THE AF­FORD­ABLE 911: ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW

1998-2012 mod­els were a colour­ful choice, both in­side and out

Evo - - AFFORDABLE 911s -

CHOOSE YOUR SPEC

WHILE THE 996 WAS LAUNCHED AS just one model with the rear-wheel-drive Car­rera, it wasn’t long be­fore ad­di­tional vari­ants ar­rived. Buy­ers soon had the choice of the Car­rera 4 driv­e­train, which from the out­side looked all but iden­ti­cal, and then Cabri­o­let and later Targa vari­ants, the lat­ter con­tin­u­ing the slid­ing glass roof idea first seen on the 993. The later C4S 996 (there never was a 996 C2S) used the wider body of the Turbo, and this was car­ried over with the ‘4’ 997s which used the wider body in both reg­u­lar and S guises. All the cars were avail­able with ei­ther a six-speed man­ual or five-speed Tip­tronic torque con­verter auto ’box, with the lat­ter re­placed by the first-gen PDK ’box on the 997.2 in 2008

Both the 996 and 997 were made in the era when sil­ver was a hugely pop­u­lar ex­te­rior colour, and you’ll find most of the cars for sale so painted. If they’re not sil­ver, then they’re usu­ally black, or grey, or oc­ca­sion­ally blue. Nev­er­the­less, in the 996 era there was still some ’90s Ger­manic flam­boy­ance go­ing on with the colour pal­ette, so Pas­tel Yel­low and Ocean Jade can oc­ca­sion­ally be found, amongst nu­mer­ous other shades.

One in­fa­mous as­pect of the 996, par­tic­u­larly when the cars were un­fash­ion­able, was its in­te­rior. While avail­able in the usual (very) all-black fin­ish, you could also or­der Graphite Grey, Space Grey, Metropole Blue, Sa­vanna, Nephrite Green and Boxster Red, with Cin­na­mon Brown, Dark Grey and Nat­u­ral Brown ap­pear­ing on later cars. Be­ing Porsche, the ap­proach was not to in­cor­po­rate flashes of colour on spe­cific trim el­e­ments, but to drop a tin of paint into the in­te­rior and give it a very good shake. The re­sul­tant ef­fect, punc­tu­ated by the stark con­trast of black plas­tic switchgear, is an eye­ful, to say the least. Much the same ap­proach was car­ried over to the 997, al­beit per­haps with a lit­tle more suc­cess (but much more rare).

On the me­chan­i­cal side, the switch­able sports ex­haust is al­ways pop­u­lar and has a par­tic­u­larly sweet tone com­pared to many af­ter­mar­ket systems. The sports sus­pen­sion op­tion on both mod­els was a fixed-rate, lower set-up, so don’t ex­pect the same level of com­fort as a mod­ern 911, al­though they are fun to drive. A lim­ited-slip dif­fer­en­tial was a de­sir­able op­tion, as well, as were xenon head­lamps later on (the stan­dard lamps are weak), while the fac­tory pow­erk­its are very rare on the Car­reras (X51) but more com­mon on the Turbo (X50). The debate will rage on about which wheels look best, but at least with the 996 Turbo there was just the one hol­low spoke wheel avail­able.

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