The water-cooled 996 of 1997 is the first of what many consider to be the ‘new’ 911 – and that (for the 911, at least) new-fangled cooling system led many to deride it as not being a ‘proper’ 911. This is, of course, utter nonsense.
With a coefficient of drag of just 0.30, the 996 is as slippery as it looks thanks, in part, to the infamous ‘fried egg’ headlights. A nod to the 911 GT1 race car of the period, many 911 owners objected to their car looking like the Boxster, with whom the 996 shares a front end…
The base Carrera was available initially only as a coupé and a convertible. Powered by the 3.4-litre engine, it was as a rear-wheel-drive sports car to which four-wheel-drive was added as an option later on in its lifecycle.
The Carrera’s engine’s power was raised to 300bhp in 2000, the same year that ushered in the Turbo. Twin-turbo engine actually, plus four-wheel-drive, the two factors that helped it streak to 62mph in 4.2 seconds on its way to a top speed of almost 195mph – and if that wasn’t enough, the G50 engine upgrade boosted power by 30bhp to a whopping 444bhp.
The normally aspirated engine gained 200cc and 15bhp in 2002, the same year Porsche added the Targa to the range. The 3.8-litre engine fitted to this one has 320bhp, which is enough to see it reach 62mph in 5.4 seconds on its way to a top speed of over 170mph.