New vs used - which performance Porsche the better buy for £45k?
12 March 2010

Autocar’s Richard Bremner has pitted the Porsche 996 GT3 against the recently-upgraded Porsche Cayman S in a new versus used test.

See the Porsche 911 GT3 versus Cayman S pics

The Cayman will cost you £45,499 before options, while a 1999-2005 GT3 can be had from £35,000 for a Mk1 and £45k for a tidy Mk2. Both are unadulterated driver’s cars, both robust enough for regular road and track use and both sufficiently desired that their depreciation curves are navigable without too much pain.

The GT3 Bremner sampled was a well-kept Comfort version belonging to Nigel von Tunzelman. It is from the second batch of 996 GT3s, with 376bhp rather than the 355bhp of the first series, but either way you’re getting a car more special than those extreme spoilers imply. The key is its engine, this water-cooled flat six based on the unit used for the turbocharged 1998 Le Mans-winning GT1.

The GT3 may be a classic in waiting, but so is the latest Cayman S. Its new 3.4-litre, direct-injection flat six now delivers 316bhp rather than its predecessor’s 261bhp, it rides on slightly wider tyres and the power steering map has been altered slightly.

It instantly scores over the 996 with a classier, tidier and quieter cabin, although road roar from the optional 19in tyres sometimes drowns out the radio. The Cayman is more surprising for its sheer get-up-and-go pace, which is mighty impressive for what, in the end, is a lower-order Porsche.

B-roads are the recommended habitat for the GT3 if you’re not slaying seconds on circuits. It will cruise motorways happily enough and has the pace to shrink them massively, but for demon thrills to get you addicted, find a swooping open road, spin the yowling six beyond 4500rpm and learn all about the magic of weapons-grade 911s.

Given that one of these Porsches is almost a racer, you might expect its running costs to make you wince, but Specialist Cars of Malton says the GT3’s servicing outlays are as for the standard 996: an intermediate service costs £210, the 12k £240 and the 24k £430.

The Cayman’s costs are the same, if spread over longer intervals of 10k, 20k and 40k, but the GT3 will probably cost usefully less to own overall, despite its pricier appetites for fuel and brake pads, because depreciation will be low.

Its values are buoyed by limited supply – Porsche sold only 193 Mk1 996 GT3s and 221 Mk2s – so the GT3 the shrewder buy financially. You could just about live with it as a daily car as well, in return for huge occasional driving highs.

But this car is best enjoyed in the way Porsche intended, as a track-day missile and entertainment toy. If you’re a multi-car household and can afford it, buy now. But if your choice must be your daily driver, it has to be the Cayman S. Its scope for combining practicality with the capacity to thrill is near unrivalled at this price.

Read the full article in this week's Autocar magazine, which is on sale now.

Twitter - follow autocar.co.ukSee all the latest Porsche 911 reviews, news and videoSee all the latest Porsche Cayman reviews, news and video

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Comments
10

12 March 2010

Not much of an "old vs new" comparasion...... No performance numbers.....no track video.....

try it again guys....this time put some real effort into doing a proper comparasion with video of on track performance.....a standing half mile drag race....and few laps around a good track....plus some real comentary on nuances of steering feel, brake pedal response/feel, throttle response, accelarion out of bends, balance/composure across bumpy b-roads, shift quality etc............

12 March 2010

Come on Autocar, as I drive a Cayman S I was really looking forward to this comparison. I agree give us track times, performance figures....all we get here is exactly what we know anyway that the Cayman is better for everyday!! And to top it off you've even got your facts wrong, the generation 1 Cayman S has 295bhp NOT 261 and the new generation car is advertised as having 320bhp. Next time you try and fill 10 mins spare time by writing a really poor article....DON'T!

if it's heavy, it ain't happenin' 

DKW

12 March 2010

Actually I thought it was an excellent article - not everyone needs details, and the essential position of the two cars was explained well.

