944 s2/951 vs Cayman S - Rennlist - Porsche Discussion Forums


944 s2/951 vs Cayman S

Old 12-31-2006, 04:47 PM
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Default 944 s2/951 vs Cayman S

I love the new Cayman S but have a soft spot for the 944. I have not driven either, but am planning a purchase of one of the two (maybe both).

Has anyone owned and or driven both the Cayman and the 944 s2/951? The performance numbers don't seem too far apart, I would love to hear anyones impressions that has real world experience with both cars.

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Old 12-31-2006, 07:04 PM
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You want to compare a $10k used car built in the 80s to a new $60k car?
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Old 12-31-2006, 07:29 PM
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The 951 has very good bang for the buck value, but it is 20 years old.

I guess it just depends on your intended use, $10k vs $60k on the track, a little spin and one hurts the pocketbook a little more and one is faster.

Cayman S.... I think I would give up my 951 :-)
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Old 12-31-2006, 07:43 PM
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Stock vs stock, the S2 and the Turbo are outclassed by the Cayman S.

However, you can afford a lot of mods for the price difference!
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Old 12-31-2006, 08:06 PM
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Hummm where to start!! I've driven both and very different. Drive by wire in itself is not for eveybody.

Best I would say is to drive both and then decide cause all the writing in the world wouldn't give you the feeling.

It's all about the feeling when driving.

Good luck
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Old 01-03-2007, 12:12 AM
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Hi Michael,
I'm grappling with the same question, and it's a toughie. I have a 3L 951 that has been at 375rwhp and 380 lb-ft, and I've also recently driven the Cayman S, although just on a demo drive.

What I find similar is great feedback thru all controls - steering, braking, shifting, the stuff you touch. Also, no rattles or squeaks - very solid.

What's better about a modified 951 is much more punch. You can get the rear end out any time you want, and steer with the gas - big fun. And it has limited slip diff. In a straight line the Cayman is history.

What's better about the Cayman S is it's a much more modern design. So it's very stiff, it's arguably better looking, handling is telepathic. This is largely because the engine is mid mount, so very low polar moment of inertia. The 951 has large masses at both ends, the engine and the transaxle. So, the transient handling isn't as good because of the large rotational moment of inertial to spin up.

A large factor for me is the maintenance. 951 were always higher maintenance than 911, and same for Cayman. My 20 yr old 951 is in the shop a lot - you're supposed to change the oil on a Cayman at 20k miles or 2 yrs, whichever comes first (probably not a good idea).

So, for me the tradeoff is brute performance and high maintenance vs good performance, low maintenance and lots of finesse. (I did get the Cayman S over 100 MPH with my wife in the car, and neither of us noticed until I looked at the digital speed readout - it's that quiet and smooth)

Good luck with your decision - both are really nice. As the man said, you'll have to drive them and see what you like.

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Old 01-03-2007, 02:15 AM
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Wow, a question I can actually answer!

I've had a 944s2 street/time trial car for the last 9 years. It's still in my garage. In October I took delivery of a '07 Cayman S. Reyk hit on a lot of the key points, above. The main thing is age... the 944 chassis was designed in the 70's. The Cayman S is bang-up-to-date in terms of suspension design, engineering, performance, reliability, and very importantly SAFETY. The Cayman is also very expensive compared to a used 944s2 or 951. Price independent, to state the blazingly obvious, the Cayman S wins just on form-factor alone: mid engine two seater, no sunroof, PASM, flat six motor, better brakes, better tranny, better everything basically. Like a boxster, it makes going fast really easy, but importantly its still fun too. I would not have purchased this car if it were only crushingly competent and not also hair-raisingly fun. Without fun, neither of these cars would have any purpose. The 944 has 50-50 weight distribution, but its all located at the front and rear axle-lines, and not in the middle... and it's a 2-plus-2 with a giant sunroof opening and 20 years of wear-and-tear on the chassis, the driveline and all the little accessories that make it work.

Bottom line, if you can afford the Cayman S, go test drive one. If you love it (which you will), buy it and you'll have no regrets. If you can't afford one (without re-mortgaging your house), then go shopping for a 944S2 or 968 or a 951 and rest easy knowing you bought a great handling car and kept yourself out of debt. You could also look at 986 Boxsters, as they now span the middle distance between these other two price-wise. What I would advise against however, would be buying a 951 and pouring 30k into modifications to make it a rocketship unless you are prepared to deal with serious mechanical reliability headaches and you can rationalize passing up on all the advancements in safety that have occurred in the past 20 years. Plenty of people here can tell you about the maintenance of highly modified 951's.

Pick the one that makes you laugh out loud on twisty roads. Either way, let us know which way you go.
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Old 01-04-2007, 01:40 AM
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Thanks for all the input.

Right now I am still researching and getting information, if everything keeps going well then I should be able start really shopping by this summer.

Obviously there is a big difference due to age and configuration. At first I was set on a 951 or an s2. The 951 came out when I was in high school and I lusted after it. There is something appealing about buying the car you dreamt of in high school. It appears to me they have stopped depreciating, and even though they are thought of by some to be bastard porsches (I don't agree with this view), I love the styling and the perfomance numbers are pretty good even by todays standards. So I think these are great performance bargains and may even appreciate a bit as guys my age want to time travel back to high school.

The cayman on the other hand is new and shiny and really really really good looking. Porsche did such a great job with this model it looks like it would be so much fun to drive.

So, I hope to be able to own both of them at some point and do some real world comparisons of my own.

