2003 Porsche 911 Review

Pros & Cons

  • Sizzling performance, tenacious handling, legendary reputation.
  • Interior quality doesn't match sticker price, outlandish option prices.
List Price
$19,995

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Edmunds' Expert Review

With a drive this entertaining, it's no wonder that the 2003 Porsche 911 has so many fans.

Vehicle overview

Debuting in 1964 as a replacement for the aging 356 series, the Porsche 911 kept the basic Porsche tenets intact -- light weight, an air-cooled engine hung out aft of the rear wheels and a no-nonsense cockpit. The fearsome Turbo debuted in 1976 and, along with its blinding acceleration, sometimes taught overzealous or inexperienced (or both) drivers the meaning of drop-throttle oversteer -- a tendency for the tail to swing around if the driver jumps off the gas. During subsequent years, Porsche steadily increased power but also fine-tuned the suspension to the point that only the foolhardy could get into trouble while piloting the sharp-handling 911.

In 1999, the 911 underwent its first all-out "clean-sheet" redesign since its introduction in the mid-'60s. The new age 911 was slightly longer, wider and sleeker than any previous version. That year also saw a switch to a water-cooled version of the flat six, a seeming improvement from the standpoint of more efficient engine cooling and cabin climate control. But not everyone agreed; some car buffs flew the Porsche flag at half-mast. These diehards were afraid that some of the car's character was lost with the disappearance of the air-cooled design and its unique sound. They were partially right; even though the "new" 911's performance was impressive, the engine and exhaust were too subdued. Last year, along with more power was brought a better soundtrack that resurrected the intoxicating, metallic throbbing and full exhaust note that are unmistakably 911.

What's not to like? With MSRPs ranging from nearly $70,000 to $180,000, the Porsche heritage still includes sapping a big bundle of cash out of your wallet. The company also charges a fortune for many of the 911's options. But if you're looking for supercar performance in a legendary package, it's tough to top the 2003 Porsche 911.

2003 Porsche 911 models

There are six 2003 Porsche 911 models: the Carrera Coupe and Carrera Cabriolet, the all-wheel-drive Carrera 4 Coupe and Carrera 4 Cabriolet, the 911 Turbo and the 911 GT2. A huge list of options allows one to personalize their 911 with different wheels and interior trim. Be forewarned, however, that it's all too easy to jack up the price of a 911; some of the options can cost more than $7,000. We do recommend the stability control (PSM) option that can help prevent the car from skidding or spinning out of control.

2003 Highlights

Porsche finally puts a standard CD player in the 2003 Porsche 911. Five horsepower are mysteriously lost in non-Turbo 911s, meaning output is "only" 315 horses now.

Performance & mpg

Standard 911s have a 3.6-liter, rear-mounted, horizontally-opposed six-cylinder engine that produces 315 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque. The Turbo's figures jump to 415 hp and 413 lb-ft of torque. For $65,000 more than the Turbo, the GT2 offers 456 wild horses and 450 lb-ft of twist in a car that's 221 pounds lighter. This road rocket comes only in rear-wheel drive and doesn't have Porsche's stability control system. In other words, only highly skilled (and wealthy) drivers need apply.

Porsche offers the choice of either a six-speed manual or a five-speed Tiptronic S automanual transmission on all models except the GT2, which comes only with the manual gearbox.

All-wheel drive as well as stability control (PSM) is found on Carrera 4 and Turbo models. PSM is optional on the other 911s except for the GT2.

Safety

Side airbags and ABS are standard on all 911 models. Stability control comes on the Carrera 4 and Turbo and is optional on all the other 911s except for the GT2. No crash tests score were available for the 911 as of this writing.

Driving

Driven sedately, the muscle-bound 2003 Porsche 911 is docile and easy to drive. But stab the throttle and the car blasts through the first four gears like a roller coaster rushing downhill, with the urgent song of the flat six at full cry. Speed is reigned in quickly by easily modulated and incredibly powerful brakes that feel as though they could stop a semi in short order.

The 911 is equally at ease running through various turns, possessing dead neutral poise that belies the rear-engine architecture. The steering has a reassuring heft and plenty of feedback that allows one to easily settle into a rhythm.

In the ugly reality of rush-hour traffic, however, one quickly realizes why so many people opt for automatics in their sports cars. Work the 911's heavy clutch enough and you might expect your left leg to resemble Arnold's in his bodybuilding heyday. Fortunately, Porsche offers its Tiptronic-style automatic transmission as an option.

