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Old October 5th, 2007, 02:32 PM   #1
Terry
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Why is the Boxster faster than the Cayman?

As someone in the market for another car in the next year, this is a mystery I'm trying to solve. In real world driving conditions, why is the Boxter S faster than the Cayman S? And yes, on paper the Cayman has a faster 0 - 60 time, 1/4 mile time, top end speed - - - but this is not mercenarily the case on the track or in the real world driving.

Cases in point:
Road & Track: The Boxster S was faster through the slalom course.
Around Nordschleife: Boxster S - 8:18, Cayman S - 8:25
Japanese Track Video - Showed a Cayman S, Boxster S, M3, 350Z, NSX racing - Boxster S finished 1st, followed closely by the Cayman S (wish I had saved the link to this video)

I can venture a guess:
1) The Boxster being a convertible has more body twist keeping more rubber on the road in the corners or with quick maneuvers
2) In an effort to "detune" the Cayman chassis and keep it in its rightful place behind the 911, Porsche compromised the driving dynamics
3) The average Cayman may weigh more then you think. The June 2007 of Excellence Magazine did a nice retro comparison article of the base Cayman to the 1973 Carrera RS 2.7. Porsche lists the official curb weight of the base Cayman with Manual transmission as 2,866 pounds, yet the test car weighed in at 3,157 pounds. (incidentally, the RS weighed in at 2,130, and a recently tested 1999 Boxster on heavy 18" wheels tipped the scales at 240 pounds less than the Cayman)
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Old October 7th, 2007, 10:50 AM   #2
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I don't know but I like it!

Shhhhsh, don't tell anyone!
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Old October 7th, 2007, 12:00 PM   #3
John Boxster S
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Video?

I'd be interested to see that video. Do you know if you saw it on youtube?
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Old October 7th, 2007, 01:25 PM   #4
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I saw it on utube. Not sure where but should be easy to find.
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Old October 9th, 2007, 11:48 AM   #5
Terry
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I wish I could remember where I saw the video. I tried searching a few times and was not successful in finding it again. Hopefully someone will find it and post it again. But you know how those Utube and other video sites are - - - the link is here today and gone tomorrow.

I think the real proof though is the lap times at Nordschleife. Anybody in the world making a sports car uses Nordschleife as their test track.
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Old October 9th, 2007, 12:57 PM   #6
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I can't tell from your post, but it seems like most of your comparison data (apart from the Japanese thing) is from different tests not necessarily apples to apples. For instance...

* perhaps the mags haven't updated their road tests with a 3.4L 987S (07 model) but the N Loop lap was a 3.4?
* perhaps the Boxster S lap and Cayman S lap were not equally equipped?
eg: both PASM? both same driver? both same conditions? both same tires?

The Boxster S should have a lower center of gravity and that might contribute. And the new 3.4 should be as fast (acceleration) as the Cayman S.

BTW, you can download SW which enables you to grab videos from youtube and keep as mpgs.
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Old October 10th, 2007, 08:06 AM   #7
Terry
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I agree. With the limited amount of detail available for each of these tests, there are too many variables to ensure a true apples to apples comparison - - - food for thought though.

So this does beg more questions, such as do things like PASM actually make the car faster in normal driving conditions, or do the weight and complexity of the system offset the benefits?

I still suspect weight. For example, the desire for bigger and bigger wheels mean more unsprung weight and yet if the driving surface is not race track smooth, the lower profile tires may actually be providing less grip. Grassroots recently did a progressive build on a car to illustrate what can be done to get faster lap times out of a street car, and surprisingly, upsizing the rims/tires slowed the lap times. It wasn't until they added a better suspension and dialed in aggressive tire geometries that they saw the benefits of the upsized rims/tires.

The 1973 Carrera RS 2.7 weighed in at 2,130 pounds with half a tank of gas. Modern Porsches have gotten so heavy that the UK now calls them Porkers (the new 997 turbo is just shy of 4,000 pounds). I would be good to have more Porsche owners post the weight of their cars and what options they have on the car. It would then be interesting to see how this compares to the Porsche published numbers. In the case of the Excellence Magazine article, their base Cayman weighted ~300 pounds more than listed.
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Old October 10th, 2007, 11:17 AM   #8
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I believe that is one of the big benefits of PASM. It's been shown to knock something like 8 secs off the 997 N Loop time (both laps by Walter R**** (sp?)) but can adjust for normal street surfaces and remain comfortable and safe where we use the cars the most.

IMO, it doesn't matter at all how much grip our tires provide on the street. I admit that I do occassionally "dance" a car around a clover but I don't care about ultimate speed on the street. In fact, I have had more fun drifting a RAV4 than some sportscars b/c I felt less guilty about my actual speed used to obtain the desired result.

And I'm not sure what to take from that article you cite. I know the surfaces of 3Com Park and Golden Gate Fields are both crap but the R compound classes still find a way to routinely finish in front of the street tire classes. More grip on the track usually means more grip on bad surfaces too. One possible player in the data is that Mfgs pick tire sizes based on the car's weight and power. The Elise has more grip than a Boxster even though it only has 195/225 tires. Lotus wants to keep the tires small enough so that the underpowered engine can still alter the grip of the rears. The fronts are tied to the rears to maintain balance. As a car gets more power and more weight, the tires get bigger. See the Vette, GT3, etc as examples. So I am not surprised that blindly increasing tire width sometimes adversely affected performance, I'd be very surprised if improving the compound ever had a negative affect. sigh... barring ambient temp.

BTW, my 03 Boxster S weighed 3109 lbs.
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