Thanks again

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Old 05-17-2017, 05:47 PM
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thread resurrection from the dead.
I got to take my 89 944T for a canyon run with a buddy with a new Cayman GT4. He let me drive his for about 10 miles along a high speed twisty section of road. It was awesome, but when he was boosting away in the 944T, the cayman struggled to reel it in. And while the steering ratio was very tight on the cayman, and very precise, there is little to no feedback in the wheel. The GT4 also felt more substantial, felt heavier, even though it is not. The engine was great though, sounds amazing, has nice punch immediately, (no lag :-)) and really is a fun car to drive.
It was interesting to hear feedback from my friend who had never driven a 944T before. He said it had tons of grunt, plenty of power. He also felt it handled very well, despite having significantly more body roll than the GT4. Maybe he was just being nice, but it seems he genuinely liked it. I've always had older cars, and I like all the feedback in the steering, and my car is much more practical around town than the GT4.
If I had to pick, well I would take the 944T cause I can't afford a new GT4. But it is a great drivers car for sure.
So, thread resurrection be damned, the caymans are becoming used cars and coming into range for a lot of buyers, so I think the comparison is more relevant now than ever.
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Old 05-18-2017, 06:24 PM
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Old thread or not, I might as well chime in. I have had a 1986 944 NA which I drove for 10-12 years, and two 1986 951's. I still have the best of the 951s, upgraded to maybe 280HP or so and LSD, Koni's, etc.. I recently bought a 2014 Cayman S.

The 951 still makes me grin. The hit of the power under turbo even though it theoretically has 50 less HP, is just so raw. The handling is good, but no where near as good as the Cayman. It is a lot looser in terms of rattles. I call it a widow maker, as it has no ABS and the power comes on so hard + the LSD can send someone into a tree who doesn't know what they are doing. It's fun for that reason, though. I dare say it sounds almost as good with the cat delete and improved muffler.

The 951's turbo lag does make it cumbersome and heavy feeling lugging it around in traffic, off stop signs on hills, etc. The torque of the cayman, in relation to the 951 anyway, is intoxicating.

Anyway, I'm still stressing over whether I sell the 951 or not. Everytime I drive it, I can't imagine letting it go. But the Cayman is an entirely different world in nearly ever aspect.
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Old 05-19-2017, 01:46 AM
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I had 951s and some of the first ones to arrive here which were 1986 models. Great car for the times and they have aged well enough too.

But in just flat truth, it isn't anywhere in the same sentence or category as my 2016 Cayman S in virtually any regard. Thats not a swipe at a 30 year old car of mine or anyone elses. The Cayman is that good.

And with just a few little things the Caymans would be even faster if you so desired it. As it is, it is fast enough to loose your license in about 15 seconds.

If the 951 could beat the Cayman they would be racing the 951s in World Challenge.
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Old 05-21-2017, 05:41 PM
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Interesting and more relevant now as the 944T/944 S2/968 prices are much closer to a 996 and 987.1. To me a big factor now is reliability due to age and availability of parts.
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Old 05-22-2017, 03:44 AM
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Some original Porsche parts are no longer available for the 944 and 951s. But there is a whole industry of 944/951 parts out there. I don't think 951s will run out of parts until they run out of cars. With 90,000 of them around it could be a while anyway. But yes really good ones are harder and harder to find.

Those cars were built stout, but in some ways were an offshoot of the various design programs. VW was trying to change the Beetle and drop Porsche as their design house too. Besides the front engine vs rear engine discussion that is so near to every ones heart , Porsche looked at the front engine work and what was in stock and of course half a 928 would be in stock easy enough. It was tough times for Porsche. And it kept them rolling until the harder times yet to come arrived. Never mind that Porsche couldn't keep the dealers open today without front engined water cooled vehicles such as the Cayenne, Macan, Panamera etc. But irony plays a hand in many car tales. For Porsche too.

But these cars represent that time for Porsche well. It is just that the new cars are unquestionably better in every way. We would all be pretty damn disappointed with Porsche if they had 30 years to improve and they were still back in 1986.
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Old 05-24-2017, 04:59 AM
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I have a 981BS now, but my first P-car was a 968 cabriolet -- i.e., a "944S3."

Advantages of 968 over 981:

- Four Konis with everything. 'Nuff said. Nothing handles quite like a 944/968.

- Could drive in rain with the top down, as long as I stayed above 40 MPH or so. The Boxster's aerodynamics are very different. Tried it once, got soaked.

- Could open the hood and look at the engine anytime I wanted. I ended up needing to do that a lot.

Advantages of 981 over 968:

- No need to open the hood and look at the engine. Reliability and overall quality is light years ahead of the 968.

- Pretty much everything else.

I don't exactly miss the 968, but I still respect it for what it was. Both it and the 981 are more than the sum of their parts. It's just that most of the parts are so much better now.
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Old 05-25-2017, 07:56 PM
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Owned a 944 Turbo for 8 years. Put 80k on it in that time. Big ball-bearing turbo, coilovers, S2 gearbox (shorter gearing).

It was a hell of a fun car. And performance was REALLY good... "for a 30 year old car." Great balance (esp once I got the spring rates sorted out...) Very easy to drive at the limit. FUN to drive at the limit... can grab it by the scruff and really chuck it around (once I got the spring rates sorted...)

It's very "raw" when compared to a Cayman. It's an 80s car, and that's very evident. Dash is far away. No nannies or aids. Handles well but it's STIFF. Rides like a skateboard going down the road.

The Cayman has the same balance, but overall it's just more modern... in every regard. Smoother, more subtle. Handles as good (or better) but muted a bit by comparison. More quiet. More modern conveniences (climate control, ABS, TC, etc.)

I'd kinda consider them the same "class" of car, just separated by 2-3 decades. If you like the raw feel of the 80s German cars, go 944. If you prefer something more modern, go Cayman.

I loved my 944, still miss it. Got tired of working on it. 30 years old, it needs things... even with lots of preventative maintenance.
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