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Performance questions: Boxster vs 911


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I asked this at Babblers, but thought I'd ask some 911 owners.

This is weird according to the specs, but I can't ignore what I and the wife noticed driving both cars.

1999 911 C4 Cab versus 2001 Boxster S

- Both have PSM

- 911 has 15k miles

- Boxster S has 5k miles

I just got this 911 used and have owned the Boxster S since day one.

Why does the 911 feel sluggish compared to the Boxster S on straight aways (0-60)?

I understand that the Boxster S is a nimble car, but it feels like it's on rails compared to the 911.

Does anyone have any advice besides getting the 911 checked out for problems at a local Porsche dealership?

Thanks for any advice.

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i too had a boxster and now own a c2 and i would agree to that sensation. i attribute it to the engine layout. the boxster feels tossable around the corners where the 996 is slow in fast out. the 986 does have better handling characterstics as evidenced by the mid engined carrera gt.

the 996 is deceptively quick though. it feels more solid, maybe due to the suspension substructure. because of this you get less of the visceral,raw feeling that you get with the 986. the rear end just digs in when you power out of a turn whereas with the boxster, i always felt like the rear end would just give way. i feel the 996 is more communicative in that respect.

i hope my ramblings made any sense :lol:

c

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here is propably another reason why the big differences in handling:

C4 Cab: 1510kg (DIN)

BoxsterS: 1320kg (DIN)

I added on my C2 cab, spacers from TechArt, Front:2x15mm and Back:2x18mm, and I surely feel a different on the straight.

thinking even to get the Turbo II rims from the Turbo 996 w/ 11-inch at the back to test if I get more stability, any experience on that?

cheers,

Tony

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I am curious, why would spacers provide more of a feel of power and speed on the straights?  Correct me if am I wrong but don't the spacers just widen the track of the car?

No, they do a lot more. They screw up the carefully designed and finely tuned steering geometry of your car. Basically, spacers increases the leverage under which forces are being introduced into the car's suspension. The first thing to go is usually the wheel bearings, but damaged wheel carriers are also known.

Perhaps more worryingly, they make the car more unstable under certain conditions. The reasons are highly technical, but here is a copy of something I wrote as an answer to the question why Porsche do not recommend spacers of more than 5mm on the front:

"The main issue with spacers [on front wheels] is that they change the scrub radius. Most modern car manufacturers advocate negative scrub radius (BMW being the notable exception), because it stabilises the vehicle under "split mu" breaking, i.e. breaking with right and left front wheels on different friction surfaces.

A 986 (I haven't got 996 data here, but I assume it's the same) has a scrub radius of -7mm. That's *negative* scrub radius which stabilises the vehicle under split mu breaking. Introducing spacers decreases this, i.e. if you use 5mm spacers, you are left with a scrub radius of -7mm+5mm=-2mm. You get very close to a positive scrub radius, and in real life with an asymetric contact patch you might already be there. If you fit 15mm spacers, you get a *positive* scrub radius of 8mm, which destabilises the vehicle under split mu breaking and is pretty much the opposite of what the manufacturer intended."

Basically, under unfavourable conditions you can send your car into a nice spin ...

Cheers,

Uwe

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I am curious, why would spacers provide more of a feel of power and speed on the straights?  Correct me if am I wrong but don't the spacers just widen the track of the car?

No, they do a lot more. They screw up the carefully designed and finely tuned steering geometry of your car. Basically, spacers increases the leverage under which forces are being introduced into the car's suspension. The first thing to go is usually the wheel bearings, but damaged wheel carriers are also known.

Perhaps more worryingly, they make the car more unstable under certain conditions. The reasons are highly technical, but here is a copy of something I wrote as an answer to the question why Porsche do not recommend spacers of more than 5mm on the front:

"The main issue with spacers [on front wheels] is that they change the scrub radius. Most modern car manufacturers advocate negative scrub radius (BMW being the notable exception), because it stabilises the vehicle under "split mu" breaking, i.e. breaking with right and left front wheels on different friction surfaces.

