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      02-09-2013, 07:41 PM   #1
rondocap
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Thinking different, M3, Cayman S or Z06.

I currently have a 335i and a 986 Porsche Boxster. ( manual 986 and auto 335i)

Very good cars in their own way, but next on my list I want to upgrade to a more potent performance car.

This is my fun car slot, as I have A Prius DD already.

I love a visceral and exciting driving experience for winding roads and some highway straights.

Here are my 3 options. All are pretty much the same price, staying in the low $40k range or high 30's.

Here are my thoughts and I'd like feedback.

2009 e92 M3 Dct:

I love this car - I got chills of excitement when I drove it. Sound is raw and the car is exciting to rev out, plus I love the interior tech which I've grown to like on my 335i. The 335i is tame and neutered, the m3 is sharp and immediate.

2009 Cayman S Pdk:

My Boxster screams when revved up, and it feels like a little race car even though its not the fastest. Hence, the cayman S is raw and handles great. Interior tech is behind the BMW, but it is a little more connected than the m3.

2006 or 2007 Corvette z06:

Ok, this one is different. But for the price, its performance is a kick in the back. Raw exhaust and pulls the best here, albeit not as refined as the other 2 cars and interior is lacking.

It's exciting and probably the most focused out of the 3.


I want to be excited and have fun - may even start track days later on. The z06 is likely too fast for street use, while the other 2 are easier to rev out and push to a reasonable limit.
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      02-09-2013, 09:58 PM   #2
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Just about any of those cars is too fast for the street, its all about how well you control your right foot.

I went with a Z06 last January when i was in similar shoes as you.

Things i love about it: Weight, Power, exhaust note and its cornering ability and HUD is cool cuz you can see when you pull 1G or so.

Things i hate: Steering wheel and seats. Seats are comfortable for long trips and around town but once you hit a corner with any speed they easily become some of the worst seats ever made!

I would say my favorite thing is its low end torque, you almost never have to down shift unless you're in sixth gear. It also has ability to get over 25mpg and maintenance is dirt cheap.
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      02-09-2013, 10:41 PM   #3
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I test drove a Z06 last week, needless to say, I have one on the way! Awesome car!
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      02-10-2013, 01:22 AM   #4
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It definitely has that super car speed factor. They pull very aggressively.

I wonder how hard these really are to drive fast? (The Z06) People always comment on how tricky Corvettes can be.
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      02-10-2013, 01:43 AM   #5
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A good set of tires and a pair of balls is all you need
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      02-10-2013, 04:10 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rondocap View Post
It definitely has that super car speed factor. They pull very aggressively.

I wonder how hard these really are to drive fast? (The Z06) People always comment on how tricky Corvettes can be.
On stock tires its a bit tricky. Once i upgraded to some sticky 345 tires traction is no issue.
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      02-10-2013, 04:22 AM   #7
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From someone who's own a tuned 335i, E92 M3...If I could go back, I would have just gotten a Z06 in 2008 when I got my 335i! I was really set on a used R8 V8, GTR, etc but I just couldn't justify the extra $$$ when the Z06 gives you so much performance for your money. So happy I saved myself 50k
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      02-11-2013, 12:52 PM   #8
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Thanks for the thoughts guys. I know I'm not the first to decide between these cars, but it's certainly a very difficult decision.

I think the one most different from my 335 and Boxster has to be the Z06, and I do start to smile in my head when I think of that exhaust and tremendous torque. But then, I go back to thinking about the sharpness of the M3 and ease to drive; and the nimbleness of the Cayman.

I think I will probably have to really drive each a few times to form a personal opinion.
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      02-11-2013, 01:27 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rondocap View Post
Thanks for the thoughts guys. I know I'm not the first to decide between these cars, but it's certainly a very difficult decision.

I think the one most different from my 335 and Boxster has to be the Z06, and I do start to smile in my head when I think of that exhaust and tremendous torque. But then, I go back to thinking about the sharpness of the M3 and ease to drive; and the nimbleness of the Cayman.

I think I will probably have to really drive each a few times to form a personal opinion.
Take each car on a LONG test drive, its hard to judge from a short drive.
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      02-11-2013, 09:14 PM   #10
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Although to be honest, the first time I drove an E93 M3 - I knew within the first minute I loved it.

