There is a reason this is such an automotive Icon!
written on 03-27-2015
Turbo AWD 2dr Coupe (3.6L 6cyl Turbo 6M)
So here's the deal, this is my only car and I daily drive it year round in Toronto. It had 118,000km on it when I bought it and two years later I've put on another 50,000km. Its fast, sexy, comfortable, built to last a lifetime, quite practice and oh so much fun! We've take it on long road trips, to the cottage, to get groceries, fishing... you get the idea. With just an engine chip and a few little things it runs 11.7 @ 120 MPH in the 1/4 mile... plus when the snow flies the AWD makes it I've owned a lot of nice cars and I'm convinced this is automotive perfection. Timeless design and these things are only going to be going up in value - just look at the 911 Turbo's of the past.
This is our 4th Porsche (2nd water cooled) and its the best we've ever owned. The power is exceptional. Handling is superb. Comfortable to drive - great seats. This car looks fabulous. I recommend the non-turbo for a few reasons. The Carrera is lighter, has a true Porsche feel and you can get an extended warranty - should be purchased. The Turbo is incredible, but the all wheel drive takes some of the challenges out of driving. I like the feeling of knowing where the traction limits are. I think this is what makes a 911 such a fun car to drive. The tail gets a little loose, but not like the older 993 and 911. If you're going to drive this car hard, you need to pay attention.
Car-girl analogies are a bit cliche but my experience with the 911 turbo is like a regular guy dating a German Supermodel. The first date is an intimidating experience that makes you feel twitchy, nervous, and out of place. After some time together, it becomes apparent that the supermodel is very special but also a "regular girl" with a wonderful personality. You do not have to drive fast to have fun in the turbo. With the windows down and the sunroof open you can hear the purr of the twin turbo flat 6 and you can't help but feel happy. I think I am beginning to understand the reasons behind the Porsche 911's legendary reputation.
I thought about a Caymen S, a 993 or maybe an older air cooled 911. Then I drove the 996. Done! My 996 can be driven at 35 MPH on city streets all day long. Or on the freeway at 65 MPH. Then I downshift and push the pedal! This car is phenomenal! Suspension can be tricky on corners at high speed. Great feedback. Insane braking. Comfortable to drive. Bose stereo is very nice for a small car like this. Definitely get one if you can afford it!
I bought it late 2004 after crashing my '94 SL500 (183,000 miles). This car is seriously fun to drive. Passengers might complain about the very firm ride; but I am all smiles as I straighten every curve! My only real complaint is the Porsche tax, which makes the Mercedes tax look reasonable. However, this car has been the most reliable German car that I've owned. The rear main seal failed at 99,500 miles (replaced under 100,000 mile warranty), the ignition key housing cracked (not a warranty item), I replaced the clutch when the rear main seal failed, the cooling system leaked twice, and the ac condenser had to be replaced. This is car is not an Infiniti. Otherwise, routine maintenance.
As expected, the Porsche 911 Turbo's acceleration is the stuff of legends. Leaving the line is like blasting off from a launch pad. The all-wheel-drive grip and manual transmission encourage a delicate yet aggressive starting-line technique. If you get too aggressive off the line, the rear axles will do the two-step hop, fighting back and forth for grip. Since that doesn't allow for the smoothest of launches, a lower rpm before letting out the clutch seemed to be the better answer. Once moving, the revs come up so fast that it's hard to catch second gear before hitting the 6,750-rpm rev limiter. Into second gear, you actually have a second or so to think before grabbing third and then, just as quickly, fourth. The six forward gear ratios are so closely spaced that it does require fourth gear to get through the quarter-mile.
We typically start with the braking portion of the test in order to test the brakes at their coolest. We had just set up some new parameters in the computer, and our first run ended up being a bust with no reading. The second and third runs were also busts due to technical problems. On the fourth run we got it right. Since it took us until the fourth run to get any reading at all, we're sure that the Porsche could have been slightly better with completely cold brakes. That said, for all four runs the Porsche stopped straight, true and incredibly quick. We can only wonder about how good it could have been.
Surprisingly, this Porsche was not as stable as the Carrera 4 Coupe we had tested last fall. Add on 115 throttle-induced oversteering horses and the rear is bound to move around some more. During the first few runs, the rear felt planted and we got some really good run times. But as we got more heat in the tires, the back end seemed to go away. It was a handful. The steering has a non-assisted feel to it, even though it does have power steering. After many years of driving over-assisted steering, we found this to be a pleasant surprise. The quickest way through the cones was to drive with as little movement from the rear as possible; in other words, a nice tight line. Even with the PSM engaged, the rear never felt as planted as we would have liked. That being said, the 911 Turbo did go much faster through the cones than the previously tested Carrera 4.