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      03-14-2019, 12:00 AM   #1
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M3 CS or 981 Cayman S?

Long story short my M3 lease was up a few months ago. I was planning on getting a 718 CS however the lease program just want there and I actually preferred the 981. While searching for a CPO 981 I came across a deal on the M3 CS's and the Lime Rock Grey was calling to me so I picked one up! Don't get me wrong, I love the car, but my old M3 had the MPE, and despite the CS sounding good, it doesn't sound great. I like driving it, but it doesn't feel as fun as my old M3 even though it is better in every single way but the exhaust.

So now I am eyeing the 981 CS again with a PSE. It's not as fast, but I think I'd rather enjoy a small sports car at this point. I'd also like to track it without worrying that I'm going to crash my $107k luxury sports sedan! The 981 CS will be more track oriented, I won't have to keep it "civil" for my family. I have a daily and we have other cars anyway so the 4 door M3 won't be missed in that regard. I've only had this car two months. Am I crazy? Should I just spring for an MPE?! I'm afraid I'll always be eyeing a 981 CS and I'll be wasting my money on a $5k exhaust. Talk some sense into me.
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      03-14-2019, 12:05 AM   #2
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CPO 981 GTS...this is the sweet spot for Caymans. Not to mention they sound amazing stock.
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      03-14-2019, 05:53 AM   #3
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If you long for a true sports car, you will never be satisfied with an M3/4. They are meant as jack of all trades, practical daily drivers that can serve track duty. The CS only push the bias slightly more towards the track. The M3/4 are really intended for those that want one car that does it all. If you already have another daily driver, then there's no real point in having to compromise your fun car.

Just my 2 cents.
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      03-14-2019, 06:06 AM   #4
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It sounds like you truly want the Cayman. You should be able to get out of the CS lease relatively easy provided you took advantage of the recent fire sale. This is an easy decision IMHO since the CS is not your daily and is a true "weekend" car. Post pics when you pick up the new ride.
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      03-14-2019, 01:52 PM   #5
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If you have other cars as daily drivers and what you really want is a small sports car, get a small sports car.

Also, I guarantee you will get the 981 S and be like ďitís great but itís so slow in a straight lineĒ

If you want a cayman anyway, use your $107k and get a gt4

That way you wonít have any reason to complain afterward. Or maybe youíll complain about the comfort of the LWB seats or the ground clearance. We canít help you anymore if thatís the case
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      03-14-2019, 02:01 PM   #6
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If you decide to move in the direction of the Cayman, do check ground clearance before purchase. I recall you have a challenging driveway situation.
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      03-14-2019, 02:18 PM   #7
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Well, i had a 981 Cayman S (traded it for a GT4), and it will certainly deliver all the things you say you want it to. So you won’t be disappointed in that respect.

So the only concern is how much of a bath you will be taking with the BMW (lease can be swapped, you’ll prolly get killed if you financed it). And purchasing a used Cayman will likely be a highly monthly payment than leasing a new CS.
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      03-14-2019, 03:50 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clark_Kent View Post
If you decide to move in the direction of the Cayman, do check ground clearance before purchase. I recall you have a challenging driveway situation.
Also confirm cost of lower lip. My brother treats that as disposable on his gt4 and I do the same with my 6TT

Keep it unpainted and itís not much of a hassle

If anything, throw down a 2x4 or regrade the driveway.
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      03-14-2019, 05:02 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Clark_Kent View Post
If you decide to move in the direction of the Cayman, do check ground clearance before purchase. I recall you have a challenging driveway situation.
Good point, I'll have to check on that! My damn driveway is ruining all my fun.

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Originally Posted by nicknaz View Post
If you have other cars as daily drivers and what you really want is a small sports car, get a small sports car.

Also, I guarantee you will get the 981 S and be like ďitís great but itís so slow in a straight lineĒ

If you want a cayman anyway, use your $107k and get a gt4

That way you wonít have any reason to complain afterward. Or maybe youíll complain about the comfort of the LWB seats or the ground clearance. We canít help you anymore if thatís the case
I'd love a GT4, but part of my reasoning is getting a car that's not as expensive as my M3 CS so that insurance and any repairs won't hurt as much, leaving more funds for mods and track consumables.

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Originally Posted by Darth One View Post
Well, i had a 981 Cayman S (traded it for a GT4), and it will certainly deliver all the things you say you want it to. So you wonít be disappointed in that respect.

