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981 Spyder - Long Term Review

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Old 03-04-2018, 11:43 AM
  #16  
Dan Nagy
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Thanks everyone. I've been looking at review videos on YouTube to try to understand the visceral experience of the 981 Spyder. I am really a newcomer to Porsche. I have had a long line of sports cars > 73 Fiat Spider> 90 MX-5> 74 Fiat Spider> 80 TR7> 68 MGB> 92 MX-5> 74 TR6> 80 TR7> 64 Spitfire> 2012 BMW 135> 2013 335is> 2016 Cayman 2.7> 2017 911. All were convertibles up to the Cayman. Between the 335is and Cayman, I had to have reconstructive surgery on my nose due to skin cancer and I became scared to have a top down car. Blonde hair, light skin - that whole deal means I always have to wear sunblock when driving top down. It's a greasy mess of sunblock lotion on my face if I want to put the top down, but still, find that I am really missing open air driving.

Learning to drive on the back roads of PA, my best friend and I were sports car nuts. His first car was an Alpine, and mine a Cortina GT. We got the most out of 4 cylinders, and soon I bought my first Fiat Spider. When I acquired the 135i, I became hooked on power. The Chris Bangle design wore on me, and the hardtop 335is was an upgrade but it had a DCT. I drove that car like a bat out of hell because it didn't give much of the visceral experience other than speed. I became bored with it quickly. I realized a MT is a must.

The 2.7 Cayman was awesome, but after a year or so I needed the sunlight and went with the 911 just for the sunroof. Stupid? Probably. If the Cayman had a sunroof, I might still be in it. That 2.7L engine just wails with delight when driven as designed. I also liked the rear hatch. Nobody talks about it much, but it's a cool feature.

Now, the 911 has a big glass sunroof, and I ordered it just the way I wanted it. The 370hp engine is enough, but even with sport exhaust, it doesn't give the same visceral feedback of that 2.7 engine. On the 911, I like the engine in the back. I have never experienced that before and with the electronics off, it provides for fun driving dynamics. The back end is so easy to slide around. It's also great on long trips with comfort and room for luggage.

I enjoyed reading the comments above, and thanks to all of you. I have asked my SA to send more information as soon as he has it for the upcoming Spyder. I'll probably drop in some time to see about being put on a list all the while trying to sort it out. I am approaching retirement and looking for that one car to hold on to for awhile. I think it has to be a convertible. BTW - I find the 911 'vert ill-proportioned, so it's not in consideration. I like the Targa, but my SA has strongly advised against it due to unsolvable squeaks and leaks.

Last question: Does the Spyder top leak in the rain? Are there air leaks around the windows?
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Old 03-04-2018, 11:44 AM
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No
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Old 03-04-2018, 11:54 AM
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It only leaks for as long as it takes you to put the top up..
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Old 03-04-2018, 12:50 PM
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Originally Posted by PorschePaul View Post
.............I now have a 997.1 GT3 that is the best car I have ever owned!
Bit unclear. Are you saying 997.1 GT3 is the best you ever owned or 981 Spyder?

Originally Posted by Dan Nagy View Post
........... BTW - I find the 911 'vert ill-proportioned, so it's not in consideration. I like the Targa, but my SA has strongly advised against it due to unsolvable squeaks and leaks.

Last question: Does the Spyder top leak in the rain? Are there air leaks around the windows?
A 2+2 Cab will never look good as compared to a bespoke roadster. Even the 911 Speedster looks odd. Despite being a hardcore open top guy, I don't think I would ever consider a 911 Cab. Same goes for Targa. Chassis is compromised.

As for the 981 Spyder, I echo everyone's comments. It is near-perfect. It would be perfect, to me, with less electronics and shorter first 3-4 gears.But, the reality is different from what a hardcore enthusiast would want. So, this is the best compromise among available choices. And, no, the top doesn't leak. I have driven it in heavy downpour; and, of course, regular washing. Though Porsche claims the top isn't insulated, it is pretty stout. When up, external noises are greatly reduced; in fact, the S2000 makes much more ruckus, in a good way (to me anyway)! It has sat in mid-20s temperature (F) all day (at office); yet, the cabin gets warmed up real quick and stays comfortable. So, the top is more insulated than the claim. The seat heaters heat up in less than 3 minutes. In fact, I would even consider driving it in Minnesota winter!

