Who could predict that the 911 would be Porsche's saving grace and surpass the 356 in sales, longevity? Quickly establishing itself as an icon of '60s cool, the iconic 911 only became more popular as the years went on. The flagship of the current lineup of Porsche, the 911 (pronounced Nine Eleven) or 'Neunelfer' is a two-door grand tourer with a very distinctive design. The 911 is one of the oldest sports coupe nameplates still in productions and in 2013 its 820,000 model had been sold. Produced by Porsche AG of Stuttgart, Germany, the 911 is rear-engined and features independent rear suspension, a development from the swing axle on the Porsche 356. Debuting in 1963, the 911 has continued to undergo major modifications over the years, yet the basic concept has remained the same. The 911 is one of two in the top five that remains continuously in production and until the Type 996 was introduced in 1998 the engine was air-cooled.
The Porsche 911 carries the auspicious honor of being among the most successful competition cars ever. Over the years it has been modified by private teams and by the factory itself for rallying, racing and other types of automotive competitions. Naturally aspirated 911 Carrera RSRs won major world championship sports car races in the mid-1970s, even against prototypes. In 1979 the 911-derived 935 turbo won the famous 24 Hours of Le Mans. The 911 came in fifth in the 1999 international poll for the award of Car of the Century.
Early design sketches for the 911 started in 1959 drawn by Ferdinand 'Butzi' Porsche. Assisting Ferry Porsche, son of the firm's founder, Dr. Ferdinand Porsche, was body engineer Edwin Komenda and powertrain engineer Ing Hans Tomala. (Tomala was responsible for developing the 'Type 7' prototype with styling that would lead to the 911). The Porsche 356 was the company's first model, and the 911 classis was meant to be a much larger, more powerful replacement.
The Type 7 was built as a 2+2 with a fastback shape and useful rear seats, like the 356. Retaining the rear-mounted air-cooled engine with horizontally opposed cylinders, the Type 7 had a front end that was a precursor to the 911. Similar to the 2.0-liter engine from the 356 with its pushrod valve actuation and two valves per cylinder, the Type 7 however had six cylinders, 2 more than its predecessor. Porsche decided to construct an all-new flat six with overhead camshafts instead of the pushrods. Physically hefty enough to accommodate future displacement increases, the new engine had more efficient valve actuation. The engine would proof incredibly sturdy and flexible throughout its life as it started out at 2.0 liter and growing all the way to 3.6 liters, and could be turbocharged for both production and racing purposes.
The new engine, and the decision by Porsche to eliminate on the rear-seat accommodations resulted in the Type 901. A non-operational concept of the 901 engine was debuted at the 1963 Frankfurt Motor Show. In February of 1964 a working model was introduced, designated as the 'Porsche 901', with 901 being its internal project number. Peugeot raised an issue with the name and claimed that in France it had exclusive rights to car names formed by three numbers with a middle zero, so rather than selling the car with another name in France, the name was changed to 911. Though the cats' part numbers carried on the prefix 901 for years internally, the 911 name stuck.
Production of the 911 began in September 1964 with this first models reaching the U.S. the following February with a price of $6,500. Early models came with a 130 PS flat-6 engine in the 'boxer' configuration like the 356, air-cooled and rear-mounted, displacing 1991. The 356's four-cylinder had a 1600 cc unit. Though the rear seats weren't much to speak of, the 911 had seating for four and was usually classified a 2+2 rather than a four-seater. The tourer was mated to a four or five-speed manual 'Type 901' transmission.
A tiny machine packed full of high-tech pieces, the 1965 911 was introduced in an era when most sports cars offered a four-speed manual transmission as standard, but the 911 featured five forward gears. Rather than the solid rear axles suspended on leaf springs, the 911 sports a high tech semi-trailing arm and torsion-bar-sprung independent rear suspensions. MacPherson struts were used on the 911 at a time when practically no one had ever heard of them, along with a precise ZF rack-and-pinion steering gear at a time when steering was usually by recirculating ball. Initial 911 models rode on P165HR15 radial tires and carried four Dunlop disc brakes.
