M3 would be the only rational choice, and then only barely).

I'm more interested in comparing the cars from a overall driving experience angle. Yes, I will drive each car I'm considering before purchasing, but I'd also like to hear from people like you that have had multiple cars on the list. So taking the utility argument out of it, which would you rather drive if you could only have one, the M3 or the Cayman S? Why is either or both better than your 996 C4S?

By the way, super nice stable of cars you have there. A CS, M3, and NSX? Very nice... those would all make my top-10 of "affordable" cars I'd like to own.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I would go with the 2009 Cayman S over any of those other cars, but I am biased. :) You could go with an older Cayman, 2006-2008, but only if you are willing to accept the risks involved depending upon your driving habits, track use, etc.
What do you mean "risks". Is it that IMS, metal shavings, catastrophic engine failure thing I keep reading about? On one hand I'll read that it is only a problem if you track your car, and then only in a very small number of cars that are tracked. On the other hand, people act like buying a 987.1 CS is akin to buying a grenade with the pin pulled... it's only a matter before it blows up. You, being the admin on this site certainly carry some level of credibility, so which is it? If I don't plan on tracking the car, is a 987.1 safe, or does it still have major issues?

On the flip side, my S2K has been rock solid. I was thinking of saving money and buying a 2008 or even 2007 CS vs. a 2009 because the power curve is about the same except for at the very top of the power band. The jump in price between the 2008 and 2009 is pretty pronounced. I've seen some very nice 2007 CSs out there with less than 35K miles for mid $30K range, which is about $10K less than ANY 2009s that are for sale.
 

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Honestly, I think it is a bit of boredom plus the fact that it is a little raw. It is a fantastic sports/race-style car, but it really seems to be more of a toy than a Porsche would. It's kind of like a go-kart or a motorcycle with 4 wheels, and as you mentioned, you really have to wind it out to get any power out of it (even with the turbocharger) and that just isn't practical or legal in a daily driving scenario. I like the car though, and really I SHOULD drive it more than I do.

My thought is that with a Cayman or 911, and certainly with an M3 I'd drive it to work on most of the nice days spring-fall.
Hmm....that's funny. I don't have a Cayman (I'm still up in the air about purchasing one), but I'd look at a Cayman more as a weekend toy than a daily driver if I eventually end up with one. I used to own an M3 and I considered it to be a bit "on the edge" when it comes to using it as a daily driver or a car to commute to work. Currently, my daily driver is my Audi A5, and it really seems to be the perfect car to drive every day. It's a great compromise between handling and comfort (but it's definitely geared more toward handling than it is toward comfort, with factory 19" wheels and 35-series tires) and it almost seems like a grand touring type car. So if I do end up buying a Cayman, it will probably end up as a weekend car and my Audi will still be the car that I drive most of the time.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Hmm....that's funny. I don't have a Cayman (I'm still up in the air about purchasing one), but I'd look at a Cayman more as a weekend toy than a daily driver if I eventually end up with one. I used to own an M3 and I considered it to be a bit "on the edge" when it comes to using it as a daily driver or a car to commute to work. Currently, my daily driver is my Audi A5, and it really seems to be the perfect car to drive every day. It's a great compromise between handling and comfort (but it's definitely geared more toward handling than it is toward comfort, with factory 19" wheels and 35-series tires) and it almost seems like a grand touring type car. So if I do end up buying a Cayman, it will probably end up as a weekend car and my Audi will still be the car that I drive most of the time.
If I only planned on driving the Cayman (or M3, or 911) as a weekend car then I'd just keep the S2000 instead of dropping the money. I couldn't justify having a car that I paid $40K+ to own sitting in the garage for the occasional weekend jaunt. Not saying it would be my only car, because I still wouldn't take it out in the rain, snow, or ice, but whatever I get I will use it to commute to work at least 2 days a week if not more plus the majority of non-family related weekend duty.

As much as it is contrary to my desire to row my own gears, I've also thought that getting something with the PDK or the BMW equivalent because that would make those stuck in traffic commutes much more bearable. I've heard good things about the PDK, not so much about the Tiptronic in the 987.1. Plus, nothing, not even a Porsche or BMW will compare to the shifter feel in the S2K. So I might be effectively eliminating the 911 from the mix b/c I can't afford a 997.2.
 