So the only concern is how much of a bath you will be taking with the BMW (lease can be swapped, youíll prolly get killed if you financed it). And purchasing a used Cayman will likely be a highly monthly payment than leasing a new CS.
It's leased and a pretty good deal compared to what I'm seeing on swapalease. I'm paying much less for a more expensive car than what is on there right now. If I can secure a good rate (less than 3%), financing should be around the same or slightly less per month, but more importantly, the residual should be decent.
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      03-14-2019, 05:04 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by nicknaz View Post
Also confirm cost of lower lip. My brother treats that as disposable on his gt4 and I do the same with my 6TT

Keep it unpainted and itís not much of a hassle

If anything, throw down a 2x4 or regrade the driveway.
That's what I figured. My M3 CS barely clears if I go up in a very specific way, but it has that long CF front lip. The Cayman doesn't have a long a lip, and is much cheaper to replace.
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      03-14-2019, 05:34 PM   #11
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OEM Cayman front lip is like $250-300
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      03-14-2019, 05:44 PM   #12
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What everyone else said. M3/M4 is a do-it-all car, not specific. Even CS is not like that. This is a personal experience as I have a 991 Turbo as well as the M3 CS (CS is the daily driver). Get the 981CS if test drive confirms what you want.
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      03-14-2019, 09:38 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmg View Post

I'd love a GT4, but part of my reasoning is getting a car that's not as expensive as my M3 CS so that insurance and any repairs won't hurt as much, leaving more funds for mods and track consumables.
.
If your were very serious about mods and tracking heavily enough that consumables are a big line item, you would be looking for someoneís pre modified car, of whatever sort you were interested in (eg SCCA t1 prepared z06, 911 cup (btw 997 cup is $70k), e36/e46 m3 club racers etc)

Also, be realistic about repairs on a Porsche. Eg it cost me $9k to fix first gear and mainshaft on my 911, which is 3x the cost of a low miles engine + swap labor for my spec Miata.

And how much Al is used in a 981? Itís gonna be $$$ if you stuff it, even with a track insurance (10-20% deductible)

Not trying to argue, just trying to provide a perspective on how I thought about it (and ended up with ev street car, spec competition car, old 911 turbo street car instead of a Ď15 f80)
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      03-14-2019, 11:52 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nicknaz View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by jmg View Post

I'd love a GT4, but part of my reasoning is getting a car that's not as expensive as my M3 CS so that insurance and any repairs won't hurt as much, leaving more funds for mods and track consumables.
.
If your were very serious about mods and tracking heavily enough that consumables are a big line item, you would be looking for someone's pre modified car, of whatever sort you were interested in (eg SCCA t1 prepared z06, 911 cup (btw 997 cup is $70k), e36/e46 m3 club racers etc)

Also, be realistic about repairs on a Porsche. Eg it cost me $9k to fix first gear and mainshaft on my 911, which is 3x the cost of a low miles engine + swap labor for my spec Miata.

And how much Al is used in a 981? It's gonna be $$$ if you stuff it, even with a track insurance (10-20% deductible)

Not trying to argue, just trying to provide a perspective on how I thought about it (and ended up with ev street car, spec competition car, old 911 turbo street car instead of a '15 f80)
Good points. I was just reading on rennlist about how expensive a crunched front end can be. It is a concern, but I'm also in love with the 981. I realize what a capable car a spec Miata is, but I can't justify a full on track car right now. I would still be driving the 981 at least once or twice a week to work. Ideally 4-6 track sessions a year with track pads, rubber, then upgrade slowly from there with suspension, LCAs or camber plates, third radiator etc. nothing too hardcore, not thinking of going spec right now, I think it's too soon for that.... get my feet wet and have some fun in a smaller more focused sports car. I figure if I get serious I will probably end up in a Miata in a few years anyway. My garage would be similar to yours: EV commuter, 981 weekend/track car, and Spec Miata.
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      03-15-2019, 09:55 AM   #15
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There's nothing quite like the feel rotating a mid engined car when driven well. Cayman is so much more raw and purpose built, but I think there's a lot to be said about the visceral feeling you might find yourself missing.

JTO24 may be able to give you some input as an former F80, Cayman, and now M2 owner.
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      03-15-2019, 01:23 PM   #16
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I'd go for the 981. Especially if you haven't experienced a mid engine car before.

For a track rat i'd go BRZ/FRS.
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      03-15-2019, 01:48 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmg View Post
Good points. I was just reading on rennlist about how expensive a crunched front end can be. It is a concern, but I'm also in love with the 981. I realize what a capable car a spec Miata is, but I can't justify a full on track car right now. I would still be driving the 981 at least once or twice a week to work. Ideally 4-6 track sessions a year with track pads, rubber, then upgrade slowly from there with suspension, LCAs or camber plates, third radiator etc. nothing too hardcore, not thinking of going spec right now, I think it's too soon for that.... get my feet wet and have some fun in a smaller more focused sports car. I figure if I get serious I will probably end up in a Miata in a few years anyway. My garage would be similar to yours: EV commuter, 981 weekend/track car, and Spec Miata.
So, the shop that built and maintains my SM was pretty clear that ďif you want to track a Porsche donít bother with modifying your street car and get a cup carĒ.

Itís $70k for a 997 cup and it costs about $500 per hour to run. If you add up your 981 purchase cost and mods cost and consumables for 4-6 days a yeat, I bet you are really close in cost between using a 7cup and modded 981 for DEs. And at the risk of stating the obvious, a factory competition car is extremely capable.

I know Iím not going to talk you out of getting a 981 and modding it and tracking it, so have fun. They are nice cars

Have you looked into c5 z06 thatís been previously competition prepared? Add back the cat and put the plates on, and you have a $20k car thatís an absolute BEAST and is much cheaper to run than porsche.

