By on July 23, 2013

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My friend Rob Z. is the quintessential nice guy: even-tempered, affable, a firm handshake and a decent sense of humour. We meet up on a sunny Saturday morning in East Vancouver and he rolls open his garage door.

Well.

Clearly I’m going to have to murder him.

Captain Obvious
Me too, but you can’t. Like Jerry Seinfeld recently said of his ’73 911 2.7RS, Rob’s 1998 911 Carrera S is a “dead-guy car”. The next owner is upstairs eating cheerios and watching cartoons, but as far as anyone buying this last-of-breed, insanely low-mileage air-cooled 911, it’d have to be over Rob’s cold, dead body. WHICH CAN BE ARRANG- sorry, sorry.

(Entirely justifiable) homicide aside, finding and purchasing a car like this is much more difficult than simply popping your head ’round the door of your local Porsche dealership and plonking down the order for the car I’ve parked next to it, a second-generation Cayman S. The lithe two-seater can be leased, if you so desire, and can be painted any colour you’d like – Rob would slightly prefer if his 911 were white, but there’s no used-Porsche factory. Well, apart from Singer.

Anyway, there’s been a lot of talk recently about how the Cayman (along with the Boxster) is Porsche’s new proper sportscar. I posted a pretty good early-morning shot of the car’s sleek new lines set against the Vancouver city skyline on facebook and a TTAC contributor opined, “Cayman is the new 911.” That’s as may be, but is it the old 911?

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For starters, just look at it.

To my eye, this is an exceptionally good-looking car, balanced, well-proportioned, and frankly beautiful. In a world where manufacturers are continually telling us how “aggressive” the styling on their new minivan is, the Cayman manages to project purpose without looking like a Tapout t-shirt. It’s a miniature supercar.

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Park it next to the 993 and the Cayman’s modernity comes apart a little. Rob’s 993 came lowered on Bilsteins, properly done, but bound to cause consternation and condemnation amongst some purists – but it wouldn’t be a 911 if someone wasn’t turning up their nose at it. As such, the friendly-faced little 911 is lower in the nose and sleeker than the low-slung Cayman, despite a high greenhouse that makes it actually taller.

Even so, I parked the Cayman S across from an Aventador convertible at the local Cars and Coffee and it garnered only slightly less attention than the Lambo. Those wagon-sized 20” wheels are ridiculous on-paper, but strike me dead with dysentery if they don’t look fantastic. Everywhere I went, people were excited to see the car: “Is this the new one?” they’d ask with big smiles. That has never happened to me with a 991.

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The other thing I was asked, repeatedly, was, “How’s the steering?” Usually, this query was delivered with the concerned tone of voice of someone asking about the progress of your irritable bowel syndrome. My answer? Not bad. Not great, but not bad.

Driving the Cayman back-to back with the 993 does the newer car a great disservice, as you don’t really notice what you’re missing until you do so. The 993’s steering is extremely light, but fizzes and pops with every small road imperfection, sending frissons from your hands up your arms to the pleasure-centres of your brain. It’s phenomenal, a vinyl recording of a live concert.

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The Cayman’s steering is an MP3 of the same event. Compressed and filtered for modern consumption, the brain simply fills in the gaps and you get on with the business of enjoying the exceptional chassis, excellent transmission (auto or stick) and delightful engine. But after driving something like the 993, you can’t help but ask, “why have they done this? It’s slightly worse!”

However, you only need drive a Cayman S a few feet to know that this is going to be a wonderful little car. There’s a litheness to it that’s missing from the 911, a nimble athleticism that doesn’t give a good God-damn about chromed projections of affluence. Hit the button for “Sport+”, slot the PDK transmission into full manual and walk on it – this thing goes like Hell.

The 911, on the other hand, drives like Heaven. The seats are more comfortable than the Cayman’s, the brightly-lit cabin is less a jet-fighter cockpit than an aerobatic aircraft’s plexiglass canopy, and there’s all sorts of other interesting quirks like the slightly offset pedals and metallic delicacy of the door locks. When new, this 993 had 282hp, a full forty less than the 325hp Cayman S.

Even though the PDK-equipped Cayman is heavier, by about a hundred pounds or so, the 993 is no slouch. I wind it up through the gears respectfully and Rob says, “don’t be afraid to drive it.” All righty then.

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What a machine. The thrumming whirr from that big flat-six, the precision of the steering – it’s all just as good as everyone says. And, in a 993, there’s no real heavy lifting, no difficulty in driving it quickly with confidence. “I do sort of feel like I’m wrecking it by driving it,” Rob says, which given the just-over eleven thousand miles on the odometer, is not an entirely unreasonable thing to say. “Who cares?” I reply, “This is your car, then his.” Behind the passenger, there’s a booster seat – the boy that one day inherits this masterwork will doubtless have fond memories.

No one will really “inherit” the Cayman. It’s not that sort of car – it’s brilliant, and much, much faster than the 993, even moreso than paper-racing the two might show. It’s absolutely the best car Porsche currently builds, engaging, exhilarating… expendable. If you’d like to know why I think that, just read Jack’s piece on his Boxster.

