The History Of Porsche 911
The Porsche 911 (pronounced as Nine Eleven, German: Neunelfer) is a sports car made by Porsche AG of Stuttgart, Germany. The famous, distinctive, and durable design is notable for being rear engined like the Porsche-designed Volkswagen Beetle it had been based on. It was also air-cooled until the introduction of the all-new Type 996 in 1998. Since its introduction in autumn 1963, it has undergone continuous development.
Since its inception the 911 has been modified, both by private teams and the factory itself, for racing, rallying and other types of automotive competition. It is often cited as the most successful competition car ever, as the normally aspirated 911 Carrera RSR in the mid 1970s has won major world championship sports car races such as Targa Florio, Daytona, Sebring or Nürburgring outright even against prototypes. The 935 turbo also added the coveted 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1979.
In the international poll for the award of Car of the Century, the 911 came fifth after the Ford Model T, the Mini, the Citroën DS and the Volkswagen Beetle. It is the most successful surviving application of the air (now water) cooled opposed rear engine layout pioneered by its original ancestor, the Volkswagen Beetle, having increased its original 25 PS more than tenfold, or 30fold in turbocharged race cars. It is the third-oldest sports car nameplate still in production, behind the Chevrolet Corvette, and the Nissan Skyline.
Not all of the Porsche 911 models ever produced are mentioned here. The listed models are notable for their role in the advancements in technology and their influence on other vehicles from Porsche.
The car was and is always sold as 911, although the articles below use Porsche's internal classifications:
- Porsche 911 classic (1964-1989)
- Porsche 964 (1989-1993)
- Porsche 993 (1993-1998) wide body
- Porsche 996 (1999-2004) all new body and water-cooled engines
- Porsche 997 (2004-Present)
"Carrera", "GT3", "Turbo", etc. refer to the specific model trim (they are all 911s).
The series letter (A, B, C, etc.) is used by Porsche to indicate the revision for production cars. It often changes annually to reflect changes for the new model year. The first 911 models are the "A series", the first 993 cars are the "R series".)
Porsche 911 classic (1963–1989)Main article: Porsche 911 classic
The Porsche 911 classic was developed as a much more powerful, larger, more comfortable replacement for the Porsche 356, the company's first model, and thus essentially a sporting evolution of the Volkswagen Beetle. The new car made its public debut at the 1963 Frankfurt Motor Show (German: Internationale Automobil-Ausstellung).
It originally was designated as the "Porsche 901" (901 being its internal project number). However, Peugeot protested on the grounds that in France it had exclusive rights to car names formed by three numbers with a zero in the middle. So, instead of selling the new model with another name in France, Porsche changed the name to 911. It went on sale in 1964, giving buyers their most competent alternative rival yet to the Jaguar E Type.
The earliest edition of the 911 had a 130PS (96kW) flat-6 engine, in the "boxer" configuration like the 356, air-cooled and rear-mounted, displaced 1991cm³ (cc) compared with the 356's four-cylinder, 1600cc unit. The car had four seats although the rear seats were very small, thus the car is usually called a 2+2 rather than a four-seater (the 356 was also a 2+2). It was mated to a four or five-speed manual "Type 901" transmission. The styling was largely by Ferdinand "Butzi" Porsche, son of Ferdinand "Ferry" Porsche. Erwin Komenda, the leader of the Porsche car body construction department, was also involved in the design.
The 356 came to the end of its production life in 1965, but there was still a market for a 4-cylinder car, particularly in the USA. The Porsche 912, introduced the same year, served as a direct replacement, offering the 356's 4-cylinder, 1600cc, 90hp (67kW) engine inside the 911 bodywork.
In 1966 Porsche introduced the more powerful 911S, the engine's power raised to 160PS (118kW). Alloy wheels from Fuchs, in a distinctive 5-leaf design, were offered for the first time. In motorsport at the same time, installed in the mid-engined Porsche 904 and Porsche 906, the engine was developed to 210PS (154kW).
In 1967 the Targa version was introduced as a "stop gap" model. The Targa had a stainless steel-clad roll bar, as Porsche had, at one point, thought that the NHTSA would outlaw fully open convertibles in the US, an important market for the 911. The name "Targa" (which means "shield" in Italian) came from the Targa Florio sports car road race in Sicily, Italy in which Porsche had notable success, with seven victories since 1956, and four more to come until 1973. This last win in the subsequently discontinued event is especially notable as it was scored with a 911 Carrera RS against prototypes entered by Italian factories of Ferrari and Alfa Romeo. The road going Targa was equipped with a removable roof panel and a removable plastic rear window (although a fixed glass version was offered alongside from 1968).