If I had actually been in the position of making that choice I may have wanted more detail, particularly some of the subjective parameters you mention (nuances of steering feel, brake pedal response/feel, throttle response, accelarion out of bends, balance/composure across bumpy b-roads, shift quality etc), but in this case a summary was just the right level for me.

However if you are assessing a cars fitness for purpose, when that purpose is subjective driving pleasure, then parameters like slalom times, 1/2 mile drag etc. have limited relevance. Many a car would murder an MX-5 on paper, and yet fail miserably to provide as much driving pleasure (hairdressers really do have a good choice of cars these days, I must retrain).

You could say the figures are relevant if track times are important to you and the cars are closely matched, but it's no secret which car rules the track. Still, I understand some people would have liked to know just how close the Cayman could come.

12 March 2010

For someone buying a two-seater Porsche is daily practicallity really going to be the deciding point? In any case, I'm not so sure the GT3 isn't up to daily use. I was lucky enough to own a Mk1 (before I became a parent and needed back seats!) and although it was mostly used at the weekends on Swiss country roads we also used it in town and on the motorway. Only occasionally would the hard ride be a problem and I still think it had the most comfortable seats of any car I've had (it had the bucket seats). I often spent four or five hours on Sunday morning in the seat and only knowing that my wife was probably starting to wonder where I was, got me out of the car! As you might guess, no contest for me, I'd take the GT3 every time.

12 March 2010

This was an indefensibly poor article. The key issue of relevance is how a rear engined porsche compares to a mid engined porsche. There wasn't no mention of this whatsoever yet it is the most significant difference between the two. I know that I wouldn't want to drive a any rear engined car under any circumstances but for some unfathomable reason there's huge affection for the 911 (yes even in 2010!). Funny there's no affection for the old rear engined skodas or saabs at all. The truth is, a good number of 911 owners don't even know it's rear engined, a greater number don't know why it's a bad thing (nor will ever drive hard enough to find out) and the remainder is made up of people who don't care. No one in their right mind can argue it's a good thing. For me it's a cayman without hesitation. Having driven boxsters and several 911s on road and track I know with utter certainty which I'd enjoy driving. One day (one fine day) the journos will finally turn their backs on the 911 (I mean even porsche tried to kill it in the late 70's!) the myth of the 'challenge' will finally be laid to rest and porsche will put the engine where the two pointless back seats go. The new car will handle magnificently well, the roads will be safer and there will be fewer red lights at track days.

12 March 2010

Another error ... the Cayman does not have a 10k service interval.

The correct service interval is 20k.

(Oh, and I wouldn't swap my Cayman for a GT3 even if you were offering me money!)

12 March 2010

I'm pretty sure this isn't the full article, normally the full story is kept for the magazine. I havn't had a chance to get this weeks mag yet though.

12 March 2010

The missing conclusion of this article surely is that the best buy is a second hand Cayman S ??!!. They are now dipping towards £20k and it is hard to see a better 'toy' for the money

31 March 2010

Disappointed with accuracy errors...there are more still I'm afraid.

Mk1 GT3 was 360, not 355 bhp.

There were 106 (C16) umported to UK - 28 of which were Clubsports, and 239 MK2's excluding RS's.

It's not rocket science to get hold of the correct data. There are some definitive sources and contacting Porsche directly for info usually yields a prompt and factually correct reply - I'd imagine that a magazine like Autocar must know this though?

Otherwise not a terribly bad article for general interest, but if you're going to really engage with serious Porsche enthusiasts and be taken seriously, getting facts right and providing greater 'granularity' of differences is a must.

Mark

996 GT3 CS

31 March 2010

[quote Lavazza]Otherwise not a terribly bad article for general interest, but if you're going to really engage with serious Porsche enthusiasts and be taken seriously, getting facts right and providing greater 'granularity' of differences is a must.[/quote]

Some may say "wake up and smell yourself" It's been like this for a while unfortunately.

(Lavazza = coffee)

 NeVeR L8te Smile

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