Porsche 911 Buyer's Guide: Every Generation From Original to 992

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The Porsche 911 is not just a sports car, it's the sports car. In an ever-changing automotive world, it's a remarkable constant that is still powered by a rear-mounted flat-six nearly 60 years after production began in 1964. The 911 began as an air-cooled further development of the Porsche 356 - itself a descendant of Ferdinand Porsche's First Volkswagen - which has evolved over the decades and comes close to the original design. And throughout its existence, the 911 has been an integral part of the world's race tracks.
The 911 has been a sports car benchmark for eight generations. And with countless variants, there is a 911 for almost every buyer. Whether you want to drive the Pacific Coast Highway or drive laps on the Nürburgring, a 911 is up to the task. It's a predictable choice in the sports car market for good reason. And while the shape has barely changed, the 911 has seen numerous updates, large and small, over the decades.
The original (1964-1973)
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In the late 1950s, Porsche knew that its first sports car, the four-cylinder 356, was getting old. The brand needed a new model with improved performance and comfort, and that successor arrived at the 1963 Frankfurt Motor Show. The Porsche 901 kept the 2 + 2 rear engine of the 356, but brought a slim body, a McPherson strut rear suspension, a five-speed gearbox and above all a new air-cooled six-cylinder with an overhead cam to replace the old flat-four push rod .
Porsche began building the 901 in 1964, although only about 60 cars were completed before Peugeot threatened legal action and claimed a right to any three-digit car model name with a zero in the middle. Hence the new Porsche became known as the 911. Early cars were powered by a 2.0-liter six-cylinder that offered 130 horsepower and 129 lb-ft of torque and connected to a five-speed dogleg transmission.
When 356 production ended in 1965, Porsche introduced the 912, a bargain 911 model with the four-cylinder of the 356SC and fewer luxury items. 1967 was an even bigger year for the model with the introduction of the hotter 911 S - with 160 hp and 131 lb-ft of a 2.0-liter six-cylinder plus iconic Fuchs alloy wheels - as well as the open-top Targa model. In the following year, the entry-level 911 T (instead of the 912), the luxurious 911 L, wider wheels and the option of a semi-automatic Sportomatic transmission were added.
In 1969, Porsche further developed the 911, extending the wheelbase to improve handling and stability, and widening the wheels further. The aluminum crankcase has been replaced with a new magnesium unit, saving 22 pounds, and fuel injection has been added to high-end models. The 911 L was replaced by the 911 E, which sat between the basic T and the high-performance S.
For 1970 the displacement increased from 2.0 to 2.2 liters and in 1972 it rose again to 2.4 liters. The dogleg 901 transmission has been replaced with the updated 915 unit with a traditional five-speed shift pattern. However, this gearbox is often criticized for its vague shift action.
Photo credit: Porsche
Ten years after the introduction of the 911, the Carrera RS 2.7 was launched in 1974 as a homologation special. Essentially a lighter 911 S with wider fenders for 15x7 wheels and a larger 2.7-liter six-cylinder with 210 hp, the RS presented the now iconic “Carrera” door stickers and the duck-tail spoiler. It is the high point of the early 911s, and with fewer than 1,600 units built, it is highly valued by collectors.
Today, early 911s are very valuable as they are the rarest and purest of the breed. Don't expect to find a good one for under $ 50,000. High-performance models like the S and Carrera RS have the most money, although even a good E can easily climb into the $ 100,000 range. And don't overlook the T. It may be the least powerful, but like all of the other early 911s, it's pretty tunable. There isn't a bad one in the bunch, so find the best example that fits your needs and budget.
The 911 immediately found favor with the racing drivers. The first homologation special was the ultra-light 1967 911 R. Only 24 were made.
Porsche tried some weird things to calm the early 911's rear-engined dynamics. The factory temporarily installed ballasts behind the front bumpers, and the 1972 models had an oil tank in the right front fender, all in the name of better weight distribution.
Early 911s are some of the most valuable and collectable models, but modifications aren't necessarily frowned upon in the marketplace.
The 912 lighter, once considered undesirable, now has a strong following.
G-series (1974-1989)
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With the new safety and emissions regulations, the 911 received its biggest update to date for the 1974 model year. The most notable change was the visual improvement with the introduction of shock absorbing bumpers to meet US regulation requirements. These bumpers also required a shorter, flatter bonnet - 911s built before 1974 were referred to as "longhood" models in Porsche circles.
The engine grew to 2.7 liters and received fuel injection from Bosch K-Jetronic. The model range has been optimized with a new base model, the 911 2.7, which is below the 911 S in the middle range and the 911 Carrera in the top class. In 1974, Porsche also built 109 examples of the 911 Carrera RS 3.0, a homologation special that is very popular today (50 of which were RSR racing cars).
Another big change came in 1975 with the introduction of the first 911 Turbo. The Turbo, also known as the 930, had a 3.0-liter, single-turbo flat-six that developed 245 horsepower and had wheels, tires, and fenders all wider than the Carrera RS. Early examples were labeled "Turbo Carrera", although the name was soon simplified to "Turbo". This was the first year for the "tea tray spoiler" designed for the extra gear in the engine compartment. The Turbo used brakes from Le Mans-winning 917 racing cars, but oddly enough it only offered a four-speed transmission (all previous 911s and 912s were five-speed).
