Porsche 911 (996) – The Story
The first all new chassis platform since the original 911 and a new water-cooled engine
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The introduction of the 911 Model 996 in 1998 ushered in a whole new era for Porsche. Gone was the air-cooled flat six, replaced with an all-new, modern, water-cooled flat-six. The 996 911 was the first redesigned 911 model that didn't carry over any significant components from it's predecessors, significant for Porsche at the time as it was known to iterate on the original 911 formula and technology. The 996 was a big deal. It was totally revamped from the inside out.
In 1998, the 996 was only offered in coupe and cabriolet versions with either rear-wheel or 4-wheel drive. The Turbo variant appeared in 2001 and came well equipped with a 3.6 L Turbocharged Flat 6 (M96/70), good for 415 bhp @ 6000 rpm and 415 ft lbs @ 2700 rpm. 0 to 60 mph was over in 4.0 seconds flat and top speed was almost 190 mph. Two years later, in 2002, the X50 option became available on the Turbo model boosting it's power to 450 hp. The model 996 Turbo S came in 2005 and got 450 hp and was available in both coupe and cabriolet.
All of the standard models received a minor makeover in 2002 (becoming known as the 996.2 cars), which included Turbo-style headlights, a freshly designed front clip and an increase in engine capacity to 3.6L along with a subsequent 20 hp boost. The bodies were more rigid which further improved handling and safety and the lower, stiffer X74 suspension became available as a factory modification. The model Carrera 4S, more commonly known as the C4S, was introduced in 2002 as well. The C4S was clad with the wide body look of the Turbo and also shared it's brake and suspension set-up. Production of the Targa began in 2002.
Two lightweight GT variants were produced using the model 996 platform. The GT2 variant was put on hold for two years while Porsche focused on the new model GT3. The model GT3 was produced in two versions, both of which were stripped of most of their luxuries and geared more toward performance. The first version, the model Mk.I GT3, was released in 1999 but was never available in the United States. It was powered by a 3.6L flat-6 engine that produced 360 hp. The second version, the Mk.II GT3, was available to the United States market and featured better aerodynamics along with a more powerful version of the 3.6L which produced 380 hp.
The new model GT2 finally arrived in 2001. It was developed primarily as a road car in contrast to it's counterpart, the track-oriented GT3. The model GT2 sported wider fenders to accommodate bigger wheels and tires, a more aggressively angled nose and a large, fixed rear wing. The heart of the beast was a re-tweaked version of the model 996 Turbo's 3.6L twin turbo engine. Larger turbochargers and intercoolers, upgraded intake and exhaust and re-programmed control software resulted in a 489 hp adrenaline rush that could take you from 0-60 in under 4 seconds and carry a top speed of 198 mph.
Two Special Editions of the model 996 were released during it's production. The first was introduced as "The 911 for the Millennium". It was based on the model 911 Carrera 4 coupe and finished in Violet Chromaflair paint. Only 911 were produced, and each one is distinguishable by unique badging on the engine lid and a numbered plate on the center console. The second Special Edition was released in 2004 to celebrate the 911's 40th anniversary. The Anniversary Edition was loaded with extras and was only available in Carrera GT Silver. 1,963 cars were built to coincide with the year 1963 - the year the model 911 was first introduced to the world.