The 110PS (81kW) 911T was also launched in 1967 and effectively replaced the 912. The staple 130PS (96kW) model was renamed the 911L. The 911R had a very limited production (20 in all), as this was a lightweight racing version with thin aluminium doors, a magnesium crankcase, twin-spark cylinder heads, and a power output of 210PS (154kW).
In 1969 the B series was introduced: the wheelbase for all 911 and 912 models was increased from 2211to 2268mm (87to 89¼in), an effective remedy to the car's nervous handling at the limit. The overall length of the car did not change: rather, the rear wheels were relocated aft. Fuel injection arrived for the 911S and for a new middle model, 911E. A semi-automatic Sportomatic model, composed of a torque converter, an automatic clutch, and the four speed transmission, was added to the product lineup.
The 2.2L 911E was called "The secret weapon from Zuffenhausen". Despite the lower power output of the 911E (155PS, 114kW) compared to the 911S (180PS, 132kW) the 911E was quicker in acceleration up to 160km/ h (100mph).
The 1972–1973 model years consisted of the same models, but with a new, larger 2341cc (142in³) engine. This is universally known as the "2.4L" engine, despite its displacement being closer to 2.3 litres. The 911E and 911S used mechanical fuel injection (MFI) in all markets. The 911T was carbureted. In January, 1973, US 911Ts were switched to the new K-Jetronic CIS (Continuous Fuel Injection) system from Bosch.
With the power and torque increases, the 2.4L cars also got a newer, stronger transmission, identified by its Porsche type number 915. Derived from the transmission in the Porsche 908 race car, the 915 did away with the 901/ 911 transmission's "dog-leg" style first gear arrangement, opting for a traditional H pattern with first gear up to the left, second gear underneath first, etc.
911S models also gained a discreet spoiler under the front bumper to improve high-speed stability. With the car's weighing only 1050kg (2315lb), these are often regarded as the best classic mainstream 911s. For racing at this time, the 911 ST was produced in limited numbers (the production run for the ST only lasted from 1970 to 1971. The cars were available with engines of either 2466cc or 2492cc, producing 270PS (199kW) at 8000rpm. Weight was down to 960kg (2166lb). The cars had success at the Daytona 6Hours, the Sebring 12 Hours, the 1000 km Nürburgring and the Targa Florio.
911 Carrera RS (1973 and 1974)
These models, valued by collectors, are considered by many to be the greatest classic 911s all-time. RS stands for Rennsport in German, meaning race sport in English. The Carrera name was reintroduced from the 356 Carrera which had itself been named after Porsche's class victories in the Carrera Panamericana races in Mexico in the 1950s. The RS was built so that Porsche could enter racing formulae that demanded that a certain minimum number of production cars were made. Compared with a standard 911S, the Carrera 2.7 RS had a larger engine (2687cc) developing 210PS (207hp/ 154kW) with MFI, revised and stiffened suspension, a "ducktail" rear spoiler, larger brakes, wider rear wheels and rear fenders. In RS Touring form it weighed 1075kg (2370lb), in Sport Lightweight form it was about 100kg (220lb) lighter, the saving coming from the thin-gauge steel used for parts of the bodyshell and also the use of thinner glass. In total, 1580 were made, comfortably exceeding the 500 that had to be made to qualify for the vital FIA Group 4 class. 49 Carrera RS cars were built with 2808cc engines producing 300PS (221kW).
In 1974, Porsche created the Carrera RS 3.0 with K-Jetronic Bosch fuel injection producing 230PS (169kW). It was almost twice as expensive as the 2.7 RS but offered a fair amount of racing capability for that price. The chassis was largely similar to that of the 1973 Carrera RSR and the brake system was from the Porsche 917. The use of thin metal plate panels and a spartan interior enabled the shipping weight to be reduced to around 900kg (1984lb).
The Carrera RSR 3.0 was sold to racing teams, and scored outright wins in several major sports car races of the mid 1970s. Also, a prototype Carrera RSR Turbo (with 2.1L engine due to a 1.4x equivalency formula) came second at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1974 and won several major races, a significant event in that its engine would form the basis of many future Porsche attempts in sportscar racing. Save for the earlier Porsche 917, it can be regarded as Porsche's start of its commitment to turbocharging also in road cars.