In times of low-emission sports cars, the 911 Turbo was a revelation - although the car's tendency to oversteer when taking off, combined with ample turbo deceleration, gave the 930 a hairy reputation and the nickname "widowmaker". Early 911 Turbo values ​​have skyrocketed in recent years, especially for early examples. So don't expect to find a cheap one.
The 912 made a brief comeback in 1976. The 1976 912 E filled in the void left by the discontinuation of the small, affordable 914 and used that model's 2.0 liter four cylinder four engine. Only 2092 copies were built, with the model being replaced at the end of 1976 by the 924 front engine as a Porsche entry-level sports car. With just 95 hp, the rarity of the 912 E is not necessarily desirable - the annual model has its fans. Also in 1976 the Carrera engine grew from 2.7 to 3.0 liters.
In the 1970s, Porsche executives believed that the future of the company lay in front-engined vehicles. Therefore, development focused on the 924 and 928 models. Nevertheless, the 911 was significantly updated in 1978. A new base model, the SC, was fitted with a 3.0-liter engine, while the turbo got a larger 3.3-liter engine and an intercooler. Both cars got a new aluminum crankcase, a big improvement over the annoying magnesium units. The 180 horsepower SC was a return to form for the 911 compared to its underpowered, unreliable 2.7 liter predecessors. The euro market power rose to 188 hp in 1980 and 204 hp in 1981, although US cars never saw these increases due to stricter emissions regulations.
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The 3.3-liter 911 Turbo was one of the fastest cars in the world at the time, with 265 hp in the US and 300 hp in Europe. The model was withdrawn from the US market in 1980 due to stricter emissions regulations, and as Porsche's resources focused on the 924, 944 and 928 models, the 911 was weakened. The company planned to quietly discontinue its rear-engined sports car, but in 1981 American Peter Schutz was named President and CEO and rescuing the 911 was one of its first actions. The 911 Cabriolet came into existence in 1982, the first real drop-top 911 variant.
For 1984, the SC was replaced by the Carrera, with a 3.2-liter six-cylinder that offers 207 horsepower and more luxury options. While you haven't been able to buy a new 911 Turbo in the US, Porsche offered a "Turbo-Look" package with wider fenders, wheels and tires for the Carrera Coupé and Cabriolet. Power increased to 217 hp in 1986, and in 1987 the old 915 gearbox was replaced by the greatly improved Getrag G50 five-speed gearbox with a hydraulic clutch instead of the old cable-operated design.
Porsche brought the largely unchanged Turbo back to the US for the 1986 model year, adding Targa and Cabriolet variants, the latter being quite rare. The turbo's old four-speed gearbox was replaced by the G50 five-speed gearbox in 1989, and the turbo's five-speed gearbox has a premium in the market today.
It's hard to find a "cheap" G-Series these days - pretty much every 911 is valuable, and when one 911 generation hits stratospheric prices, the next generation gains interest. Early G-series vehicles with the 2.7 liter magnesium crankcase engine can be difficult to machine, and later aluminum crankcase models are preferred for highly tuned designs. The SC and Carrera 3.2 are both excellent workable classics - the former is sleek and restrained, while the latter is muscular and modern. Cars with the updated G50 gearbox are the most sought-after of these types and come at a significant premium over 915 models, although G50 cars are rather uncommon with only three model years produced.
Each turbo is more expensive than a naturally aspirated G-series, but stays away from poorly modified examples. A 930 can do a lot of power, and many did, sometimes sacrificing when these cars were cheap.
Porsche began galvanizing the body panels of the 911 in 1976. Rust can still be a problem, especially on cars with old accident repairs.
Peter Schutz started development of the legendary 959 as a Group B Moonshot rally car and as a platform to add advanced technology to the 911. The results were spectacular - twin turbos, 450 hp, driver-adjustable suspension and all-wheel drive - but the project was almost bankrupt Porsche.
If you can find one, light club sport is the best of the Carrera 3.2s. On paper, it's not that much different from the base car, but a blueprint engine and a lot of weight reduction make it a divine driver.
964 (1989-1994)
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A quarter of a century after the model began production, the 911 finally received its first major update. The 964 generation car received a new 3.6 liter six cylinder engine and a new coil spring rear suspension to replace the old torsion bars. For the first time, power steering, ABS and an active rear spoiler were also available on the 911. Only one model was available for the 1989 model year: the Carrera 4, the first series 911 with all-wheel drive. While the 959 had all-wheel drive, the 964's wheel rotation sensing system was developed from an earlier setup found in the purpose-built 911 that won the Paris-Dakar Rally in 1984. The first Carrera 4 sent 69 percent of its torque backwards
In 1990 the Carrera 2 with rear-wheel drive and a new automatic transmission with manual shift function came onto the market. The torque converter transmission known as Tiptronic enabled manual gear selection using a toggle switch on the steering wheel or a special gate on the console gear lever, as was common at the time. The following year, the turbo returned, powered by a version of the old 3.3-liter six-cylinder from the 930. The cost of the money-losing 959 coupled with a global recession meant that Porsche did not have the resources to develop a new turbo engine. The redesigned 930 powerplant produced an impressive 320 horsepower and 332 lb-ft of torque. When the turbo-charged version of the new 3.6-liter engine finally arrived in 1993, it offered an astonishing 360 horsepower.
