Budget Sports Cars: Porsche 986 Boxster vs BMW E36 M3

If you had about $40,000 dollars to spend on a brand new, top of the line European sports car in the late 1990s, you would have two main choices: the tried and true BMW E36 M3 or the newly introduced Porsche Boxster. Both cars were essentially designed in completely different ways to do the exact same thing. The Porsche Boxster was a lightweight, mid engined, rear wheel drive roadster whereas the M3 was a front engined, rear wheel drive, slightly less lightweight coupe and both proudly exceeded their job of putting a massive smile on your face. Today, the debate is still rather the same but thanks depreciation, one can now pick up either of these cars for well under $15,000. Yet their new, similar price tags still beg the same question one would have asked 20 years ago, which one do you buy? Well now, we have an answer.

Technical Specifications

To start off, the BMW E36 M3 is powered by BMW’s famous S52 engine which is a 3.2 liter inline 6 producing 240 hp and 236 lb/ft of torque. The E36 is also front-engined, as mentioned before, and weighs in at around 3200 lbs. The Porsche on the other hand is powered by a 2.5 liter flat 6 that makes 201 hp and only 181 lb/ft of torque. However, it only weighs in at a feathery 2822 lbs. But despite being almost 400 lb lighter than the M3, the Boxster still has a lower power to weight ratio so Round 1 goes to the Bimmer.

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Interior/Build Quality

Since both cars are from the 1990s, interior design was not something they were known for when new. Both cars have cheap plastic bits and tacky interior designs so if you’re looking for a nice place to sit, get another car. That being said, there is a clear winner though and it’s the BMW. Even with it beings a 1990s car, the M3 still has a surprising amount of leather whereas the Boxster was criticized for having a cheap, plastic covered interior. The quality of the M3’s interior and the overall car itself is also much better despite it being a few thousand dollars cheaper than the Boxster. When you’re at high speeds, it doesn’t rattle or whistle, it feels properly put together which is sadly something I cannot say about the Porsche.

Practicality/Reliability

Let’s be honest, these cars are not going to be bought for their practicality but in case you were wondering, trunk space is the same on both cars since the Porsche has two trunks, but the BMW has back seats and a glove box so it’s a bit easier to daily drive. Being 20 year old German sports cars, reliability is also not a strong suit with each car having its own set of special problems. The M3 mainly leaks and burns oil while the Boxster has its infamous IMS bearing issue. However, early model Boxsters with the 2.5 liter engines-like the one we tested-don’t have the IMS bearing issue and overall are more mechanically sound than their BMW counterparts so reliability goes to the Porsche but not by much; these aren’t Toyotas after all.

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How They Drive

The main factor one should consider when buying these cars is how they drive, they’re sports cars for God’s sake. Honestly, you can’t really go wrong here, they both drive amazingly well. Part of this has to do with sound and thankfully, unlike their newer versions, the E36 M3 and 986 Boxster both sound exceptional. The E36 has a lower, angrier scream while the Porsche sings with its signature flat 6 howl. Determining which car sounds better is all subjective but again, you can’t go wrong with either, they both sound absolutely amazing.

The steering on both cars is also very direct and engaging, but the Porsche clearly has superior steering feel and enjoyment. In the Porsche, the wheel connects you to the road in a way that the Bimmer can’t seem to deliver.

Earlier, I mentioned that the BMW has about 39 more hp and 55 more lb/ft of torque and if there’s one thing that separates the two, it’s the torque. The Bimmer accelerates harder and is noticeably more powerful than the Porsche. Also the M3 always has power to put down whereas you really have to work the engine in the Porsche to get 40 less hp. Handling is superb on both cars but you do feel more planted in the Porsche because of its wider tires, lower power output, and its mid-engined layout, then again, the unpredictability of the BMW is one of its best features.

The Verdict

In the end, it’s all about what kind of experience you want. The Porsche makes you feel safe, it’s friendly, it doesn’t feel like it’s going to slide at every turn. The Porsche is also easy to master, not once have I felt the car struggle for grip or not be able to take a corner. It’s like your grandmother, you always feel safe when you’re with her, you’re always smiling, and you know what to expect. But if the Porsche is your grandmother, than the M3 is your crazy uncle that you only see once every two months. The Bimmer is constantly on the edge, it’s loud, it’s scary, and it pushes you to your limits as a driver. It’s fast, it’s skittish, it’s freaking amazing. Unlike the Porsche’s docile nature, the M3 is ready to bite your head off at any moment. Driving the M3 is like putting your foot on a tiger’s neck, one mistake, and you’re toast. Again though, it’s all about personal preference, someone like my dad-and Happy Father’s Day to all the great dads out there-would likely prefer cruising the Malibu canyons with the top down, listening to the Boxster’s iconic howl. But if you ask me, I would definitely take that amazing M3.

