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Cayman thoughts

 
Old 02-28-2018, 11:47 AM
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I'm looking for a car to complement my S2000. I want something that's nimble, fast, a better GT, and suitable in Chicago winters. My winter car is heavily modified 2005 Mini Cooper S. It handles great but it rides harsh and there interior is of a 13 year old economy car. I'd like something rear wheel drive, quieter and nicer. The S2000 is my mostly daily for 8 months/year but there are times when I would appreciate something a little more luxurious and, of course, I still need a winter car. (Note that winter in Chicago does not mean lots of snow clearance. Its like never that I have to drive through more than 2" of snow. Its not upstate New York.) With my daughter turning 16 and about to take over my wife's old car, I don't need a four seater. I've long thought about the Cayman and decided to check some out. I tried a couple on Saturday. The first was a 2008 Cayman S or 987.1 in Porsche speak. For kicks I tried out a new 718S. Here's what stood out of for me:

2008 Cayman S
  • The mid-engine thing is really different. On this forum some people talk about the S2000 being mid-engine because the motor is behind the front axel. The Cayman is a another animal. They way it wants to rotate (turn) is just different. The highlight for me was that it was fun at any speed. Changing lanes on the highway is fun. Any turn is fun. A highway clover going not that fast is fun. It feels like its turning right behind your hips. In terms of feel, it seemed about as heavy as an S2000. (On paper its like 300 or 400 lbs heavier than mine. I think I'm about 100 lbs under stock on an AP1.) Compared to the 911's I've driven this felt smaller and more nimble.
  • Loud! I expected the inside to be quiet like a BMW. Nope. The salesman went with me and said the Cayman is louder than a Boxster with the roof up. The top makes a lot of resonance. I had read somewhere that cars without a sunroof can be really loud. I couldn't pinpoint if I was hearing engine, tire, suspension or what but it was really loud in there and not just accelerating. I'm talking about 6th gear cruising at 50 mph. That was a surprise. This is maybe not the split personality sportscar slash luxury cruiser I hoping for. Maybe sound deadening in the roof, wheel wells and firewall would do some good? Maybe Pilot Super Sports too?
  • Sitting position, steering wheel placement, gearbox placement, etc feel just about right. Porsche gets ergonomics. As soon as I adjusted my seat and mirrors I felt familiar.
  • Shifter. Excellent. If the S2000 is a 10 of 10, the Cayman is an 8. I'd say its the 2nd best shifter I've ever used. I do wish the shifter were closer to the steering wheel like an S2000 but now I'm quibbling.
  • Power is decent. I'm sure its faster than the S2k but it doesn't *feel* a lot more powerful. Not much grunt low in the revs. You have to wind it out to get the power. (Apparently its not that hard to get another 50 hp out of the engine with breather mods and a tune.) Compared to some other cars I've driven recently like a BMW 335d (425lbs ft torque) and a Mustang V8 as well as my tuned twin turbo BMW 135i, the Boxster doesn't push you back in your seat.
  • 1st and 2nd are long. There won't be much opportunity to use that gear lever on public roads.
  • Interior is smaller than I expected both front to back and side to side.
  • Interior design and materials are high quality. Its all clean and Germanic. The leather and switch gear are fine but I wouldn't say this is a luxurious car. Having said that its luxurious enough for me.
  • I like the gauge cluster with the tach in the center with a digital readout for speed. That's like another car I know...
  • Exhaust noise. Meh. I had the windows up. This car did not have the "sport" exhaust. After seeing videos of flat-sixes this was a let down. I'd have to go aftermarket or the get the sport exhaust from Porsche. No doubt the potential is there.
  • Stereo. Meh. It was the Bose which is a step up from the base. It wasn't great and the car was so noisy anyway. I turned on the radio for a minute and turned it off
  • A lot of stuff is coming through the steering wheel. It wasn't harsh or offputting. It just means your hands feel the road.
Overall its a great car. I love how it takes turns. Its not a luxury cruiser without some serious sound deadening--if that's even possible. I can see why it has its fans. Having said that I walked away respecting my Honda even more. The handling feel is not quite as good but its close, and then there's the engine, gear box, and noise which are just that much more special. The Cayman wouldn't replace my S2000. If it weren't so loud I'd say it would be a great companion to the S2000. This sound the only serious negative for me. I do want to hear the engine and exhaust when stomping on it but cruising or just putzing around town if I'm not in my S2000 I'd like a quiet car.