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However, this Aqua Blue two-seater will make a decent three-year lease for somebody who will put five thousand miles a year on it, and then a great CPO deal for the second owner who will drive it into the ground, and by “ground” I mean Porsche service centre. Or possibly some joke about electrical grounding faults.

Call it a decade or so of useful service, a machine that never fails to grab you by the lapels – as long as you have the throttle mapping set correctly. It’s far too expensive, of course, and for the money you could easily have a new ‘Vette Stingray or a CPO 997 (and isn’t that the biggest argument against the Cayman?).

Yet it’s an excellent sportscar – when I drove the 991 Carrera S last July, I concluded with something like: “It is probably the best car I will drive all year. And I don’t want one.” Well, the Cayman is probably going to be the best new car I drive this year, and I do want one.

But.

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Especially if you’re considering a weekend toy, you could instead have a genuine air-cooled 911. It’s slower, it’s noisier, it’s not as safe, and it’s much less efficient. It’s also cheaper – this one is about two-thirds the cost of the Cayman plus-or-minus a medium-length jail term – and they don’t depreciate.

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A nice safe conclusion then: the usable classic is better than synthesized modernity. Not quite. If you had just one parking spot, no pair of diesel cargo-haulers to handle day-to-day duties – Rob has an ML and a Golf Wagon – you’d be far better off with the Cayman as a weekday warrior and not worrying about preserving a 993. It’s not a car for forever, but it is a car for right now, wherever and whenever right now might be.

Porsche Canada provided the Cayman reviewed and insurance
Rob Z. is just on a long vacation, I swear, don’t ask me any more questions.

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82 Comments on “Review: 2014 Cayman S vs. 1998 911 Carrera S...”


  • avatar
    dal20402

    I think all the people who complain that current cars are “expendable” or “not for forever” are just afraid of working with electrical systems. It’s a cop-out.

    The *only* thing the 993 has over the Cayman is slightly more precise steering. The Cayman is better in every other respect, and I’d be proud to keep it for a very long time.

    • 0 avatar
      See 7 up

      I may be wrong, but I am going to guess you have not driven a 993. The current Cayman is a better performing car, but the 993 has many attributes that are better than the Cayman. Here are a few.

      – Extremely sound body structure that makes this known when you close the door (the new cayman is way stiffer – but ask any lay person to close the door of the two and ask which is better built).
      – Visibility: 993 hands-down
      – Idiosyncrasies: this can be a plus or minus, but it is sometimes nice having a car only you and other 911 drivers can work things like the HVAC. This leads to the mysterious “personality” some cars have and some don’t
      – Size and proportion: 993 hands down. The Cayman is a nice modern car, and looks it. (beauty is in the eye though). The 993 is cozy in a way the Cayman will never be.

      There are more, but it doesn’t matter. If only performance matters. The Cayman is a much better car.

      As to your point on “expendable”. It is not the fear of working on electrical systems. It is the very high cost of systems on a depreciating modern car. Modern being key. At no point will anyone say a 987 is not better than a 986. A 991 not better than a 987. Why? Because they are all modern cars that are essentially the same, albeit with more power, grip, safety, creature comforts, and hopefully lighter as the years roll on. The 993 is different. Later models were better, but the 993 and all air cooled Porsche have a very different driving feel. When the 993 stopped production, a very different car replaced it (996). A “superior” car. But this superior car lost many of the “porsche” 911 attributes that some actually found endearing. The 911 (and all other Porsches) became a great modern cars, but cars easily competed against by all other great modern sports cars.

      • 0 avatar
        porschespeed

        The 911 ‘attributes’ are between “0” and a negative number. Were it not for the 924, 944, 951, 928 and everything else, it would have never survived. Nor would have Porsche.

        993’s have their engine in the wrong place, just like every pathetic shite-box uber-beetle ever built. (Save for a 918, I’ve driven them all. Extensively. Oh yeah, is there a V8 properly mounted or a VW hanging out the ass end on those? Exactly.)

        Sure, like a 350 Chebby it’s a well-polished turd when you throw cubic-dollars at it, but it has inherent flaws that will never compare to a real quality basic design.

        • 0 avatar
          See 7 up

          the 944, 951, 968, and 928 were and are great car (not so much the 924 – sorry)

          that said, the 911 has its own attributes (beneficial) that are especially present during normal road driving (not racing). It is much easier to rotate as less than crazy speeds (this can be a downside as you mentioned).

          is the 911 perfect? No. Is any car? No. Sorry, ever car has handling traits and its engine placement is not the defining factor of them (case in point, the snap oversteer of the 911 was largely attributed to its early pre 964 suspension design in which toe when positive under load – not good. Later models corrected this although the mass was always there)

          The latest 911, is a very rear mid engine design for all intents and purposes. Its weight distribution isn’t that bad for outright handling and has benefits in traction and braking.

        • 0 avatar
          Vega

          All the nice models you mentioned put Porsche on a path to almost extinction in the early 90s. It bounced back with the 993, the Boxster and the 996.
          Also calling the most successful sports car in history a pathetic shite-box uber Beetle automatically disqualifies the rest of your post.

