Some say that the Porsche 996 interior is dull and poorly made. I disagree.
For the first time in the 911’s long life, when the 996 came along it had an interior design that matched the car’s curvaceous body shape. Where previous 911s had angular sharp lines in the cockpit, because of historic manufacturing demands, the 996 has beautiful flowing curves which modern materials and construction allow.
There is a nod to 911s of old – the five dials with a tachometer at their centre remain, and there’s a hint of the old crease across the full width of the dashboard – but, on the whole, it’s all wonderful sweeping curves. This is most noticeable on the doors – the trademark 911 storage bin with its lift-up arm rest remains but it swoops up majestically to form a grab handle that, in turn, flows round to meet the opening handle.
The cockpit remains, however, understated and functional which is just what you expect – and want – in a 911. It’s ergonomic industrial design at its best and so much more elegant than the 997’s interior, which tried a bit too hard to ape that of older 911s with its retro angles and lacks any real style. In fact, the 991, with its multitude of fussy buttons isn’t much better, either.
It’s also well made and hard-wearing, compared to other cars of the same vintage. I’ve also found that 996 seats are made of stronger stuff than the later 997 ones, the leather of which wears very quickly.