Review by it
Monday, May 16, 2016
- Upgraded liquid-cooled engines
- Excellent grip and driveability
- A reasonably priced supercar
The Type 996 is known as the experimental Porsche, mainly thanks to the body design and the introduction of a liquid-cooled engine. Being reasonably priced, the 911 is one of the best selling cars in its narrow market niche, although it’s hard to call over 50,000 sports cars sold every year a narrow niche. The 911 is Porsche’s all time most popular and successful model and although this particular generation is often accused of cutting corners, it’s still a popular choice among used sports car buyers.
Exterior and Interior
Anyone can recognise the classic 911 design that was created by Ferdinand Porsche in 1959. The production car that made its debut 4 years later catapulted the Porsche’s name to the stardom of the world’s most desirable cult vehicles. There were consecutive modernisations made to the 911 that were referred to as new generations. In reality these saw very few changes to the original architecture and concept of the 911 though. The Type 996 was the exception.
Although it has remained true to the body shape and the classic roof slope, it’s front end design is what some might call radical (many Porsche fans called it ridiculous). It decided to say farewell to the usual oval headlamps and replaced them with weirdly shaped optics that even made the car look a bit sad or grumpy. The designers received so much "feedback" from the public that they had no other option but revert back to the traditional oval headlamps in the next generation Porsche 911 that made debut in 2005.
The interior design is consistently good quality but it didn’t avoid criticism from the pickiest of Porsche buyers. The problem they had was that the 911’s interior was so similar to the "lower-class" Porsche Boxster. Everyone expected the 911 to feature something special that would set it apart from the Boxster. However, if you’ve never sat in a Boxster and the ’Class Struggle’ is not your sort of thing, you’ll enjoy the 911.
It’s done to a high standard, the front seats are very comfortable and come with various adjustments making it possible even for taller drivers to enjoy the 911. As for the rear row of seats, the 911 is a 2+2 coupe and it’s advisable to disallow access to the rear seats to anyone who is not a child. Alternatively, the +2 seats fold conveniently and open up a decent luggage space.
The newer Porsche has also upgraded the safety package, apart from the usual frontal air bags, there are side air bags and curtains.
Performance and Economy
Switching from the air-cooled engines has really untied the engineers’ hands. They’ve finally discovered that the 911 can be tuned; and the number of "horses" you can get out of the 3.6-litre opposite engine only depends on your imagination. Now that the engine is liquid-cooled, it has a better ability and this major change has transformed the 911 into a real supercar. With the top version of the engine producing 450bhp and 620Nm of torque, the car with the new engine performs superbly accelerating to 60mph in 4.1 seconds and can reach a top speed of 191mph. The connoisseurs will appreciate the 911 with index 4 denotes the all-wheel drive version. The 4s are available with either a 320bhp non-turbo or 420bhp turbo engine. The 911 is a proper supercar and its fuel consumption matches its image, the best you will achieve is 23mpg and this is unlikely.
Like to Drive
Sheer pleasure and enjoyment! It is still a rear-engine car with a heavy opposite V6 over the rear axle meaning that the car feels different than normal front-engine cars. With the gravity centre being so low, the car possesses excellent grip. Extra grip is offered by the all-wheel drive models.
Although the Tiptronic automatic gearbox is very precise and quick, the best option for active driving is the 6-speed manual gearbox. You don’t have to be afraid of this sporty gearbox, the clutch is actually very light; and the car is newbie-friendly. If you don’t mind the fuel consumption, the Porsche 911 is easy enough to drive to be your everyday car. Traction control is not included, but the car is so well-balanced that you don’t really need it.
Faults and Repairs
Although the Porsche is not as expensive as other supercars, you would have to budget for proper and frequent maintenance. The introduction of liquid-cooled engines has improved things the reliability and the 911 is now a very reliable car, but it does require regular servicing and the best possible maintenance conditions.