          • 0 avatar
            porschespeed

            Vega, Before embarrassing yourself any further, do take a look at sales figures since the mid 1970s.

            I don’t expect you to actually learn the history of Butzi’s mistake. or even the physics of polar moment of inertia.

            Just understand this – without sales from ever model other than the 911 from the mid-1970s to right this second – there would be no uberbeetle and no Porsche.

          • 0 avatar
            Vega

            Oh I’m embarassing myself? Let’s see:

            Official Porsche 1994 sales figures (from their annual report)
            911(993):17,407
            944/968: 495
            928: 510
            Contract production (I guess that means Mercedes E500 and Audi RS2): 2,712.

            Now let’s switch to the year 2000, shall we?
            911(996):23,050
            Boxster:25,747

            Oh, and sales almost tripled from EUR1.3bn to EUR3.6bn from 1994 to 2000.

            I don’t know about the 70s numbers but it sure looks like all the other models did fuck-all for Porsche in the early 90s.

            And considering the superior margins on 911s vs. Boxsters (shared technology, vastly higher prices) the 911 is responsible for the largest part of Porsche’s return from the dead in the second half of the 90s. The Cayenne did not show up until 2002

          • 0 avatar
            porschespeed

            And I’m sure that tiny little slice of data will get you the ‘powerpoint of the week’ or something. With the Porsche-illiterati in your office. Sadly for you, that ain’t the whole story.

            Everyone who knows anything about Porsche knows that since the 914 on, the 911 has been an internal political nuclear football, only kept in production by the dinosaurs who had power. It (and the company) have been kept solvent since the mid-70s by clean-sheet real Porsches. Just keeping that stone-age 911 error on the road costs tons of manpower and engineering resources.

            Please, go to the trade shows. Get drunk with the engineers. If they aren’t 65+, they’ll all tell you how much they *hate* wasting the tons time it takes to keep Butzi’s mistake legal, let alone relevant. And they’ll call it the “uberbeetle” “sheissewagon” or much worse. They hate that pile, get over your fantasy. Porsche (nor anyone else on the planet) has designed a car with the engine hanging off the arse-end since…? That’s right.

            NOBODY does, because it doesn’t work worth shiite. It’s a horrid layout, just like pushrods in a V8 are an inherent joke.

            Especially while the Cayennes turn in better lap times.

            I’ve seen thousands of non-Porsche owning, non-Porsche history knowing, 911 “I’m dreamin\'” sycophant, keyboard warriors in my life. You’re just another one of them.

            BTW – Between 82 and 89 they cranked out about 113K 944s. How many uberbeetles in that time frame? (protip: I know the number, go add it for yourself)

          • 0 avatar
            Vega

            This is my last comment, as discussions with people who feel the need to get personal bore me. I refuse to be the valve for your obvious anger issues. Did a 911 drive over your puppy?

            Also, “Porsche-experts” who mix up The Cayman with the Cayenne make me laugh.

            Ever asked yourself why by the beginning of the 90s nobody wanted the 944/968 anymore? Because they could get the same boring, efficient, lawnmower-sound sports car for half the price from Japan. In order to survive, Porsche had to become interesting again.

          • 0 avatar
            dtheo

            Vega – You quoted 1994 sales figures for the 944 which is odd since they did not make it after 1992….
            Pretty sure the story is that the 944 kept Porsche out of dire financial problems during the time.
            here’s the more accurate figures from wiki –
            Year Production
            1982 3921
            1983 14633*
            1984 26539
            1985 23720
            1986 17010
            1987 10689
            1988 5965
            1989 10593
            Totals 113070

  • avatar
    stuntmonkey

    I love summer time here in Vancouver, all of the old air-cooled 911’s come out to play.

    In person, there’s very little not to like about the new Cayman, it’s as Brendan says, just about everything about the proportions and sculpting is right. I wouldn’t all it beautiful, but, there is something right about it. I just wish Cayman’s had round headlights, but I think the 911 product managers would have something to say about that…

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    Normally, I scoff at reviewers who are constantly comparing the “feel” of the old car to the new one. “We wish this 2013 Accord was as tossable and fun as a 1993 model”…to which I would respond: “No, you really don’t.” But in the world of Porsche, these kinds of comparisons are well-deserved. Hardly anyone is considering whether to buy a 1993 year old Honda over a 2013, but I’m sure there are plenty of purists who are stuck between a legendary older Porsche and a sleeker, new one.

    My question to you is, in the world of modern mechanicals and the ever-present squeeze for better fuel-economy, would you say that Porsche has done the best it could have with the new Cayman?

    • 0 avatar
      Brendan McAleer

      Yes.*

      * Without letting it quite surpass the 911 on-paper. But perhaps that’s just as much of a parameter as fuel-economy and safety.

    • 0 avatar
      See 7 up

      No they haven’t because there will be a “992” replacement that will be better in all metrics (as long as gasoline doesn’t skyrocket past inflation measures in the near future)

      As to your tossable analogy. Your confusing peoples desires to have the traits of older cars with new car features. Why wouldn’t you want a Accord to not be as tossable as the ’93 model but still as secure as the 2013 model? Why wouldn’t you want the 2013 Accord to have the same visibility as the ’93 model while maintaining the structural stiffness of the current one?