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Porsche built a lightweight Carrera RS in 1992 and a more powerful RS 3.8 in 1993, which, however, was not imported to North America. To reassure enthusiasts and club racers in the USA, Porsche developed the RS America for 1993. Essentially a 964 Carrera 2 without air conditioning, radio and sunroof (although all of them could be reinstalled), the RS America had manual steering and minimal soundproofing . However, it did come with stiffer suspension and an optional limited slip differential. At the time the RS America was the cheapest variant of the 964 and a heavy sell for Porsche dealers, it is now one of the most sought-after cars of this generation. You won't find many for under $ 75,000 today, and good examples easily bring in $ 100,000.
The greatest reliability concerns with 964 generation vehicles today are in early examples. Porsche did not use head gaskets on the 3.6 liter engine until 1991, and pre-seal engines can have oil leaks from the heads. Otherwise the 964 is relatively robust.
964 generation cars have long been a relative bargain among the 911s, but as with all air-cooled Porsches, prices are rising. The 964 is still a considerable step forward in terms of comfort and performance over the G-series, coupled with classic 911 style and sound.
The 964 marked the end of the line for the traditional targa lift-off roof. Most buyers preferred the cloth convertible, which Targas rarely did.
For 1992, Porsche built 250 copies of the America Roadster, a homage to the ultra-light 356 America with a wide body and turbo wheels and a rear seat deletion. The next year brought the Speedster with a manual hood and a lowered windshield.
993 (1994-1998)
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Porsche was not doing well in the early 1990s. The world economy was in recession. Porsche hadn't launched a brand-new car since the 928 in 1978, and the automaker ran out of money. Nevertheless, Porsche thrilled the world with a new masterpiece: the 993 generation 911. A sleek new body, an all-aluminum chassis with a new multi-link rear suspension and a larger track width as well as a six-speed gearbox brought the 911 up to date. The air-cooled 3.6-liter M64 engine was carried over from the 964 and performed here 272 hp and 243 lb-ft of torque. All in all, the 993 was a huge step forward for the 911.
The first 993 were all rear-wheel drive Carrera 2s. The Carrera 4 arrived in 1995 with a completely new all-wheel drive, which corrected the understeer prevalent in the 964 Carrera 4 and brought significant weight and cost savings. A new Targa arrived for 1996 that avoids the lift-off lid for a large retractable pane of glass. The new Targa, which was only offered as rear-wheel drive, was at least an interesting curiosity. In the same year, Porsche introduced a new variable length intake system called the Varioram, which increased the output of the M64 engine to 282 hp and broadened its torque curve.
But the big news for 1996 was the new 911 Turbo. The 3.6-liter engine received two turbochargers - one for each bank of cylinders rather than two, which were operated in succession as in the 959. The result was a whopping 408 horsepower and 398 lb-ft of torque sent to all four wheelers from an upgrade version of the Carrera 4's all-wheel drive. The 911 Turbo was no longer a widowmaker - it was an all-weather supercar.
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The turbo received a wider body, a new whale tail rear spoiler and the first iteration of the now legendary "Turbo Twist" wheels, which measure 18 inches here. Around the same time, Porsche brought out the Carrera 4S with turbo fender flares, but without a rear wing. A rear-wheel drive Carrera S came out for 1997, although production was very limited. Also in 1997, Porsche built 345 examples of the Turbo S, with larger turbos producing 450 hp (424 in the USA).
The 993 generation was rather short-lived, but produced a handful of homologation specials. The first was the spectacular GT2 from 1995, essentially a rear-wheel drive 911 Turbo and even larger flared fenders. Only 200 were built to meet the approval requirements for the BPR Global GT Series. If you can find one today, you'll have to pay at least $ 500,000. There was also the Carrera RS 3.8, made for Japanese GT3 regulations. Just over 1000 were built and none were officially sold in the US, although it is now importable.
If you've idle through 911 deals on Bring a Trailer or elsewhere, you probably know that 993 prices are really high right now. There's a good reason: the car is excellent. The 993 is the pinnacle of the air-cooled 911, and although the earliest examples turn 27 this year, they're still modern, workable cars with no major flaws. Even the rare Targa has a unique pull and the turbo is fast even by today's standards.
Although the 993 was a masterpiece, it wasn't a particularly strong seller: fewer than 68,000 units were made. Worse for Porsche, this generation of the 911 wasn't particularly profitable. When the 993 generation came to an end, Porsche had to radically rethink the construction of sports cars.
Porsche built the incredible 911 GT1 for endurance racing in 1996. While it shared 993 lights and some front suspension components with the road car, it was more closely related to the 962 Group C racer.
