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C4S questions for a possible new owner

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I currently own a BMW M Coupe, and we have an audi we use to go snowboarding. We live in San Fran, right in the middle of the city and pretty much walk everywhere and we don't drive our cars to work. We have to rent an extra space for the audi, and we really don't need 2 cars, we just take the m coupe out on weekends for spirited drives, but we need a AWD for the few times we might go to the snow.

So it seems the C4S coupe (or maybe even a C4 coupe) is the right choice for me to be able to have my sports car fun and be able to go snowboarding. We don't go every weekend in ski season, and we generally don't go if its dumping. But if it snows we don't want to have to put on chains.

Ive done some research and searches and am aware of the RMS problem but I do have a few questions Id love to get some feedback on.

1. We are gonna need to get a roof rack obviously, however I don't want to tarnish the good looks of the car with a roof rack on all winter, so id like to be able to take it off and on alot. Any issues with scratching the paint from the rack? I know it bolts into the rack rails so it shouldnt touch the paint, but sometimes these racks can brace against the car in other places and dirt will get under it and possibly scratch the paint.

2. Hows the ground clearance on a C4S? Does it clear speed bumps okay? Currently my M Coupe is lowered and my cats scrape as I descend into my buildings parking garage.

3. How rare is the C4S, will it take some time to find the right one? Id love speed yellow, but that seems to be pretty hard to find and will settle for gray or black.

4. Price... I think 60K is probably our limit... Ive seen them for sale private party for 60K with low miles, but maybe with the RMS thing a CPO is a good idea. Any current owners get theirs porsche certified for that amount? I think a 2002 with ~30K miles is what we are going to be able to afford.

many thanks

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1. Here is the blurb on the roof rack from Porsche US website - you should be pretty safe with regard to fit/attention to detail etc.:

"The roof transport system for the 911 is designed for performance and practicality. The durable die-cast magnesium bars are contoured to follow the 911’s sleek roofline for reduced noise and wind resistance. They glide into position in seconds with rubber foot pads that improve holding and prevent scratches. For the practical side, add the available attachments that accommodate everything from bikes and skis to extra luggage."

2. If I recall correctly, ground clearance is approximately 4.3". Not sure how steep the approach/departure angle is in your parking garage, but it may warrant some further investigation to make sure the 911 won't scrape. Maybe you can approach it from an angle if you have enough side room? Snow tires will be a must if you drive in the white stuff often.......

3. There should be enough examples on the market to get you the color/condition/interior/options you want. The Porsche USA website has a pre owned section where you can look for certified models etc. It is very comprehensive. Take your time, look at many, drive many, buying a Porsche certified car may buy you some extra sleep at night knowing you'll have the extended warranty for peace of mind. RMS leaks are not a given for every 996, but it can present itself at 20/30/40k miles.........no real way to know until it happens.

4. Research.....................keep an open mind, and if something sounds too good to be true - you know the rest..............

Hope you find your perfect C4/C4S!

Edited by geza
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Well my neighbor has a boxster and he gets in fine into the garage and the boxster has a listed gc of 4.1, so if the C4S is 4.3 it should be better. Of course the boxster has a shorter wheelbase that would aid it in my driveway. The problem isn't the airdam scraping, its the middle of the car as it goes over the "hump" My driveway is a 1/2 way underground garage, so you have to first go up a slight incline to get onto the sidewalk then down into the driveway, so when the front tires are descending into the garage and the rear tires are start to ascend onto the sidewalk the middle underside of my car scrapes.

I will probably never be able to lower the car, but I think the C4S stock suspension should be good enough for weekend fun and maybe a track day or two a year.

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You need to be realistic.

1/ Porsches are low(er) than normal cars but pretty well manage normal traffic situations. Procvided you do not lower them. Assume that Porsche figured out , after 20 years or so, that the ride hight is acceptable in almost all cases and that it also matches with the performance Porsche sought. Bottom line, you will need to be vigilant and you will figure out very quickly were ( in your neighborhood) you will need to pay attention.

2/ Establishing the price range ( limit) is like buying the house your REALLY want. You can not afford it, it's always "just a little bit above what you can afford" So be flexible, take your time and buy the best car within your means. Make as list of all the "must haves" , than the "Nice to haves" , remember that options will cost you a bundle if you install them afterwards.

Then, look at the buying process as an expedition an challenge and have fun with it.! Think about is as getting a new girlfriend. You always can say no.


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I live in Truckee and have a C2 Cab. These cars do well in the snow because of the engine weight being over the drive wheels. With snow tires a C2 does very well in the snow. The limiting factor is not the two wheel drive vs the all wheel drive but the low clearance of the car. You will not get very far in unplowed roads with a C2 or C4 because of this. If the only reason you are buying a C4(S) is to get by in snow, you should probably rethink this. A C2 will do nearly as well as a C4 in snow depths that are less than four inches. Any more than that and it won't matter if you have all wheel drive or not. Usually a two wheel drive car will be allowed to pass through chain controls with snow tires. If chains only are required, then you probably do not want to drive a C4 either due to the amount of snow falling and accumulating.

Good luck with your search.


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Thanks for the replies everyone. Im sure I will find the right one.

I guess my only anxiety is buying an expensive car and then taking it to tahoe (skiing). I don't plan on going if its snowing alot, but weather can be unpredictable. Last year every time I went up it never snowed, but once your off the freeway there can be patches of snow, so it really for very light duty snow use. Hopefully it will never see a snow storm.

Im also attracted to the C4S not only because of AWD, but the turbo look and brakes.

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