I have driven numerous fast cars and always come away a little bit cold afterwards, especially if I only drove it 30 minutes or an hour. I've gotten this reaction after I drove a CTS-V, C63, 911 turbo, IS-F, etc. All marvelous and fast - but none gave me a visceral and physical reaction.

The M3 certainly did. I remember the first time I test drove one, as soon I pulled away from the dealership onto the main road, I had it in M mode - floored it, and on the first shift on the higher rpms I felt excited and chills! That is the sort of reaction I am looking for. Everything felt so sharp and neck-snapping fast, in terms of throttle response and shifts.

The Z06 is similar too, and the Cayman S as well - which is why I am comparing these 3. At the end of the day, this is my "exciting" and fun car to drive, so I want something with emotion.

It's not exactly about how fast they are - but how they produce their power. A Z06 is much faster than either, but I think both of the other ones produce their power and handling in such a marvelous way that you don't even think about the speed.
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      02-11-2013, 09:27 PM   #11
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I'm downsizing and we are moving into a snowbird lifestyle in retirement. The need to get down to one car is how I sell my Z and daily and get an M3. No question whatsoever I miss that Z every day. I do like this M3, its got a decent chunk of practical and can be fun to drive. If you cant have a dedicated fun car its not a bad road to take. Still I cant wait to get back to a daily and a performance car when we settle somewhere. Corvettes btw are easy to drive and thats where people get in trouble, they do it without drama and folks get in too deep before they realize it. If only they would tart up the el cheapo stuff...
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      02-12-2013, 04:24 AM   #12
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I would say Corvette will be less forgiving for your mistakes, I also don't like the quality of the car (interior is like 10 years old, terrible seats, automatic transmission is said to be worst than DCT). On the other hand, if you are looking for a weekend car/track car, might give you the best fun. Never driven Porsche. And M3 was the choice for me when deciding between C6 and M3 since I needed it as a DD.

What I would consider:
- attention the car will get, do you want more or less?
- cost of ownership
- how you will use the car (you won't be able to drive Vette in snow)
- the rest is about how much you like the design and maybe how you feel when driving it. I kind of don't believe in test drives though because if you don't have like 10 years of sport cars behind you, all 3 of them will make you grin from start to stop and it will be hard for you to say which one "handles better, makes you more connected etc.". At least I wasn't able to say...

btw, why Z06 and not C6?
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      02-12-2013, 09:26 AM   #13
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Did think about a C6 as well, just figured the z06 sounded like a better idea as I can keep it longer as my abilities increase or I plan to track it in the future.

I will let the idea mature in my head. The m3 is the best balanced driver, the z06 the brute power - and I guess the porsche falls somewhere in the middle.

I'd like a 09+ 911 s too but they are a bit out of my price range, and I feel the Cayman/boxster give you a good performance bang for the buck in comparison.

Definitely interesting for me coming from a 335i and base Boxster already - great cars in their own regard but just a notch below those aforementioned cars in terms of performance and engagement.
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      02-12-2013, 05:09 PM   #14
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Not sure exactly how much of a difference there is between C6 and Z06, but judging from what you say, C6 might be what you are looking for. You will save a bit and you can have a look for Centennial Edition, which is literally the only package that will make you feel a bit special - and the car won't look that ugly in the inside and will add some nice touch on the outside :-)
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      02-12-2013, 07:37 PM   #15
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Disagree. I have had the base car and the Z and the Z is a lot more car while being nearly as docile when you're not flogging it. IMO the OP does himself a disservice if he decides to go with a C6 and then gets the base car. Its a great car but I would never go back and other owners seem to agree, lots of people move on to a Z but few move back.