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As always, THANK YOU FOR READING and come back next Sunday for a brand new article. Don’t forget to follow us on WordPress and share this article with your friends! Follow us on Instagram at rsreportblog and check out our Facebook Group, Porsche Enthusiasts United. Feel free to suggest new topics in the Contact Page. Newly added on the contact page is a link to the Porsche Club of America website which you should definitely check out HERE! Thank you for reading and don’t forget to come back next Sunday!

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Hypercar Level Performance: The Gemballa Turbo S

991 Turbo S Cover

I would like to begin by thanking Cody (@cody23m) for providing his 911 Turbo S to support RS Report. When I received an invite to a prestige event called Cars and Jets, I scrambled to get a ride from supercar owners everywhere in SoCal. Cars and Jets is the only private super and hyper car show in the world. In the words of the founder, Steven Barth, “This event sets itself apart from the countless others by going back to the roots when owners got together and shared the passion for cars without having to deal with countless photographers, police, angry neighbors, and people looking for business opportunities when we just want to enjoy a Sunday with friends. Making owners and their personal guests the only attending creates a relaxing atmosphere that leads to great conversation and friendships. In the end that’s what makes the car scene the most fun.”

991 Turbo S Side

I humbly asked Cody if he would like to attend with his monster of a 911. May 11th was the best day of my life. Before the event, our crew met up in front of my house. When Cody pulled up, I ran outside to greet him and was confronted by, essentially, the German Batmobile. The bolt on wheel arches, the massive wing, the beautiful 3 piece Gemballa wheels, and the exposed carbon fiber engine vents just added to the overall effect of the car. Gemballa wasn’t messing around when it designed this masterpiece.

991 Turbo S Arches

As I climbed into the Gemballa Turbo S, nothing seemed out of the ordinary. It had a gorgeous red leather interior and even heated seats. It was like climbing into a comfortable bed that was conveniently placed on top a 950 horsepower, 900 lb/ft of torque monster. By Design extracted these hypercar level numbers on a low tune. That’s right, this thing can be cranked up even higher. There’s a methanol injection kit that converts 91 octane into 95 octane, but the car can run race gas if need be. The full spec sheet will be at the bottom of the article.
The startup was quiet, due to those massive turbos sucking in all of the glorious noises that flat 6 could’ve produced [Insert Anthony’s GT3RS article here].

991 Turbo S Interior

As we pulled onto the main road, I still couldn’t find the difference between Anthony’s 997 911 and this Turbo S. It wasn’t until Cody smashed that gas pedal all the way into the floor that I felt like I was either going to throw up, pass out, or die. I do have a phobia of roller coasters, and this car should’ve had a big fat warning label on the dashboard. I clutched my stomach as the view became blurrier and blurrier, and finally, a godsend. There was a red light. I couldn’t have imagined this car would accelerate that fast. I was at a loss for words, they couldn’t even begin to describe the magnitude of acceleration that this car can achieve.

991 Turbo S Rally

As we drove closer to the event, our crew encountered an insanely loud Gallardo Superleggera, which attempted to overtake us. Now, Gallardo Superleggeras are nothing to be joked about, but with one magical downshift, we accelerated to his overtaking speed in less than a second. Literally. As I tried to take out my phone to film, we encountered a stop sign, which approached us much, much faster than I could perceive. Now, this meant braking. Hard, hard braking. Never have I felt that many G forces pull on my body; If I didn’t have a seatbelt on, I would’ve undoubtedly flew out of the windshield. I felt my face begin to pull off in ways I’ve never felt before.

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During the rally through Angeles Crest, the car still took corners flawlessly. This car might be extremely fast in a straight line, but it is still a 911, corners are its middle name. As we pulled to the side to regroup, people approached us excitedly to tell us that the Turbo S was shooting flames. That’s the least to be expected when Gemballa and By Design get their hands on a car. Those Turbos have to breathe somehow right?

991 Turbo S Front

What I experienced in this Gemballa Turbo S could be considered torture to some people, but I enjoyed every single second spent in that car, it was truly mind blowing. Thanks again to Cars and Jets for organizing this event and Cody for generously taking me to this event. This was truly the best day of my life by far, and I owe it all to them.
Here is the spec list:

991 Turbo S Spec List

As always, THANK YOU FOR READING and come back next Sunday for a brand new article. Don’t forget to follow us on WordPress and share this article with your friends! Follow us on Instagram at rsreportblog and check out our Facebook Group, Porsche Enthusiasts United. Feel free to suggest new topics in the Contact Page. Newly added on the contact page is a link to the Porsche Club of America website which you should definitely check out HERE! Thank you for reading and don’t forget to come back next Sunday!