Originally Posted by Pep!RRRR View Post

You see, the Spyder, as is true of all new Porsches, is defined by its software as much as its hardware. Push a button and you change the exhaust sound, including artificial pops and crackles on overrun created by the fuel injection programming. Push another button and you are in ďsportĒ mode, which has a different throttle tip in. .......... Then there is the problem of gearing and too much power. Three seconds of fun and then you better be slowing down.

.............. I love that I can hammer through the gears and still be just a little over the speed limit (Thatís my story and Iím sticking to it.)
I agree with all these comments. You simply echoed my sentiments. As much as I love the Spyder, I would rather prefer the traits you mentioned. I would prefer the organic sound of the S2000. The tall gearing is frustrating. But, I am able to compromise, for now, due to other favorable aspects of the package. With 982 Spyder, the one deal-breaker would be if the auto-rev match can't be disabled. They need to maintain the status quo vis-a-vis 981: relegate it to Sport Plus (and, do nothing else in there).
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Old 03-04-2018, 01:54 PM
  #20  
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Originally Posted by Dan Nagy View Post
Thanks everyone. I've been looking at review videos on YouTube to try to understand the visceral experience of the 981 Spyder. I am really a newcomer to Porsche. I have had a long line of sports cars > 73 Fiat Spider> 90 MX-5> 74 Fiat Spider> 80 TR7> 68 MGB> 92 MX-5> 74 TR6> 80 TR7> 64 Spitfire> 2012 BMW 135> 2013 335is> 2016 Cayman 2.7> 2017 911. All were convertibles up to the Cayman. Between the 335is and Cayman, I had to have reconstructive surgery on my nose due to skin cancer and I became scared to have a top down car. Blonde hair, light skin - that whole deal means I always have to wear sunblock when driving top down. It's a greasy mess of sunblock lotion on my face if I want to put the top down, but still, find that I am really missing open air driving.

Learning to drive on the back roads of PA, my best friend and I were sports car nuts. His first car was an Alpine, and mine a Cortina GT. We got the most out of 4 cylinders, and soon I bought my first Fiat Spider. When I acquired the 135i, I became hooked on power. The Chris Bangle design wore on me, and the hardtop 335is was an upgrade but it had a DCT. I drove that car like a bat out of hell because it didn't give much of the visceral experience other than speed. I became bored with it quickly. I realized a MT is a must.

The 2.7 Cayman was awesome, but after a year or so I needed the sunlight and went with the 911 just for the sunroof. Stupid? Probably. If the Cayman had a sunroof, I might still be in it. That 2.7L engine just wails with delight when driven as designed. I also liked the rear hatch. Nobody talks about it much, but it's a cool feature.

Now, the 911 has a big glass sunroof, and I ordered it just the way I wanted it. The 370hp engine is enough, but even with sport exhaust, it doesn't give the same visceral feedback of that 2.7 engine. On the 911, I like the engine in the back. I have never experienced that before and with the electronics off, it provides for fun driving dynamics. The back end is so easy to slide around. It's also great on long trips with comfort and room for luggage.

I enjoyed reading the comments above, and thanks to all of you. I have asked my SA to send more information as soon as he has it for the upcoming Spyder. I'll probably drop in some time to see about being put on a list all the while trying to sort it out. I am approaching retirement and looking for that one car to hold on to for awhile. I think it has to be a convertible. BTW - I find the 911 'vert ill-proportioned, so it's not in consideration. I like the Targa, but my SA has strongly advised against it due to unsolvable squeaks and leaks.

Last question: Does the Spyder top leak in the rain? Are there air leaks around the windows?
Here again I would suggest giving the 987 Spyder a shot. The beauty of the 987 Spyder top is that you can leave it on with the side windows down and you now have a sun shield. But the design really gives you nearly the same open top feeling with the sounds and environment finding their way into the car but no sun beating down on you. Donít underestimate itís capabilities either, weighing in at 2800 lbs with 320 Hp it is plenty quick and very balanced.
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Old 03-04-2018, 02:11 PM
  #21  
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As far as reviews go, I’ve owned my 987 Spyder for exactly 7 years now. It’s the longest I have ever owned a car and I have no intention of selling it. I debated the new GT3 but the size of the 991 and the additional electronics that Porsche has baked into the car detracts from the pure sports car that I pine after. Instead I went backwards and bought the 964 and have no regrets.

