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    Thread: Input on $27.5k Sports Cars (911, Cayman S, M3, Z4 M Coupe...)

    1. Member
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      11-10-2019 05:48 PM #1
      I've gotten to a point in my life (typical mid life crisis sports car age 39?) where we have the financial freedom to purchase a third car. I would like to purchase the late model sports car I've always wanted, but never had the means to justify purchasing.

      In the past I've had a 2000 Sentra SE-R, 2001 S4, 2005 WRX, and finally a 2012 GTI as daily drivers. After encountering some reliability issues with the GTI, I've fully embraced Dad life and daily a leased 2018 Sonata. It does the job, but man, what an appliance. We have a 2016 4Runner which is paid off and intend on keeping forever, will probably end up being our oldest kids first car. Now that I've discovered the appeal of leasing, I plan on always leasing a family sedan.

      I'm open to TFL comments, but with all the above being said, I'm seeking input on vehicles I should and shouldn't look into. I'm comfortable spending $25-30K, four seats would be nice(obviously not a deal breaker), must have Manuel, and something I could wrench on a little would be nice too. Would like to keep mileage low, shooting for 60k and under

      Currently hunting 996's (seems like a early 997 is a possibility, but probably just out of my budget with my mileage constraint), Cayman S, E92's, and Z4 M coupes. Any advice, things I should look for, avoid etc...?

      I'm all over the place, in no rush and easily swayed.

      What would you be after with the same budget in mind?

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    3. Member hushypushy's Avatar
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      11-10-2019 06:29 PM #2
      Hard to say without knowing what you like and what your style is. You've owned a bunch of understeer in the past...is that a route that you want to continue going down? Or do you want to switch it up?

      Which sports cars have you driven that you liked?

      For me, the best sports car in that price range is a BRZ. That's why I own one. But I also drive on very tight, twisty roads, and prefer to spend as much time near redline as possible.

      Out of what you mentioned, the E92 M3 and Z4M are too lazy and heavy for me. The 987, 996, and 997 are excellent cars, but you'll probably need a maintenance fund on the side; my 986 was cool but it seemed like I was always fixing stuff for two years (window regulators, MAF, cats, fuel pump, shifter box, and more). Porsches always seem to make your wallet ache, but you always forget it when you're behind the wheel.

      S2000's are fantastic too, although values are rising.

      But, it's hard to recommend unless you tell us what you like. Some dudes think a Mustang is their ideal sports car, and some people think it's a 1967 Datsun Roadster. Just depends on what you're looking for

    4. Member 66Satellite's Avatar
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      11-10-2019 06:32 PM #3
      manual transmission 997s have hit the bottom of their depreciation curve and are going back up in value.

      At your price point I'd go 2015 Mustang GT

    5. Member Tommietank's Avatar
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      11-10-2019 06:43 PM #4
      Quote Originally Posted by 66Satellite View Post
      manual transmission 997s have hit the bottom of their depreciation curve and are going back up in value.

      At your price point I'd go 2015 Mustang GT
      This. The time is right to snatch up a 997. The fixed the ugly of the 996 and the last of the true Porsche before VW got in too deep.
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    6. Member KevinC's Avatar
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      11-10-2019 06:47 PM #5
      Quote Originally Posted by hushypushy View Post
      :
      Out of what you mentioned, the E92 M3 and Z4M are too lazy and heavy for me.
      Have you ever even driven a Z4M? I don't disagree that it's a heavy car for its size. But lazy, seriously??

      Z4 M Coupe is a special car IMHO. I sold mine after 8 years of ownership and regretted it IMMEDIATELY. Took me a couple of years but I decided I had to have another and righted that mistake a year ago. I'm not parting with this one, ever. It's a special car, and a rare one at that.

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    7. Member Nealric's Avatar
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      11-10-2019 06:48 PM #6
      I’d consider a c6 z06 or an Elise (obviously very different character). Stretch budget a bit and you could get a 996 turbo. Something like an s550 mustang would be a relatively expensive 3rd car because those are still depreciating.

    8. Member KevinC's Avatar
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      11-10-2019 06:48 PM #7

      '19 Golf R 6MT
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      small car that does it all, incredibly reliable too
      11-10-2019 06:54 PM #8
      For $27K play it safe, it might be a little less fun, but this also means a lot less headaches, especially since it's brand new.


    10. Member mhjett's Avatar
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      11-10-2019 07:20 PM #9
      987 Cayman S or Boxster S is my vote. There's really nothing else, from a sports car perspective, like a mid-engine car. And you can't get anything else comparable and mid-engine for even close to the prices of 987s. A third car should be fun, not brand-new and "play it safe."