G- series (1974 and later)
Model year 1974 saw three significant changes. First, the engine size was increased to 2687cc giving an increase in torque. Second, was the introduction of impact bumpers to conform with low speed protection requirements of US law, these bumpers being so successfully integrated into the design that they remained unchanged for 15years. Thirdly, the use of K-Jetronic CIS Bosch fuel injection in two of the three models in the line up— the 911 and 911S models, retaining the narrow rear fenders of the old 2.4, now had a detuned version of the RS engine producing 150 and 175PS (110 and 129kW) respectively.
The Carrera 2.7, now a regular production model, inherited the wider rear wings of the RS together with its 210PS (154kW) MFI engine and was indeed mechanically identical to the 1973 RS and still weighed the same at 1075kg (2370lb). All three models were given high backed front seats.
The 930 Turbo was introduced in 1975 (see below). The Carrera 3.0 was introduced in 1976 with what was essentially the Turbo's 2994cc engine minus the turbocharger, and with K-Jetronic CIS although now developing 200PS (147kW).
Also produced in the 1976 model year for the U.S. market, was the 912E, a 4-cylinder version of the 911 like the 912 that had last been produced in 1969. It used the I-series chassis and the Volkswagen 2.0 engine from the Porsche 914. In all, 2099 units were produced. In 1976 the front-engine Porsche 924 took this car's place for the 1977 model year and beyond.
Position vis-à-vis the Porsche 928Main article: Porsche 928
Although Porsche was continuing with the development of the 911, executives were troubled by its declining sales numbers and in 1971 approved work on the Porsche 928. Larger, with a front-mounted V8 engine that was considerably more powerful than the contemporary 911's, the 928 was not only designed to eclipse its performance, it was designed to be a more comfortable car, a sporty grand tourer rather than a real sports car. The 928 sold reasonably well, and managed to survive from its introduction in 1977 until 1995. Throughout its 17years, despite its capabilities on the road, it never managed to outsell the 911. Not intended for racing, it achieved little success in the hands of privateers.
911 Turbo (Type 930) (1974–1989)Main article: Porsche 930
In 1974 Porsche introduced the first production turbocharged 911. Although called simply Porsche 911 Turbo in Europe, it was marketed as Porsche 930 (930 being its internal type number) in North America. The body shape is distinctive thanks to wide wheel-arches to accommodate the wide tires, and a large rear spoiler often known as a "whale tail" on the early cars, and "tea-tray" on the later ones. Starting out with a 3.0L engine 260PS (256hp/ 191kW), these early cars are known for their exhilarating acceleration coupled with challenging handling characteristics and extreme turbo lag. For 1978, capacity rose to 3.3L 300PS (296hp/ 221kW), and an intercooler was added which was placed under the rear spoiler.
Production figures of the basic 930 soon qualified it for FIA Group 4 competition, with the racing version called the Porsche 934 of 1976. Many participated at Le Mans and other races including some epic battles with the BMW 3.0 CSL "Batmobile". The wilder FIA Group 5 version called Porsche 935 evolved from the 2.1L RSR Turbo of 1974. Fitted with a slope nose, the 500+ PS car was campaigned in 1976 by the factory, winning the world championship title. Private teams went on to win many races, like Le Mans in 1979, and continued to compete successfully with the car well into the 1980s until the FIA and IMSA rules were changed.
Only in 1989, its last year of production, was the 930 equipped with a five-speed gearbox. The 930 was replaced in 1990 with a 964 version featuring the same 3.3 L engine. There have been turbocharged variants of each subsequent generation of 911.
In 1981, a Cabriolet concept car was introduced at the Frankfurt Motor Show. Not only was the car a true convertible, but it also featured four-wheel drive, although this was dropped in the production version. The first 911 Cabriolet debuted in late 1982, as a 1983 model. This was Porsche’s first cabriolet since the 356 of the mid-1960s. It proved very popular with 4,214 sold in its introductory year, despite its premium price relative to the open-top targa. Cabriolet versions of the 911 have been offered ever since.
It was during this time, that Porsche AG decided the long-term fate of the 911. In 1979 Porsche had made plans to replace the 911 with their new 928. Sales of the 911 remained so strong however, that Porsche revised its strategy and decided to inject new life into the 911 editions.
Peter W. Schutz (CEO Porsche AG 1981-1987) wrote:
“The decision to keep the 911 in the product line occurred one afternoon in the office of Dr. Helmuth Bott , the Porsche operating board member responsible for all engineering and development. I noticed a chart on the wall of Professor Bott’s office. It depicted the ongoing development schedules for the three primary Porsche product lines: 944, 928 and 911. Two of them stretched far into the future, but the 911 program stopped at the end of 1981. I remember rising from my chair, walking over to the chart, taking a black marker pen, and extending the 911 program bar clean off the chart. I am sure I heard a silent cheer from Professor Bott, and I knew I had done the right thing. The Porsche 911, the company icon, had been saved, and I believe the company was saved with it.”
