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helping a friend with $50k to spend: 981 or Base 991?

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Old 01-12-2018, 07:52 PM
  #1
dawgcatching
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Default helping a friend with $50k to spend: 981 or Base 991?

Hi everyone,

My buddy, who has been shopping seemingly forever, but can't decide what he wants, has narrowed it down to a couple of options, both lightly used at the $50-55k price point. Here are the candidates I have found for him locally; he wants to go drive one tomorrow if the weather is good.

2016 CPO Cayman base, 6MT, sport suspension, $65k build, with 3400 miles Dealer is asking $50k

2012 CPO 991 Base, 7MT, 66,000 miles, CPO, $96k build. Dealer asking $54k.

His criteria: overall driving experience, handling, appearance, cost of ownership. He is coming from a BMW 535i, and a 335i before that.

How would you vote? I have a 991 cab and love it, but would characterize it more as a cruiser. I have driven a 981 Boxster S and thought it had plenty of power, but I don't know if the 2.7L is going to feel underwhelming. I had a base 997.2 and it seems that the power to weight is down about 10% on the base Cayman. Also, $50k for a base cayman seems like a lot, but this car does have a desirable build. Similar Cayman S models are going for $7k more.

I know non-Porsche people look at the Cayman and think of it as the poor-man's Porsche, which might affect his decision. Is this still not the case? I would happily own a manual Cayman, ideally the GTS trim.
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Old 01-12-2018, 08:05 PM
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I know there are a lot of factors that go into it, but wow...over 62k miles between the cars yet within 10% of each other. If he's coming from a 535i, both options will feel extremely light and fun.

Unless he feels the Cayman isn't powerful enough, I'd vote Cayman. It's essentially a new car that's been broken in and should provide years of trouble-free driving (i.e. low cost of ownership).

If he's actually concerned about other people's perceptions, he shouldn't even consider Porsches to begin with, IMO. I've also heard "Caymans are poor-man Porsches" but I've also heard "Porsches are only driven by ******." As long as one enjoys the car, nothing else matters.
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Old 01-12-2018, 09:38 PM
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This is a tough call. The 911 is more powerful and a GT. The Cayman is practically brand new but more hard core with the X73 suspension. There are too many other variables not mentioned here, so I think your buddy is going to have to drive both to see which he prefers.
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Old 01-12-2018, 09:38 PM
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Originally Posted by dawgcatching View Post
His criteria: overall driving experience, handling, appearance, cost of ownership.
I would try to capture the "value" of each of those criteria, and then fill in the blanks for each car.

"overall driving experience" and "appearance" will be the most subjective and therefore hardest to nail down.

IMO the Cayman takes the cake. But personally I would go for an older or more mileage S or GTS versus base.
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Old 01-12-2018, 09:44 PM
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HE needs to drive both and then HE will be able to decide for himself. Also pretty hard to compare a 3k mile car to a 66k mile car. Is he used to new cars and warranty? how long will he keep it? does he need a back seat? if he has kids definitely get the 911 to throw them back there.
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Old 01-12-2018, 09:55 PM
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I told him just to buy both!

He is hoping I can help him narrow it down. My gut says the Cayman is the better car. Both are going to lose value. The 911 looks (subjectively) better.

The Cayman S X73 I drove was a delightful car.
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Old 01-12-2018, 09:56 PM
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I was in a similar position 4 months ago although I was between 2015 CPO 981S and 2009 non-CPO 997.2S. I drove them both and went with the Boxster. Your friend should drive them both and he will know which one fits him better. By the way, a 2012 CPO 911 base with 66K miles for $54K is a great value.
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Old 01-12-2018, 10:15 PM
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I would normally vote for the 991,but the high mileage would be a show stopper for me. A Cayman with 3400 miles has even't be broken-in yet. So my vote goes to the Cayman.
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Old 01-12-2018, 10:41 PM
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981 base with PDK was hugely underwhelming when I drove one... Perhaps stick will offer a better driving experience.

991.1 base with stick certainly could use more more power, but perhaps not as dramatic of a deficit as the 981 base was.

How about a 981.1 S with a few more miles on it?

I'd also think there would be plenty of really nice 997.2 S and 987.2 S candidates in that price range, either of which might offer a significantly better driving experience than a base 981 or 991.
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Old 01-13-2018, 12:58 AM
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Benjamin Cherry
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Originally Posted by dawgcatching View Post
Hi everyone,

My buddy, who has been shopping seemingly forever, but can't decide what he wants, has narrowed it down to a couple of options, both lightly used at the $50-55k price point. Here are the candidates I have found for him locally; he wants to go drive one tomorrow if the weather is good.

2016 CPO Cayman base, 6MT, sport suspension, $65k build, with 3400 miles Dealer is asking $50k

2012 CPO 991 Base, 7MT, 66,000 miles, CPO, $96k build. Dealer asking $54k.

His criteria: overall driving experience, handling, appearance, cost of ownership. He is coming from a BMW 535i, and a 335i before that.
How would you vote? I have a 991 cab and love it, but would characterize it more as a cruiser. I have driven a 981 Boxster S and thought it had plenty of power, but I don't know if the 2.7L is going to feel underwhelming. I had a base 997.2 and it seems that the power to weight is down about 10% on the base Cayman. Also, $50k for a base cayman seems like a lot, but this car does have a desirable build. Similar Cayman S models are going for $7k more.