    11. Member Rav_VW's Avatar
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      11-10-2019 07:36 PM #10
      Unless the roads in your area are absolutely perfectly smooth, you might not want the Z4M. Very firm. Roadsters are still reasonably priced but coupes have been going up a bit.

    12. Member hushypushy's Avatar
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      11-10-2019 07:40 PM #11
      Quote Originally Posted by KevinC View Post
      Have you ever even driven a Z4M? I don't disagree that it's a heavy car for its size. But lazy, seriously??

      Z4 M Coupe is a special car IMHO. I sold mine after 8 years of ownership and regretted it IMMEDIATELY. Took me a couple of years but I decided I had to have another and righted that mistake a year ago. I'm not parting with this one, ever. It's a special car, and a rare one at that.
      Well, first of all, I wrote "too lazy and heavy for me". Remember I drive a BRZ and usually advocate for Miatas or early 90's Hondas that weigh close to 2000lbs. On the other hand, I would say it's not too lazy and heavy for my buddy Sold Over Sticker who flogs his ~3700lb Chevy SS on the same roads I do


      And also, that's not an absolute designation--it's very relative.

      The Z4 is 161", 86 is 167", and a 987 is 172". Yet, the weights are ~3250, ~2750, and and ~2850. Compared to something sharp and light, like an 86 or 987 (or 986 or Miata or Elise, etc), the Z4M is heavy and lazy.

      But an E82 135i is 172" and weighs ~3400lbs; the E92 M3 is 185" and weighs ~3600lbs; and the current Mustang GT is 188" and ~3700lbs. Compared to those beefy cars, I would not consider the Z4M to be lazy or heavy.


      Another example is that I prefer the V8 Vantage over the V12 Vantage (or DB9). It just feels lighter. But, the aforementioned SOS prefers the V12, because the extra degree of lightness is not as important to him as the V12 sound and power.

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      11-10-2019 07:58 PM #12
      You can buy a whole lot of NC3 Miata plus mods for your budget. Give it a look, they're a blast to drive and will not break your wallet.
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      11-10-2019 08:19 PM #13
      Have you considered a Camaro SS w/ 1LE Package or V6 1LE?

      Not sure if you're into track stuff, but those two options will be faster than basically everything in that list.
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      11-10-2019 08:21 PM #14
      I hope I'm not putting my foot in my mouth here. I have NO experience with any of these cars, and I'll openly admit that. The only thing that I'll say is that, given your list and what you say you want, the m3 sounds like a compromise car. Thats kinda its shtick. Its the hot sedan/coupe that you can daily drive. That doesn't sound like sports car to me. Since I have no experience with these cars I cant recommend one in particular per say, but I'd say look for a c6 grand sport to check out. I've heard great things about them.

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      Last edited by mj8807; 11-10-2019 at 08:30 PM.

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      11-10-2019 08:50 PM #15
      The best sports car ever made; Cayman/Boxster. For that coin you can find a 987.2 - 981 gen, if you like to rev happy get the smaller 2.9/2.7 base motors, if you want larger brakes and a little more oompf get an S model. They do it all; and most importantly deliver on every single point of what defines enjoyable motoring. You can argue it isn't a 911, but then you can also argue it isn't a 911. Everything is documented, everything is available and you can't drive 100 miles without hitting some sort of club/support for the car. It's driving bliss.

      I'm going to respectfully disagree with the FRS/BRZ/GT86 and any of the 'hot' stuff, too; SI, 1LE, R, SRT, Saleen, Abarth, M, etc. All great cars - but for your 3RD CAR, for simple motoring pleasure, I'd make it something both special and beautiful.

      Other recommendations;
      S2000 since they are inexpensive given your budget, interesting and high quality cars
      911 (for the 2+2) any year you can afford; 996 is a great buy, 997 is at the bottom of the curve and an even better car, SC/3.2 are it for aircooled
      Kit-Cobra because life is short and a C5Z just isn't crazy enough

      Going too extreme; Alfa 4C, Elise, Morgan 4/4 you may find your day off to enjoy the open road ruined by a key that isn't starting anything and/or a car in a shop or on jackstands waiting for parts!

    17. 11-10-2019 08:59 PM #16
      A base Boxster, newest and lowest mileage you can afford.

      Don't buy anything with an m96/97 engine. Stick to the 9A1.

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      Last edited by Silver_arrow12!; 11-10-2019 at 09:14 PM.

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      11-10-2019 09:08 PM #17
      Quote Originally Posted by Tommietank View Post
      This. The time is right to snatch up a 997. The fixed the ugly of the 996 and the last of the true Porsche before VW got in too deep.
      The rear 3/4 of the 996 is gorgeous though.

      I own one and understand the headlights might be gross but otherwise I love the lines. I have a turbo though not a narrow body car.

