The Porsche Type 996 is a sports car, and the version of the Porsche’s "911" Carrera model sold from 1998 (as a 1999 model) through 2005. It is being replaced by the Type 997, although certain versions are being kept in production while replacements are finalized. At its debut, it featured the most significant changes to the Carrera model since its introduction in 1963.
This new Porsche 911 is the first in 34 years that is so new compared with the previous models. First all of the bodywork is complete new. As is the interior and the suspension. The headlights, like a lot of other components are shared with the boxster, but Porsche implies they were designed for the 911, and then used for the boxster. The typical curved flanks have made way for a smooth new look. Door handles are now flush fitted. Even the so much loved air-cooled engine, was after 34 years replaced by a water-cooled one (picture below) for environmental reasons. The overall length of the car has increased by 185mm and width has increased by 30mm. Despite of all these changes I really like the looks of the new car.
The 911 keeps impressing even when you look the numbers. Allthough the new engine is now watercooled, the car is bigger in all directions and has more electrical toys then ever, the car actually weighs 50 kg’s less then the 993 and it weighs only 100 kg’s more than the golf IV GTI.
The engine volume was decreased 200 cc to 3387 cc, but the power is up 14 bhp. to 296 bhp. With all of this power Porsche claims it should do 0-100 km/h in 5,2 seconds, which makes it just as fast as the Ferrari 456 GTBMW M3 and most other cars in this market. The new Turbo will even be much faster. It think it will have over 400 bhp, wich should be sufficient to make it one of the fastest production cars on the market.
And even if there are some faster cars on the market, the 911 will probably beat them on looks. The rear of the car is absolutely brilliant! I think the back of the car is definitely the best feature of the new design. It seems like the designers felt guilty about designing those head-lights, and wanted to make up for that with the rear lights.
Allthough I really like the new car I’m still not sure wether this car is a worthy bearer of the 911 type-badge. The 996 Carrera now looks like a modern car. That’s ok, because it is a modern car. But on the other hand I wonder if a 911 should be so ’slick’. The 911 has always been different from other cars. No other manufacturer would have continued to improve upon a car, that has such a difficult lay-out. The roadholding of the first 911’s was so bad, people would lay bricks in the nose of the car to keep it on the road. Because there was so much weight at the back of the car you could, when taking a corner a bit to fast, suddenly be doing 80 km/h ---backwards. The 911 was notorious for suddenly spinning without any prior warning. Driving a 911 you always had to be carefull not to push it to far. The 911 was for experienced drivers only. Because of this behaviour the 911 became so legendary. The roadholding improved over the years, but the 911 never lost it’s sting.
The new shape of the 996 Carrera means that aerodynamics have improved. The drag co-efficient has been lowered from 0.33 to 0.30. This was achieved by the sloping of the headlights and the windscreen. Doorhandles and glass are now flush fitted. Because of this there is very little wind noise, so you can hear the flat-six water-cooled engine rev up to the red line at 7000 rpm. The engine becomes really powerfull at 2800rpm. Acceleration is served up in one long, seamless rush from here on, terminating at a 7500rpm limiter that is set purely for engine-longevity.