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NSX or 993???

23 October 2000
Portland, Or
I've been reading this board for awhile (along with several other boards) and thought I'd ask your opinions about purchasing a 993, probably a 95 or 96, or an NSX.

I'd probably look at 91 though 94 NSXs and maybe 96s. I don't know about the 95's because I prefer coupes to targas.

Anyway, please share your opinions of the strengths and weaknesses of these two fine cars.

There are some comments in http://www.nsxprime.com/FAQ/Reference/comparisons/porsche.htm

A while ago, I drove a Porsche 993. I had lunch with a friend, and we switched cars for the drive from the office to lunch. In the past, I had ridden in Porsches numerous times on the track, but always as a passenger.

What a HUGE difference in driving feel! It just felt so very different. I had figured that the driving experience wouldn't be all that different from one high-performance car to another, but I was mistaken.


Who the heck designed these pedals? Were they nuts? Yes, I had heard about the hinges on the bottom of the P-car pedals, but that's not what was so weird. First of all, the amount of travel of the clutch pedal from the bottom to the top was enormous, even though the effective range was just as narrow as the NSX. Who needs all that pedal travel? It just makes it difficult to find the effective range, that's all. Secondly, the gas pedal seems like it's about 20 inches further away from you than the clutch and brake pedals. But then that clutch pedal has so much travel, it seems as though it travels that same 20 inches. Totally incomprehensible.

The dash. Not bad. The NSX dash has a depth of maybe 8-9 inches from the steering wheel to the gauges. In the 911, they're almost in the same plane. It was actually rather appealing that way, because your eyes don't have to find the right focal length from the wheel. Nice.

The gearshift. Also pretty good. The throws are somewhat longer than the NSX (bad) but worked very smoothly (good) and was actually easier than the NSX to put into the proper gear. What I mean is that, there are times in the NSX when I'm not paying attention and sometimes try to go to third and instead go to fifth or vice versa. That would be more difficult with the 911 because there's a much more positive feel in the left-to-right positioning of the shift lever. I might have given Porsche the advantage in this area, but they lost it when they designed reverse gear. Having reverse in the upper left position was strange to begin with, and it was extremely difficult to engage reverse, requiring a lot of pressure and was quite notchy.

The HVAC controls. Ancient hieroglyphics. They must have hired Mel Brooks playing the 2000 year old man to tell them how to label them with those cave man markings. Let's see, there's a big snowflake, that must be the A/C. But why are there TWO different buttons with snowflakes? Why two slider controls? And this knob must be the fan, but when I turn it, nothing happens. (I found out later that there's a brief time lag before adjusting it has any effect.) It seems to me that HVAC controls should be very, very simple. There really are only a few things you can adjust - temperature, where the air comes from, where the air goes to, whether it's chilled, and how fast the fan blows. Not rocket science. ANY car today ought to have simple, easy-to-understand HVAC controls - and most of them do, even your everyday family sedan. But not the 911.

The stereo is an Alpine. I don't know if it came with the car or was aftermarket, but one look at the tiny size of the buttons convinced me not to even try.

Glove box - small but worked okay. The arm rest in the door flipped up (I forget why) and just struck me as junky.

Okay, okay - we get cars like this to DRIVE. So how was driving it? Unfortunately, the route we took had almost no turns, so I can't comment on sheer cornering ability. But the steering is nowhere near as responsive as on the NSX. Like the A/C, there seemed to be a lag. Turn the wheel, wait a half second, and yes, then the car turns nicely. Whereas the NSX seems to turn like magic, as soon as the thought crosses your mind, before you even turn the wheel.

The brakes were very nice - not the killer brakes I had heard about, but smooth and effective. Although lately my NSX brakes have also felt quite good, and don't seem to me to be the weak point some other folks feel they are. But that could be because I've been using aftermarket pads, rotors, and fluid on my NSX. So that may be an unfair comparison.

The power just didn't overwhelm me, but the horsepower curve seemed much flatter than in the NSX. With the NSX, if you keep the revs in the 2000-3000 range around town, there seems to be very little power. But (as we all know) get the revs up over 5000, and it turns into a screamer. Whereas the 911 seemed to have more power than the NSX at the pussycat end of the rev band, but I never really felt it take off the way the NSX does, even when I had it floored at different points in the rev band.

So those are my impressions. To sum up - the 911 is supposed to be a car that competes with the NSX. Before I drove one, my assumption had been that overall I would find it to be an equivalent vehicle - better in some areas, worse in others. But as it turns out, I was quite disappointed. In my personal opinion, I felt that it was just not a very impressive car, with capabilities that don't even come close to the NSX, and features that are are not only user-UNfriendly, but bizarre and senseless.

I've also driven an F355, and found that that car was much more similar to the NSX than the 993 in its performance and general driving feel.
I went on a trip with a friend who owns a 993, twisty costal roads. For the most part, he could keep up, but when I wanted to leave him I could. I think the more accurate comparison is between the 996 and NSX (at least 3.2l). You can still lose the ass of the 993 easily, Porsche fixed that the best they could in the 996. The brakes on the 993 were better than my NSX, but Porsche had a brembo option that this particular 993 had. No comparison on the acceleration, but I have headers, airbox, and exhaust. Even when my NSX was stock, it would pull pretty hard on the 993. I agree about the comment on the pedals, it is like driving a Bug. Overall ergonomics and style on the NSX I like much more, I think the NSX gets more attention - which could be a pro or a con depending on perspective. 2 people can not take a 993 and go golf, I do in the NSX all the time.
Well, I've owned a 968, then the original C2, then a 993 and then a 996. All were fantastic, loved them all. Had them all at the track too. Thought I'd be a Porsche owner forever.

Traded my 996 on a hearbeat after a short drive on a Y2K NSX-T.

Pedal hinges and ergonomics quirks, etc. are secondary, drive a P-car for a day and it all becomes "natural".

Subjective, but for me the NSX is incredibly more enjoyable than any of my previous cars. As a bonus, it looks way better too, at least to me and most people I encounter - particularly after the all too common 986's took the exclusivity out of the 911's (can you tell them apart from your rearview mirror?)

Having said that, I'm escorting a friend to a Porsche event at Moroso (FL) tomorrow... feel somewhat like a traitor as I'll show up in the NSX with my barely expired PCA card (but still made it a point to wash my car at 9pm tonight anyways...)
FYI, some early 993s dyno'ed only +/- 200hp at the wheel. pretty ridiculous. the newer 996, my 996 dyno'ed at 260hp and 220tq at the wheel. Nice little motor. Pulls real strong above 100mph, no slow down till 155mph(hadn't had the chance to go faster beyond that point yet)

I won't compare the 2 cars, since my NSX is highly modified, and I haven't track my 996 yet. But they are fun in their own ways. You won't be disappointed with either. However, Boxster turbo is coming out, and it would haul some serious ass. Be aware!

Please visit my NSX tuning page! Mods, Japanese NSX related stuff, pics!
I am in the process of selling my 90 911C4. This will have been my 8th Porsche. I am buying a 94 NSX. And will NEVER own another Porsche. The are so many diffrences between the 2 cars there is no comparison. Not in my mind anyway. I am tired of thowing money away on Porsches.