      I would recommend a 996 turbo as they are awesome. Also would consider flat 6 revvy cayman. Cayman S for the win. I was looking for one of those until I stumbled across my 996

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    19. Member MGQ's Avatar
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      11-10-2019 09:14 PM #18
      TFL suggestion: something you can get your money back out of and keep the party going
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    20. 11-10-2019 09:17 PM #19
      Quote Originally Posted by hushypushy View Post
      Well, first of all, I wrote "too lazy and heavy for me". Remember I drive a BRZ and usually advocate for Miatas or early 90's Hondas that weigh close to 2000lbs. On the other hand, I would say it's not too lazy and heavy for my buddy Sold Over Sticker who flogs his ~3700lb Chevy SS on the same roads I do


      And also, that's not an absolute designation--it's very relative.

      The Z4 is 161", 86 is 167", and a 987 is 172". Yet, the weights are ~3250, ~2750, and and ~2850. Compared to something sharp and light, like an 86 or 987 (or 986 or Miata or Elise, etc), the Z4M is heavy and lazy.

      But an E82 135i is 172" and weighs ~3400lbs; the E92 M3 is 185" and weighs ~3600lbs; and the current Mustang GT is 188" and ~3700lbs. Compared to those beefy cars, I would not consider the Z4M to be lazy or heavy.


      Another example is that I prefer the V8 Vantage over the V12 Vantage (or DB9). It just feels lighter. But, the aforementioned SOS prefers the V12, because the extra degree of lightness is not as important to him as the V12 sound and power.
      Have you actually driven one or are you just going off the weight?

      Yes it’s heavy for its length, but I have never once seen one described as “lazy”.

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      11-10-2019 09:21 PM #20
      Quote Originally Posted by MGQ View Post
      TFL suggestion: something you can get your money back out of and keep the party going
      So a 997 then

      or JL! (don't knock it, convertible, RWD, manual, great resale, etc, etc.)

      I've owned some version of a few of the cars mentioned in here, and I think the sentiment that implied you shouldn't get something "normal" is spot on. 981 cayman would be great, but boxster would be better, cuz convertible an 3rd car.

      Similarly, Z4MR > Z4MC in this case.

    22. Member 88c900t's Avatar
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      11-10-2019 09:42 PM #21
      I like 997s, but what about a 996 turbo? I also wouldn't waste time on a 4cyl Boxster/Cayman.

      Or go a bit extra and get one of these

      I gave up dailing old and rare cars and became a normie.
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    23. Member hushypushy's Avatar
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      11-10-2019 10:06 PM #22
      Quote Originally Posted by Rakshas View Post
      Have you actually driven one or are you just going off the weight?

      Yes it’s heavy for its length, but I have never once seen one described as “lazy”.
      I've driven the M and 3.0 roadster, but not the coupe.

      You quoted my post, but I feel like you didn't really read it. Please re-read what I wrote, and understand the two qualifications:

      1. "for me". I like very light sports cars that drive like scalpels. I would not own a Z4.

      2. It's a relative comment, not absolute. Compared to a proper sharp sports car, the Z4 is practically a '78 Lincoln. But compared to a '78 Lincoln, the Z4 is a proper sharp sports car. Do you see what I'm saying?

      Quote Originally Posted by Rakshas View Post
      but I have never once seen one described as “lazy”.
      ...but you just read, in this thread, me saying that exact thing?

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      11-10-2019 10:07 PM #23
      Thanks for all the replies! Some really good insights.

      So definitely no convertibles, just not my thing. Also a hard pass on the toyaru twins, my Dad had one for 3 years, wasn't impressed. As much as I am interested in some late model American muscle, that's a no as well. Just about all of the late model muscle cars mentioned have quite a ways to depreciate with exception of maybe the 1LE. A classic muscle car isn't out of the question, but I would want more of a build project and that just is not in the cards right now with my youngest being two years old.

      Some of you brought up an excellent point. I'm not in the financial position I'm in at 39 by making poor monetary decisions. That being said, this is a car I plan on keeping for awhile, but the plan is for it to sustain its value and I would not be sad if it appreciated. I think the cars I'm interested in fit that bill.

      I suppose I'm hoping for a fun 2+2 to bring the older kids once in awhile. This will be a cruising/date night/cars & coffee kinda car for me, not planning on dragging or tracking it.

      Were fortunate to live in the Sacramento suburbs so I have access to a lot of great cars and roads.

      At this point I think I'd jump at a clean example of any of the four listed in my price range with low miles and a clean title.

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      11-10-2019 10:29 PM #24
      Cayman S with a limited slip and good rubber.

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      11-10-2019 11:12 PM #25
      Quote Originally Posted by Tokyosmash View Post
      Cayman S with a limited slip and good rubber.
      This is a very good recommendation.
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