2017 Cayman S
  • Hello torque! I stomped on it and the traction control kicked in right away. I didn't push it hard after that on a 45 degree Chicago day with the salesman next to me but you can tell the power is there.
  • The handling feel is very good and accurate but compared to the 987 its like listening to music played in in the next room. You can hear it buts a little dulled.
  • Overall it feels more refined, not as frantic as the 987. Its still very sporty. Its no 3 series by any means.
  • By the end of my drive I was feeling comfortable and was downshifting rev matching like I was born to it. Left foot clutch in, gear down, right foot blip on the throttle and boom the tachometer was almost telepathically matched to the right revs.*
  • It was a bit quieter overall than 987 but still a comparatively loud car.
  • The exhaust was louder in this car. I wouldn't say better. It wasn't awful either but my basis of comparing the not-so-great non-sport exhaust.
  • The throttle is pretty responsive for a turbo. If you couldn't hear the engine I doubt you'd know its turbo. It feel like other modern throttle-by-wire cars. Its no AP1.
  • The interior is nicer and the trim materials are better but that doesn't matter to me.
  • I do appreciate the new "infotainment" system. I didn't use it much but it does support Carplay which I like.
  • Overall compared the 987, I'd say its a lot faster, a little more comfortable but overall more muted feeling. I'm harping on the negatives here but I thought it was fantastic. I would still probably take the 987 even if money were equal but the 718 has its advantages.
*I read later that in sport mode it automatically rev matches. D'oh!

I know there are a bunch of Cayman owners and admirers here. Penny for your thoughts.
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Old 02-28-2018, 12:38 PM
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What tires were on the 987 that made you think it was loud? I have Super Sports on mine, and it's completely reasonable. I've always thought the sounds of the engine behind you are very well controlled. In my car, the exhaust is the primary sound, but I have a TPC turbo setup, and what passes for a muffler is maybe the size of a medium shoebox. My wastegate outlet also bypasses the muffler, so at peak boost, it makes glorious noises. While I'm at it, I'll mention that the TPC is absolutely transformative on this car. You start with a modest 295hp mid-engine sports car that's relatively lightweight, and add 50% more power. The combination of looks, handling, and power are outstanding at that price point. The turbo on my car was installed 8 years and 40k miles ago, and the car is still a blast. I've owned it for 5+ years, and like it just as much as the day I drove it home.

On the shifter, the #1 thing it has going for it is that it's really smooth engaging gears - something the S2000 only does well once fully warmed. I recently put an OEM short shifter on mine, and it's night and day better. Much closer to the short throws I've always loved on the S2000, but still shifts well. In hindsight, that's an upgrade I should have done the day I bought it.

The stereo, even with Bose, is simply atrocious. Bose was actually the highest tier - there's base, the Sound Plus package, and then Bose. Still terrible, I was not a fan. I use mine a daily driver, and I wanted to bring it into the 21st century for technology, so I gutted the entire system. Double din touchscreen (BT/android auto), amp, speakers, and subwoofer. It's arguably the best setup I've ever had in a car, and I've dabbled in car stereos since high school.

You'll also find that a Cayman has tons more usable room it in than an S2000. The frunk has about the same volume as the S2000 trunk. Then you still get the rear trunk, and the shelf above the engine. You'd be amazed how much junk you can squeeze in the car in a pinch.

If you haven't followed Caymans closely, you're going to hear lots of IMS warnings about a 987.1. Many of which are probably overblown. The US market Caymans all have the M97 motor with a revised/improved IMS bearing. The failure rate on these is miniscule compared to the earlier M96 motors that were in a class action lawsuit. That said, worry of IMS issues has typically held the values down on 987.1 Caymans, allowing you to find some pretty attractive prices. The 987.2 (starting 2009) has a revised 9A1 engine, which eliminates the IMS completely, adds DFI, etc. As such, those cars are are usually a bit more expensive, and somewhat harder to find, because Porsche sold fewer of them (late in the model run, plus the economic downturn). The 9A1 also has a vastly improved oiling system, if track days happen to be your thing.