The rarest 993 has to be the Speedster, with only two copies: one for the original 911 designer Butzi Porsche and one for comedian Jerry Seinfeld.
996 (1998-2004)
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Two major influences shaped the 911 of the 996 generation. Faced with an existential crisis, Porsche hired consultants from Toyota who recommended radical ways of rationalizing technology and production. At the same time it became clear that Porsche could no longer adapt its 911 platform from the 1960s and the air-cooled engine to the needs of the 21st century.
The answer was a brand new 911 and a cheaper mid-engine model, the Boxster, both powered by a newly developed water-cooled six-flat engine, the M96. When the 996-generation 911 hit the market in 1997, it shared numerous parts - including practically everything from the A-pillar - with the Boxster, which had been introduced a year earlier. The new 911 was more spacious, but lighter and safer, with more power and a better polished chassis than the 993. The basic Carrera developed 296 hp from a 3.4-liter six-cylinder, paired with a new six-speed manual or five-speed gearbox -Tiptronic automatic. A year later a new Carrera 4 came on the market with a variant of the all-wheel drive of the 993.
The 996 marked a big breakthrough for Porsche - the first full clean sheet redesign in the history of the 911. Some brand enthusiasts resisted the changes, but strong 996 sales, coupled with the success of the Boxster, helped Porsche get out of the Porsche on the verge of financial ruin.
But the 996 is not without its flaws. You may be familiar with the dreaded "IMS bearing failure". Like its air-cooled predecessors, the M96 drives its camshafts from an intermediate shaft (or “IMS”) that sits parallel to the crankshaft. The IMS bearing used in the M96 should be lubricated for life, but the bearing can overheat and fail, damaging the IMS and potentially affecting the cam control to the point where the valves and pistons collide. The only way to fix an IMS fault is to do a full engine breakdown.
This information is enough to completely distract some buyers from the 996, but the risk is sometimes exaggerated. IMS errors are most common on 996s built between 2000 and 2004. However, problems can arise with earlier vehicles. The good news is that Porsche specialists are very good at identifying IMS bearing problems and replacing suspicious bearings, and companies like LN Engineering offer upgraded bearings with improved lubrication. Most stores charge around $ 2,000 to replace the IMS bearing on an M96 engine (assuming it hasn't already had a catastrophic failure). Since the gearbox fell down, it makes sense to combine the bearing change with a clutch order. Many Porsches have already had their IMS bearings updated and LN Engineering has a searchable database of vehicles equipped with the improved bearings. Some Porsche mechanics claim that the risk of IMS bearing failure is lower on regularly driven vehicles with frequent oil changes. However, evidence of a warehouse upgrade will attract a lot of attention when purchasing 996 generation Porsche. (If you want to avoid this problem completely, buy a Turbo, GT2, or GT3, all of which use a different IMS bearing design.)
The first 911 GT3 arrived in 1998 as a homologation special for various 911 racing cars. The GT3 had the optional Aerokit body of the Carrera, front seats with fixed backs and no rear seat. A naturally aspirated version of the Le Mans winning 911 GT1 engine was used, which can trace its roots back to the 935 racing car of the 1970s. Fans call this the "Mezger" engine after Hans Mezger, the late Porsche engine guru who designed the original air-cooled Flat-Six and its racing derivatives.
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Porsche didn't export the 996 GT3 to the US, and while it's a nice car besides the engine, it's not radically different from a Carrera. We got the Turbo, however, which arrived in 2000 with a 420-horsepower version of the 3.6-liter GT3 engine, all-wheel drive, unique headlights not shared with the Boxster, and wider fenders. Like its 993 predecessor, the 996 Turbo is extremely fast and no harder to tackle than a normal Carrera 4. More challenging is the 911 GT2, introduced in 2001, which is essentially a rear-wheel drive turbo, more power and a reputation for being tricky to handle.
For 2002, all 911 Carrera models received a 3.6-liter version of the M96 engine with 320 hp, a slight facelift with these new turbo headlights and some interior improvements. Porsche also brought back the Targa, which used the sliding glass design from the 993. Once again, it was a niche model. More relevant for enthusiasts was the Carrera 4S, which combined the 3.6 liter naturally aspirated M96 with the wide body of the turbo without wings. Today, the C4S is probably the most sought-after 996 Carrera model. An upgrade package for the turbo with the code name X50 also came in 2002 and increased the output to 450 hp. Ultimately, this morphed into the 2005 limited edition Turbo S which added carbon-ceramic brakes.
After the rest of the range was updated, the GT3 received some major changes in 2003, including an increase to 375 horsepower - probably underestimated - and unique aero and chassis components. In Walter Rohrl's hands, this “996.2” GT3 was the first road car to lap the Nürburgring in less than 8 minutes. It was also the first GT3 to be officially exported to the US and we are grateful because it is an absolute gem. Porsche has also made a lightweight, slimmed-down GT3 RS, a tribute to the old Carrera RS. Unfortunately, the only way to get one in the US is through NHTSA's Show and Display exemption.
