The Ultimate Guide To The Porsche 997 And All Its Versions - story fullscreen Fullscreen

The Ultimate Guide To The Porsche 997 And All Its Versions

The Porsche 997 is a milestone in Porsche 911 history and a modern classic. Here’s everything you need to know about it

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A certain percentage of car enthusiasts lust after the Porsche 911. The rear-engine sports car from the 1960s is currently in its eighth generation, the 992, but for many, it was the Porsche 997 that’s considered the last truly old-school 911. With many looking to acquire one of these modern German classics, it’s only fair to get familiar with the sixth-generation 911, produced between 2005 and 2013, to find out which 997 is the one for you.

When it comes to deciphering what equipment a 997 comes with, there’s a build sticker on the inside of the engine cover, where all the equipment has been specified. Of course, being a 911 there are plenty of options available, and plenty of versions. As with most Porsche 911 generations, there are pre-facelift and post-facelift versions, in this case, the 997.1 and 997.2.

Early Porsche 997 lineup

The Ultimate Guide To The Porsche 997 And All Its Versions
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Early Porsche 997 versions, internally dubbed 997.1, include the Porsche 911 Carrera/S/4/4S (2005-2008), 911 Targa 4 (2005-2008), 911 Targa 4S (2008), 911 Turbo &Turbo S (2007-2009), GT3 & GT3 RS (2007-2008), and the 911 GT2 & GT2 RS (2008).

Later Porsche 997 lineup

The Ultimate Guide To The Porsche 997 And All Its Versions
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Later 997 models, dubbed 997.2, were produced between 2009 and 2013. These include the 911 Carrera/S/4/4S (2009-2012), 911 Carrera 4 GTS (2010-2012), 911 Targa 4/4s (2009-2012), 911 Turbo & (2009-2013), 911 Turbo S (2010-2013), 911 GT3 & GT3 RS (2010-2011), 911 GT3 RS 4.0 (2012), and 911 GT2 RS (2011).

997.1 styling vs 997.2 styling

The Ultimate Guide To The Porsche 997 And All Its Versions
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The good thing about making out the early cars from the later ones (aside from the VIN number) is the styling, which in Porsche’s case, follows a certain pattern. As pointed out by FCP Euro, the first variation of a chassis usually features a smoother and less aggressive design.

The 997 follows the same philosophy as 997.1 models tend to feature a more streamlined design, smoother bumpers, smaller rear wings, etc. A case in point is the rear wing on the early 997 GT3 models, called the Taco wing, which looks more integrated into the rear lid, as opposed to the motorsport-derived piece on the 997.2 GT3.

The Porsche 911 first adopted LED lighting on the 997.2, which is an easy way to distinguish the facelift models from the pre-facelift ones. The taillights on the 997.2 are also a bit rounded towards the decklid than on the 997.1 models. The 997.2 Turbo/Turbo S models also feature fog lights mounted on the very edges of the front fascia.

Porsche 997.1 engines

The Ultimate Guide To The Porsche 997 And All Its Versions
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The engines in base 997.1 models are, largely, a carry-over from the Porsche 996. The base 997.1 features an M96.05 engine, which is a 3.6-liter, naturally-aspirated, flat-six engine with multi-port injection. It produces 325 horsepower at 6,800 RPM and 273 pound-feet (370 Nm) at 4,250 RPM.

Although an improvement over the 996 engine, the 997 version of the M96 engine suffers from many of the same issues, including the infamous intermediate shaft (IMS) bearing. Unlike the 996, the 997 requires you to drop the engine in order to perform the “surgery”.

The 997.1 Carrera S and 4S introduce the M97 3.8-liter engine, which has an output of 350 horsepower at 6,600 RPM and 300 pound-feet (407 Nm) at 4,600 RPM. With the optional X51 power package, those numbers are bumped up to 380 horsepower and 310 pound-feet (420 Nm). The changes include high-flow cylinder heads, upgraded camshafts, and a deeper oil sump with increased baffling.

The Ultimate Guide To The Porsche 997 And All Its Versions
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The 997.1 GT3 engine is an evolution of the 996 GT3, 3.6-liter Mezger unit with different camshafts. It produces 415 horsepower at 7,600 RPM and 299 pound-feet (405 Nm) at 5,500 RPM. The naturally-aspirated unit also has a redline of 8,400 RPM. The 997.1 GT3 RS uses the same engine, but with a single-mass flywheel, instead of a dual-mass flywheel. Porsche doesn’t quote an increase in horsepower, but it is, generally accepted that the GT3 RS produces 10 extra horsepower.