Type: 996 (996.1, 996.2) / Generation: Fifth Generation 911 / Manufacturer: Porsche AG / Production Years: 1997–2004 (2005 and 2006 for 911 Turbo S, GT2 and GT3 models only) / Model Years: 1998 - 2005 / Designer: Pinky Lai (1993–1994), Harm Lagaay / Body Style: 2-door Coupé, 2-door Roadster, 2-door Targa / Layout: Rear-engine, rear-wheel drive, Rear-engine, all-wheel drive / Engines: 3.4 L Watercooled Flat 6 (M96/01), 3.6 L Watercooled Flat 6 (M96/03), 3.6 L Turbocharged Flat 6 (M96/70), 3.6 L Watercooled Flat 6 (M96/76), 3.6 L Turbocharged Flat 6 (M96.70S) / Transmission: 5-speed ZF 5HP19 automatic, 5-speed Mercedes-Benz 5G-Tronic automatic, 6-speed Getrag G96/00 manual / Date of unveil by Porsche AG: official photos in March 1996 (Geneva Motor Show) / Premiere: September 11, 1997 IAA Frankfurt Motor Show / Predecessor: Porsche 993 / Successor: Porsche 997
This graphic breaks out the Type 996 in terms of timelines and how to tell all the models apart. Click on the image to see it in higher definition. There were quite a few regular model cars and plethora of special editions over the years. You can see here that all the core Carrera models were updated to the 3.6 liters Type M96 flat six and at the same time, the front end received a largely welcome update, thus classifying them as MkII (or 996.2) cars).
The biggest change implemented for the 996, was in the engine bay. While the car still used the traditional rear-mounted flat-six, it was no longer air-cooled, a huge departure for Porsche. The motor, designated M96, displaced 3.4 liters in the base Carrera and all-wheel drive Carrera 4, making 296 bhp and 258 ft lbs of torque. 0 - 60 mph was just 5.20 and the quarter mile was 13.3 seconds in the base coupe.
The gains over the air-cooled 995 weren’t huge on paper but the engine was also paired with a car lighter by 120 pounds, making a big difference in real world performance. Despite the weight loss, the 996 was slightly bigger in nearly every way, most notably in length and wheelbase. Panorama magazine noted the overall result in a comparison of the 996 and 993 (July 1998): “As evolved and nailed-tailed as the older car is, it is no match for the newest 911.”
The Type M96 flat six eventually grew to 3.6 liters, 320 hp, and 273 ft lbs in 2002 and was shared across all of the Carrera and Targa models.
The Turbo received a host of upgrades over the standard car, the most significant of which was a twin-turbo 3.6-liter flat-six making a substantial 415 horsepower and 415 lb-ft of torque and sending power to all four wheels. With the optional X50 package, power rose to 444 thanks to bigger turbos. Before the GT2's introduction, the 996 Turbo was the fastest road-legal 911 of all time, with a top speed of 189 mph. Thanks to its low-end torque and AWD traction, it could sprint to 60 mph in just 3.7 seconds.
On the extreme end of the 996 spectrum sits the GT2.The twin-turbo engine made 462 horsepower and 457 lb-ft of torque thanks to more boost, more efficient intercoolers and an optimized exhaust system. The GT2's unique aero package with a bespoke front air dam and spoiler, made 120 pounds of downforce at 190 mph, with a top speed of 196 mph.
The 996 Porsche 911 is a story of two different distinct sub-generations.
The "Mark One" or 996.1 cars were produced from 1998 through till the end of the 2001 model year. The 911 Carrera and Carrera 4 in both Coupe and Cabriolet bodies all had Mk. 1 variants. The Mk. 1 cars had a 3.4 liter flat six and the famous "egg" front lights. The GT3 also had a Mk.1 version too, with a 3.6 liter flat six and lots of aero-driven design changes.
In 2002, the entire base range got an update, becoming known as the "Mark Two" or 996.2 cars. They ran from 2002 through till the end of the 996s production. The "Mark Two" cars included a visual design update and got a bigger 3.6 liter flat six. The 996.2 GT3 was also updated visually, and a special edition GT3 RS version of the 996.2 GT3 was also created. The Targa was introduced as a 996.2 car, as was the Carrera 4S Coupe and Cabriolet.
The easiest way to visually distinguish a 996.1 from an 996.2 car is those headlamps. On the Mark One cars, the fried-egg-shaped lights are very obvious and have not aged well at all. They look just like the Boxster lights from the same era (thank part-sharing to save money). The Mark Two update got rid of that design, with more modern and less polarizing light design, taken from 911 Turbo headlights, as well as additional revisions to the look of the front end. Most people don't know this, but there is a difference on the inside too, with the 996.2 cars getting a much-needed glovebox (the 996.1s did not have one).