911 SC sales totaled 58,914 cars.
911 3.2 Carrera series (1983–1989)
With the 911’s future ensured, 1983 saw the launch of a replacement for the successful SC series. It was the model year 1984 911 3.2 Carrera, reviving the Carrera name for the first time since 1975. The 911 3.2 Carrera was the last iteration in the original 911 series, with all subsequent models featuring new body styling with new brake, electronic and suspension technologies.
A new higher displacement motor, a 3.2liter horizontally opposed flat 6 cylinder, was utilized. At the time Porsche claimed it was 80% new. The new swept volume of 3164 cc was achieved using the 95mm bore (from the previous SC model) combined with the 1978 Turbo 3.3 crankshaft's 74.4mm stroke. In addition, higher domed pistons increased the compression ratio from 9.8 to 10.3:1 (although only 9.5:1 for the US market). New inlet manifold and exhaust systems were fitted. The 915 transmission was carried over from the SC series for the first three model years. In 1987, the Carrera got a new five-speed gearbox sourced from Getrag, model number G50 with proven Borg-Warner synchronizers. This slightly heavier version also featured a hydraulically-operated clutch.
With the new engine, power was increased to 207 bhp (152kW @ 5900 rpm) for North American-delivered cars and to 231 bhp (170kW @ 5900 rpm) for most other markets. This version of the 911 accelerated 0–60mph (100km/ h) in 5.4seconds and had a top speed of 150mph (242km/ h) as measured by Autocar. Factory times were more modest: 0-60mph time of 6.3seconds for the US version and 6.1seconds for cars outside the American market.
The brake discs were increased in size to aid in more effective heat dissipation and improved oil-fed chain tensioners were fitted to the engine. To improve oil cooling, a finned cooler replaced the serpentine lines in the front passenger fender well. This was further improved in 1987, with the addition of a thermostatically controlled fan.
Driving refinement and motor reliability were improved with an upgrade of the fuel and ignition control components to a L-Jetronic with Bosch Motronics 2 DME (Digital Motor Electronics system). An improvement in fuel-efficiency was due to the DME providing a petrol cut-off on the overrun. Changes in the fuel map & chip programming from October 1986, further improved the power to 217 bhp (160kW @ 5900 rpm) for North American delivered cars as well as for other markets requesting low emissions, like Germany. Custom-mapped chips remain a popular upgrade. The fuel relay that is mounted externally on the DME is known to be a weak point of the system.
Three basic models were available throughout the Carrera years – coupe, targa and cabriolet. When launched in 1984 in the United States, the prices of the 911 Carrera lineup were $31,950 for the coupe, $33,450 for the targa and $36,450 for the cabriolet. Almost indistinguishable from the SC, external clues are the front fog lights, which were integrated into the front valance in the Carrera. Very modest cosmetic changes were made throughout the lifespan of the Carrera, with a redesigned dash featuring larger air conditioning vents appearing in 1986.
In 1984, Porsche also introduced the M491 option. Officially called the Supersport, it was commonly known as the "Turbo-look". It was a style that resembled the Porsche 930 Turbo with wide wheel arches and the distinctive "tea tray” tail. It featured the stiffer turbo suspension and the superior turbo braking system as well as the wider turbo wheels. Sales of the Supersport were particularly strong for its first two years in the United States because the desirable 930 was not available.
The 911 Carrera Club Sport (CS) (option M637), 340 of which were produced worldwide from August 1987 to September 1989, is a reduced weight version of the standard Carrera that, with engine and suspension modifications, was purpose built for club racing. The CS had a blueprinted engine with hollow intake valves and a higher rev limit, deletion of: all power options, sunroof (except one example), air conditioning (except two examples), radio, rear seat, undercoating, sound insulation, rear wiper, door pocket lids, fog lamps, front hood locking mechanism, engine and luggage compartment lights, lockable wheel nuts and even the rear lid "Carrera" logo, all in order to save an estimated 70kg (155lb) in weight. With the exception of CSs delivered to the UK, all are identifiable by the "CS Club Sport" decal on the left front fender and came in a variety of colors, some special ordered. Some U.S. CS's did not have the decal installed by the dealer; however, all CS's have a "SP" stamp on the crankcase and cylinder head. The UK CS's were all "Grand Prix White" with a red "Carrera CS" decal on each side of the car and red wheels. Although the CS was well received by the club racers, because it cost more than the stock 911 but had fewer "creature comforts", it was not well received by the public in general. Consequently, according to Porsche Club of America and Porsche Club Great Britain CS Registers, only 21 are documented as delivered to the U.S. in 1988 with 7 in 1989, one to Canada in 1988 and 53 to the United Kingdom from 1987 to 1989.