Iím really interested in that car, and will consider stepping up once I can consistently get my times down to the target time for my particular SM
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      03-15-2019, 02:00 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by nicknaz View Post
So, the shop that built and maintains my SM was pretty clear that ďif you want to track a Porsche donít bother with modifying your street car and get a cup carĒ.

Itís $70k for a 997 cup and it costs about $500 per hour to run. If you add up your 981 purchase cost and mods cost and consumables for 4-6 days a yeat, I bet you are really close in cost between using a 7cup and modded 981 for DEs. And at the risk of stating the obvious, a factory competition car is extremely capable.

I know Iím not going to talk you out of getting a 981 and modding it and tracking it, so have fun. They are nice cars

Have you looked into c5 z06 thatís been previously competition prepared? Add back the cat and put the plates on, and you have a $20k car thatís an absolute BEAST and is much cheaper to run than porsche.

Iím really interested in that car, and will consider stepping up once I can consistently get my times down to the target time for my particular SM
$70k for a cup car is definitely out of the question right now. I think I would be jumping into the deep end much too soon! Really, I just want a fun car that I can track and mod for fun. Not looking to compete with anyone but myself at this point. Suspension, brakes, tires, etc are something I would mod on a street car as well, but a 981 would let me get on the track with something a little more sporty than my M3 CS. I could lean a little more on the 981 with mods since my wife and kid aren't going to be riding in it: harsher suspension that what I would normally get on the M3, performance brakes that I don't mind if they squeal as much etc... Basically, following your advice from a few months back: more sporty weekend coupe, and a sensible daily. I want to widen the gap between the two more.

That being said, I opened up my M3 CS today on the way to work. I had just gotten the 1200 mi service. It really is a beast, and if I can't find the perfect 981, I'm not going to be worried too much.
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      03-15-2019, 04:25 PM   #19
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What would you do with the CS? Lease swap it?
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      03-15-2019, 04:52 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nicknaz View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by jmg View Post
Good points. I was just reading on rennlist about how expensive a crunched front end can be. It is a concern, but I'm also in love with the 981. I realize what a capable car a spec Miata is, but I can't justify a full on track car right now. I would still be driving the 981 at least once or twice a week to work. Ideally 4-6 track sessions a year with track pads, rubber, then upgrade slowly from there with suspension, LCAs or camber plates, third radiator etc. nothing too hardcore, not thinking of going spec right now, I think it's too soon for that.... get my feet wet and have some fun in a smaller more focused sports car. I figure if I get serious I will probably end up in a Miata in a few years anyway. My garage would be similar to yours: EV commuter, 981 weekend/track car, and Spec Miata.
So, the shop that built and maintains my SM was pretty clear that “if you want to track a Porsche don’t bother with modifying your street car and get a cup car”.

It’s $70k for a 997 cup and it costs about $500 per hour to run. If you add up your 981 purchase cost and mods cost and consumables for 4-6 days a yeat, I bet you are really close in cost between using a 7cup and modded 981 for DEs. And at the risk of stating the obvious, a factory competition car is extremely capable.

I know I’m not going to talk you out of getting a 981 and modding it and tracking it, so have fun. They are nice cars

Have you looked into c5 z06 that’s been previously competition prepared? Add back the cat and put the plates on, and you have a $20k car that’s an absolute BEAST and is much cheaper to run than porsche.

I’m really interested in that car, and will consider stepping up once I can consistently get my times down to the target time for my particular SM
That's kind of an extreme viewpoint, don't you think? Unless you were shooting the shit about full time track cars, that's like saying don't bother showing up to the rifle range unless you have a .50 Barrett...

OP's looking for a part time track car - a stock Cayman (or a M3 CS) should suit him just fine. Once you're able to outdrive the stock car, start modding it. And forget about cup cars until you're certain you're going to go to the track enough to justify the car, the trailer and the consumables.
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      03-15-2019, 05:16 PM   #21
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What would you do with the CS? Lease swap it?
Yup, u interested?
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      03-15-2019, 05:37 PM   #22
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Quote:
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That's kind of an extreme viewpoint, don't you think? Unless you were shooting the shit about full time track cars, that's like saying don't bother showing up to the rifle range unless you have a .50 Barrett...

OP's looking for a part time track car - a stock Cayman (or a M3 CS) should suit him just fine. Once you're able to outdrive the stock car, start modding it. And forget about cup cars until you're certain you're going to go to the track enough to justify the car, the trailer and the consumables.
How much is a 981 S? $50k? And OP wants to do $10k in mods? And it will depreciate, $10k in 2-3yr? Itís the same cost as a 7cup, which wonít depr.

I completely agree, itís an extreme view. It was pretty shocking to me at first also, and made sense the more I thought about it. Also, I didnít realize a 7cup was cheaper than 7gt3. That was the big news to me.

FYI, I have license plates on my SM and drive it to track, sometimes to work on Fridays. Full time track car can be part time street car! For HPDE I use 200tw class tires and they last a whole season of HPDE.

Edit: Jmg, hope you get a 6MT! My $0.02 on mods are to start with aim solo II data logger and then go from there
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