You're right about the steering. The 987 has the same hydraulic steering rack as the 911 of that era. Widely regarded as one of the best ones ever put in a car. The 981/991 went to an electric steering rack.

I also think you're completely nuts thinking of a Porsche as a winter driving car. With all the road salt, you'd be doing yourself a favor to park it.
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Old 02-28-2018, 12:53 PM
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Your Cayman must be an absolute beast with the turbo set-up. For me I'd start with 987.1 and the 295hp and then if that's not enough get the tune and plenum, etc. That would be enough for me. Where I drive I don't get the chance to put more power to the ground and I like a momentum style of driving anyway. The trunk/frunk thing is really cool though I'm able to do a Costco run in my S2000 provided I'm not taking home a 60" flat screen. I've read up on the IMS and it does look overblown for this era.

Not sure what tires were on that car. I'll have to drive another. I have super sports on my S2000 and they are very quiet.

The 987.2 S with a manual is truly rare. There are 3 for sale today on autotrader.

I have no plans to sell the S2000 so the another car would have to be for winter. I thought Porsches dealt pretty well with the salt, no?
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Old 02-28-2018, 12:56 PM
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Speaking of 987.2. This is a bit outside of my price range but its a whole lot of car to be within spitting distance of a new well-optioned Miata. It does make me question why anyone would buy an S2000 and put a hardtop and a bunch of mods on it. https://www.autotrader.com/cars-for-...elCode1=CAYMAN
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Old 02-28-2018, 01:44 PM
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Originally Posted by ChiHonda View Post
Speaking of 987.2. This is a bit outside of my price range but its a whole lot of car to be within spitting distance of a new well-optioned Miata. It does make me question why anyone would buy an S2000 and put a hardtop and a bunch of mods on it.
You can find a 06+ AP2 for less than half that amount.

Also maintenance and insurance costs come to mind...

But if you want the cayman, you should get it, it seems like you are convinced to me. Hell, I have been there, if I were to count the number of times I almost pulled the trigger on a P-car, well, it's embarrassing. But honestly, it's one of those things you have to buy into, because on paper it makes no sense whatsoever. Which makes the fact that you have somehow made the leap a 15k used S2000 to a 36k used Cayman sound like a deal in your mind... you must have drank the koolaid already.
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Old 02-28-2018, 01:53 PM
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Well, for one, it'll cost a bit more to own and maintain than a Miata. The purchase price is just the start of the ownership cost. You've gotta be ready to throw down some money if something needs doing. A couple of years back I needed to replace the engine water pump, the intercooler water pump, and the clutch/flywheel/pp in a short period of time. All of that was $3k+ easy. This past year, I had to replace the lower control arms (worn bushings) - $900 for the pair, plus install. Then an ignition module and steering lock failure, $500 in parts, plus a bunch of labor to get 'em swapped and reprogrammed for my car. Parts alone for a DIY brake job (pads/rotors/sensors) run about $1k to do both axles (OEM parts, you could go cheaper). Between all that, new rear tires, the short shifter, and some paintless dent removal, I probably put close to $5k in the car this past year. I rationalize it to myself that it's still cheaper than buying a new one and taking the hit on depreciation.
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Old 02-28-2018, 02:05 PM
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I'll echo a lot of the impressions in this thread on the 987.1. It's a blast to drive. I think it has the perfect amount of power for a car of that size: more than the S2000, and not too much that you'll kill yourself, and is perfect for a daily.

They can be found babied and with lower mileage for an amazing price. I think ours was $23k last year with 50k miles?

The shifter is a bit long for my taste. I feel like I'm punching my passenger when I got to 5th or 6th. That and the reverse on the left, screw that nonsense.

Not sure on this, but I wonder if the first gen Caymans have rev matching assistance too. The rev matches are eerily perfect, even my wife thinks so.

The stereo can sound better with an aftermarket headunit and a bit of tuning.

Source: my wife's daily is a 2007 Cayman S


I know you said it's already loud, but for a reasonably priced, great sounding exhaust, check out the Circuit Werks V2 exhaust. It's deep sounding and a decent volume without being too obnoxious. They're also the people behind the Pride Exhausts for the NSXs. https://www.ebay.com/itm/Circuit-Wer...9Urbj2&vxp=mtr
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Old 02-28-2018, 03:02 PM
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Interesting thread.