The Porsche 997 GT2 sits at the top of the 911 range. Like the GT3 and Turbo variants, it comes with a 3.6-liter Mezger unit. With a bi-turbo setup, it makes 530 horsepower ad 6,500 RPM and 505 pound-feet (685 Nm) at 2,200 to 4,500 RPM. Unlike the Turbo models, power is sent to the rear wheels only.

The 997.1 Turbo and 997 GT2 are the first 911 models to feature variable-geometry turbochargers, which improve response, top-end power, and provide a wider torque band.

Porsche 997.1 - engine lineup
Porsche 997.1 Carrera Porsche 997.1 Carrera S/4S Porsche 997.1 GT3 Porsche 997 Turbo
Engine 3.6-liter, naturally-aspirated, flat-six 3.8-liter, naturally-aspirated, flat-six 3.6-liter Mezger 3.6-liter Mezger, bi-turbo
Power 325 HP @ 6,800 RPM 350 HP @ 6,600 RPM 415 HP @ 7,600 RPM 530 HP @ 6,500 RPM
Torque 273 LB-FT @ 4,250 RPM 300 LB-FT @ 4,600 RPM 299 LB-FT @ 5,500 RPM 505 LB-FT @ 2,200 - 4,500 RPM

Porsche 997.2 engines

The Ultimate Guide To The Porsche 997 And All Its Versions
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The most notable difference is the switch to direct injection for the 997 Carrera/4 and Targa models. The new MA1.02 engine is significantly more reliable than the M96 and M97 variants, found on 997.1 cars. The 3.6-liter naturally-aspirated flat-six is good for 345 horsepower at 6,500 RPM and 289 pound-feet (390 Nm) at 4,400 RPM.

The 997.2 Carrera S/4S features a variant of the same engine called the MA1.01. The 3.8-liter naturally-aspirated flat-six packs 385 horsepower at 6,500 RPM and 311 pound-feet (420 Nm) at 4,400 RPM. Like earlier 911 models, the 997.2 can be had with an X51 power package, which is standard on the 997.2 Carrera GTS and bumps horsepower up to 408 with an identical torque figure.

The Porsche 997.2 Turbo is the first Turbo without a Mezger-based engine. Its MA1.70, bi-turbo flat-six engine, with direct injection, displaces 3.8 liters and packs 500 horsepower at 6,000 to 6,500 RPM and 479 pound-feet (650 Nm) at 1,950 to 5,000 RPM.

The Porsche 997.2 Turbo S features a more powerful version of the 997.2 Turbo engine, dubbed the MA1.70S. It puts out 530 horsepower at 6,250 to 6,750 RPM and 516 pound-feet (700 Nm) at 2,100 to 4,250 RPM.

The Ultimate Guide To The Porsche 997 And All Its Versions
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The Porsche 997.2 GT3 goes back to a Mezger-based unit with the M97.77. The 3.8-liter, naturally-aspirated flat-six packs 435 horsepower at 7,600 RPM and 317 pound-feet (340 Nm) at 6,250 RPM.
For the 997.2 GT3 RS, the M97.77R bumps the output up to 450 horsepower at 7,900 RPM with an identical 317 pound-feet (430 Nm), but this time, at 6,750 RPM.

The Porsche 997.2 GT3 RS 4.0 is considered the pinnacle of water-cooled, naturally-aspirated 911s. It still has a Mezger-based engine, but this time it’s an M97.74, 4.0-liter flat-six. It develops 500 horsepower at 8,250 RPM and 339 pound-feet (460 Nm) at 5,750 RPM. Good luck finding one for sale.

Contrary to what some may believe, the Porsche 997.2 GT2 RS does not share an engine with the 997.2 Turbo. Instead, it features a Mezger-based, M97.70R engine. The 3.6-liter, bi-turbo flat-six packs 611 horsepower at 6,500 RPM and 516 pound-feet (700 Nm) at 2,250 to 5,500 RPM. Like every other 91 GT2 before it, all that power goes to the rear wheels only. Like the GT3 RS 4.0, they rarely come up for sale.

