While the 996 will forever be remembered as the 911 every Porsche fan hated, the 997 continues to gain traction in the aftermarket and many believe this is the sweet spot in the 911s evolution, modern enough and comfortable enough while still giving you a healthy dose of performance that you get to enjoy and work for.
The base Carrera has essentially the same 3.6 L flat-6 engine that its predecessor, the Type 996 Carrera used, now good for 321 bhp @ 6800 rpm and with torque of 273 ft lbs @ 4250 rpm. The sprint from 0 to 60 mph is over in just 4.80 seconds and top speed is 177 mph. The quarter mile is over in a respectable 13.1 seconds. The Carrera S uses a new 3.8 L flat-6 engine producing 350 bhp and for the first time, put more of a performance gap between itself and the base 911.
The Carrera 2 featured a 3.6-liter flat-six engine mounted in the rear, same as the 996. It was mated to a new 6-speed manual or a 5-speed automatic. The Tiptronic gearbox is ok, but we would always opt for the manual. Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) is optional on the base car, and it has a good, but firmish ride for most roads, while the Sport setting feels every bump. The Carrera has assisted steering and brakes. The Carrera coupe was an overall better package than the 996 coupe.
Car and Driver said of the 997 Carrera:
This 911 is quieter, the ride is more comfortable, and the suspension absorbs bumps that would have jarred the rear end of the old model. The gearchange is faster and lighter, sweeter, yet a flatter and beefier torque curve reduces the need, if not the inclination, for cog swapping. The engine is more gutsy and responsive
The new styling fixed all the issues we had with the 996, giving the 997 a more classic 911 look and circular headlights solved the egg-eye issue forever. Sure, this is more evolution than revolution, but that is the 911 way. In the case of the 997, they fixed the right design elements to make the whole package better come together. While the most obvious difference was at the headlights., the reality is that the 997 shared barely any parts with the 996.
The interior was almost entirely re-invented and all the controls are new, feeling fresh and much more modern. There was a new steering wheel, a new infotainment system on the center stack, and new sport-bucket seats. With 6 airbags installed, the 997 generation was safer than its predecessors. The Porsche Communication Management included a DVD-based navigation system and a 9-speaker stereo system, offered as an option or, as a second option, a Bose 13 speaker. Like the 996, the 997 models offer 2 + 2 seating with the rear accommodation (for kids). For those without passengers, the rear seats fold down to make extra storage space, while the front compartment can fit two appropriately sized (small) suitcases. Add wider, more supportive bucket seats, greater adjustability of the driving position, courtesy of the now tilting and telescoping steering wheel, and the new interior that’s notably superior in material quality and fit, and the news is virtually all positive.
As Car and Driver said:
The 911 Carrera is now faster, more stable, more precise and forgiving, an altogether superior-make that more efficient-sports car than the 996.
The base Carrera was updated for the 2009 model year with the rest of the lineup. This first version was known as the Porsche 911 Carrera Coupe (997) while the updated was known as the Porsche 911 Carrera Coupe (997.2).