S2000s up here in Canada cost a pretty penny. A typical 2006-2007 S2000 is $30K-$36K asking price, some even higher if they have lower miles.

I live a mile away from the BMW dealership (which is across the road from the Porsche dealership) and they had a low-miles 2007 Boxster (base) come in for well under $30K asking price. A same-year S2000 with those miles would EASILY cost $32K+, not weigh a lot less, make less power, way less torque, etc, etc. So I figured I'd try it out and take it for a run.

Honestly, I loved it. Even with the smaller 2.7L engine (245 hp / 201 ft-lbs) it still had a nice top-end pull, sounded really good, shifted well, handled well, great steering (I felt like I was back in my go-kart, relatively speaking compared to typical road cars), etc. The previous owner had taken out the stock stereo and replaced it with a full Pioneer touch-screen setup with small amp, new speakers, etc, etc. It only has a 5MT, not the 6MT in the S models, but it still shifted fine. I found the accelerator a little low for my taste, for heel-toeing, but I figured it out quickly enough. The stock seats aren't great but they're fine for daily driving, which is what matters to me. It had optional 19" wheels, which helps tremendously! The top had two small areas with obvious rubbing but it looked to be holding up WAY better than a typical S2000 convertible top. Ultimately, I'd have gladly owned it.

HOWEVER, if I was buying an 11-year old car, a Porsche doesn't make quite as much sense. The S2000 sounds better, has sharper handling and will be a ton more reliable and easier to work on, in the long run. Sure, I'll pay more but I'll ultimately pay less, I think, as the S2000 will depreciate less and the maintenance and repair costs are way lower as well. I can also do the majority of the work myself (something I enjoy, not just to save money). So....I'm still looking for another S2000. The Boxster is still tempting - you're getting "more" car for less money - but I think I'd still prefer the S2000.

I get so little room and time to play on the road here in Vancouver area that the lower power doesn't really matter. The S2000 is more visceral and feels more alive at lower speeds, which is where I'll spend 99% of my time. Throw in lower cost of ownership and it's probably a clear winner.

If someone donated the base Boxster, I wouldn't kick it out of my driveway. Heck, if they come down on price some more (base Boxsters don't sell well - they're easily $10K-$12K less than a comparable S model), I might still grab it....
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Old 02-28-2018, 05:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Marioshi View Post
You can find a 06+ AP2 for less than half that amount.

Also maintenance and insurance costs come to mind...

But if you want the cayman, you should get it, it seems like you are convinced to me. Hell, I have been there, if I were to count the number of times I almost pulled the trigger on a P-car, well, it's embarrassing. But honestly, it's one of those things you have to buy into, because on paper it makes no sense whatsoever. Which makes the fact that you have somehow made the leap a 15k used S2000 to a 36k used Cayman sound like a deal in your mind... you must have drank the koolaid already.
I think you didn’t read my posts. I can’t blame you I wrote over 1000 words. I’m not getting rid of the S2000. I wouldn’t trade it straight up for any Cayman. I should have spelled out “put a hardtop” on it. What I don’t get—and to each his own—are people who want to take the convertible away and then put a lot of mods on the car when there are really good coupes out there.
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Old 02-28-2018, 05:23 PM
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Originally Posted by ChiHonda View Post


I think you didn’t read my posts. I can’t blame you I wrote over 1000 words. I’m not getting rid of the S2000. I wouldn’t trade it straight up for any Cayman. I should have spelled out “put a hardtop” on it. What I don’t get—and to each his own—are people who want to take the convertible away and then put a lot of mods on the car when there are really good coupes out there.
I did read your post, you compared two cars in very different price brackets.

The reason people buy s2000s and put hardtops on them is because they are good cars irregardless of their status as a convertible.

There are good coupes out there but not much in the price range of the s2000.

Again, I fully support getting a Cayman, in fact I don't see much point in keeping the s2000 personally but that's your choice to make.

But trying to say you don't understand why people buy s2000s when Caymans exist is failing to recognize the unique value proposition that the s2000 offers and the high cost of entry and maintenance on a p car.

Also, you do know hard tops are removable right? You can have both a convertible and a coupe.
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