Porsche 997.2 - engine lineup
Porsche 997.2 Carrera Porsche 997.2 Carrera S/4S Porsche 997.2 GT3 Porsche 997.2 GT3 RS Porsche 997.2 GT3 RS 4.0 Porsche 997.2 Turbo Porsche 997.2 Turbo S Porsche 997.2 GT2 RS
Engine 3.6-liter, naturally-aspirated, flat-six 3.8-liter, naturally-aspirated, flat-six 3.8-liter, naturally-aspirated flat-six 3.8-liter, naturally-aspirated flat-six 4.0-liter flat-six 3.8-liter bi-turbo flat-six 3.8-liter bi-turbo flat-six 3.6-liter, bi-turbo flat-six
Power 345 HP @ 6,500 RPM 385 HP @ 6,500 RPM 435 HP @ 7,600 RPM 450 HP @ 7,900 RPM 500 HP @ 8,250 RPM 500 HP @ 6,000 - 6,500 RPM 530 HP @ 6,250 - 6,750 RPM 611 HP @ 6,500 RPM
Torque 289 LB-FT @ 4,400 RPM 311 LB-FT @ 4,400 RPM 317 LB-FT @ 6,250 RPM 317 LB-FT @ 6,750 RPM 339 LB-FT @ 5,750 RPM 479 LB-FT @ 1,950 - 5,000 RPM 516 LB-FT 2,100 - 4,250 RPM 516 LB-FT @ 2,250 - 5,500 RPM

Porsche 997 transmission options

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When it comes to the Porsche 997.1 models, all models can be had with a six-speed manual transaxle. However, the automatic option is a lot less exciting as it is a five-speed Tiptronic S automatic, which is a traditional torque-converter unit. It simply does not fit the sporty nature of the 911. The 997.1 GT3 and GT2 variants come exclusively with a manual.

For the 997.2, things get a lot more exciting. You still have a six-speed manual, but the biggest novelty here is the incredible Porsche dual-clutch (Porsche Doppel Kuplung) transmission. From 997.2 onwards, every 911 generation has a PDK transmission. It is worth noting that for the 997.2 Turbo S model, the PDK is the only option, which means that the 997.1 Turbo and 997.2 Turbo are the last Porsche 911 Turbo models that have the option of a six-speed manual. The GT3 and GT2 variants are manual-only and have a limited-slip differential.

Porsche 997 Drivetrain and Suspension

The Ultimate Guide To The Porsche 997 And All Its Versions
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Starting with the all-wheel-drive system, unlike the 996 Carrera 4, 4S, and Turbo models, which have permanent all-wheel drive, the 997 introduces an on-demand all-wheel-drive system. It’s similar to the Haldex-type systems, in that the car is a rear-wheel-drive only until there is a slip. Then, a computer-controlled clutch activates and sends power to the front wheels.

In terms of general chassis underpinnings, the 997 is, essentially, identical to the 996. It has a McPherson strut front suspension and a multi-link independent rear suspension. Of course, the 997 Carrera/S models benefit from a more responsive chassis and a sportier setting compared to the 996.

The 997’s biggest novelty is the Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM), which utilizes magnetic dampers that can be adjusted depending on the driver’s preferred drive mode – Comfort, Sport, or Race. For the 997.2, a Sport PASM option was also introduced. Any PASM-equipped car is 10 mm lower than standard and any 997.2 with the Sport PASM is 20 mm lower than standard.

The Ultimate Guide To The Porsche 997 And All Its Versions
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The 997 GT3 and GT2 models feature a much sportier, track-oriented suspension and chassis setup. They include upgraded sway bars, ride height-adjustable Coilover suspension, and refined spring rates. While this allows for much more direct handling, earlier, 997.1 models, still lack a lot of the stability management safety features that the 997.2 versions have, which makes earlier cars less forgiving.

The good news for anyone looking to modify their standard 997 is that many of the suspension components are interchangeable so if you want a GT3 suspension on a standard 911 Carrera, you can do that. There are a few things to look out for, such as the sway-bar end-links and mounting points, which can differ on certain models. Generally, the adjustable coil-over suspension on sportier models can fit a standard 997 Carrera.

There is, however, a problem with lowering a 997 too much. Just like a 996, if you lower the car too much, it will introduce a significant amount of torque and bump steer, which makes the chassis easy to upset through bumps and corners. Luckily, there are plenty of aftermarket kits addressing the issue, which are strongly recommended by Porsche 911 specialists, especially if you will be tracking your 997.

Porsche 997 Brakes & Wheels

The Ultimate Guide To The Porsche 997 And All Its Versions
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Porsche has a traditional color scheme when it comes to designating the brakes on different models. The 997 Carrera models, generally, feature black brake calipers while Carrera S, Turbo, and GT3 models feature red calipers, and any 997 with the optional carbon-ceramic brakes (PCCB) has yellow brake calipers. PCCB are standard on the 997 GT2 and Turbo S models. Note that many owners modify their 997s so looks can be deceiving.