A 986 (I haven't got 996 data here, but I assume it's the same) has a scrub radius of -7mm. That's *negative* scrub radius which stabilises the vehicle under split mu breaking. Introducing spacers decreases this, i.e. if you use 5mm spacers, you are left with a scrub radius of -7mm+5mm=-2mm. You get very close to a positive scrub radius, and in real life with an asymetric contact patch you might already be there. If you fit 15mm spacers, you get a *positive* scrub radius of 8mm, which destabilises the vehicle under split mu breaking and is pretty much the opposite of what the manufacturer intended."

Basically, under unfavourable conditions you can send your car into a nice spin ...

Cheers,

Uwe

Although I agree with you on the spacers questions , I was some surprised to see that the Limited Edition Boxster S has from stock spacers, and that Porsche has already has an option spacers for some of their cars. i really don´t like the wide look spars give and i was always told they were not very good for the suspension, but with this Porsche move I´m a bit :unsure:

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I've never mentioned "power" but I got the feeling that my car stays more stable on the road with a bit wider axel with the spacers.

Tony, sorry for the confusion, I misinterpret your post, as I was relating your comments to part of the original post that asked:

“Why does the 911 feel sluggish compared to the Boxster S on straight aways (0-60)?”

Cheers,

Brian

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I'm going back to my original questions and I completely appreciate the great responses...

I called a local Porsche dealer last night and spoke with a service manager and then I called again and spoke with a salesman.

Not surprisingly, the salesman said that on the straight away (0-60) the 911 should beat the Boxster, but that the Boxster for regular road "racing" provides more of the feel of the raw power of the Boxster S and he also commented that it was a more "nimble" car.

The service manager said that because of the weight of the cabriolet, the weight of 4 wheel drive, and the fact that the drive train has to drive the front and back wheels this is why the 911 C4 Cab feels slower off the start but was deceptively more powerful if it was clocked.

He also went on the say unless an engine check light appears, the 911's engine is probably performing to spec.

So karlooz, I COMPLETELY BELIEVE WHAT YOU SAID! But it stinks for the 911 IMO... :(

I don't get it, why is a $95k 911 C4 Cab so much more of the prestigious sports car if a $70k Boxster S in normal, US highway "male" driving a more fun car with a better driving feel?

I thought for the money, I was upgrading cars (if not at least laterally moving to the same driving experience with more prestige Boxster vs 911) because I'm thinking that I ended up buying a label...911...and got a less performing ride.

My only 2 criteria have been:

1- 0-60 mph performance

2- Handling around turns

In both instances, the Boxster S is solid and fun. It feels like I'm riding a go cart or a souped up motorcycle.

The 911 C4 Cab isn't as responsive, it feels more sluggish on the start and on turns, and the interior looks equivalent to the Boxster S.

Is Porsche a little nuts or am I expecting too much out of a 4 wheel cabriolet?

Should I have bought a C2 Cab?

A C2 coupe?

A C4 coupe?

I live in a warm city and I own 3 other convertibles, so I wanted a Cabriolet Porsche.

Additionally, after seeing repeated [annoying] posts that the Boxster S is getting its butt handed to it by Nissan 350zs, Honda S2000s, and BMW M3s in various races, what confidence do I get in buying a Boxster or 911?

I hope that I don't offend anyone! I consider myself to be a lifelong Porsche fan, I grew up believing that they are one of the best exotic cars out there and I am in a place in my life where I can buy just about any type of exotic that I want, but want a Porsche. I don't doubt the Porsche mystic, but I thought buying a $95k 911 would at least get me the equivalent driving experience of my $70k "red-headed step child" 2001 Boxster S that I've enjoyed for almost 3 years.

I know go "buy a Turbo" is the answer, but at $125k+ for a 911 Turbo I'm thinking just get a Ferrari at that same price and I won't complain about performance.

Sorry I'm rambling. I'm a little upset with my recent purchase and I feel like it's an end to a childhood dream. Porsche.

I really appreciate any replies and I expect a flame or two, so be kind...I hope that you all see that I'm being sincere.

Thanks.

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Well your first criteria was full filled. According to Porsche's web site...

C4S Cab......5.0 sec.