Mechanically, the core 996.1 models had the 3.4 liter engine before 2002. The 996.2 cars got an upgrade to a 3.6-liter engine. The 996.2 cars had more power as a result of the engine upgrade, going from 296 bhp @ 6800 rpm to 320 bhp @ 6800 rpm.
Porsche 996 Model Guides
Manufactured between 1997 and 2005, the 996 split opinion among Porsche purists as it was the first 911 to feature a water-cooled engine. However, it proved a hit with the wider motoring public and worldwide sales figures of over 175,000 made it one of the company’s most popular cars ever. Those sales were split across a cadre of regular model variants that we were used to seeing as well as some ones. The M96 3.4 liters was found in the base Carrera coupe and cabriolet, making 296 horsepower and 258 ft lbs of torque. The Carrera 4 coupe and cabriolet models came next, also powered by the same engine. These models were joined by the hardcore GT2 and the ultra-quick Turbo for the 2001 model year, both equipped with a 3.6-litre, twin-turbocharged and intercooled flat-six engine. All 996s got a major refresh in 2002, along with a bigger engine and the new Targa and Carrera 4S models newly introduced, as well as a visual update. The base engine, now displacing 3.6 liters, was rated at 320 horsepower and 273 ft lbs of torque. The Targa model got a sliding glass "green house" roof system (like it had in the 993) and also featured a rear glass hatch which gave the driver access to the storage compartment. The Carrera 4S was the pick of the standard models, sharing the wide-body look of the Turbo as well as the brakes and suspension. The GT3 was based on the standard 996 Carrera, but was stripped of a great deal of equipment for weight savings, featuring stiffer, adjustable suspension and upgraded brakes. The GT3 was produced in two versions, the first (996.1) was introduced in 1999 and featured a naturally aspirated 3.6-litre flat-six engine generating a maximum power output of 355 hp. The 996.2 GT3 arrived for the 2004 model year, based on the second generation of the 996, and featured updated aerodynamics, and a more powerful version of the 3.6 L engine from the MK.I, now rated at 375 hp. The Mk.II was the first GT3 marketed in the North America.
Porsche 996 Special Models
For the road we also saw some very special 996 variants. Porsche offered a special edition of the 996 for the year 2000, named the 911 Millennium edition, it was based on the Carrera 4 coupé and had a cool Violet Chromaflair paint and turbo-polished wheels. The "40th Anniversary Edition" was built to celebrate the 911's 40-year history in 2003. It got the 996 Turbo's front-end, and was available only in GT Silver metallic paint and came with the X51 power kit. The GT2 was the turbocharged counterpart to the GT3. It had rear-wheel drive, and a re-tuned version of the 996 Turbo's 3.6 litre, twin-turbocharged engine featuring larger turbochargers and intercoolers. The result was 477 hp and 0 - 60 mph in just on 4 seconds. In 2005, Porsche introduced the Turbo S model available as either a coupé or cabriolet. The Turbo S was essentially a 996 Turbo with the X50 option but also included PCCB, 6-disc CD changer and aluminum-faced instruments. The final special edition worth mentioning it the 996 GT3 RS, a sharpened version of the Mk.2 GT3, built for track use and it was the homologation model for the GT3 race-car. It was the forbidden fruit for the U.S. and Canadian customers.
Porsche 996 Motorsport Racing Models
Not surprisingly, Porsche went racing with the 911 996 and the core car saw quite a few racing versions. The Cup car started racing in 1998 and was updated over the seasons, increasingly getting better aero and more power every year. The 996 GT3 R was an interesting one-year racer, dominating every race it entered. In 2001, the modified version, now called the 996 GT3 RS raced.