The 997.1 brakes are a carry-over from the 996 model, which means four-piston Brembo brakes on all corners. The 997 Carrera S model adopts the brakes of the 996 Turbo with 330mm discs all around. The Porsche 997.1 GT3 RS has 350mm brake discs while the 997.2 GT3 RS – 380mm discs. PCCB becomes standard on the 997.2 GT2 and Turbo S models.


The Ultimate Guide To The Porsche 997 And All Its Versions
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The 997-generation Porsche 911 is the first 911 to introduce center-lock wheels. The 997.2 GTS, Turbo S, GT3, and GT2 models feature center-lock wheels as standard. They are, however, optional for any Porsche 997 that has the PCCB upgrade.

While sharing some of the 996’s modern aesthetics, the 997 interior shines with very high quality, by comparison. As stated by FCP Euro, with the 997, “Porsche has begun to put content and quality back into the interior”.

Porsche 997 Reliability

The Ultimate Guide To The Porsche 997 And All Its Versions
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Generally, the Porsche 997 is considered a near-bulletproof sports car. However, there are a few things to watch out for.

IMS Bearing

Since early 997 models are, largely, a carry-over from the 996, you can expect some of the same issues, including the infamous, intermediate shaft (IMS) bearing. Luckily, this issue accounts for less than one percent of all 997s and is limited to the base Carrera and Carrera 4 models from late 2005 and early 2006.

Symptoms of a bad IMS bearing include grinding or knocking sounds, metallic shards in the oil filter, and oil leaks.

Bore Scoring

While not as big of an issue, on the 997 model, 997.1 Carrera/4 and Carrera S/4S models can experience it. 997.1 Turbo, GT, do not have documented history of bore scoring. Also exempt from this issue are all direct-injected engines on the 997.2 models. Strangely enough, bore scoring is a persistent problem on 991,1 Carrera models, most notably on cylinder four.

Symptoms of bore scoring are a darker exhaust tip on the outer side of the car and tapping or knocking sound while idling. A sure way to confirm whether bore scoring is present is to perform a borescope on the engine.

Faulty Alternator Cables

Again, an issue that’s relatively common on early 997 models. A faulty alternator cable can cause a short battery lifespan and decreased run-time. By now, most 997s should have had it replaced with an upgraded equivalent, althoguh it’s always a good idea to check with the previous owner.

Cracked Coil Packs

This is a relatively inexpensive issue to fix, but still one that can, potentially, deter you from purchasing a 997. Cracked coil packs can cause the engine to misfire. While misfiring can be caused by a variety of problems (best to get a specialsit to look at it), cracked coil packs are known to cause it.

Damaged Radiators

The front-mounted coolant radiators and A/C condensors n the 997 are prone to leaks. Sasdly, the vents are only serviced during a service, by a specialist, whic hsi why radiators in poor condition are a very common sight. Also common are simple modifications, which prevent leaking, but it’s best to check with a specialist.

Should you buy a Porsche 997?

The Ultimate Guide To The Porsche 997 And All Its Versions
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In terms of value, the 997, currently, makes a lot of sense, as a used car purchase. That’s because, like any 991, prices for the 996 generations are already going up while 997 prices have already started to appreciate.

Prices range quite a bit because there are so many versions of the 997. Currently, a Porsche 997.1 Carrera is in the $30,000 to $40,000 range while a low-mileage 997 Carrera S is in the $50,000 to $70,000 range. A 997 Turbo can be had for $80,000 to just over $100,000, but from here on now, things get really expensive.

A Porsche 997 GT3 could have been had for no more than $60,000 to $80,000 around five years ago, but good luck finding one for under $100,000 now. It just goes to show how good an investment, naturally-aspirated, high-performance 911 models are. A 997 GT3 RS, however, is where things really take off, as you have to prepare at least $160,000, and it probably won’t be a low-mileage car for that price. The even rarer GT3 RS 4.0 will set you back around $500,000.

As for the Porsche 997 GT2 model, those are also hard to come by, but if one comes up for sale, it’s usually in the ballpark of $300,000 or more.

Final Thoughts

The Ultimate Guide To The Porsche 997 And All Its Versions
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In the end, it depends on which version of the 997 best fits your needs and more importantly, your budget. The 997 generation, in general, is considered a modern classic and one of the best 911 generations ever made. If you are looking for the biggest ‘bang for the buck”, the Porsche 997.1 Turbo, currently, represents that. While not without issues, the 997, like other 911s, is considered the ultimate usable sports car.

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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