Boxster S.....5.7 sec.

As for handling in corners that is subjective and very dependant on the drivers ability and the conditions.

A mid engine design is more nimble, agile, tossable and arguably a better handler. However the same reasons it is more agile also make it much easier to lose in the hands of inexperienced driver. Once the rear is gone in mid you very likely are not going to get it back. Intertia is a funny thing. There are trade offs on both sides. This is why very experienced race drivers like mid engined cars. Their skills allow them to tap the cars potential.

Some things (0-60) are perception and not real. The cars go about accomplishing things differently. The biggest complaint about the 996 has always been its "detached" or very refined feel. The Boxster is more raw so it gives you the perception is doing things better than the the 911, when in reality it may not be.

It really just boils down to what you want and what you like. Maybe the the cab is just too refined and heavy for your liking...maybe the GT3 is more what you desire, NA power with a much more connected feeling. Or maybe a compromise with a coupe with ROW MO30 suspension is better compromise. No flame just some thoughts.

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It seems to me what you need is to drive the GT3 (if you can find one). You will never look back.

All the qualities you list are present in the GT3. It has endless power and accelleration. You are well into the 80's before the shift to 3rd and 100 comes up inside of 10 seconds with all the power still on tap. The feel is true sports car but the ride can be surprisingly sedate when you so choose. It goes just where you point it and feels in a different league to the Boxster S. I warn you not to try a GT3 unless you are ready to dip into your pocket as you will not be able to resist it. In my view the Turbo is a distant second choice.

Mel

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I'm going back to my original questions and I completely appreciate the great responses...

I called a local Porsche dealer last night and spoke with a service manager and then I called again and spoke with a salesman.

Not surprisingly, the salesman said that on the straight away (0-60) the 911 should beat the Boxster, but that the Boxster for regular road "racing" provides more of the feel of the raw power of the Boxster S and he also commented that it was a  more "nimble" car.

The service manager said that because of the weight of the cabriolet, the weight of 4 wheel drive, and the fact that the drive train has to drive the front and back wheels this is why the 911 C4 Cab feels slower off the start but was deceptively more powerful if it was clocked.

He also went on the say unless an engine check light appears, the 911's engine is probably performing to spec.

So karlooz, I COMPLETELY BELIEVE WHAT YOU SAID! But it stinks for the 911 IMO... :(

I don't get it, why is a $95k 911 C4 Cab so much more of the prestigious sports car if a $70k Boxster S in normal, US highway "male" driving a more fun car with a better driving feel?

I thought for the money, I was upgrading cars (if not at least laterally moving to the same driving experience with more prestige Boxster vs 911) because I'm thinking that I ended up buying a label...911...and got a less performing ride.

My only 2 criteria have been:

1- 0-60 mph performance

2- Handling around turns

In both instances, the Boxster S is solid and fun. It feels like I'm riding a go cart or a souped up motorcycle.

The 911 C4 Cab isn't as responsive, it feels more sluggish on the start and on turns, and the interior looks equivalent to the Boxster S.

Is Porsche a little nuts or am I expecting too much out of a 4 wheel cabriolet?

Should I have bought a C2 Cab?

A C2 coupe?

A C4 coupe?

I live in a warm city and I own 3 other convertibles, so I wanted a Cabriolet Porsche.

Additionally, after seeing repeated [annoying] posts that the Boxster S is getting its butt handed to it by Nissan 350zs, Honda S2000s, and BMW M3s in various races, what confidence do I get in buying a Boxster or 911?

I hope that I don't offend anyone! I consider myself to be a lifelong Porsche fan, I grew up believing that they are one of the best exotic cars out there and I am in a place in my life where I can buy just about any type of exotic that I want, but want a Porsche. I don't doubt the Porsche mystic, but I thought buying a $95k 911 would at least get me the equivalent driving experience of my $70k "red-headed step child"  2001 Boxster S that I've enjoyed for almost 3 years.

I know go "buy a Turbo" is the answer, but at $125k+ for a 911 Turbo I'm thinking just get a Ferrari at that same price and I won't complain about performance.