Porsche 911 Type 996 Specs & Performance Summary
|Full Name||Porsche 911 Carrera Coupe (996)||Porsche 911 Carrera 4 Coupe (996)||Porsche 911 Carrera Coupe (996.2)||Porsche 911 Turbo (996)||Porsche 911 GT3 (996)||Porsche 911 GT3 (996.2)||Porsche 911 GT2 (996)||Porsche 911 GT2 (996.2)|
|Model Years||1998 - 2001||1999 - 2001||2002 - 2004||2001 - 2005||2000 - 2001||2004 - 2006||2001 - 2003||2004 - 2005|
|Engine||3.4 L Watercooled Flat 6||3.4 L Watercooled Flat 6||3.6 L Watercooled Flat 6||3.6 L Turbocharged Flat 6||3.6 L Watercooled Flat 6||3.6 L Watercooled Flat 6 (M96/79)||3.6 L Turbocharged Flat 6||3.6 L Turbocharged Flat 6|
|Engine Capacity (cc)||3387 cc||3387 cc||3596 cc||3600 cc||3600 cc||3600 cc||3600 cc||3600 cc|
|Maximum Power & RPM (HP)||296 bhp @ 6800 rpm||296 bhp @ 6800 rpm||320 bhp @ 6800 rpm||415 bhp @ 6000 rpm||360 bhp @ 7200 rpm||381 bhp @ 7400 rpm||462 bhp @ 5700 rpm||483 bhp @ 5700 rpm|
|Maximum Torque (ft lbs)||258 ft lbs @ 4600 rpm||258 ft lbs @ 4600 rpm||273 ft lbs @ 4250 rpm||415 ft lbs @ 2700 rpm||273 ft lbs @ 5000 rpm||284 ft lbs @ 5000 rpm||457 ft lbs @ 3500 rpm||472 ft lbs @ 3500 rpm|
|0-60 mph (seconds)||5.2 seconds||5.2 seconds||5.0 seconds||4.0 seconds||4.7 seconds||4.3 seconds||4.0 seconds||3.8 seconds|
|1/4 Mile (seconds)||13.3 seconds||13.2 seconds||12.9 seconds||12.4 seconds||12.5 seconds||12.5 seconds||11.8 seconds||N/A|
|Top Speed (mph)||174 mph||174 mph||177 mph||189 mph||188 mph||190 mph||196 mph||198 mph|
|Weight (lbs)||2,901 lbs||3032 lbs||2,959 lbs||3,395 lbs||2,976 lbs||3,043 lbs||3,175 lbs||3,175 lbs|
|Height (mm)||1,305 mm||1,305 mm||1,305 mm||1,295 mm||1,270 mm||1,270 mm||1,275 mm||1,275 mm|
|Ground Clearance (mm)||110 mm||100 mm||110 mm||110 mm||110 mm||75 mm||75 mm||75 mm|
|Length (mm)||4,430 mm||4,430 mm||4,430 mm||4,435 mm||4,430 mm||4,435 mm||4,446 mm||4,446 mm|
|Wheelbase (mm)||2,350 mm||2,350 mm||2,350 mm||2,350 mm||2,350 mm||2,355 mm||2,350 mm||2,350 mm|
|Width (mm)||1,765 mm||1,765 mm||1,765 mm||1,830 mm||1,765 mm||1,770 mm||1,830 mm||1,830 mm|
Porsche 911 Carrera Coupe (996):
Porsche 911 Carrera 4 Coupe (996):
Porsche 911 Carrera Coupe (996.2):
Porsche 911 Turbo (996):
Porsche 911 GT3 (996):
Porsche 911 GT3 (996.2):
Porsche 911 GT2 (996):
Porsche 911 GT2 (996.2):
Porsche 911 Type 996 (1998-2005) Technical Specs
Forget the summary, here is every fifth generation Porsche 911 (Type 996) broken out by model year and variant and the technical specifications for each one. Car data nerds, let us unite.
Porsche 911 (996) Pictures, Galleries & Videos
The Porsche 911 (Type 996) was a different car than the 993 which is replaced. The water-cooled engine, the new look and feel and a totally new chassis. We found some great original 996 review videos and older coverage that gives you a better impression of what people thought about the 996 when it was first released.
Porsche 911 (996) News & Updates
Recent auctions, awesome review videos and all the latest news and posts regarding anything to do with the Porsche 996.
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