The 911 Speedster (option M503), a low-roof version of the Cabriolet which was evocative of the Porsche 356 Speedster of the 1950s, was produced in limited numbers (2,104) starting in January 1989 until July 1989 as both a narrow body car and a Turbo-look. The narrow version was produced only 171 times. The Speedster started as a design under Helmuth Bott in 1983 but was not manufactured until six years later. It was a two-seat convertible that featured a low swept windshield.
Total production of the 911 3.2 Carrera series was 76,473 cars (35,670 coupé, 19,987 cabrio, 18,468 targa).
964 Series (1989–1993)Main article: Porsche 964
In late 1989, the 911 underwent a major evolution with the introduction of the Type 964.
Based with many innovation technologies from the 959 model, this would be a very important car for Porsche, since the world economy was undergoing recession and the company could not rely on its image alone. It was launched as the Carrera 4, the "4" indicating four-wheel-drive, a decision that surprised many but demonstrated the company's commitment to engineering by reminding buyers that race and rally engineering (of the 959) does affect road cars. Drag coefficient was down to 0.32. A rear spoiler deployed at high speed, preserving the purity of line when the vehicle was at rest. The chassis was redesigned overall. Coil springs, ABS brakes and power steering made their debut. The engine was increased in size to 3600cc and developed 250PS (184kW). The car was more refined, but thought by some journalists to have lost some purity of the 911's concept. The rear-wheel-drive version, the Carrera 2, arrived a year later.
The 964 incarnation of the 911 Turbo returned in 1990 after an absence from the price lists. Using a refined 3.3L engine of the previous Turbo, but two years later a turbo engine based on the 3.6L engine of the other models was introduced.
In 1989, Porsche introduced the ahead-of-its-time Tiptronic automatic transmission in the 964 Carrera 2, featuring adaptive electronic management and full manual control. The 964 was one of the first cars in the world offered with dual airbags standard (from 1991), the first being the Porsche 944 Turbo (from 1987).
In 1992, Porsche re-introduced a limited-edition RS model, inspired by the 1973 Carrera RS and emissions-legal in Europe only. Appeals from American customers resulted in Porsche developing the RS America of which 701 were built. However, while European RS was a homologation special, RS America was an option delete variant of the regular model. The RS 3.8 of 1993 had Turbo-style bodywork, a larger fixed whale tail in place of the movable rear spoiler, and a 300PS (221kW) 3746cc engine.
Since the RS/ RS America was intended as a no-frills, higher performance version of the 964, there were only four factory options available: a limited-slip differential, AM/ FM cassette stereo, air conditioning, and a sunroof. The interior was more basic than a standard 911 as well; for example the interior door panels lacked the armrests and door pockets and had a simple pull strap for the opening mechanism. Although RS America was about $10,000 cheaper than a fully-equipped C2 at the time of their production, these models now command a premium price on the used market over a standard 964 (RS Europe was about $20,000 more expensive than a C2).964 Turbo (1990–1993)
In 1990 Porsche introduced a Turbo version of the 964 series. This car is sometimes mistakenly called 965 (this type number actually referred to a stillborn project that would have been a hi-tech turbocharged car in the vein of the 959). For the 1991 and 1992 model years, Porsche produced the 964 Turbo with the 930's proven 3.3L engine, improved to produce 320PS (235kW). 1993 brought the Carrera 2/ 4's 3.6L engine, now in turbo-charged form and sending a staggering 360PS (265kW) to the rear wheels. With the 993 on the way, this car was produced through 1994 and remains rather rare.
993 Series (1993–1998)Main article: Porsche 993
The 911 was again revised in 1993 and was now known as the Type 993. This car was significant as it was the final incarnation of the air-cooled 911, introduced in 1964.
The exterior featured an all new front and rear end. The revised bodywork was smoother, having a noticeably more aerodynamic front end somewhat reminiscent of the 959. Styling was by Englishman Tony Hatter under the supervision of design chief Harm Lagaay.