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The 996 Carrera is a very solid car for the most part. It's also the cheapest generation 911, thanks to the controversial appearance, Boxster parts sharing, huge production numbers, and reputational damage of the IMS bearing issues. A 996 with a documented IMS bearing upgrade can be a great way to get around getting into possession of the 911 at a relatively affordable price. It's not just a cheap 911, it's a great driver's car.
Similarly, a 996 Turbo is often the cheapest forced induction 911 you will find, although prices have started to rise in recent years. Even so, a good 996 Turbo costs far less than a 993 Turbo while offering better performance and ease of use. The prices for the 996 GT3 remain high, especially the rare GT3 RS, and GT2 are in high demand with collectors. The driver's choice is likely to be a revised GT3 or GT3 RS.
The 996 was the first 911 with traction control. The system known as Porsche Stability Management (PSM) was standard on the Carrera 4 and Turbo and optional on Carreras with rear-wheel drive. PSM was not available for GT2 or GT3.
Of course there were special editions. The Millennium Edition for 2000 was based on the Carrera 4 and had a purple body. The 40 years of 2004 celebrated four decades of the 911.
As air-cooled 911 prices have skyrocketed, interest in 996-generation cars has increased, but prices have largely remained within reach.
997 (2004-2011)
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This comprehensive generation of the 911, a major overhaul of the 996, carried over the M96 engine but received a new gearbox, all-new bodywork, wider stance, improved interior, optional adaptive dampers, and spawned a number of new sub-models and variants - starting with the Carrera S with a 3.8-liter six-cylinder that develops 355 hp instead of the 3.6-liter 325-hp unit of the basic car.
Electronic chassis controls play a major role in the 911 series. The Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM), optional on Carrera models and standard on the Carrera S, brought adaptive dampers with soft and fixed settings. The 997 also got an updated PSM system, an optional sports exhaust, and the first iteration of the Sport Chrono package, which includes an analog clock / stopwatch on the dash and a new sports driving mode with more aggressive throttle and suspension settings.
The 997 was the beginning of a strategy that Porsche continues to this day. It offers a constantly growing variety of models for almost every conceivable application. The move increased sales and profits almost immediately. For the 997 generation, the 911 was available in the versions Carrera or Carrera 4 (either Coupé or Cabriolet) or Carrera S or 4S (also Coupé or Cabriolet). Targa 4 and 4S arrived in 2007 (no longer a rear-wheel drive Targa), as did the new turbo with a revised version of the 3.6-liter six-cylinder flat-six of the 996 Turbo, which uses variable-vane turbos to generate 480 hp to perform with improved throttle response.
The first 997 GT3 arrived shortly after the turbo with a 415-hp version of the Mezger 3.6-liter six-cylinder with a naturally aspirated engine and a huge rear wing. Not long after that came the GT3 RS, which is lighter than the GT3, despite sporting a wider Carrera 4 body and an even larger wing. The GT2 returned in late 2007 with chassis hardware from the GT3 and an improved 3.6-liter turbo flat-six. It was the first 911 to cross the 500 hp mark and send 530 hp to the rear wheels. The 997 GT2 was much finer honed than its 996 sibling, though hardcore enthusiasts still seem to prefer the naturally aspirated GT3.
For 2009, Porsche updated the 997 and manufactured the so-called 997.2. While the visual differences are subtle, the modifications under the sheet metal were extensive. The highlight is a new family of direct injection engines called the 9A1, which still has a displacement of 3.6 liters for the basic models and 3.8 liters for the S models. The Tiptronic transmission was also taken out of service and replaced by the revolutionary PDK seven-speed dual clutch transmission from Porsche.
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Also in 2009 the turbo was updated with a 500 hp 3.8 liter version of the old Mezger engine and an optionally available PDK gearbox. A year later came the Turbo S with 530 hp and only one gearbox - PDK. In the same year, Porsche launched three GT models. The GT3 and GT3 RS received a new 3.8-liter version of the famous Mezger with a naturally aspirated engine and a large number of changes to the chassis and aero. The GT2 RS was the first 911 to surpass the 600 hp mark with a 620 hp 3.6 liter twin turbo.
Porsche retired the 997 in 2012, but not before building some serious special-purpose models. Der Carrera GTS hat den Namen eines Rennwagens aus den Sechzigern wiederbelebt und alle optionalen Sportgeräte sowie einen verbesserten 3,8-Liter-Sechszylinder mit 408 PS in einem 911 mit den breiten Kotflügeln und Centerlock-Rädern des Turbo S gesammelt Zunächst bot Porsche schnell einen Carrera 4 GTS an, nachdem einige europäische Märkte dies gefordert hatten. Es gab auch einen neuen Speedster, von dem nur 356 Einheiten gebaut wurden.
Der ultimative 997 war jedoch der GT3 RS 4.0, der den 500 PS starken 4,0-Liter-Mezger-Motor des modernen 911-Rennwagens in ein Chassis mit GT2 RS-Komponenten und mehr Aero einbaute. Nur 600 wurden gebaut und jetzt gehören sie zu den wertvollsten wassergekühlten 911ern da draußen.
