Coming to replace the 993 was no easy task, especially while changing an essential part of the engine architecture by discontinuing the air-cooled units for the more efficient water-cooled, which raised a lot of eyebrows at the time in the Porsche community.
However, unbiased opinions recognised the benefits of the more modern engines even though the 996 generation had a few reliability issues.
As for the design, most people, myself included are not massive fans of the fried egg look. Though I have to admit the design grew on me over time, and I now find the 996 rather appealing, especially the compact format which is noticeably smaller than the latest generations.
The 996 was released in 1998 and was drastically different than the previous generation. The chassis was completely new, and it was the first time Porsche decided to completely upgrade it since the original 911. Apart from that, the main major change was obviously the water-cooled unit which was a disgrace for all air-cooled lovers, but was ultimately the best thing to do. It was initally offered with a 3.4 or 3.6L naturally aspirated flat 6 respectively producing 296hp and 320hp.
The Turbo version came in a year later and used a race derived engine (LeMans winning GT-1) with a 3.6L twin-turbo flat 6 taking the power up to 415hp. It also features all wheel drive which strongly helps the behaviour and usability of the car compared to the 930 for instance which was labelled as the widow maker… Aside from the GT3, the turbo is the one to have thanks to its performance, daily-driver potential and its more aggressive look and stance that makes the regular 996 look gentle.
There is not much love for the 996 generation. However, with other 911 generation prices being unattainable, the 996 can seem like a bargain. A regular version with the 3.4 or 3.6L can be acquired for as low as £12K! Be mindful of a good service history and maintenance as the cheapest options will generally be high milers, and of course, try to get the 3.6L if you can. A decent model with reasonable mileage will be around the £17 to £20K mark, while the more desirable Turbo will start from £25K for a driver’s example and from £30K to over £45K for a mint condition and low mileage one.
Get yours before people start to realise how great they are and prices start to climb up like the previous generations did.