    • 0 avatar
      SunnyvaleCA

      “ever-present squeeze for better fuel-economy, would you say that Porsche has done the best it could have with the new Cayman”

      If the manual transmission gearing is like the 987 Cayman (and I think it is), then the car is geared way to low for efficient highway cruising in the real world where people sometimes drive 75 MPH. The engine is spinning at 3100 RPM at that speed. On the EPA cycle, though, maybe it doesn’t matter since the test never gets that fast. I feel a little silly dropping the car into 6th gear when I hit 45 MPH.

  • avatar

    I really enjoyed reading this. I’ll never own either of those and would normally pass over a glossy review of a Porsche, but the great pics drew me in. I’m glad I took the time to read it. Maybe I really can dream about these after all…

  • avatar
    Sigivald

    “[...] but fizzes and pops with every small road imperfection, sending frissons from your hands up your arms to the pleasure-centres of your brain. It’s phenomenal, a vinyl recording of a live concert.”, “The Cayman’s steering is an MP3 of the same event [...]”

    So, indistinguishable from each-other for 99.9% of blind-test users – apart from the vinyl having added noise and distortion – and distinguished only by posers who have decided that objectively bad things like added noise are good because they’re Old And Authentic?

    I kid. A little.

    (About the vinyl fetishism; I know nothing about either Porsche.)

    • 0 avatar
      Brendan McAleer

      Well, maybe I should have said vinyl on a Hi-Fi vs iPod through those little bud earphones. For the record (pun!) I don’t have a vinyl collection or anything.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    It’s not unthinkable that an older (and maybe far older) generation of a particular make and/model of a vehicle is the superior choice.

    BMW 3 Series? Mercedes E Class? Lexus LS or ES? Volkswagen MANY models?

    And Porsche isn’t exempt.

    For an essay in excellence as to just a few of the “whys” regarding this topic please refer to Jack Baruth’s ‘Watery Big Bang…Disposable Faux-Douchery” column written approximately 6 months ago here on TTAC.

    • 0 avatar
      NoGoYo

      I’d definitely rather have an E36 M3 versus a E92 M3 or whatever the V8 one is.

      Now there’s an idea for an Old vs New comparo.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        Indeed.

        I find it refreshing that most of the BMW faithful are probably more objective about BMW’s trend towards generally ruining the iconic 3 Series than many of those not considered loyalists.

        The last good new 3 is a 1.

        • 0 avatar
          NoGoYo

          Yeah, the 3 series getting bigger and heavier starting with the E46 was an unfortunate path to take…understandable, but still unfortunate.

          Sure the E36 M3 will be slower than its modern V8 counterpart, but it’s also a good deal smaller and lighter and thus still very fun to drive. You’re not likely to find a disappointed E36 M3 owner, unless their car came out of the factory hideously flawed somehow.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          The 1 IS the new 3. The current 3 is the new 5.

          As for Porsches, 993s don’t do much for me – they don’t even try to kill you if you lift throttle in a fast corner! What is the fun in that?? Make mine either 10 or 20 years older please.

          • 0 avatar
            porschespeed

            Don’t worry, trailing throttle oversteer will always be a “feature” of the uber-beetle. It just kicks in later than the old ones.

          • 0 avatar
            See 7 up

            porschespeed,
            Have you ever lifted abruptly in the “perfect” mid engine Porsche – the Cayman. Not fun either, and much harder to catch than a 911. Any well balanced car tuned for sporty driving will rotate in a lift throttle situation at the limits of grip. Front engine cars are better, but they have drawbacks too.

          • 0 avatar
            porschespeed

            See 7 Up, I *have* lifted in a Cayman that I built with more engine than they give the uberbeetle Turbo.

            Worked out just fine.

            I have no idea who told you the story about ‘well balanced’ cars rotating on lift-off, but you should go get your money back. A properly designed and set-up car just “works” when you let off the throttle in a bend.

  • avatar
    vaujot

    “I do sort of feel like I’m wrecking it by driving it,” Rob says, which given the just-over eleven thousand miles on the odometer, is not an entirely unreasonable thing to say.
    This is why I fail to see the appeal of ultra-low-mileage classic cars. Someone on rennlist (a porsche enthusiast forum) is approaching 400,000 miles in his 993 and likely will have had quite a bit more fun with it than the owner(s) of the example featured in this review. Unless one’s idea of fun with a Porsche is sitting in the garage and just looking at it.
    BTW, I don’t find the 993 steering to be ‘extremely’ light. Apart from that, you describe the driving experience well.

    • 0 avatar
      Brendan McAleer

      I hope to have an upcoming owner-car take on a daily-driven Lotus Esprit Turbo in my neighbourhood, with ~280,000kms on it. I love seeing a classic getting used like that – you’re driving the car for you, not for someone else.

      I did find the steering surprisingly light, although maybe that’s just because there was an issue with the last 993 I drove, a cab.