Die Preise für 997,2 sind hoch geblieben, auch weil weniger als vor dem Facelifting 997.1 hergestellt wurden. Darüber hinaus ist das aktualisierte Modell ausgezeichnet, mit zuverlässigen, langlebigen Motoren, großartigem Aussehen und einem kleineren, altmodischeren Gefühl als die Generation, die es ersetzt hat, der 991. Da es sich bei dem Motor um eine modifizierte Übertragung des 996 handelt, ist dies möglich 997.1 Carreras und Targas haben IMS-Probleme, obwohl die Inzidenzrate viel niedriger zu sein scheint. Das ist gut so, denn das Auswechseln des Lagers ist bei einem 997 viel aufwändiger als bei einem 996. Ein weiterer Problembereich ist die Bewertung der Zylinderbohrungen bei 3,8-Liter-997. Ein Porsche-Mechaniker kann dieses Problem mit einem Endoskop erkennen. Glücklicherweise besteht für spätere 997.2-Modelle kein Risiko für einen Ausfall des IMS-Lagers, da der 9A1-Motor die Zwischenwelle vollständig weggelassen hat. Diese Motoren haben sich als ziemlich langlebig erwiesen und werden immer noch in allen heute produzierten 911 mit Turbolader verwendet.
Alles in allem ist die 997-Serie eine ausgezeichnete Wahl für ein modernes, täglich fahrbares Auto mit klassischem Porsche-Feeling. Und während die GT3s absolute Größen sind, wird eine Basis 997.1 Carrera mit einem Handbuch mehr als zufriedenstellend sein.
Der 997.2 war die letzte Generation, die ein Schaltgetriebe für Turbomodelle anbot.
Sie mussten keinen GTS kaufen, um 408 PS in Ihrem Carrera zu bekommen - das optionale „Powerkit“ brachte diese Leistung auf jeden 997 Carrera S, obwohl nur wenige Käufer ihn auswählten.
991 (2012-2019)
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Das dritte brandneue Modell in der 911-Geschichte war fast so radikal wie der 996. Eine brandneue, hauptsächlich aus Aluminium gefertigte Karosserie und Plattform fügte Länge und Breite hinzu, sodass Porsche den Motor im Chassis für eine bessere Balance leicht nach vorne bewegen konnte. Porsche verzichtete auch auf die hydraulische Lenkung zugunsten der elektrischen Unterstützung, und das Standardgetriebe wurde zu einem Siebengang-Schaltgetriebe, das die Interna mit der PDK-Automatik teilte.
Der 991 feierte 2011 sein Debüt für das Modelljahr 2012 und kam zunächst in Carrera- und Carrera S-Form mit Heckantrieb an. Ein Jahr später kamen der AWD, der Großraum Carrera 4 und der 4S. Die Idee war, einen 911 zu entwickeln, der noch freundlicher als der 997 fährt und gleichzeitig die GT-Qualifikationen des Autos stärkt, Gewicht verliert und die unbeschreibliche Qualität beibehält, die den 911 in seiner gesamten Geschichte geprägt hat.
Der 9A1-Motor wurde vom 997 übernommen, aber das Basismodell schrumpfte um 200 ccm auf 3,4 Liter. S-Motoren blieben bei 3,8 Litern und beide hatten mehr Leistung als zuvor. Es gab auch mehr neue Fahrwerktechnologien, darunter Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control (PDCC) und aktive Stabilisatoren, die die Rollsteifigkeit je nach Fahrszenario ändern können.
Naturally, the Turbos came next, with Porsche now making the Turbo S a standard part of the lineup instead of a limited-run special. It had even wider bodywork than the Carrera 4, but for the first time, the Turbo was automatic only. PDK and all-wheel drive helped the Turbo S blast from 0-60 in mid-2-second times with ruthless efficiency.
A new GT3 arrived in early 2013. Gone was the much-loved Mezger engine; in its place was a 9000-rpm, 3.8-liter, 475-hp version of the 9A1, available only with PDK. This was also the first 911 with rear-wheel steering. It was a very different GT3 than previous iterations, and its launch was marred by reports of engine fires on early-build cars, which forced Porsche to recall 785 examples and replace their engines.
Porsche was relentless in updating the 991, making the Carrera GTS a regular part of the lineup in early 2014. As before, the GTS was essentially a Carrera S with a bit more power plus the sport options you wanted, all in one smartly-priced package. Later that year, the Targa returned with a new automatic roof mechanism and styling that paid tribute to the original. Offered in Targa 4, 4S and 4 GTS forms, this was the heaviest iteration of the 991, though possibly the most charming.
Photo credit: Porsche
The last two models from the first run of the 991 were spectacular. In 2015, the GT3 RS arrived sporting a 500-hp 4.0-liter naturally aspirated flat-six and some truly outrageous aerodynamic accouterments. Then, perhaps in response to criticism of the PDK-only GT3, Porsche rolled out the 911 R, an homage to the ultra-rare 1967 original. It paired the GT3 RS engine with a new six-speed manual in a sleek body with none of the GT3’s aero baubles. It was the lightest of the 991s, and it sold out almost immediately.