The 991.2 911 GT3RS: Porsche’s Cup Car for the Road

GT3RS Cover

The great Muhammad Ali once said, “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee,” and I couldn’t think of a better way to describe the Porsche 911 GT3RS. This weekend, I had the privilege of attending Cars and Jets, an exclusive car meet that takes place inside an airport hangar. At the event, I was overwhelmed by the cars there; I mean there were two Lamborghini Aventador SVJs that everyone was ignoring since there was a Lamborghini Diablo GTR and a Jaguar XJ220 on the other side of the hangar. Also, special thanks to Steven from Cars and Jets for making this all happen.

Our contribution to the event included bringing two 991.2 GT3RS’, a 950 hp Gemballa 991.1 Turbo S, along with a 991.1 GT3. The RS’ were piloted by gad_autobody and 50K2la, while the 950 hp Turbo S was piloted by cody23m and the 991.1 GT3 by z_kirovakan (these are their Instagram names). After the amazing meet, most of us decided to rally up the legendary Angeles Crest Highway. On the rally, I had the honor of riding with gad_autobody in his GT3RS and what an experience it was.

GT3RS Side

Up until Cars and Jets, the fastest car I had ever rode in was my dad’s 997.1 911 Carrera, the car that started my love for cars. Up until then, a 3 second 0-60 time was just a number, beyond my realm of imagination. The howl of a 9000 RPM redline was just something I heard on YouTube, and the lightning quick shift times of a PDK were just cool facts to know. On the rally, I now knew what these numbers meant, the exhileration they produced, and the smile they put on one’s face.

My dad’s 911 is a fast car without a doubt. The acceleration pins you to the back of your seat, you can take corners at any speed you like, it makes a great sound, etc. But nothing could prepare me for the GT3RS. The way car grips and turns is beyond what words can describe. I was constantly pinned to the back of the carbon fiber bucket seat as we carved up the canyons, never once slowing down. High and low speed corners were taken at break-neck speeds and you could tell the car could still do more. It was as if it was taunting us after each turn, telling us it can do better. We weren’t even close to the car’s limits and it felt as if we were cutting a line straight through the laws of physics. In the words of Jeremy Clarkson, “It has so much grip, that your eyes start to hurt.” Not to mention the GT3RS did all of this without an inch of body roll, or a loss of grip; it felt like a literal roller coaster except faster…much MUCH faster.

GT3RS Rally

As if the handling wasn’t perfect, the acceleration literally pinned me back to my seat like nothing I’d experienced before, it made my dad’s 911 feel like Honda Civic. This was in part due to the PDK transmission; this was also my first time experiencing Porsche’s world renowned PDK transmission. When the PDK first came out, I had heard rumors that its shifts were so fast that you could not feel them, all you felt was a constant stream of power and torque. I can verify that these rumors are 100% true. They’re so true in fact, that if there was no engine sound, I would’ve thought that the GT3RS was an electric car. The acceleration feels morelike my friend’s Tesla than my dad’s 911.

And the sound, did I mention the sound? The howl of the engine was unlike anything you hear in the videos. The microphones fail to capture the emotion, the true tone of the engine. When those valves opened, the gates of Heaven opened. The sound captures you, engulfs you, and it somehow amplifies everything you’re feeling. The acceleration feels faster, the tires grip harder, the car turns faster, everything is cranked up to 11. The sound was the icing on the lizard green cake.

GT3RS Back Seat
One of the only pictures ever to be taken from the back of a GT3RS

From the moment you’re captured by those carbon fiber bucket seats, you know you’re in something special. The jerkiness of the transmission at low speeds begs you to go fast and the sound pushes you to go even faster. The ride is back-breaking and it is horribly impractical-although I did find out that the back “seats” can hold people if need be (RIP z_kirovakan’s rear tire). But once we were in those canyons, these “faults” became the GT3RS’ redeeming factors, it all made sense. I realized that the GT3RS is not a sports car or even a supercar, it is a tried and true racecar.

I would like to thank GAD Auto Body again for truly one of the greatest days of my life. GAD will take care of all of your bodywork, towing, and vinyl wrapping needs. Their shop is located in Glendale, CA. They also do supercar rentals! Most importantly though, the guys at GAD are true craftsmen and their passion for what they do clearly shows in their results. Click on this paragraph to visit their website.

As always, THANK YOU FOR READING and come back next Sunday for a brand new article. Don’t forget to follow us on WordPress and share this article with your friends! Follow us on Instagram at rsreportblog and check out our Facebook Group, Porsche Enthusiasts United. Feel free to suggest new topics in the Contact Page. Newly added on the contact page is a link to the Porsche Club of America website which you should definitely check out HERE! Thank you for reading and don’t forget to come back next Sunday!