    • 0 avatar
      tjh8402

      Although my car isn’t as special as this Porsche, I can empathize with the owner’s sentiments. I realize now that I made the mistake of buying a car that I love so much I’m scared to drive it and use it up because I want it to last forever (being 29, that means this car hopefully still has a long longer that it needs to stick around for), and it’s a model that doesn’t have anything quite like it currently in production, and therefore is not something that can be replaced.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        I nearly bought one of the last new RX-8s a year ago for precisely this reason.

        I’ve yet to find any vehicle that has as ideal a blend of handling, ride comfort as a daily driver, technical sophistication (from a hardware, not software perspective), and for me, despite some reports of woe with the Renesis (I personally believe it’s far more an issue with the 4 port mated with the slushbox, which never should have been produced) – reliability (I’m closing in on 90,000 miles with literally not a single problem) – at anywhere near its price point.

        When I test drove the Nissan Z, Camaro & Mustang, they felt ponderous in comparison.

        Fun fact: The RX-8 has torsional rigidity of 30,000 nm/degree, which places it near that of some exotics that incorporate massive amounts of carbon fiber and titanium in their body/chassis architecture.

        After a test drive of the Toybaru FR-S, getting back into my 8 felt like a freaking fast yet utterly refined Lexus by contrast.

        I still don’t know what I’ll replace the 8 with when that day inevitably arrives.

        If Mazda doesn’t roll out a RX* successor, I may go the way of a plush cruiser such as the ChryCo 300/Charger.

        I’ve admittedly also been eyeing the Audi A4 lately, but having been burned twice by German vehicles, have been trying to suppress that urge.

        • 0 avatar
          bludragon

          When my rx8 dies I’m going to rebuild the engine :)

        • 0 avatar
          rpn453

          “The RX-8 has torsional rigidity of 30,000 nm/degree, which places it near that of some exotics . . .”

          That confirms my own observations. After helping a buddy change fluids and shocks on an ’04 that he recently picked up, I told him that it was the stiffest vehicle I’ve ever lifted with a jack. It never comes off just one jack point when you lift it from the side; always two at a time.

          He loves the car.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            I think this is, along with proper rear LSD and a 50/50 weight distribution, is the only way they were able to achieve the forgiving suspension while giving it razor sharp handling.

    • 0 avatar
      Rob Z

      Just to clear something up, I’ve only had the car for 2 months and have put 1,500kms (almost 10% of the total milage) on the clock, so I’m not holding back. The summers don’t last that long in this rainforest, so I’m driving the car every chance I get…

  • avatar
    philadlj

    Agree with you 100%…especially in that shade of blue, the Cayman is absolutely gorgeous form every angle…but particularly in profile. And in three-quarter front view. And three-quarter rear view. And head-on. And from above…

    I liked the original Cayman quite a bit as well, but happen to think they improved on it here.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      I can’t nor won’t say you’re wrong, as beauty is subjective, but I will say that the 911 is a work of art and, although cliche, a truly timeless design, with lines that literally render the Cayman homely on a relative basis (I’m looking at the very first photo as I wax about this).

      • 0 avatar
        porschespeed

        Very subjective. When I see 911, I see Butzi’s mistake – a sad uber-beetle. Ferry thought he would learn by letting him fail, instead, the PT Barnum lowest common denominator effect kicked in.

        It was B-F-C-stain ugly when I was a kid in the late60s/early70s, and it is still a sad goober-looking joke 35+ years on. We all laughed at it’s looks – especially compared to what was on offer from MB, Lambo, Maser, Citroen, and the like at the time. Not to mention today.

        Every Porsche in the current lineup for the last 35+ years looks better that the Corky-won-the-lottery-rear-engine-dolt-mobile.

  • avatar
    old5.0

    All new cars are expendable. 65 Shelbys and HemiCudas and Miuras were all expendable at one time. Legendary status comes with age; even truly fantastic cars are only cars when the factories are still making them.

    • 0 avatar
      Fordson

      This is absolutely the case here. This piece is creeping old-fartism in its worst “kids nowadays…” form.

      I’m 56 and I can remember plenty of old fart journalists ripping on the 993 versus whatever low-miles 15-year-old antediluvian 911 they compared it against way back when, that it would blow the doors off of (not like that’s the reason Porsche sports cars exist or anything…).

      Like you know for sure that this Cayman S will never be collectible or have its resale value stop going down and start going up. Yeah, this particular 993 is appreciating – that’s because it’s a survivor. If this very Cayman S is a survivor in 15 years maybe its value will do the same thing. You don’t know, and don’t say you do.

      When this 993 was five years old, the owner had gotten almost no use out of it, and its value had dropped to half what he paid for it.

  • avatar
    See 7 up

    The 993 has a cleanliness of line that is beautiful, even when shod with the base 16″ wheels and narrow tires.

    The new Cayman is a good looking car, but its proportions are just too big requiring it to rely on a few very stylized elements. In fact I find this the case with all modern cars, so take this with a grain of salt.

  • avatar
    W.Minter

    I love the first picture with the gorgeous Porsche and the blue GT 86 with the freaky JDM bodykit.