Following tradition, Porsche gave the 911 a significant mid-cycle update in late 2015. All 991.2-generation Carrera models use a 3.0-liter twin-turbo flat-six, a change aimed at improving fuel economy that also brought more power and torque. Mild styling updates, subtle chassis tweaks and improved shift action on the seven-speed manual rounded out the changes. Turbo and Turbo S models each got a 40-hp bump, and Porsche added the Carrera T, a stripped-out enthusiast version of the standard rear-drive Carrera, named after a late-Sixties base-model 911.
The GT department continued its hit parade with a new GT3 in 2017, powered by a heavily revised naturally aspirated 4.0-liter flat-six making 500 hp and, praise be, connected to a manual transmission. For the first time, Porsche offered a wingless version, the GT3 Touring, functionally similar to the previous 911 R. The 991.2 GT3 RS wore slightly different bodywork, with a slightly hotter version of the GT3 engine.
Next came the GT2 RS, with a 700-hp version of the Turbo's 3.8-liter paired with PDK and tons of downforce-generating aero. For a time it was the fastest production car around the Nurburgring as well as a host of U.S. tracks. It was also the most expensive 911 ever, with a base price beyond $300,000. Porsche closed the book on the 991 with a new Speedster, based on the GT3 and sporting a revised version of the naturally aspirated 4.0-liter with independent throttle bodies. Production was limited to 1948 units.
Photo credit: Porsche
While the 991 is undoubtedly a 911, it offers a very different driving experience from its predecessors. The comfort-oriented 991 variants focused more on grand touring, while the GT special editions were for hardcore enthusiasts. The 991 generation is still relatively new, so prices remain high, and the more collectible variants have held their value exceedingly well. It’s still possible to find clean, low-mile 991s under Porsche’s Certified Pre-Owned program. Early 991 Carreras are beloved as the last naturally aspirated models, while later turbocharged Carreras offer impressive performance.
The 911 celebrated its 50th birthday during the 991 generation. Porsche made 1963 examples of the gorgeous 911 50 to mark the occasion, each with Fuchs-style wheels and other old-school touches.
The one-millionth 911 built was a 991, a Carrera S painted Irish green.
The 991 was the most popular 911 generation yet, with nearly 220,000 sold.
992 (2020 and on)
Photo credit: Porsche
The 992 is to the 991 as the 997 is to the 996—basically, a heavy update of the preceding generation, sharing the same underpinnings but sporting restyled bodywork, revised engines, and an all new interior. Today’s 911 is more luxurious than ever, but it’s still one of the finest sports cars on the market.
All 992 Carreras now use the widebody fenders that were previously exclusive to the Carrera 4, and all 911s now have staggered wheels. The 9A2 engine is a modified version of the previous 9A1, with more power across the board. All 992-generation 911s get the eight-speed PDK transmission standard, but S models are available with a revised version of the old seven-speed manual.
The Turbo arrived in 2020 with 580 hp, rising to 640 hp in the Turbo S. The Targa also made a return, sporting an updated version of the roof mechanism from the 991.
The 992 story is still being written. We expect a GT3 in the coming months, with GTS models to follow.
There are tons of valuable 911s, and interest in air-cooled models in particular is at an all-time high. Early cars are quite expensive, and even the once-unloved 912 can push past $50,000. Any rare, racy model is worth a good chunk of change, as is any Turbo in clean original condition. Just be on the lookout for rust, as 911 bodies weren't fully galvanized until the mid-Seventies. Magnesium crankcase cars can present their own problems, too.
Among Seventies models, SCs are generally less valuable than the slightly more refined Carrera 3.2. Most buyers pay a big premium for 1987-1989 cars with the G50 gearbox. Of this generation, a Turbo with the G50 gearbox is the most desirable model, followed closely by the Clubsport.
For a long time, 964s were the black sheep among air-cooled Porsches, but they’ve had a real renaissance lately. The RS America, once the ugly duckling of Porsche showrooms, commands huge money today, as does the rare Turbo 3.6.
993s are generally the most expensive air-cooled cars (save for pre-’74 “longhood” models), as they offer great refinement mixed with old-school charm. Top of the market is the extremely rare 993 Turbo S, followed closely by the non-S Turbo. For driving enjoyment, there isn't really a bad 993.
In general, expect to pay more for a 911 with a manual transmission, and have a Porsche specialist perform a pre-purchase inspection on any car you’re interested in buying. Well-maintained 911s can rack up tons of miles reliably, and smartly-modified examples can sometimes even command a premium over stockers. As with any vintage car purchase, beware basket cases, shoddy mods, or questionably-repaired wrecks.
Among the 996 generation, there are deals to be had, though the special models, the GT2s, GT3s and GT3 RSes, are climbing in value, as are the Turbos. Be wary of IMS issues, but don’t fear a 996 with a documented IMS bearing upgrade. It’s a similar story with newer generations—GT-series cars command a big premium, and the ultra-limited-edition models like the 911 R sell for huge bucks.