I know non-Porsche people look at the Cayman and think of it as the poor-man's Porsche, which might affect his decision. Is this still not the case? I would happily own a manual Cayman, ideally the GTS trim.
Over the last three months I've been in a similar situation. I wanted to keep things closer to $40k but was not putting a $ limit on my searches so think I have a decent sense of the market. I'm broadly outlining my thoughts here; not trying to be patronizing as you certainly sound to have a lot (definitely more than me) of experience with Porsche.

I started out very interested in older 997s; after a few PPIs including one that showed bore scoring, also a lot of reading (mostly here, also elsewhere), I decided that I did not want to deal with the 997.1's well documented mechanical problems including IMS issues and bore scoring, But that's not relevant to your thread.

I didn't find many 997.2s with the options I wanted for less than 50k, and certainly none at all around 40k. To be honest, I could have spent another $20k (and thought about it), but after a serious consideration of my driving style and personal preferences I became more interested in the Cayman. I was at first very intrigued by the 987.1s out there selling for $20k, but quickly decided not to mess with any 9*7.1 due to aforementioned reasons. The Cayman Register's overview of the various Cayman generations was a factor in my leaning more toward the 981s, and also I just love (!) the way they look. Red is not the color for me, but I find the Guards Red 981s to look quite like the older Ferrari F355s (the side air intakes I think make this connection in my mind -- I considered the F355 to be the Best Car when I was 15).

Long story short, for my money, the Cayman is where it's at. Especially if your friend can't decide, that leads me to believe he doesn't have a strong bias towards the glitter of the 911 tag (you hinted at this -- I think it's less the enthusiast crowd and more the general public who judge everything by its cost that badmouth the Cayman), and also maybe hasn't driven many of these cars. You have a lot of experience with P-cars, so probably also have a good sense of the differences between the cars. I find the driving experience to be quite different between the 997s and the 981s I've driven (full disclosure, I was looking at high-ish mileage 991s but never ended up driving one).

To me, features of the 981 that make it the superior choice:
1. practically new! probably still smells new!
2. mid-engine design is so damn well balanced and the handling is ridiculously good. just ask MotorTrend and about a billion other reviewers out there. Many of them will say catty things like "many will say that the Cayman is a better driver's car than the 911," and will come to that conclusion themselves, but won't want to say it outright
3. the BASE 981, with the 2.7L engine is fun to drive because you get to PUSH IT. I absolutely loved this, and look forward to it when I pick up my 981 tomorrow -- work through the gears, keep the RPMs up, make the car work for you. Many (!) here have commented that they found the low-end torque in the base 981 disappointing. I didn't feel that way when I drove the car; I don't need to get off of the line fast, and I'm comfortable rolling around at 3k RPMs with plenty of power to spare. With the more powerful engine of the 991, your friend is less likely to use the whole engine simply due to the practicalities of driving on regular (not race-track-maintained) roads, and with speed limits
4. related to #3, the engine sound at higher RPMs is glorious -- less likely to push the 991 engine due to driving conditions, speed limits etc, and thus less likely to get to love on that sound. One of the 997s I drove had an aftermarket exhaust and I must admit, it made me laugh out loud. That said, I perceive that aftermarket modifications hurt resale and I found the engine sound in the Cayman to be perfectly pleasing.

Reasons to consider the 991:
1. Oh, he likes power? more power there
2. It is a beautiful, beautiful car -- probably better looking than the Cayman for many, though the jury's out for me. I think I like the Cayman better
3. the sport suspension on the Cayman gives the car a very aggressive look, but a very harsh ride (from my reading/Youtube-ing). Is this going to be a daily driver? Might keep shopping and opt for the PASM instead

Cost of ownership probably likely to be higher on the older car, but that's just a guess. I'd say the Cayman wins in the handling department, and in the looks department for me it's a toss-up. That's 2-0-1 for the Cayman and 0-2-1 for the 911.

Just my $0.02, Best of luck to you and your friend and I hope you get some good weather for enjoyable test drives!
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Old 01-13-2018, 01:55 AM
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Originally Posted by FlamsteadHill View Post
I would try to capture the "value" of each of those criteria, and then fill in the blanks for each car.

"overall driving experience" and "appearance" will be the most subjective and therefore hardest to nail down.