  • avatar
    juicy sushi

    Thank you for the nice piece Brendan. I’m in Thomas’ boat right now as well. But I have a savings account and dreams…

  • avatar
    wsn

    “We meet up on a sunny Saturday morning in East Vancouver and he rolls open his garage door.”

    If I were the car owner, I would have saved the car costs and add a million to my housing budget to move to Vancouver West. East Vancouver is downright scary.

    • 0 avatar
      Brendan McAleer

      There is a world of difference between the Downtown East-side and East Vancouver. The latter is growing more gentrified by the minute, but remains semi-affordable for young families.

    • 0 avatar
      Rob Z

      Taking the $65k(ish) I have into the car and leveraging an extra $935,000 on my mortgage doesn’t make a lot of sense to me, but we all have different priorities (ratios wouldn’t ever work either). I’ve lived almost my entire life on the Westside, and even though I could have moved back, I’ve decided to live around Main Street. The Eastside is just more of a melting pot, it’s vibrant, and has a ton of charm. If you aren’t from Vancouver and haven’t been here since the 80’s, I won’t fault you, but if you live here, you must get out more… (no disrespect)

  • avatar
    RRocket

    My 1986 911 has 255,000 miles on the clock..and still going. Fun car. But not the “funnest” I’ve owned. But I drive it daily and on long road trips and it just seems to keep going and going.

    • 0 avatar
      porschespeed

      After you spent thousands to fix the return oil leaks, not to mention the bumpsteer issues from bushing wear every 50K miles. And the multi-thousand dollar valve adjustments every 15K. And the sucking a quart of oil every 1K miles. And the trans issues. And the bad brake master cyls. And a new alt every 50K with the attendant wire melting and harness electronics frying issues.

      255K without incident (or a fraction of $20K+ 911 maint) is no big deal for a 944/951/928. For a 911, it’s beyond a miracle.

      • 0 avatar
        vaujot

        Considering the wonderful qualities of the 944/951/928, one has to wonder why Porsche quit making transaxle coupés.

        • 0 avatar
          porschespeed

          Ummmm, The Pana is a 4D and it has the trans up front for the 4WD option.

          Last time I looked, the Cayman and Boxster were both coupes with a transaxle…

          • 0 avatar
            vaujot

            OK, I now learned that in English, the word ‘transaxle’ means something different than in German, my first language.
            In English, transaxle stands for any combination of the transmission with the differential at the driven axle, like it exist on almost any car that has the engine close to the driven axle.
            In German, transaxle stands for a setup where the engine is in the front and the transmission in the rear, a design employed by the 924, 944, 928 and 968 (among other cars such as the Lancia Aurelia, several classic Ferraris and various Alfa Romeos of the 70s and 80s).
            My point was: Porsche is not building any cars with this layout any more and that decision was certainly not driven by the overwhelming sales success they had with this design (I grant you that the 944 did outsell the 911 in its best years. Whether it was more profitable is a different story, which only the bookkeepers of Porsche would know for sure, in particular when one bears in mind that the 944 was built at Audi).

          • 0 avatar
            porschespeed

            I’ve learned German from Porsche and MB service manuals (and talking to their engineers).

            That’s not what they told me “transaxle” meant in German.

  • avatar
    SunnyvaleCA

    With a hatchback configuration and bonus trunk up front, the Cayman is a surprisingly versatile daily driver. It’s my only car, something I couldn’t do with a 911 or Boxster.

    Some of the maintenance costs are high mostly due to dealer gouging. For example: TPMS sensors are $200 at the dealer (each–and they only go about 5 years); however, they cost $40 from 3rd party sources. For what the dealers charges for in-cabin air filter I bought 3 on the internet including shipping; and I got the upgraded OEM product, not the base one; installation takes about 10 minutes the first time and 2 minutes when experienced. Oil changes (10k mile interval) are $200 at the dealer or $80 at local Porsche shop.

  • avatar

    Old Vs New comparisons make such great reads.

    Still waiting for one where the “new” is a clear winner to the true enthusiast. I mean, you make a decent qualified case for it, wherein you get only one driveway space, but you worked to think it up.

  • avatar
    White Shadow

    I understand the sentimental value of the older air-cooled Porsches, but lets be real here—first and foremost, these are performance cars meant for performance driving. And in that regard, the new Cayman simply rips the old 911. Sorry, but I’d never be able to get past that simple fact….being left in the dust by a Cayman. For some reason, that seemingly saps the “magic” out of the old air-cooled 911 and renders it just another nostalgic Porsche.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      Where is this going to happen? If you’re driving faster than a 993 can go on the street, you’ve got bigger problems than an inferiority complex. If you’re talking about the track, the Cayman is still going to get lapped by C6s and well driven C5s.

      • 0 avatar
        porschespeed

        You might want to look up what one can done with the stone-axe that is the C6, let alone the sub-POS turd buckets that are the C5…

        The C6 ZR1 is about number 7 on ‘Ring times, with more than twice the displacement of those who best it – with a V6.

        • 0 avatar
          Noble713

          If the wiki article on Ring times is anything to go by, I wonder how you came to this conclusion?