Not sure on the special part, in my mind there is no special C6 but if I had to put my finger on one I would go with the ZR1 if for nothing more than its the C6 with the mostest.
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      02-13-2013, 02:30 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elldon View Post
Not sure exactly how much of a difference there is between C6 and Z06, but judging from what you say, C6 might be what you are looking for. You will save a bit and you can have a look for Centennial Edition, which is literally the only package that will make you feel a bit special - and the car won't look that ugly in the inside and will add some nice touch on the outside :-)
this. There is no comparison. Z06 is a diff league. That being said, I bought one (z06) a week ago and already sold it for another m3. M3 is a perfect all around/performance car all in one. I drive around all day for work and a z06 was just a bit much for my purposes
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      02-13-2013, 09:24 AM   #17
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Ok, as I said, I have never driven Z06 and don't know the car well, only once did I go as a passenger... anyway, I still feel like C6 is more raw than M3, thus making OP's equation Cayman <= M3 < C6 < Z06. I think M3 is the golden middle way here :-) Anyone wants to share what is Cayman like?
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      02-13-2013, 01:45 PM   #18
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Quote:
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Take each car on a LONG test drive, its hard to judge from a short drive.
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      02-13-2013, 04:10 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rondocap View Post

I want to be excited and have fun - may even start track days later on. The z06 is likely too fast for street use, while the other 2 are easier to rev out and push to a reasonable limit.
I'd recommend M3. Here is why - both new Z06 and Cayman are getting much better in the new generation, practically in every way, without losing anything from their identity. So you still have a chance to experience all what those cars have to offer but in a better way in the future. M3 is losing it's glorious NA V8 with stratospheric redline and racecar sound. The next one is not going to be the like that (it's still going to be good, I'm sure).

Also, it's a great car to start tracking - very comunicative and predictable, and very easy to drive. It tells you about everything you do wrong but does not punish too hard. Corvette would punish you in a big way, so you may end up not being able to take it to 9/10 for years - that's one of the reasons that in almost all track videos you see M3s passing tons of Z06, even though Z06 is a much faster car. Cayman is a different beast - where M3 is a sportscar built on a road-car platform, Cayman is a road car built on a sportscar platform. Just one example - it boosts the brakes for you if you release the throttle rapidly, just like a soccer-mom-focused van would. I hated it on 335i, and was suprised to see it on Cayman - the same effort on the pedal can mean different things in different context. On M3, you have exactly the same brake feel and reaction on every application until you cook the brakes - it's all you, not some gizmo. I feel that M3, even with it's extra weight, is still more "sincere" in it's communication compared to Cayman. They improved on this in the new Boxster, so a sign of good things to come for this platform in general (hence my recommendation that you can try it later). Another thing is that you can drive M3 on a track like finesse-focused car, like a muscle car and like a crazy hooligan car. You do not get all the three options with any of the other two choices - Z06 is close, but it takes a lot of experience to achieve finesse with it or to safely drive it as hooligan car on the track.

Another reason is that, at least for me, M3 is the most complete out of the 3 choices. When I was choosing cars initially when I got M3 and then later when I was looking for something new to replace M3, there was always something missing in Cayman and Z06. No need to list those things - they are widely known. There was nothing in M3 that would get me angry or disappointed - you do not feel like you have compromised on anything nearly as much as with other cars. So if you are going to spend a lot of time with the car, it's something to keep in mind. For a toy it may not be as important - you just love them for strength and ignore weaknesses.

Last edited by MaxL; 02-13-2013 at 04:15 PM.
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      02-13-2013, 09:06 PM   #20
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Great responses guys. Reading back a few years in this forum it is clear how we consider frequently a handful of these cars when choosing a new one - m3, cayman, and the z06.


Ideally I'd end up with an m3 and cayman. Right now I have the 335 and boxster- so I have the general idea, ha.

The 335 and boxster are each so different and give me such a varied driving experience, I can't imagine not experiencing both. The 335 feels effortless and solid at speed, plus it has great tech. The boxster feels visceral with that screaming engine and sharp connected feeling.

The m3 and a newer boxster/cayman s will just be much more of that feeling, and a few new things too in the case of the m3. (V8 engine revving...yum!)

What do you guys feel about the boxster? The cayman is oft mentioned as the enthusiasts choice, but the boxster feels to me very close.
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      02-14-2013, 11:12 AM   #21
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I went the Z06 route. She's raw but I love it, and am accustomed to it having owned a big-cam C5Z06 in the past.

The interior refinement never bothered me, but I lucked out as the one I picked up came with touchscreen unit, Caravaggio D-bottom suede sport steering wheel and armrest, and carbon fiber center console. Adds to it... but it wasn't what determined my decision.

As posted on a different thread, here she is:


Good luck with your search!
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      02-14-2013, 11:47 PM   #22
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Had a '09 Z for 6 months then sold it for an M.
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