Interior

In spite of its lofty price tag, some of the 911's interior components could use some work. The control stalks feel flimsy and the lone cupholder is mounted too high, which could result in a spilt soda. Lastly, the sunroof opening is rather small, though one could buy a 911 Carrera Targa with its essentially oversized sunroof.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2003 Porsche 911.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

A decade of Porsches are lemons
autofahrer1,03/03/2013
Forget your prejudices about Porsches and German engineering. With the 996 and the Boxster (water cooled Porsches for over a decade until 2009) Porsche built and sold a car it knew had a self-destructive intermediate shaft bearing that could easily and without visible warning destroy the engine on any car, and has not issued a recall to correct the design defect. It has also not recalled the more common leaky main bearing seal. This is especially egregious because the 996 has the highest gross profit margin of any automobile ever in production. They could have replaced every engine on every 996 sold and still made a handsome profit. And yes, it is a hoot to drive.
The Every-Day Super Car
subzero288,12/23/2008
I bought a blue '03 C4S in Jan '08 with a 6-sp man & 64,000 miles on the odometer. Factory MSRP was over $82K (with destination), but I got it for 40. I had concerns 'cuz of the mileage, but it looked great, everything worked, the leather smelled new and the car rode as solid as a brinks truck. Having used it as a daily driver for 11 months, I can report that handling is phenomenal on a dry road (even with AWD and PSM, the car will spin if pushed in the wet), acceleration is sublime and the brakes are in a class of their own. The tear of the flat-6 when the revs pass 4000 makes the driver feel like he's in a race car. The C4S's gorgeous turbo-style body draws envious stares.
Go Baby Go!
Victoria517,09/21/2003
After driving a Merecedes, then a Corvette, my husband suprised me with a 1990 911 Cabriolet. That was three Porsches ago, and now my 2003 is my baby. My husband drives a 1996 993 Twin Turbo, so we are a Porsche family all the way! A benefit of this car that I would not tell my husband is that men check it out ALOT...which has made for some interesting conversations at red lights. ;)
911 Porsche delivers!
CWB,12/25/2003
The performance and handling of the Porsche 911 border on telepathic! It deleivers on the promise of exception performance, comfort nad reliability. This is a true driver's car; not Spartan but neither is it burdened with clutter and unecessay bells and wistles. What is most remarkable is that such a capable sports car can be so civilized!

Features & Specs

MPG
15 city / 22 hwy
Seats 4
6-speed manual
Gas
315 hp @ 6800 rpm
MPG
16 city / 24 hwy
Seats 4
6-speed manual
Gas
315 hp @ 6800 rpm
MPG
15 city / 21 hwy
Seats 4
5-speed shiftable automatic
Gas
315 hp @ 6800 rpm
MPG
14 city / 20 hwy
Seats 2
6-speed manual
Gas
456 hp @ 5700 rpm
See all Used 2003 Porsche 911 features & specs
More about the 2003 Porsche 911

Used 2003 Porsche 911 Overview

The Used 2003 Porsche 911 is offered in the following submodels: 911 Coupe, 911 Convertible, 911 GT2. Available styles include Carrera Rwd 2dr Cabriolet (3.6L 6cyl 6M), Carrera 4 AWD 2dr Cabriolet (3.6L 6cyl 6M), Carrera 4S AWD 2dr Coupe (3.6L 6cyl 6M), Carrera 4 Tiptronic AWD 2dr Cabriolet (3.6L 6cyl 5A), Carrera Rwd 2dr Coupe (3.6L 6cyl 6M), Carrera 4S Tiptronic AWD 2dr Coupe (3.6L 6cyl 5A), Carrera Tiptronic Rwd 2dr Cabriolet (3.6L 6cyl 5A), GT2 Rwd 2dr Coupe (3.6L 6cyl Turbo 6M), Turbo AWD 2dr Coupe (3.6L 6cyl Turbo 6M), Carrera Tiptronic Rwd 2dr Coupe (3.6L 6cyl 5A), Targa Tiptronic Rwd 2dr Coupe (3.6L 6cyl 5A), Turbo Tiptronic AWD 2dr Coupe (3.6L 6cyl Turbo 5A), and Targa Rwd 2dr Coupe (3.6L 6cyl 6M).

What's a good price on a Used 2003 Porsche 911?

Price comparisons for Used 2003 Porsche 911 trim styles:

  • The Used 2003 Porsche 911 Carrera is priced between $19,995 and$19,995 with odometer readings between 81352 and81352 miles.

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Which used 2003 Porsche 911s are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2003 Porsche 911 for sale near. There are currently 1 used and CPO 2003 911s listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $19,995 and mileage as low as 81352 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2003 Porsche 911.

Can't find a used 2003 Porsche 911s you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Porsche 911 for sale - 1 great deals out of 11 listings starting at $19,634.

Find a used Porsche for sale - 9 great deals out of 16 listings starting at $20,311.

Find a used certified pre-owned Porsche 911 for sale - 12 great deals out of 23 listings starting at $15,434.

Find a used certified pre-owned Porsche for sale - 12 great deals out of 18 listings starting at $19,915.

Should I lease or buy a 2003 Porsche 911?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out Porsche lease specials
Check out Porsche 911 lease specials