The Differences Between Early and Late 996-Gen Porsche 911s Are Surprising - story fullscreen Fullscreen

The Differences Between Early and Late 996-Gen Porsche 911s Are Surprising

How different are earlier and later versions of the Porsche 996?

How different are earlier and later versions of the Porsche 996?

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The Porsche 911 is a car that doesn’t really need an introduction. Since, the 1960s, it has had many generations, all of which with their respectable fan bases. That said, every family has a Black sheep and in the case of the Porsche 911, the 996-generation is that Black sheep. If you are reading this, there is a good chance you know what I’m talking about, but what you may not know is just how different earlier and later 996 cars really are. Luckily, “That Nine Eleven Guy” has a YouTube video showing you just that.

The Differences Between Early and Late 996-Gen Porsche 911s Are Surprising
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The 996.2 gets the 911 Turbo headlights
And bulging air vents

The video showcases all “the material and immaterial differences between the Gen. One and Gen. Two 996”. We start off with the Gen. One 996, which is actually “the first 100 percent brand new, from the ground up, 911 since its inception in 1963”. The front end is largely identical to the 986 Boxter. The headlamps combine low beams, high beams, indicators, and dog lamps, all in one place. The one-piece design made it possible to assemble on the production line, in 20 seconds.

This particular 996.1 is equipped with the rarer 7x17 front and 9x17-inch rear wheels. Most customers have opted for the 18-inch wheels, back when they were buying the car brand new.

The Differences Between Early and Late 996-Gen Porsche 911s Are Surprising
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Earlier cars have a throttle cable, while later ones had a throttle by wire system
The same goes for the boot and deck lid buttons, which are electric on the newer 996
The 996 is a divisive vehicle in many ways. The same goes for the interior, which sadly features a lot of cheap plastics.

Earlier models also had the four-spoke 993 steering wheel. The three-spoke sports steering wheel was optional. Earlier 996 cars also came without any cup holders.

A crucial difference between the 996.1 and 996.2 cars was the throttle actuation. Earlier cars had a throttle cable, while later ones had an electronic throttle (throttle by wire). The throttle cable (or lack thereof) can be seen when you lift the carpets behind the driver’s seat. Early models also had a more basic traction control system.

The Differences Between Early and Late 996-Gen Porsche 911s Are Surprising
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Do you want to learn about the pros and cons of each car?
Swipe up for the full article and video

For the 2002 model year, Porsche updated the 996. Enter the 996.2. Exterior-wise, the headlights were now identical to the 996 Turbo and the bumper had more pronounced vents. The 996.2 is also 5.0 mm (0.2 inches) wider than the 996.1 (1,770 mm vs 1,765 mm).

In addition, the front track width of the updated car is 10.0 mm (0.4 inches) wider and the car is 25 percent stiffer. Although the same wheel size was offered as standard, this 996.2 has the optional 8x18 front and 10x18 rear inch wheel setup.

Inside, you now have the three-spoke steering wheel as standard and the boot and deck lid buttons are now electric instead of mechanical. Some materials have been upgraded, but overall it wasn’t a big improvement in material quality.

The Differences Between Early and Late 996-Gen Porsche 911s Are Surprising
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More displacement and more power for the 996.2
3.4 vs 3.6 liters and 300 vs 320 horsepower.

Engine-wise the M96.01 3.4-liter flat-six in the earlier cars produced 300 horsepower and 258 pound-feet (350 Nm). The M96.03 in the 996.2 was 80 percent new. It had gained 20 horsepower and 15 pound-feet (20 Nm) and now developed 320 horsepower and 273 pound-feet (370 Nm). This allowed both cars to reach 60 mph (97 km/h) in the low to mid-five-second range. The 996.2 also has a freer-flowing exhaust and this particular one has the optional sports exhaust.

In terms of driving dynamics, both cars are nimble and engaging. However, 996.2 in the video benefits from the M030 sports suspension, which is 10.0 mm (0.4 inches) lower than the standard M029 setup.

However, “the M030 is a little bit too firm for the road”, the host argues. At the same time, the 3.4-liter unit in the earlier car is “nice and peaky” while the newer 3.6-liter unit has more low-end torque.

The Differences Between Early and Late 996-Gen Porsche 911s Are Surprising
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Both cars reach 60 mph in the low to mid five seconds
The 996.2 has more low-end torque, though

In terms of which one to go for, both have their pros and cons, but “in either scenario, you should be led exclusively by the condition when it comes to looking for the perfect 996 for you”. In the end, “it all comes down to personal preference”.

Check out the video if you are interested in learning more about the differences between the 996.1 and 996.2. Which one would you rather have?

Be sure to check out What You Really Need to Know About the 1997-2004 Porsche 996 911!

Dim Angelov
Dim Angelov
Born in 1992, I come from a family of motoring enthusiasts. My passion for cars was awoken at the age of six, when I saw a Lamborghini Diablo SV in a magazine. After high school I earned a master’s degree in marketing and a Master of Arts in Media and Communications. Over the years, I’ve practiced and become skilled in precision driving and to date have test driven more than 250 cars across the globe. Over the years, I’ve picked up basic mechanical knowledge and have even taken part in the restoration of a 1964 Jaguar E-Type and an Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint. Lately, I’ve taken a fancy to automotive photography, and while modern cars are my primary passion, I also have a love for Asian Martial Arts, swimming, war history, craft beer, historical weapons, and car restoration. In time, I plan my own classic car restoration and hope to earn my racing certificate, after which I expect to establish my own racing team.  Read full bio
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