Along with the revised bodywork, mechanically the 993 also featured an all-new multilink rear suspension that improved the car's ride and handling. This rear suspension was largely derived from the stillborn Porsche 989's rear multilink design, and served to rectify the problems with earlier models' tendency to oversteer if the throttle or brakes were applied while in mid-corner.
The new suspension, along with chassis refinements, enabled the car to keep up dynamically with the competition. Engine capacity remained at 3.6L, but power rose to 272PS (200kW) thanks to better engine management and exhaust design, and beginning with model year 1996 to 286PS (210kW). The 993 was the first Porsche to debut variable-length intake runners with the "Varioram" system on 1996 models. This addressed the inherent compromise between high-RPM power production and low-RPM torque production, and was one of the first of its kind to be employed on production vehicles. A new four-wheel-drive made a return as an option in the form of the Carrera 4, the rear wheel drive versions simply being called Carrera. A lightweight RS version saw capacity rise to 3.8L, with power reaching 300PS (221kW). The RS version had rear-wheel drive only.
Non-turbo models appeared that used the Turbo's wide bodyshell and some other components (the Carrera 4S and later the Carrera S).
The rare Targa open-topped model also made a return, this time with a large glass roof that slid under the rear window. The expensive air-cooled 993 Targa had a limited release between 1996–1998.993 Turbo (1995–1998)
A Turbo version of the 993 was launched in 1995 and became the first standard production Porsche with twin exhaust turbochargers and the first 911 Turbo to be equipped with permanent all-wheel-drive (in order to delete the AWD, one had to refer to the more powerful and race homologated GT2). The similarity in specification and in performance levels inspired several comparison road tests with the Porsche 959 . The 3.6L twin turbo M64/ 60 engine produced 408PS (300kW).
In 1997, Porsche introduced a limited run of 200 copies of the 993 911 Turbo S with even higher performance. The additions include a boost of 24PS (17.7kW) over the regular Turbo's 400PS (294kW). There are some modifications to the body as well, which includes a scoop on the side right behind the doors for engine cooling and vents on the whale tail rear spoiler.
993 Turbo models, because of raw power, reliability and their nature as the final air-cooled 911 Turbo cars still command a massive premium.
996 Series (1997–2004)Main article: Porsche 996
After 34years in production the famous air-cooled 911 was replaced by an all-new water-cooled model. Known as the Type 996, this car was a major leap for Porsche, although many of the traits that defined the 911 during past decades still remained with the new model it was finally a newly designed bodyshell (all previous 911's being based on the original 1963 shell). As with the 993 before it the 996 was also a significant model, but mainly for the way it was conceived and designed, and the effect it had on Porsche during the 1990s.
Pundits criticized the 996's styling a great deal, largely because it shared its headlamps— indeed much of its front end, mechanically— with the less expensive Boxster. The 996 had been on the drawing board first and was a more advanced car in some respects, but the cost-cutting seemed inappropriate for an expensive car. Otherwise, the Pinky Lai-penned shape followed the original Butzi Porsche design very closely, the Carrera model had a 0.30 Coefficient of drag. The interior was further criticized for its plainness and its lack of relationship to prior 911 interiors, although this came largely from owners of older 911s.
The Type 996 spawned over a dozen variations, including all wheel drive Carrera 4 and Carrera 4S (which had a 'Turbo look') models, the club racing-oriented GT3, and the forced-induction 996 Turbo and GT2. The Turbo, four-wheel-drive and twin-turbo, often made appearances in magazines' lists of the best cars on sale.
The Carrera and Carrera 4 underwent revisions for model year 2002, receiving the front headlight/ indicator lights which were first seen on the Turbo version two years earlier. This allowed the 911 to be more distinguishable from the Boxster. A mildly revised front fascia was also introduced, though the basic architecture remained.
Engine wise, displacement was 3.4L and power 300PS (221kW), increased in 2002 to 3.6L and 320PS (235kW).
US-spec water-cooled 911 Carrera
Starting from the water-cooled engines models, US-spec 911 Carreras don't come with rear limited-slip differential, except the 40th Anniversary 911, GT2, GT3 and Carrera GT. US-spec 911 turbo comes with limited-slip center differential, like the rest of the world.
996 GT3 (1999–2004)
Porsche unveiled a road-going GT3 version of the 996 series which was derived from the racing GT3. Simply called GT3, the car featured lightweight materials inside and out, including thinner windows, the GT3 was a lighter and more focused 911 with the emphasis on handling and performance. The suspension was lower and more aggressive than other 996s, leading to excellent handling and razor-sharp steering though the ride was very firm. Of more significance was the engine used in the GT3. Instead of using a version of the water-cooled units found in other 996s, the naturally-aspirated engine was derived from the Porsche 911 GT1-98 sports-prototype racing car and featured lightweight materials which enabled the engine to rev highly.