Sorry I'm rambling.  I'm a little upset with my recent purchase and  I feel like it's an end to a childhood dream. Porsche.

I really appreciate any replies and I expect a flame or two, so be kind...I hope that you all see that I'm being sincere.

Thanks.

The 1999 996 C4 cab has the 3.4 Litre engine, which produce 300 hp but has to haul 3200lb. 0-62mph should be around 5.4 second.

The 2001 Boxster S has the 3.2 Litre engine, 250 hp available for 2855lb, 0-62mph around 5.9 seconds.

The C4 is faster but not by much, and I bet the boxster is probably faster in 0-30.

I think you'll be much happier if you got the C2 cab especially with the 3.6 Litre engine. ( from MY02 on )

The extra 340 lbs AND the feel of the all wheel drive system combined make the C4 cab FEELS sluggish when compared to a very tosable and nimble Boxster S.

Take your C4 out on a rainy/snowy day, you may think otherwise :cheers:

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The 3.4LC4 Cab is 122 lbs heavier then the C2 version not 340 lbs. The 3.6L is 132lbs heavier.

This is in my 3.4L C4 Cab:

0-60.jpg

I can easily get below 5 secs if I want to thrash on the clutch.

I would put a sports suspension (i.e. R0W M030) on your C4 to help w/handling- the stock 996 suspension is way too "mushy." :drive:

Edited by Rob in WA
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Cool, you folks rule!

I guess I know my first upgrade is a R0W M030 sports suspension.

The GT3 sounds like a winner, so I'll check it out....Now to start planting the GT3 seeds in the wife's mind for the next toy.

Thanks folks!!! : :cheers:

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hey Rob,

wow, great value 5,02sec and on the spec. 5,2sec, is that a avereage results or the best value?

the great performance done thanks to the PSE and BMC or have you done something more boost in your racer?

cheers,

Tony

Thanks Tony :) That's the best time I got on about five runs, the other ones were in my Rover; just to learn how to use the G Timer. Like I said I can get a better time, but I was focusing on a smooth launch. The only performance mods I have are the RoW M030, B&M S.S., PSE, and a K&N.

:beer:

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Gry,

Car purchases are all about matching your wants, needs, and expectations. You obviously didn't need a C4 Cab so that's out of the equation. You wanted a Porsche that felt faster and as nimble as your Boxster S. You bought a car that you expected to fill those wants, but unfortunately the C4 Cab was never intended to be a Boxster with a bigger engine. The numbers show that it gets up to speed more quickly. It obviously doesn't handle the way you expected it to do. Porsche probably didn't intend the C4 Cab to compete with the Boxster in the twisties. You would have realized this had you had a chance to adequately test drive the car before your purchase. I had this eye opening experience when I test drove a 996 TT. I expected a nimble and fast car, but it felt heavy and fast. Needless-to-say, it stayed on the dealer lot. Your C4 Cab is obviously a very good car so your left with either getting rid of it or modifying it to feel better. I'd start with the following:

1. Four wheel alignment. Is your car sluggish because its alignment is out of spec?

2. The M030 or ROW M030 suspension package.

You should realize that a heavier, rear engined, all wheel drive car will never feel like a light, mid engined, rear wheel drive car. It's all about managing your expectations. You could spend allot of money on your C4 Cab. I'd spend it wisely and otherwise a very nice car that most of us would die for.

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Thanks earlyapex, I took the 911 out with another guy friend this afternoon.

It's hot here, so put the top down and "warmed" the engine up at 6000 rpms.

I was pleasantly surprised when I pushed the car today.

It appears as if all of you were right in the sense that the car is sedate and elegant compared to the Boxster S raw, viceral feel (great quote...I'm stealing it), but when I pushed the 911 harder there was more to give.

If I pushed my Boxster S around the same turns, I would have slid.

So I am happy.

The 911 C4 Cab provides less of the right-off the road punch and fury of the Boxster S, but it has more to give and won't quit when you demand more out of it.

To quote my buddy, "the 911 is definately a more sturdy sports car."

The suspension upgrade in its future and I'd like to pickup a GT2 Passport G Timers to check out my performance.

Thanks again.

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