2004 – 2012 PORSCHE 911 (997)

For over 50 years, Porsche has honed the 911 into what it is today: a sports car like no other, revered for its performance, panache and, quite surprisingly, everyday usability. Unlike some of its rivals, the 911 is not a vehicle that must be kept, under all circumstances, under a plastic wrap or a climate controlled, vacuum chamber – far from it. The 911 was made to be driven! And the 997 generation, replacing the much criticized 996, brought with it a much needed breath of fresh air, both in terms of styling, but also of performance and handling.

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For starters, the biggest visual change compared to the 996 is represented by the headlamps – they are oval instead of being tear-drop shaped. The previous generation, under all its incarnations, be it a regular Carrera or a Turbo, has sported the same headlamps – don’t get us wrong, the present iteration does the same – but the Boxster did also. Stuttgart received rants after rants for allowing an entry level vehicle bear the same characteristics as its flagship, so they learned their lesson, and changes were made.

A more supple body was perfected with the aid of the wind tunnel, every panel on the car, save for the roof, was brand new and the little details, such as the air inlets in the wing mirrors that allowed the air to pass in a more efficient manner over the car’s body or the automatic rear spoiler made a world of difference.

The first models to come to market in 2004 were the Carrera and Carrera S. The former featured a 3.6 litre, 321 horsepower flat six, reused from the Carrera 996, while the latter was fitted with a larger displacement engine, to the tune of 3.8 litres and a maximum output of 350 horsepower. Four wheel drive versions of the Carreras, namely the Carrera 4 and Carrera 4 S, arrived to market towards the end of the autumn, in November 2005. A convertible model followed suit, with performance levels comparable to the coupe versions.

2006 was a hallmark year for Porsche enthusiasts, for the reason that the new 911 Turbo and the 911 GT3 were announced. The Turbo, a hyperactive road weapon, featured a twin turbocharged 3.6 litre flat six with 480 horsepower on tap and boasted a 0 to 62 miles per hour time of 3.5-3.7 seconds, depending on the transmission employed and the driver, amongst other variables. Utilizing twin BorgWarner variable geometry turbines so as to eliminate turbo lag below the 2.000 RPM mark, the Turbo was the death rival of the Ferrari F430. In 2007, Porsche announced the 911 Targa, which featured a retractable glass roof. An all wheel drive system was utilized by default, which made the model slightly slower than its counterparts, as the drivetrain’s added weight (and the complex roof mechanism) took its toll.

The second generation 997, introduced in 2009, presented important changes, amongst which we note the direct injection engines, modified suspension, the PDK gearbox – a dual clutch paddle shifter transmission and slightly revised front end. As the 997 was replaced with the novel 911 generation (post 2012) the prices for the former hade dropped, allowing for the purchasing of a exceptional car, regardless of moniker, be it Carrera S or the insane, wailing Turbo.

Going beyond the badge, the price tag and the status symbol grated by it, a Porsche 911 is so much more than a sports car. It is a work of art that has been in a process of continuous evolution for over five decades, enchanting and ensnaring enthusiasts worldwide. With its distinctive oval headlamps, the tear drop silhouette and the unmistakable howl coming out of the exhausts, the 911 is one hell of a vehicle to own, behold or race around the track.

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