Its engine was a non-turbo 3600cc F6 rather than either engine from the pre-facelift and revised Carrera. It produced 360bhp at first, later increased to 381bhp at the whole 996 series' revision.
The GT3 did not feature rear seats.
996 Turbo (2000–2004)
In 2000, Porsche launched the Turbo version of the Type 996. Like the GT3, the new Turbo engine derived from the 911 GT1 engine and, like its predecessor, featured twin-turbos and now developed 415PS (309kW). Also like its predecessor the new Turbo was only available with all wheel drive. A US$17,000 factory option, the X50 package, was available that boosted the engine output to a tidy 450PS (331kW) with 620N·m (457ft·lbff) of torque across a wide section of the power band. With the X50 package in place the car could make 0–100km/ h (0–62mph) in 3.8seconds. This package is named as Turbo S in Europe. Later on toward the end of the 996 life cycle, a 996 Turbo S coupe also returned to the US along with a new debut of the Turbo S Cabriolet boosting even more power— 450PS (331kW) and 620N·m (457ft·lbff)— than the regular Turbo.
Styling-wise(coefficient of drag:0.32), the car was more individual than previous Turbos. Along with the traditional wider rear wings, the 996 Turbo had different front lights and bumpers when compared to the Carrera and Carrera 4. The rear bumper had air vents that were reminiscent of those on the Porsche 959 and there were large vents on the front bumper, which have been copied on the Carrera 4S and Cayenne Turbo.
997 Series (2005–Present)Main article: Porsche 997
In 2004 the 911 was heavily revised and the 996's replacement, the 997, was unveiled in July. The 997 keeps the basic profile of the 996, bringing the drag coefficient down to 0.28, but draws on the 993 for detailing. In addition, the new front fascia is reminiscent of the older generation, with the traditional "bug eye" headlamps. Its interior is also similarly revised, with strong links to the earlier 911 interiors while at the same time looking fresh and modern. The 997 shares less than a third of its parts with the outgoing 996, but is still technically very similar to it. Initially, two versions of the 997 were introduced— the rear wheel drive (2wd) Carrera and Carrera S. While the base 997 Carrera produced 325PS (239kW) from its 3.6L Flat 6, a more powerful 3.8L 355PS (261kW) Flat 6 powers the Carrera S. Besides a more powerful engine, the Carrera S also comes standard with 19inch (48cm) "Lobster Fork" style wheels, more powerful and larger brakes (with red calipers), a more sporty suspension, complete with PASM (Porsche Active Suspension Management) which allows for electronic adjustability of suspension settings, Xenon Headlamps, and Sport Steering wheel. In late 2005, Porsche announced the all wheel drive versions to the 997 lineup. Carrera 4 models (both Carrera 4 and Carrera 4S) were announced as 2006 models. Both Carrera 4 models are wider than their rear wheel drive counterparts by 1.26inches (32mm) to cover wider rear tires. 0–60mph (97km/ h) for a base Carrera 4 with the 325PS (321hp/ 239kW) engine was reported at 4.5seconds according to Edmunds.com. The 0–100km/ h (62mph) acceleration for the Carrera S with the 355PS (350hp/ 261kW) was noted to be as fast as 4.2seconds in a recent Motor Trend comparison, and Road & Track has timed it at 3.8seconds. The 997 lineup includes both 2 and 4 wheel drive variants, Carrera 2 and Carrera 4 respectively. The Targas (4 and 4S), released in November 2006, are 4-wheel drive versions that divide the difference between the coupes and the cabriolets with their dual, sliding glass tops. There were rumours that the 997 911 was to undergo an update for the 2008 model year, however these changes were held off until the 2009 model year. The official changes, originally found in leaked product guides , indicate the new 997 will receive a larger air intake in the front bumper, new headlights, new rear lights, new direct fuel injection engines built from the ground up, and the introduction of a dual-clutch gearbox called PDK. In talking with Porsche USA, it was learned that the 2009 models due out in April will be equipped with BlueTooth support in the communications system.
