OPINION The 997.1

997 is the factory designation for the 911 model manufactured and sold by Porsche between 2004 and 2012.

The Porsche 997 is an evolution of the preceding 911 iteration, the 996, with the most significant changes being interior and exterior styling, but including a modest increase in power. A new S version was also introduced, with additional power from a slightly larger engine, sports suspension, and sports exhaust. The (997) Carrera S had a newly redesigned 3.8 L engine, 355 hp (the 997 Carrera shares the same engine that was used in the 996) capable of a 4.7 seconds mark in the 0 – 100 Km/h and 300 Km/h as top speed. The X51 PowerKit factory option increases available power by 30 additional hp. Available with manual or Tiptronic transmission it was the latest version in using this automatic gearbox, firstly introduced in 1995 on the 993 generation and further developed in the 996 series. Tiptronic gearboxes were later substituted in 2008 on the 997.2 by PDK system (a dual-clutch gearbox) developed on the 956/962 racers during the 1980’s.

In the new car, the headlights reverted to the original oval-eye design, shifting from the teardrop style of the 996. Its interior was also revised, with some 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 similar to it.

Porsche 997 cabrio

For the first time, development of the cabriolet version of the 997 led the design and engineering effort at Porsche with the coupé following. Porsche applied the logic that if you started with the more difficult cabriolet challenges (for chassis stiffness) the coupé version would simply be more rigid. Despite additional weight, the cabriolet versions attain nearly the same performance figures as their coupé counterparts. Even the rear tail comes up slightly higher on the cabriolets to compensate for differences in drag over the canvas top vs. the smoother coupé shape.

Initially, two rear wheel drive versions of the 997 were introduced, the Carrera and Carrera S. While the base 997 Carrera produced 325 hp from its 3.6 L Flat 6 engine, a more powerful 3.8 L 355 hp Flat 6 powers the Carrera S. Besides a more powerful engine, the Carrera S also comes standard with more powerful and larger brakes (with red calipers), lowered suspension with PASM (Porsche Active Suspension Management: dynamically adjustable dampers), Xenon headlamps, and sports steering wheel.

In late 2005, Porsche announced the all-wheel-drive versions to the 997 lineup. Both Carrera 4 and Carrera 4S were announced as 2006 models. Both Carrera 4 are wider than their rear-wheel-drive counterparts by 32 mm to cover wider rear tires. The Targas (4 and 4S), released in November 2006, are 4-wheel-drive versions that make the difference between the coupés and the cabriolets with their dual, sliding glass tops inherited from the 996 and 993 lineups quite different from the traditional Targa (roll bar and soft tops) shape of the pre1970s and G Series models that would be found again in the 991 introduced in 2012.

The 997 is the most successful Porsche 911 of all times (from a commercial standpoint), having sold 100.000 units of the Gen1 alone, produced between 2005 and July 2007.

We consider the 997 Carrera S, as a perfect “daily driver” for a sports car lover. It keeps the traditional, iconic shape of the eternal 911 design, handles perfectly, moves effortlessly with spectacular acceleration not only from stand-still but also in the mid-range, and its braking power is enough to withstand the twistiest of the roads or a long track day. Comfortable and with the added benefit of its back seats that, if not needed for an adult (in emergency and short travelling situations) or for small children, can be used as extra luggage room, it covers the spirit of old 911s that “could be used from home to the track, race throughout the day, and drive you safely home afterwards”.

Tags : Porsche 911