          None of the cars higher than the 2012 C6 ZR1 have V6 engines. The LFA and Viper ACR are both V10s, the Gumpert Apollo is a twin-turboed V8, the Donkervoort can barely be called a car, and I don’t know what’s in the Radial SR8.

          As for the C5, the C5 Z06 comes it at 7:56, the same time as the 911 Turbo (from 2000) and the Ferrari 360 Challenge Stradale. Not bad for a “sub-POS turd bucket”.

        • 0 avatar
          CJinSD

          And if you spend much time at the track, you’d know that their speed is as deniable as gravity. I go to PCA track days, and the fastest cars are still usually Corvettes. BTW, I abhor GM and it brings me no pleasure to admit that they build a great performing sports car.

          • 0 avatar
            porschespeed

            If you’ve actually driven a stock one, you’d know what GM had to do to make it crank out those times. Piles-o-cash…

            I never said that it didn’t “win” in amateur competition by taking a crudely aimed howitzer to a knife fight. It *can* do that. Make it displacement equal and it will finish last, every time.

            The C6 ZR1 can almost get out of its own way,has decent (Brembo) brakes, and a ZF/Sachs clutch. The meta point is that Playskool interior, torture-chamber seats, and ox-cart ride aside, it takes twice the displacement and a primitive Rootes blower to even be relevant.

            The best Vette finish was 4 places and 3 laps down to 911s (with half the displacement)in LM-GTE at this year’s LeMans.

      • 0 avatar
        White Shadow

        It’s not about driving faster, it’s about accelerating faster. Trust me, a new Cayman (or Boxster) will accelerate from a dead stop to the legal speed limit well ahead of an old air-cooled 911.

        And as for the track, why would you even bring a Vette into the discussion when I was clearly talking Cayman vs 911? I mean, seriously? Maybe I can mention a car that will destroy the C6? That wouldn’t be too difficult.

        • 0 avatar
          porschespeed

          Just like was done to the 951/968/928 they are all downgraded to make the 911 the “big dog”…

          The non-blown original 928 was capable of more HP than the 930 turbo before it got dialed down for PR.

          • 0 avatar
            Fordson

            The 928 did it with displacement,though, “to even be relevant.” SO unfair.

            LOL.

          • 0 avatar
            porschespeed

            The 928 was very much “held back” so as not to embarrass the POS Uberbeetle.

            It was faster in NA form than a 911 was with a coupla turbos. As the 951 was ‘half a 928′ Porsche could have readily affixed forced-induction to the 928 (which the aftermarket was doing in 1980-ish). Which was about 400 at the RW.

    • 0 avatar
      rpn453

      My buddy has a B8 S4 which absolutely destroys his new-to-him RX-8 in every performance category and on any surface. The lap times at our local track weren’t even close. He’s putting the S4 up for sale because he no longer enjoys driving such a numb vehicle.

  • avatar
    VenomV12

    I wanted to read your words, but then I went back to looking at that gorgeous 993 and drooling. So pretty, so so pretty.

  • avatar
    texquire

    I have a 997 and a 993. I put both on the track alot. Let’s start with the 997:
    It’s faster.
    It’s easier to drive quickly.
    It understeers. Yes, understeer is bad, but you have time to hate understeer and dial in more steering input. You don’t have time to hate oversteer.
    It has all the modern amenities, including ABS, traction control, weight savings (both cars weigh about the same, but the 997 has way more content).
    You can cruise in it and check out mentally.
    The air conditioning works.
    Cup holders.
    The brakes are easier to work on.
    The oil filters are easier to access.
    It’s a fairly new car.
    The clock loses 2 minutes a week unless you have the GPS option.
    Airbags everywhere.
    No spare.
    The “integrated” dry sump isn’t much of a dry sump and isn’t sufficient for tracking, especially on R-comps.

    The 993:
    It’s slower. Driving quickly in a slower car is alot more fun than driving as quickly in a faster car. Ask any Miata driver.
    No traction control.
    A/C is mediocre.
    Wipers are bizarre.
    Interior carpeting is a patchwork.
    You have to be vigilant about oil temperature in warm climates.
    The oil filters (yes 2) are a pain in the butt to get to. (remove rear tire, remove or move the fender liner, move a aluminum fluid line, etc.)
    It’s very small inside.
    Stuff is in weird places. The intermittent wiper adjustment is on one of the gauges and turns CCW for faster, the fog light controls are over the radio, and there’s a button dedicated to dismissing warnings.
    Gas mileage sucks.
    The snap oversteer will put fear into you if it doesn’t kill you first. No kidding.
    The steering is much heavier than the 997.
    It’s a 17 year old car, even durable things are due to break.
    Tiny trunk compared to the 997.
    The engine makes the most wonderful sound this side of a Ferrari flat crank.
    The doors make the most wonderful sound this side of a pistol clip being engaged.
    It’s over engineered.
    Single DIN head unit means the latest tech is less than $200 away.
    It’s not overwhelmed with electronic geegaws and sensors. The car is mechanical. The gas pedal links via wire to the throttle body.
    It’s gorgeous. The way the waist pinches in at the doors until flaring out at the hips over the rear wheels . . . sigh. You can keep putting ever-bigger wheels on subsequent cars, but nothing tightens my pants like air-cooled curves.
    It uses two distributors that wear out fairly soon and fairly expensively. At this car’s age, everything is pretty expensive.
    The floor-hinged clutch pedal is long and awkward.