The Turbo version of the 997 series featured the same 3.6L twin-turbocharged engine as the 996 Turbo, but this time it developed 480PS (353kW/ 473bhp) and 620N·m (460ft·lbff) of torque. This was in part due to the 997's VTG (variable turbine geometry), which essentially combines the low-rev boost and quick responses of a small turbocharger with the high-rev power of a larger turbocharger. As well as producing more power and flexibility, the new turbocharger improved fuel consumption over the 996 Turbo. With these performance upgrades, it accelerates to 100km/ h (62mph) in 3.7seconds (with the manual transmission) and reaches a top speed of 310km/ h (193mph). However, these are official figures and Porsche is notable for being conservative about their power and performance ratings. Motor Trend Magazine has clocked the 997 Turbo's 0–60mph time in 3.2seconds with the Tiptronic transmission. Jeremy Clarkson on his "Thriller" dvd, showed that on a de-restricted stretch of autobahn with just the right downwards gradient, the car maxxed out 200Mph. The optional Sports Chrono overboost package increases torque to 680N·m (505ft·lbff) for short periods (maximum 10seconds) but over a narrower rev range.
The 997 Turbo features a new all wheel drive system, similar to the one found on the Porsche Cayenne. Featuring PTM (Porsche Traction Management) the new system incorporates a clutch-based system which varies the amount of torque to the front wheels, regardless of wheel slip front and rear. This, according to Porsche, aids traction and the handling by redirecting the torque to control oversteer or understeer, thus resulting in far more neutral handling, as well as greatly improved performance in all weather conditions (as opposed to older AWD system which gave the Turbo stability under hard acceleration).
Styling wise, as with the 996 Turbo the car featured more distinctive styling cues over the Carreras, one of the more distinctive elements the front LED driving/ parking/ indicator lights mounted on a horizontal bar across the air intakes. The traditional rear wing is a variation of the 996 bi-plane unit.
The 911 GT3, announced on February 24, 2006 is reported to accelerate 0–100km/ h in 4.1seconds and have a top speed of 310km/ h (193mph), almost as quick as the Turbo. Porsche's factory reports can be conservative though; Excellence magazine tested the 997 GT3 and recorded 0-100km/ h in 3.9seconds and a top speed of 312km/ h (194mph). The 997 GT3 was released in the summer of 2006. It was at that time crowned "the best handling car in America" by Motor Trend.
The Type 996 911 GT2 was superseded by the Type 997 GT2 in 2007. On July 16, 2007, Porsche sent out the first official press release concerning the 997 GT2. The new 911 GT2 arrived at dealerships on November 2007.
The 997 GT2 has a twin turbocharged 3.6 litre 6-cylinder engine, which generates 523hp (390kW) at 6500 rpm. The GT2 accelerates in 3.6seconds to 60miles per hour (97km/ h) and in 7.4seconds to 100mph (161km/ h) and has a maximum top speed of 204mph (328km/ h). This makes it the first street-legal 911 to exceed 200mph (322km/ h), with the exception of the 1998 911 GT1 race car (which is sometimes not considered a true 911 due to its mid-mounted engine). The Porsche 997 GT2 also has a curb weight of 3,175 lb (1,440kg), 505lb·ft (685N·m) of torque from 2200 to 4500 rpm, and a 6-speed manual gearbox.
The American auto publication Motor Trend recently tested a 2008 Porsche 911 GT2 0-60mph at 3.4seconds, and 11.4seconds at 127.9mph (205.8km/ h) for the quarter mile. The GT2 also recorded a braking distance from 60mph (97km/ h) to 0 of 98feet (30m) and recorded 1.10g lateral grip. The GT2 made an appearance on Top Gear, where it had a lap time of 1:19.5, faster than a Carrera GT by .3 of a second.
A few official pictures of the Porsche 997 GT2 have also been released to public recently , and more have been released through the GT2's official minisite. Its appearance slightly differs from its sister-car, the 911 (997) Turbo, in a few ways. It does not have fog lights in the front bumper, it has a revised front lip, it has a different rear wing (with two small air scoops on either side), and it has a different rear bumper (now featuring titanium exhaust pipes).
The 997 GT2 is also different from the 997 Turbo in that the GT2 is rear-wheel-drive rather than all-wheel-drive.
The GT2 was officially launched during the 62nd Frankfurt Motor Show, which is held biannually in Frankfurt, Germany.
In 2004, Sports Car International named the 911 number three on the list of Top Sports Cars of the 1960s, the Carrera RS number seven on the list of Top Sports Cars of the 1970s, and the 911 Carrera number seven on the list of Top Sports Cars of the 1980s. In addition, the 911 was voted Number 2 on Automobile Magazine's list of the "100 Coolest Cars". The 997 was nominated for the World Car of the Year award for 2005.
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