Porsche 996 Carrera 4 is a great car. Why buy a 997?

The poor old Porsche 996 gets a bad press from some quarters. Mostly, this is unjustified but I can see why – nowadays some 996s I see are tired and neglected. They don’t look very nice, inside or out, and are disappointing to drive.

Find a good one, though, and the 996 is a great car that drives like a 911 should.

I picked up this lovely Arctic Silver Carrera 4 the other day and drove it from Oxfordshire to my south coast base, and I loved every minute of the journey. Even my ten-year-old son, who’s grown up with Porsches and isn’t usually impressed by anything less than a GT2, fell in love it with; “Can we keep this one, Dad?” He asked.

Not only is the Porsche in lovely condition, inside and out, and has obviously been cherished, it feels so taut and powerful, with that distinctive 911 ‘feel’ about it. It also has a switchable Sports exhaust, which transforms the usual 996 whirr into a proper throaty 911 growl. It’s great.

You know, I’m so impressed with this car, I wonder why anyone would pay twice the price for a slightly newer 997. Food for thought…

You can find out more about this Porsche 996 by clicking here.

This Post Has 9 Comments

  1. Ulrich

    Dear Phillip,
    i understand completely what you want to say. I can almost feel what you and your son felt during this trip. I had the same feelings when driving my first 996 two months ago after driving for 20 Years an aircooled 911. I have the strong wish for a new daily driver and was a second away from buying this superb 996 i tested. But i didn’t and i will not either.
    In your header you ask “why buy a 997?”. The answer is so easy. Because the Engine of the 996 is a faulty design, a constructional defect. When it works, it works like a 911 should. But it will break down soon. And when you replace the engine, it will break down again. And again, at a mileage that is pardonable for a Kia or a Lada, but not for a Porsche.
    Because there’s no way to upgrade the engine of a standart 996 and make it as reliable as any older 911, you shouldn’t buy one. Well, at least i won’t.
    All my best for all 911 lovers,

    1. Phil

      We’ve done a lot of research on this. IMS failure applies to about 5% of engines and that includes the essentially identical 997. It would not put me off buying one 🙂

  2. Frank

    104000 km and it runs perfect! Best regards Frank

  3. Mike

    All 996 with 3.4 engines should be avoided. Even the most die hard 911 fans will tell you to walk away. The engines WILL fail. The later 3.6 motors are ok, and the turbo has a completely different engine which is ok.

  4. Phil

    Hi Mike, the 3.4 and 3.6 engines are essentially the same unit; as are the first-generation 997 engines. Yes, failures can happen but the majority of 996s and 997s are unaffected.

  5. Ali

    Hi. The 996 has been a dream for me in my last 4 years of ownership. If you take care of the car, it will amaze you. I have a 3.4 ’01 C2. Brilliant car, and though I like the looks of the 997 better, I cant justify the price differential. These cars are great! Aside from regular care, all Ive had to change in the last four years has been the ignition lock. Simple! Have a blast!

  6. Ali

    130,000 km and running very strong! 🙂

  7. Paul

    Just turn around the car in the first picture and you have your answer. 😉

  8. Max

    @Paul, dunno about that … I like the front.

    I have a 2000 996 with about 70000 miles and she drives smooth as butter. My neighbor has a ’05 997 (nice car). What impresses me about the 996 is that there is not much between the two cars performance wise.

    Anyways, we have driven each others cars and have come to the conclusion that they are both great automobiles. Of course the 997 edges out the 996 as an overall car … but the price differential between the two is amazing!

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