The Ones to Get
Early 911s are beloved, and each evolution has something special to offer. Aim for a good, clean example that’s been well maintained.
Among G-Series cars, the Carrera 3.2 makes an excellent all-rounder, though there are deals to be found in the SC world. Coupes are more valuable than Targas and Cabriolets.
Collectors love Turbos, especially the early 3.0-liter cars and the rare five-speed 1989 models. Since Turbo Cabriolets and Targas are rare, they command a premium.
One of the best 964s is probably a basic, manual Carrera 2, though the Turbos have appeal too. RS models are worth a ton right now.
You really can't go wrong with a 993, though the Turbo is a true masterpiece. It's the closest thing to a 959 without the price tag.
In the 996 generation, collectors only look at the GT cars, leaving drivers free to pick from affordable Carreras and not-too-pricey Turbos. A great way into the 911 world.
Same deal for the 997 and 991 generations, just add a bit more money across the board. If you can find, and afford, a 997 GT3 RS, especially a 4.0, buy it.
Notable Issues
Early cars are very susceptible to rust, especially if they've been crashed and repaired.
Most air-cooled 911 engines leak a little oil. They're fairly durable, if expensive, to maintain. Aluminum-crankcase cars are the easiest to own.
IMS bearing failure isn’t the guaranteed disaster you may have heard it to be, but do some careful research before buying a susceptible car. By now, most of the affected models that are still running and driving have had the upgraded bearing installed.
Technical specifications
Critical Reception
"We tested the car very early in its career and we found some imperfections which undoubtedly will be eliminated as production gets underway and experience is accumulated. With its 6-cyl engine and with solid, high-quality construction, the 911 will always be a comparatively expensive car. But because the basic qualities are far above average, it undoubtedly rates in the top class among modern GT cars."
-Road & Track, March 1965: 911 (Base Model)
"Mostly it’s the engine's state of tune. The power has been moved up the rpm scale as well as up, and there’s so little punch at low revs and off the boost that the initial reaction was disappointment: Porsche had played a shabby trick, removed the power and tried to con the public by leaving the whale-tail and bulging fenders. Wrong. Keep the pedal down until boost comes on and the impression is one of profound respect. . . for drivers whocan drive this car to its limit."
-Road & Track, January 1986: 911 Turbo 3.3
"Porsches have always been fast (even the earliest 91 Is topped 140 mph). But with 250 bhp on tap, the Carrera 4 is the fastest normally aspirated production 911 ever built. Unlimbered, the 964 will do more than 160 mph, which puts it in the same league as the 911 Turbo and 928 (Zuffenhausen’s former supercars). The Carrera 4 is super too, in more ways than its brethren. It’s still the quintessential driver’s car, but with the spirit and manners of a thoroughbred (not a wild stallion). It’s the best 911 yet."
-Road & Track, 1990 Porsche Special: 964 Carrera 4
"In most situations, the balance is nearly neutral, with sheer grip and unflappable composure being the overriding sensations. Never before has 400 horsepower been more easily or efficiently channeled to the ground."
-Road & Track, July 1995: 993 Turbo
"Let’s get down to driving, and a very bold pronouncement. Namely, the 1999 911 Carrera is the best Porsche built to date. Crank up the engine (yes, the ignition key is still on the left), slip 'er into gear and hang on. When 296 German ponies reach full gallop, you’ve got a tiger by the tail. A tiger that drives like a pussycat."
-Road & Track, Sports and GTs 1999 Road Test Annual: 996 Carrera
"Late night Autobahn hours are open season for high-speed runs if you can find a good stretch—and we have. Here is where the extra downforce and stability from the new front canards and rear-wing endplates shine. Even as we approach redline in 6th gear, the 4.0 can be driven with fingertips (though not recommended), 260 km/h…280 km/h…300km/h…323 km/h (200 mph)! And just like that, I’m hooked again. Perhaps the digital speedometer is little off—Porsche says the top speed of the car is 193, on a flat road. But even that doesn’t matter. This is the 4.0 and it’s perfect."
-Road & Track, October 2011: 997 GT3 RS 4.0
"Pressed through the 14 unfamiliar corners of the Circuito de Gaudix in Granada, Spain, the GT3's big grip is apparent, but the more we settle in and the faster we go, the more we can appreciate the stability and ease with which the GT3 moves near its limit. It's easy to imagine you're Hurley Haywood lapping for hours on end, clipping off consistent laps for the duration of a tank of fuel. That ease translates to the canyon roads that carve into Spain's Sierra Nevada Mountains. Among the Andalusian cyclists and Seat drivers, the stability and grip are lifesavers, but even at public-road speeds the buzzing feedback and magical flat-six keep the GT3 entertaining, it's made even more so by the manual gearbox."
-Road & Track, May 2017: 991.2 GT3
"The 992 is undeniably more capable, comfortable, versatile. It’s a car on 21-inch wheels that rides like a Bentley. It’s a masterclass interior, crammed inside a car that just sings during tidy, triple-digit drifts. It’s a riot on track, and a float tank during commutes. For most modern customers, that’s probably perfect."
-Road & Track, January 2019: 992 Carrera S
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