DESPITE THE 996’s unloved reception, across nine years of production, 175,262 units were built making the divisive new model the most successful one yet. Subsequently, there’s virtually a 996 to suit everyone and almost every budget.
The market begins as low as $40K, though you’ll mostly find cabriolet and/or automatic examples in the sub-$50K category. Manual examples begin at around $55K, while Carrera 4 and 4S models start at about $75K. There seems to be no clear disparity in price between pre- and post-facelift cars, although prices quickly snowball as you walk up the range.
The 996 Turbo, a $317K car when new, asks from $125K, while GT3s still command north of $150,000. Just 29 GT2s were delivered locally and will see you forking out around $250,000.
BODY & CHASSIS: Porsche’s original 10-year anti-rust warranty may have lapsed, however, they are generally regarded as corrosion-resistant. There was a particular case with early 996s whereby the doors would droop slightly when open and would eventually rub away a small patch of paint underneath the latches which could subsequently corrode.
Prior accident damage should also be inspected. Ensure gaps and paint between panels is uniform. ENGINE & TRANSMISSION: With a knowledgeable ownership base and proven solutions to virtually all inherent problems, a 996 can spin up hundreds of thousands of fuss-free clicks with the proper love.
The intermediate shaft (IMS) bearing and rear main seal (RMS) are notorious bugbears of 996 ownership. Failure of the factory IMS bearing can lead to catastrophic engine failure and was said to afflict around 8 per cent of cars produced between 2000 and 2005 (according to a 2004 class action lawsuit brought against Porsche North America). Uprated bearings are often replaced as a pro-active or preventative measure within routine maintenance.
The rear main seal was also a factory weak point. While it’s a relatively cheap component to replace, it’s a labour intensive and costly job due to the difficulty of access within the engine bay.
SUSPENSION & BRAKES: Owners indicate that you can expect to begin replacing components from around 130,000kms, in line with routine servicing intervals. Lower control arms have been known to wear prematurely, however, and are often signalled by a creaking or rattling from one of the four corners.
Power steering is hydraulic and should feel smooth throughout. Ensure the gaiters on the steering rack are not split or perished.
INTERIOR & ELECTRONICS: Age and use often see cars prone to developing squeaks and rattles, as well as worn away icons on buttons and frequent touchpoints.
With power on, check that all warning lights on the instrument cluster illuminate. Also check that they all disappear upon ignition, too. Airbag lights aren’t unheard of, and can sometimes be rectified as easily as cleaning the connector within the seatbelt buckle.