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Many engines have weakness however the redesigned IMS in all Caymans prior to 09 and Boxsters 07-09 have proven fairly reliable. And according to most enthusiastic driving is better for the IMS health anyway.

I think the bigger question for tracking has to do with the oiling system and the power steering cooling. Both of which are less than adequate for hardcore tracking using R compound tires. Even without R compound tires if you were going to track the car and upgraded oiling system and power steering cooler would make sense. The 987.1 are great cars, Frankly I like their looks the best. You can get into a sweet CS 987.1 for around $35k which is a lot of car for the money.

I love the 997.1. Something about the shape and headlights and rearend of a 911 but hanging the engine behind the rear axel gives the 997 a different driving dynamic. I prefer a midengine setup as I've had 911s get away from me. Also the 997.1 engine has the IMS as well but I believe the later cars have the upgraded reliable version.

The BMW imho is a truck in comparison, a very fast and tractable truck but unless you're going to put it on a big diet and tune the suspension I'd go for a 987 or 997 especially coming from Honda's little gocart.
 

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So taking the utility argument out of it, which would you rather drive if you could only have one, the M3 or the Cayman S? Why is either or both better than your 996 C4S?

By the way, super nice stable of cars you have there. A CS, M3, and NSX? Very nice... those would all make my top-10 of "affordable" cars I'd like to own.
Thanks. Which do I like better the CS or M3, that's like asking who my favorite child is, LOL......... I know this is not the answer your looking for but I love both, very different cars. Front engine V8, vs mid engine H6, both rear drive (my favorite).

I have two little kids and I'm also in real estate so a back seat is a must, so if I could only choose one car the M3 would be it. It also fits my hockey equipment and I can use it in the winter (I don't) with winter tires.

A must have for the M3 is the EDC electronic suspension. You can make the ride race car tight or better that a luxury car, nice and smooth.

My clients compliment the ride is better than their Range Rover, S class Mercedes, etc. Of course, they don't know what an M3 is anyway. They think I have a 3 series with a nice blue (Interlagos blue) paint job.

I don't really compare my cars with each other, I compare them with what else is out there for the same amount of money. I bought the M3 new but if the car is worth $40k today, what else could I get for $40k.

I have not found a sports car that I could replace it with that could fit the kids, clients, hockey bag, etc. I will probably own the car a long time. Not crazy about the next gen M3 being a turbo V6. I love the high revving V8, there is nothing else like it.

I love V8's especially with 414 hp and rear drive and a real 6 speed manual. I was raised on Z28's, Mustang GT, and Corvettes, until I discovered German cars and it's been Porsches and M3's ever since.

Unless someone has a 997 Turbo or GTR there are not many cars faster than an M3, 5krpm to redline is awesome. Handling is great an twisty roads, though the CS would have an edge there.

I love the CS as well, sold my 996 C4S to buy it. I used to have a membership at a car club. They had a heavily modified 2007 CS in the fleet. I drove it and it blew me away.

I convinced myself to sell the 996 C4S to buy one. I convince the club to sell me their CS but I did a PPI which came back with accident damage, paint work, and a million over-revs (I'm not kidding), so I thought I would find my own 987.1 CS in perfect condition and do my own mods.

I found a low mileage 2008 CS with my must have's, PASM and Sport Chrono in the classified section of this forum. I've only had it since February so the car is still 100% stock, too busy with work and I'm about to take delivery of the 95 NSX I just bought.

I love mid-engine cars and if I thought I could drive it more, I would have an Elise/Exige. There is probably a used Evora S in my future.

The CS is a great car and so much fun to drive. It wasn't worth the extra $10k-15k for a 987.2 to me.

he 6 speed manual is not S2000 like but its probably the next best thing. When the road gets twisty there probably is no better car that I would want to be driving!

I try to drive mine every chance I get. No one at work knows I own one. I park it at the other end of the building so no one can see it. I didn't buy it to impress the neighbors, I bought it because its a thrill to drive.

I only sold my 996 C4S because it was 10 yrs old with 71k miles. I was the second owner, owned it for 6 years.

I thought I should sell it before 75k miles. I sell all my cars privately, never do a trade in. I felt no one would buy an 80k mile used car. I sold it in one day, and I didn't even advertise it.

