Porsche 996 – 3.4 or 3.6 engine?

Which Porsche 996 engine is better? The 3.4 or the 3.6?

The original Porsche 996 came with a 3.4-litre engine that developed 300bhp at 6800rpm and 350Nm at 4600rpm. Then, in 2001, came the so-called facelifted 996 with its 320bhp (at 6800rpm) engine that developed 370Nm at 4250rpm.

The 3.4-litre is a sweet, free-revving and arguable is the more fun, as you have to work the gears more to get the best from it. The 3.6, in contrast, has noticeable more mid-range torque so you can afford to be a bit more lazy with it. And it’s that extra torque that makes the later cars feel quite different; more refined but at the expense of the zing of the 3.4. They’re both good engines but each with their own character.

Internet forums would have you believe that the earlier 3.4s are more troublesome, but we’re not convinced. It’s essentially the same engine and, in both cases, there have been small numbers of issues with IMS failure. However, generally, IMS fail at low mileage and there aren’t many low mileage 996s left, of any age. RMS leaks are inevitable on any 996 or 997 and something you can generally live with. We see many, many of these engines (it’s essentially the same unit in the 996, 997, 986 and 987) and we have never come across an IMS failure.

Our advice, then, is to buy on condition – a good well-maintained 3.4 can be a better buy than a neglected 3.6.

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. We couldn’t agree more. If you believed everything you read on the internet, you’d never buy anything.
    People only ever turn to the web and the forums when there’s a problem. As a result, all you ever read on the web is bad news!
    What about all the other 996s running around that have provided years and thousands of miles of trouble free motoring?

  2. Jeremy

    The 3.4 up to 2000 had many advantages of the later cars .Both the hood and boot were operated by cables so no dead battery problems of later cars. The accelerator was also cable operated and maybe the die hard air cooled fans do not know this . The IMS bearing is from the previous model too and unbreakable on my car ,I did have it changed but was in perfect condition . Overall the engine for me has been very reliable I have had no problems at all with breakdowns etc . Most people who comment have never even owned one !! I think the problems are with people who do not have them serviced properly . It is interesting as well that it is inexpensive to chip them to the power of the 3.6 engine . The difference in acceleration is about a second 0 to 60 lol I find 5 seconds is still a great acceleration time and seems no better at all with the increased power. to 325 mph. the two wheel drive seems to be faster less drag I suppose through all the extra transmission . So it is a great car really underestimated . Try running a Maserati with a Ferrari engine and count the cost at the end of the year . So I like my poor mans Porsche very much .

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