all the models from 1963 to 1998

The 996

1998-now

In 1998 the new Porsche 911, also known as the 996 was introduced. This car had the very important mission of rescuing Porsche as a independent car-manufacturer. For now that seems to be working as Porsche is doing well.

the 996's dash

This new 911 is the first in 34 years that is so new compared with the previous models. First all of the bodywork is complete new. As is the interior and the suspension. The headlights, like a lot of other components are shared with the boxster, but Porsche implies they were designed for the 911, and then used for the boxster.The typical curved flanks have made way for a smooth new look. Door handles are now flush fitted. Even the so much loved air-cooled engine, was after 34 years replaced by a water-cooled one (picture below) for environmental reasons. The overall length of the car has increased by 185mm and width has increased by 30mm. Despite of all these changes I really like the looks of the new car.

the 3.0 water-cooled engine

The 911 keeps impressing even when you look the numbers. Allthough the new engine is now watercooled, the car is bigger in all directions and has more electrical toys then ever, the car actually weighs 50 kg's less then the 993 and it weighs only 100 kg's more than the golf IV GTI.
The engine volume was decreased 200 cc to 3387 cc, but the power is up 14 bhp. to 296 bhp. With all of this power Porsche claims it should do 0-100 km/h in 5,2 seconds, which makes it just as fast as the Ferrari 456 GT, faster than the Honda NSX, the jaguar XK8, the Aston Martin DB7 and V8, the BMW M3 and most other cars in this market. The new Turbo will even be much faster. It think it will have over 400 bhp, wich should be sufficient to make it one of the fastest production cars on the market.

The 996 showing it's internals

And even if there are some faster cars on the market, the 911 will probably beat them on looks. The rear of the car is absolutely brilliant! I think the back of the car is definitely the best feature of the new design. It seems like the designers felt guilty about designing those head-lights, and wanted to make up for that with the rear lights.

Allthough I really like the new car I'm still not sure wether this car is a worthy bearer of the 911 type-badge. The 996 now looks like a modern car. That's ok, because it is a modern car. But on the other hand I wonder if a 911 should be so 'slick'. The 911 has always been different from other cars. No other manufacturer would have continued to improve upon a car, that has such a difficult lay-out. The roadholding of the first 911's was so bad, people would lay bricks in the nose of the car to keep it on the road. Because there was so much weight at the back of the car you could, when taking a corner a bit to fast, suddenly be doing 80 km/h ---backwards. The 911 was notorious for suddenly spinning without any prior warning. Driving a 911 you always had to be carefull not to push it to far. The 911 was for experienced drivers only. Because of this behaviour the 911 became so legendary. The roadholding improved over the years, but the 911 never lost it's sting.

a silver 996

Compared to that the 996 is much more civilized. As one magazine said:

'It simply goes where you point it. It enhances your skill, rather than punishing you for the lack of it.'

Another magazine described the feelings of most 911 enthousiasts:

So obviously has Porsche shifted the values of its foodsoldier that, for the first time ever, it is no longer accurate to call the 911 a sports car.
Although it lacks decent rear seat space, the 911 is more grand tourer than sports car now. And that can be regarded in two distinctly different ways: as a possitive step forwards that will stand the model in fine stead come the next century; or as a crying shame that one of the most characterful and evocative cars of our time has all but dissapeared. In reality of course it is both.

A modern car should be perfect in every way, but a 911 should always have it's peculiarities, because they make a 911 what it is.

the 996 interior

Well enough sentiment for now. The porsche engineers really had no other choice. In order to survive the 911 had to attract more buyers, instead of the select group of 911 devotees. And this design probably will succeed in that. Every Porsche-fan should agree that the survival of Porsche is the most important thing, and if this car will manage that, so be it!
Well maybe the true spirit of the 911 will revive, when the new turbo and RS versions of the 996 will be launched. For now we will have to do with the 911 as is.

The 1999 911 Carrera 4

The new shape of the car means that aerodynamics have improved. The drag co-efficient has been lowered from 0.33 to 0.30. This was achieved by the sloping of the headlights and the windscreen. Doorhandles and glass are now flush fitted. Because of this there is very little wind noise, so you can hear the flat-six water-cooled engine rev up to the red line at 7000 rpm. The engine becomes really powerfull at 2800rpm. Acceleration is served up in one long, seamless rush from here on, terminating at a 7500rpm limiter that is set purely for engine-longevity. Driving in fifth gear you'd be doing about 247 km/h. Shifting to sixth gear you will reach the top speed of 280 km/h, which seems adequate to me.

The cabriolet

911 Carrera and Cabriolet

In the summer of 1998 Porsche introduced the cabriolet version of the 996. The previous Cabriolet's had always been based on the coupé.
The new Cabriolet however was designed simultaniously with the coupé, making it possible to optimize the body for both models, instead of modifying a coupé by cutting the roof off. The result is no doubt the best 911 Cabriolet ever.

911 Cabriolet with top closed

I think the car looks great. The folded top is now integrated in the bodywork instead of placed on top of it. Even with the top closed or with the standard hard-top the car still looks fantastic. According to the people who drove it, it is almost as stiff as the coupé The 996 Cabriolet is definitly a desirable car!

1998-1999 models

The 1998 911 Carrera 4

The new Carrera 4 will be available in november. The four-wheel drive system now only weighs 50 kg more then the conventional two-wheel drive system. The Carrera 4 is also equiped with the new PSM system (Porsche Stability Managent), wich is a system like Mercedes' ESP. The PSM makes it almost impossible to loose control over the car. It uses the individual brake at each wheel to control the car under extreem conditions. All 1999 911's will have clear indicator lenses, making them better distinguishable from the boxster, and tinted rear lights. The dots on the rear bumper of this car are from the parking-aid system, measuring distance between the car and the nearest object.

The 911 GT3

The 1999 911 GT3

The new 911 GT3 was recently introduced (march 1999).
The GT3 uses the 3.6 liter engine from the 911 GT1. It delivers 360 bhp and it allows the GT3 to accelarate from standstill to 100 km/h in only 4.8 seconds. To handle this extra speed the GT3 has a larger front-spoiler, a rear-wing and some other modifications.
Although from a driving point of view this GT3 is the most desirable 911 from the current range. I think all the spoilers and bolt-on-items make the GT3 look like it was tuned by Toyota.
Because of emission-regulations the GT3 is only available in europe.

Tuners

996 - the Strosek way

As all 911's this car will no doubt become popular with the tuners.
I especially love this Strosek-guy! He did exactly what I wanted somebody to do to the 911. I Think the result is brilliant. This 911 is ten times more beautiful then the car with standard headlights. Still I hope he will go one step further and develop new front wings for this car, like he did for the previous models, but till then this headlight cover will do just fine. I think these wheels really match this car's slick looks. Besides the headlight covers and the wheels, Strosek also designed a new front bumper, side-skirts and door-mirrors. He didn't go overboard and I think this car looks refined instead of dressed-up. The low ride-height of this Strosek-911 make it look even faster than it is. Al this beauty has it's price: These four wheels and tires alone already cost 9545 DM (about 5000 dollars), I don't even want to know what the other parts cost.