BUYERS’ GUIDE: 997 gen 1
Everything you need to know
For many Porsche fanciers, the 997-model, built from 2004 until 2011, is the ideal 911. Tidier looking with its round headlamps, and better built, particularly in the cabin, than the preceding 996, early examples are also now old enough to be affordable but young enough not to be rusty or laden with expensive mechanical problems. And while refined over the 996, they retain plenty of Porsche “analogue” driver appeal, that was diluted in the electronics-heavy 991 of 2011.
A budget of £20,000 to £30,000 gives you a wide choice of 997s. But you may have heard some horror stories about the M96/M97 engines from the beginning of the water-cooled era in the mid 1990s, so if now reasonable priced, do early 997s make a trustworthy 911?
Here we’re looking at the “basic” versions of the gen 1 coupes made until summer 2008, the 911 Carrera carrying over the 996’s 3.6-litre flat-six but with output up slightly to 321bhp and 273lb ft toque, and the Carrera S using a new 3.8-litre unit rated at 355bhp/295lb ft. A six-speed manual gearbox was standard; in this pre-pdk era the automatic option was the five-speed Tiptronic transmission.
An active damper system arrived on the 911 for the first time in the form of Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM), standard on the S, and coming with the lowered, sports suspension; it was optional on the Carrera. Steering switched from fixed- to variable-rate power-assistance, and wheel diameter on the Carrera went up an inch to 18-inch, wearing 235/40 front and 265/40 rear tyres. The S came out of the factory with 19-inch rims (the first Porsche to do so) fitted with 235/35 front and 295/30 rears; these were optional on the Carrera.
You’ll see a wide variation in 997 specs, due to the long factory options list, which included: Bixenon headlamps, Park Assist, a sunroof, Sport Chrono Package Plus, electric front seats, sat nav and telephone module for the PCM, and Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes (PCCB), the priciest item, at £5349. The cheapest was a Porsche crest on the headrest, costing £103.
The 997 went on sale in the UK in mid September, the Carrera and Carrera S running unchanged until late summer 2008, when the gen 2 models arrived, boasting the new Direct Fuel Injection (DFI) engines and PDK double-clutch gearbox.