14 Feb 2013

Toyota GT86 vs Porsche Cayman vs Porsche 993

Matt Hubbard wonders if it would be better to buy a new Toyota GT86 or a used Porsche Cayman or 993

The Toyota GT86 is the car of the moment.  It's desirable, relatively cheap, immense fun, looks stunning, won't break down, will be cheap to run, returns 36mpg, is rear wheel drive and stands out from the crowd.

But the GT86 does have it's downsides.  It's a Japanese car so the budget was spent on a sweet engine and drivetrain, and reliability.  Not on the interior - which is typically cheap and flimsy.  It'll also drop in value like a stone.

How do I know that?  Take a look at the classifieds - nearly new examples with a few miles on the clock are already selling for £22,000.  It might be desirable but it's value will reduce to 50% within three years - same as the MX5, same as the Boxster.

The GT86 might be a great car - and if you ask nicely a Toyota dealer will throw in a 3 year service plan for £800 - but it will cost you money, and the new car smell and feel will only last a short while.  Pretty soon your GT86 will be a depreciating used car.  So why not buy a better used car?  Specifically why not buy a Porsche.

The nearest Porsche to a GT86 in terms of performance, price and cost to run (i.e. not much) is a 2010 Cayman 2.9.  A good one with average miles and full service will cost £25,000.  Same as a brand new GT86.  But a Cayman will cost £2,000 a year to keep it running so let's look at one for £19,000 and presume over 3 years you'll spend £6,000 running it.  For £19,000 you'll get a 2008 Cayman 2.7 with 40,000 miles on the clock and a full service history.

For something a bit more interesting let's also take a look at the Porsche 993.  For £25,000 you'll get a top notch mid 90s 993 with full history and refurbished suspension, brakes and other areas that wear.  A 993 might be more of a challenge than either a Cayman or GT86 to drive but, crucially, it won't depreciate.  993 values have bottomed out and will stay rock steady until the economy improves when values will start to rise.

Let's have a look at the figures in detail:

All the above costs and values can be argued one way or the other, and depend on the condition of the car but it would be hard to dispute any of them too much - unless a major disaster occurs with one of the Porsches.  The GT86 is covered by a 5 year warranty.  

The 993, with it's extra thirst and running costs is the most expensive to run over 3 years - despite begin depreciation free.  The Cayman, on the other hand, might just be the wise choice if you're a petrolhead after a sports car with the best handling in the business, and aren't too fussed about buying new.

The GT86's warranty could be the clincher if you approach the process of buying one of these cars scientifically.  A used purchase always comes with the risk of major component failure and Porsches cost a lot to put right, but we've factored some of that extra cost into the higher running costs of the Porsches.

However what this demonstrates is that choosing between a new car, and a premium used rival isn't as clear cut as you might imagine.

If it were my choice on the budget I'd buy the Cayman for it's handling, superior interior and cachet.

What do you think.  Have we got it right or wrong?