I posted to a forum a teaser that I was thinking of selling it and I got three good offers in one day and sold it immediately. I used that money to buy the
CS.

I do miss the 996 C4S, the power coming out of corners was amazing, it took me years to really learn how to drive it, and I've autocrossed for 12+ years. Slow in, fast out.

I think you will like the 911 the more you drive it. If I could get one more car, it would be a 997.2 4S. That would be my winter car, with the rear engine and winter tires it is unbeatable in the snow.

If you get a 997 I would recommend a few autocrosses to learn the handling. I sold my Z06 to buy the 996 C4S and at first I thought, what have I done this car is slow compared to the Z06.
Once you really learn how to drive it the 996 C4S/997's are amazing.

On a side note, I also always wanted an NSX, After I took delivery of the CS, I thought, hey if I sell my winter car, (Cherokee SRT-8) I could use that money to buy an NSX. That's what I did, should have the NSX next week.

Now I have to find a beater car for the winter..........to be continued.

Glenn
 

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Very impressive garage and post, Glenn. I might have to PM you to find out what you do for a living. A career change might be in my near future.

Back on topic, I figured I'd give my two cents as well since I was comparing an E92 M3 to the CS, and I have a little experience with normally aspirated S2000s. Considering that this is a Cayman forum, you're probably going to get slightly biased answers, though.

I remember distinctly test driving a base Cayman and E92 M3 back-to-back. The difference between the way each of the cars feel is night and day. After driving the Cayman, the E92 felt like a boat in terms of size. Don't get me wrong, the handling is superb, but the feeling of the size of the car still amazes me.

If there is one thing that I undoubtedly give the edge to the M3 it is the engine and it's sound. That V8 singing towards redline is beautiful. Actually, to me, it feels a lot like the S2000 as far as having to wring it out to go anywhere. It's definitely faster than the M3, but in the low and mid-range, I felt that the lack of torque and the weight/size of the car made it feel slower than it actually was.

The other thing that I didn't like about the M3 was the shifter and clutch engagement. Both felt very vague. It was hard for me to feel where the clutch engaged, but I also like a firmer clutch pedal that requires a little bit of work. The shifter feels vague and when compared to an S2K, which I think might the best feeling shifter from the factory, it's very disappointing.

I'd also give a slight nod to the Cayman in the steering department. Although the steering in the M3 is very good, it felt overly damped. I like a little feedback through the wheel when I'm driving, and the Cayman delivers that in spades. I do have to give a slight advantage to the M3 with regards to "on-center" feel compared to the Cayman. A caveat to that statement though is how often do you want to be driving in a straight line in any of these cars?

I use my car on a daily basis. I think that there are certainly practical considerations for owning a two-door sports coupe, but since this will be a third car for you, my opinion is to go for the one that'll feel more like a sports car, which to me is the CS.

I ended up in my car because I was lucky and found a one owner, local car that already had a bunch of upgrades done. The owner was listing it on craigslist and wasn't really active on any forums, and I think I got a pretty good deal.

Not to throw another wrench in your thought process, but after reading Glenn's post I couldn't help but think about it. What about the next progression in the Honda/Acura family.....the NSX?

Regards,
Jon
 

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Discussion Starter #15
^^ Jon and Glenn, thanks so much for very well thought-out and informative posts! This forum is great.

To address a few things, Glenn, you bring up some great points about the utility of the M3. I know I said take utility out of it, but then again, it probably should be factored in. My thoughts were to get either the M3 or the Cayman (or the 911) as a third car... but another angle of approach would be to ditch my daily driver as well as my S2000 and get a newer M3 as my do it all car. Because I used to have an E90 335i, I'm very familiar with the size of the vehicle, and yes, it could haul my kids when I need it to, haul my soccer gear and golf bag, take my coworkers to lunch, put luggage in and take a 300mi business trip, etc. That does have some value to me, even though I kind of want a dedicated sports car.

Provided I stick with the plan to just have a dedicated sports car however, I see the Cayman S fitting that bill a little better than the M3. My E90 wasn't exactly "tossable" and though I'm sure the M3 handles loads better, it is still too big to have that sports car feel that I get from my S2000. I think the Cayman S, especially the 987.2 if I go that route, will have enough luxury and creature comforts to make a daily commute more tolerable than my S2K, which being about as fast as my S2K is currently with more low end torque.