    The 997 approaches 6-series GT territory. The 993 is like a blade. It’s also like a D battery in that it feels surprising substantial for something so small.

    The 997 is less of a headache, partly because the 993 is so purty and appreciating in value now. The 993 is way more fun to drive. You have to drive it with vigilant attention though, but that attention is rewarded in ways the 997 chooses not to. If the chips were down, you can have the 997 and go fast easily. I’ll keep the 993 and grin knowing all my senses are being addressed and knowing every mile and apex are earned. They’re both great cars, but there’s a sense of occasion every time I get into the 993. It’s almost too special to put on the track, but that’s my hang-up and not the car’s.

    • 0 avatar
      cognoscenti

      THIS.

      Also, I wonder how much fun it would be to put a clean, well maintained 993 against a similarly maintained NSX of the era, this many years after the famous magazine article comparing the two. Which has aged most gracefully?

      • 0 avatar
        texquire

        They’ve both aged gracefully, but very differently.

        When it came out in 1990, the NSX was bleeding edge technology inside and out.

        The 993 should not have even existed. The change to the water-cooled generation was supposed to happen after the 964, but Porsche couldn’t afford it. The 993 was extending a platform that was already at the end of the line. The 993’s notable advances were its rear suspension subframe (which was actually for the 996, and with 4-wheel steering in mind), and 1996’s introduction of Varioram. The interior and creature comforts were not comparable to what was available in the mid 1990’s at all.

        So, the 993 aged gracefully because when it was brand new, much of it had already aged 30 years. That dash is effectively 50 years old. I’m not sure if the front fascia looks as good as the 964. The way the 993 headlights start tilting back, it almost foreshadows the unfortunate 996. It marked the end of an era for Porsche.

        The NSX aged gracefully because it contained everything ANBYODY (not just Honda) knew about cars at the time. It still looks great and the knocks against it are actually complaints about any car from that era. Compared to today, the wheels are small, the tires are skinny, and pop-up headlights are passe. But, it still turns heads and looks much more expensive than it is. The NSX was supposed to be the start of an era for NSX, but instead became Acura’s high point, afterwhich Acura slid into its current mediciocrity delayed only by the Integra last gasps.

        Edmunds owned an NSX in its long term fleet last year and it’s a great read.

    • 0 avatar
      porschespeed

      Nice to see someone who actually owns and drives them, stick up for them.

      While I disagree on many points, at least it’s obvious (to those of us who know 911s) that you aren’t one of the “new TTAC’s” keyboard warriors who wouldn’t know hot-comp-leak-down from BMEP.

  • avatar
    jimbob457

    I can only compare my ’67 911 to my wife’s 996 some 30+ years later. The 996 is the better car, sort of. It is 30 mph faster, but it is 30 mph one can almost never use. The 996 is more durable (IMS bearing notwithstanding or for the 911 can you say ‘chain tensioner’?). The 996 is vastly better as a daily driver.

    Still, my old 911 was far, far superior to almost anything else on the road in its day. At 100 mph it felt like 70 mph in a normal car. You could really use most of its 140 mph top end. The 996 is also a superior car, but I can’t really drive it on the highway much faster than I flogged my old 911 – 120 mph on the highway is about tops for either vehicle as a practical matter unless you are bat shit crazy.

    Both supercars and regular cars have both improved dramatically in 30 years. It’s just that the improvement in supercars does not translate into useful on the road performance like it once did.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    As much as I hate modern cars, if there’s one manufacturer who has done it right it’s Porsche

    Don’t believe me? Look up the curb weights of a “bloated + overwrought” base 991 and the air cooled GAWD 993. I would still get the 993, but I think it’s a bit much to say Porsche lost it’s way. I wouldn’t be surprised if old Porsches are wrought with their own maintenance idiosyncracies air cooled fanatics downplay as “character”

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    I actually have pictures of these when they were being tested in 2012 in the Northern Territory where I live.

    They were in a parking lot in the middle of nowhere with computers plugged in everywhere.

    I looked on the net and couldn’t identify them even though I knew pretty much what they were.

  • avatar
    Johnny Canada

    The depreciation on these PDK transmission equipped cars is gonna be epic.

  • avatar
    isogrifo

    This is the best review I’ve read all year. The vinyl to MP3 analogy was perfect.

  • avatar
    waydeki

    Some beautiful writing in some of these comments and vwvortexish childish banterin others.

    In my terms. A 993 is a v tail nonanza to the cayman that is a cirrus. both have merits but I’m a Beechcraft Kinda guy.

    and I challenge anyone to find a 10,000 mile 993 c2s for 2/3 the price of a Cayman.

  • avatar
    robc123

    One thing you have to give them is they are sticking with manual transmissions. If nothing else.


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