To me the Spyder embodies everything a true sports car should be, mind you we all have differing opinions of this. My personal opinion is that it should be a pure experience with minimal bells and whistles to interfere with the overall experience. It should be well built and designed to withstand hard cornering and hard accerlation without fear of failure or premature wear. It should be built of decent quality materials that can be maintained for generations without requiring constant rebuild. It should be designed with weight reduction in mind at every level and if it means more effort on the part of the driver to prepare the car for a drive so be it. Many complain about the 987 Spyder top but to me it’s perfect. No it’s not convenient but if I wanted convenience I would go for the GTS. I wanted lightweight and simple with no mechanical gears, motors etc to weigh the car down in the most critical spot. The LWB seats and other weight savings are just icing on the cake, they not only further reduce the weight but they also work extremely well and are beautiful. True form over function Porsche engineering at its best. It’s what Ferry Porsche had in mind when building the original cars and it’s one of the few modern day cars that still embodies much of what made Porsche so popular in the 60’s and 70’s.
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Old 03-04-2018, 03:38 PM
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I echo Afshin's comments above on the Gen 1 987.2 Spyder. And to the OP, I did own a base Cayman with the beautiful little short-stroke engine. It is awesome. And... I too loved the back hatch BUT longed for a sun roof.

Now here's my experience with the Gen 2 981 Spyder. It's a PHENOMENAL car and one of Porsches best. I've spent a fair bit of time in a couple of them now. But the engine is BIG, (like a rhinoceros!) and lacks the instant response of the smaller engines. Enter in here now the 3.4 engine of the Gen 1 Spyder. It is wonderfully responsive loves to be wound out. As for power? I don't know, maybe it could use more BUT it seems perfectly matched for the car.

As for the top, the 981 is simply a manual version per-say of the regular Boxster top. Instead of a button to take if off you get out and lift it up and clip it on. Maybe simpler that the Gen 1, but the Gen 1 top is an engineering marvel and has this awesome function of clamping on just one of the two pieces and driving it with protection from the sun but lots of open air. I used it like that a couple of summers ago and it was super cool (no pun intended). Now, it doesn't leak in the rain but I would say that it "protests" in more inclement weather by fogging up. The Gen 2 981 Spyder with the thicker, more standard roof, probably does a better job and for that reason may be a better DD (daily driver).

So you have choices in these cars. Your on a Porsche Spyder thread so you listening to a converted bunch. Have fun on your hunt! As you can see by my signature that I've been out and then back into the Gen 1.

Last edited by Zeus993; 03-04-2018 at 04:11 PM.
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Old 03-04-2018, 05:23 PM
  #23  
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Some cars are made for certain kinds of people. I subscribe to that notion most with the Spyder than other cars.

If you are insanely passionate and obsessive about DRIVING and you enjoy the experience with all of your five senses - then you could do no better for the price range than either generation Spyder. This car was specifically made for you by the best automaker in the industry, and is a celebration of all the things you love. Nothing else will compare.

So I guess what I'm saying is - there's enough out there to understand what kind of person this car is appealing to. If that matches your personality then you owe it to yourself to experience the car.