As for the NSX, yeah, I'd love to have one, but they are just too expensive for what they are. There's no way I'd daily an NSX even if it could be done, and I can't justify having a 15 year old car that I paid $40K+ for sitting in the garage all week. If we're talking dream garages though, I'd definitely have one in the stable... I'm a huge Honda fan and the NSX is their crown jewel.

I'll have to be honest, I've started to rethink my desire to have two different cars, because I'm afraid that inevitably one will end up sitting a lot more than the other, and part of the reason I want to sell my S2K is because I hardly ever drive it.
 

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I test drove the E90 M3 with the EDC (equivalent to PASM in Porsche-land) when they came out, for a 4 door the M3 handled pretty well, the only downside was the gaz guzzler mileage of the car:eek:.

It might not have the razor sharp handling of a Cayman or a NSX or a S2K but it is very capable car if modded properly (seen plenty of E90's and E92 M3's at the track), not having to worry about possible 15K-20K repair bills is a big plus IMHO (referring to 987.1 with unknown ownership history).
 

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I test drove the E90 M3 with the EDC (equivalent to PASM in Porsche-land) when they came out, for a 4 door the M3 handled pretty well, the only downside was the gaz guzzler mileage of the car:eek:..
I have PASM in my E90 M3, to me its a must have option. I don't think the gas mileage is all that bad. I use it as a daily driver and I avg 17.6 mpg.

If u want to talk about bad gas mileage, my Cherokee SRT-8 avg 10 mpg, best i got was 13 mpg on the highway once.

The 4 door E90 actually out handles and is more neutral than an E92 M3, its closer to 50-50 weight distribution. E92 is more prone to oversteer.
 

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My E90 wasn't exactly "tossable" and though I'm sure the M3 handles loads better
The M3 and 335's suspensions are nothing a like. The 335 is like a luxury car, the M3 a sports car. The M3 may look similar to a 335/328, but the handling/brakes of the M3 at 1000% better. Many people think the 335 is close to an M3 but costs less, I driven both back to back, no way.

If you just want a dedicated sports car, you're probably better of with a CS. You'll have something unique in your garage. I see 911's and M3's all day long where I live, I'm convinced every high school kid in my town gets a new M3 for graduation :eek:. Seeing a CS on the road is pretty rare. You won't see yourself coming and going all day long.

If you want only two cars, and this will be your daily driver, then I would choose the M3 sedan. Not to confuse you even more, but you can use the M3 sedan when your out with the wife and kids instead of driving around in an SUV.

If I want to take the family to the beach, we can take Daddy's M3, go out to dinner with friends, I can take everyone in the M3. If I take my daughter to soccer practice or her figure skating lessons (I play hockey, its mandatory that my daughters skate) I can take the M3 instead of my wife's SUV.

I like going to car shows, I can take the wife and kids with me in the M3 (this way I get to attend more car shows :)).

You can do some mods to the M3, exhaust, suspension, wheels, etc. if you want to make it a little more hardcore. I left my M3 stock. I have to take clients and co-workers in it so I unfortunately can't put an exhaust on it. I do plan to modify the CS and install the loudest race exhaust I can find, another advantage of not having it as a daily driver.

Glenn
 

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^Good points, all of them. You and a few others have all but convinced me that I will have more use and my family will have more fun if I get a nice sports sedan like the M3 that the whole family can enjoy together. It WOULD be fun to roll up to a cars and coffee with everyone in tow rather than having us all take different cars. I'm not abandoning the thought of getting a CS, but it is slowly but surely moving into a plan-B rather than plan-A.
 

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^Good points, all of them. You and a few others have all but convinced me that I will have more use and my family will have more fun if I get a nice sports sedan like the M3 that the whole family can enjoy together. It WOULD be fun to roll up to a cars and coffee with everyone in tow rather than having us all take different cars. I'm not abandoning the thought of getting a CS, but it is slowly but surely moving into a plan-B rather than plan-A.
I was always taking the family to Cars & Coffee, so we only went in the M3 sedan or Cherokee SRT-8. My CS has yet to go to a Cars & Coffee due to only having 2 seats.
 
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