IMO the Cayman takes the cake. But personally I would go for an older or more mileage S or GTS versus base.
Me too, but finding an X 73 Cayman S around $50,000 is tough and finding a GTS for $50,000 means it was in a bad wreck

I suggested the 987.2 to him, but he thought it looked a bit dated, and they are really tough to find in a manual. I did a search on auto trader and found three in the whole country

Agreed with the other poster, the 997.2 is worth checking out as well, but again, you canĺt find a manual in S trim for that price. Most are going close to 60 K unless higher mileage

OK then, 997.2 C2S vs 981 cayman S?
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Old 01-13-2018, 01:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Benjamin Cherry View Post
Over the last three months I've been in a similar situation. I wanted to keep things closer to $40k but was not putting a $ limit on my searches so think I have a decent sense of the market. I'm broadly outlining my thoughts here; not trying to be patronizing as you certainly sound to have a lot (definitely more than me) of experience with Porsche.

I started out very interested in older 997s; after a few PPIs including one that showed bore scoring, also a lot of reading (mostly here, also elsewhere), I decided that I did not want to deal with the 997.1's well documented mechanical problems including IMS issues and bore scoring, But that's not relevant to your thread.

I didn't find many 997.2s with the options I wanted for less than 50k, and certainly none at all around 40k. To be honest, I could have spent another $20k (and thought about it), but after a serious consideration of my driving style and personal preferences I became more interested in the Cayman. I was at first very intrigued by the 987.1s out there selling for $20k, but quickly decided not to mess with any 9*7.1 due to aforementioned reasons. The Cayman Register's overview of the various Cayman generations was a factor in my leaning more toward the 981s, and also I just love (!) the way they look. Red is not the color for me, but I find the Guards Red 981s to look quite like the older Ferrari F355s (the side air intakes I think make this connection in my mind -- I considered the F355 to be the Best Car when I was 15).

Long story short, for my money, the Cayman is where it's at. Especially if your friend can't decide, that leads me to believe he doesn't have a strong bias towards the glitter of the 911 tag (you hinted at this -- I think it's less the enthusiast crowd and more the general public who judge everything by its cost that badmouth the Cayman), and also maybe hasn't driven many of these cars. You have a lot of experience with P-cars, so probably also have a good sense of the differences between the cars. I find the driving experience to be quite different between the 997s and the 981s I've driven (full disclosure, I was looking at high-ish mileage 991s but never ended up driving one).

To me, features of the 981 that make it the superior choice:
1. practically new! probably still smells new!
2. mid-engine design is so damn well balanced and the handling is ridiculously good. just ask MotorTrend and about a billion other reviewers out there. Many of them will say catty things like "many will say that the Cayman is a better driver's car than the 911," and will come to that conclusion themselves, but won't want to say it outright
3. the BASE 981, with the 2.7L engine is fun to drive because you get to PUSH IT. I absolutely loved this, and look forward to it when I pick up my 981 tomorrow -- work through the gears, keep the RPMs up, make the car work for you. Many (!) here have commented that they found the low-end torque in the base 981 disappointing. I didn't feel that way when I drove the car; I don't need to get off of the line fast, and I'm comfortable rolling around at 3k RPMs with plenty of power to spare. With the more powerful engine of the 991, your friend is less likely to use the whole engine simply due to the practicalities of driving on regular (not race-track-maintained) roads, and with speed limits
4. related to #3, the engine sound at higher RPMs is glorious -- less likely to push the 991 engine due to driving conditions, speed limits etc, and thus less likely to get to love on that sound. One of the 997s I drove had an aftermarket exhaust and I must admit, it made me laugh out loud. That said, I perceive that aftermarket modifications hurt resale and I found the engine sound in the Cayman to be perfectly pleasing.

Reasons to consider the 991:
1. Oh, he likes power? more power there
2. It is a beautiful, beautiful car -- probably better looking than the Cayman for many, though the jury's out for me. I think I like the Cayman better
3. the sport suspension on the Cayman gives the car a very aggressive look, but a very harsh ride (from my reading/Youtube-ing). Is this going to be a daily driver? Might keep shopping and opt for the PASM instead

Cost of ownership probably likely to be higher on the older car, but that's just a guess. I'd say the Cayman wins in the handling department, and in the looks department for me it's a toss-up. That's 2-0-1 for the Cayman and 0-2-1 for the 911.

Just my $0.02, Best of luck to you and your friend and I hope you get some good weather for enjoyable test drives!
Good points, I was thinking along the same lines.
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Old 01-13-2018, 10:27 AM
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Normally, I would vote for the 991 beautiful car. But here’s the deal breaker for me the car was possible made in 2011 so it’s close to a 7 year old car ready to start getting into MTC dollars. If you have a personal MTC guy vs the dealer go for it, and also how long do you want to keep the car. Most of the value has been used in the car and I would ask for a better deal because basically it’s like 50% of MSRP. All that said the 911 991 is the best looking 911 built My opinion ....it was my first Porsche the look it was drew me in. Good luck look here for ranges:
https://www.cargurus.com/Cars/l-Used...a-c22961_L6054
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Old 01-14-2018, 12:14 AM
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2012 Cayman R for sure. It's one of the best driving Porsches ever. X73, LSD, super lightweight. 330hp. Will out drive any base 991, especially through corners. Steering is sublime. Will hold its value nicely too. Cool color pallet as well.
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Old 01-15-2018, 12:10 PM
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A "poor man" buying a $50,000 car. Yeah that makes a lot of sense.
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