And if you're not about those things, you won't enjoy the car and are probably better served in something else. For those of us in the know, who wake up at the crack of dawn on Sunday mornings - drive into the mountains with the sounds of petrol induced nirvana siphoning from the tailpipes into our eardrums there is simply no substitute - and the Spyder is the pinnacle of driving perfection in this sense.
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Old 03-04-2018, 05:40 PM
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My only wish is that the LWB's had heating elements for those cold mornings. But that's splitting hairs.
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Old 03-04-2018, 09:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Archimedes View Post
My only wish is that the LWB's had heating elements for those cold mornings. But that's splitting hairs.
There are definitely some cold mornings when I think the same, especially as the 987 heater isn’t nearly as good as the 981. When temps drop into the low 40’s for prolonged periods and the sun is hidden behind the mountains it can get chilly in the cabin. But the trade off is worth it
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Old 03-04-2018, 09:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Marine Blue View Post
You should give the 987 Spyder a shot, itís every bit as good as the old school air cooled cars and the only electronics are engine management/safety related which really only serve to enhance the driving experience. Iím not saying I donít love my Targa, but I do think the 987 Spyder has that same focused driving experience.
Traded my '11 Spyder and '12 Cayman R for the '16 Spyder, and both of my 987s were a cut above the norm. Until the '16 Spyder I was quite content with my premium 987s. Both are such a joy to drive. Then along came the '16 Spyder and I just couldn't resist what I've always missed since selling my last 997 S, the 3.8. While I still prefer the 987 over the 981 overall, the '16 Spyder is such a wonderful car to own and operate that it is the one to have if all you have is one.
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Old 03-05-2018, 02:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Archimedes View Post
My only wish is that the LWB's had heating elements for those cold mornings. But that's splitting hairs.
Has anyone tried adding heating elements to LWBs?
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Old 03-05-2018, 04:25 AM
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Originally Posted by mdork View Post
Has anyone tried adding heating elements to LWBs?
Not the lwbs but I added a pair to my friends old POS Jetta. Just got to get the heating mats between the upholstery and the foam and run wires for switch and power. A pita on a fully upholstered seat but should be easy on the lwbs since the centers come out easily.
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Old 03-05-2018, 08:41 AM
  #29  
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Just a thought, but would it be worth considering opting "down" for a 981 Boxster GTS?

I actually haven't heard that much discussion about Spyder vs GTS on here, and sort of just assumed there wasn't much of a comparison. Of course you get the 3.8, and the bespoke aesthetics... and the roughly $30k premium for the difference... but isn't the Spyder more "hardcore" by design? Isn't there a niche in there where a GTS may be a better fit for some folks?

Having never driven a Spyder I can't really say I have a dog in the fight. When I was looking a few months ago, a Spyder wasn't on my radar because of the aforementioned price disparity, else I absolutely would have been in the market. I zeroed in on the GTS though; you do get upgraded aesthetics over the "normal" 981, all the performance bells and whistles (except for PTV which should be standard but isn't), and a push-button folding top. I happened to land on one that also has the X73 suspension; I was a bit concerned about it at first but have grown to absolutely love it.

All that said, after having owned my BGTS for a few months now (and only a few days of optimal top-down weather...), as crazy as it sounds I can't honestly say if I were given the opportunity right now, I would really have too strong of a desire to let go of it in favor of a Spyder (especially considering the cost difference). Of course there's the distinct advantage of having only one of 800, and for those who thinks the looks are that much subjectively better, I get it; they do look great... but so does the GTS. Tough not to argue about the market either; it appears the Spyders may actually be appreciating already while the GTS values seem to be holding pretty steady. But I love the push-button top; cruising at 25mph or so I can just push a button and put it down or up as I see fit. I've heard some folks complain about the gearing in the Spyder; I have no such complaints about my car. Yes there is a fine line between really opening it up and abiding the posted speed limits, but I feel that in most instances I'm free to explore the upper limits of the rev range. And the exhaust note is sublime. Again having never driven a Spyder maybe there's a significant difference with the 3.8. Or maybe there isn't. I've also heard the 2.7 is better sounding than the 3.4 so there's that...

Anyway, I might be crazy but I think the Boxster GTS is better suited to everyday use than a Spyder, and maybe hits enough notes from a driving experience perspective (especially with the X73) to make it worth actually considering OVER a Spyder for some use cases. Not saying a Spyder can't be a great daily driver, but it's probably more aimed at those guys who only take it out on perfect weather days and as some of you have noted, perhaps have other Porsches in the stable to fill some of the other duties.
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Old 03-05-2018, 09:04 AM
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Originally Posted by manifold danger View Post
Anyway, I might be crazy but I think the Boxster GTS is better suited to everyday use than a Spyder, and maybe hits enough notes from a driving experience perspective (especially with the X73) to make it worth actually considering OVER a Spyder for some use cases. Not saying a Spyder can't be a great daily driver, but it's probably more aimed at those guys who only take it out on perfect weather days and as some of you have noted, perhaps have other Porsches in the stable to fill some of the other duties.
Without question, the GTS definitely is a very good option also and for daily driving it is a better car IMHO. I guess it depends on what you want.
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