In 1965 the 356 finished its production run, but there was still a specific nitch for a 4-cylinder car, especially in the U.S. The Porsche 912 was introduced as the replacement for the 356 and shared the same 4-cylinder, 1600 cc, 90 hp engine encased in the 911 bodywork. The 912 was $1,400 cheaper than the 911 and sold nearly twice as many models in 1966.
The following year Porsche introduced the more powerful 911S with an impressive 180 HP and compression ratio up from 9.0 to 1 to 9.8 to 1. The S stood for Super and was available as both a coupe and a Targa. The 911S featured stunning five-spoke alloy wheels from Fuchs from the first time in a distinctive 5-leaf design. Other featured included a rear anti-sway bar and ventilated disc brakes. To help the 911S balance the weight was a 24.2-pound weight fitted to the front of the S. The mid-engined Porsche 904 and Porsche 906 received the engine developed to 210 PS.
Introduced as a 'stop gap' model in 1967, the 'Targa' was inspired by the Targa Florio sports car road race in Sicily, Italy where Porsche had a successful history, with seven victories since 1956. Targa means 'plate' in Italian, and the Porsche model sported a removable roof panel and a removable plastic rear window since Porsche worried that the U.S National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) would ban fully open convertibles in the U.S. From 1968 on, a fixed glass version was offered alongside the Targa model. Initial Targas were horrible with leaky tops distorted rear windows that quickly yellowed after being exposed to the sun, but Porsche would soon improve them.
In 1967 the 911T 108 hp model was introduced as the replacement to the 912. In 1968 the new emissions forced the 911S out of the US and the base 130 PS model was renamed the 911L and sold alongside the regular 911 and 912. For 1968 both the 911S and a new, lighter 911T were launched in Europe. Customers complained about the Targa's rear window and Porsche introduced a neat wraparound piece of glass as an alternative. Other changes for 1968 included wheels widened an inch, new door handles, four-speed 'Sportomatic' semiautomatic transmission newly available, slight fender flares and the engine case switching to magnesium construction.
Only 20 models in total of the 911R were produced of the very limited production model. The rare 911R was a lightweight-racing model with thin aluminum doors, twin-spark cylinder heads, a power output of 210 PS and a magnesium crankcase. These 911R models had no carpet, stripped interiors, Fiat taillights, fiberglass deck lids, and dual spark plug cylinder heads. These rare models were race-ready and lightweight and would be the start of the 911 racing history.
The B series was launched in 1969. The 911 and 912 wheelbase was increased from 2211 to 2268 mm, which aided the car's handling. The rear wheels were relocated, which improved weight distribution, yet the overall length of the car remained the same. The 911S and a new middle model; 911E-received fuel injection. New to the product lineup this year was a semi-automatic Sportomatic model, which was composed of a torque converter, an automatic clutch and the four-speed transmission. Unfortunately this model wouldn't last long and by 1980 would be gone, partly because of the elimination of a forward gear to make it a three-speed. The 911E was an extremely quick model and even beat the 911S despite its lower power output.
The 911T's 2.0-liter engine was rated at 125 hp and used a low 8.6-to-1 compression ratio and carburetors and fed a four-speed transmission. Pumping out 158 hp was the 911E's 2.0-liter with a 9.1-to-1 compression ratio and Bosch mechanical fuel injected and five-speed transmission. The impressive 911S had an impressive 190 hp and used a 9.9-to-1 compression ratio pumped through a five-speed transmission. All three models were available as Targas and the Sportomatic was available on the 911T and 911E.
For 1970 the 911 lineup remained basically the same except for a slightly larger 2.2-liter version of its flat 6. The 912 was replaced by the new mid-engine Volkswagen-powered 914. The extra displacement bumped output of the Zenith-carbureted 911T to 142 hp, the injected 911E to 175 hp, and the injected, high-compressions 911S to a full 200 hp. The new engine was larger and also had better respiration thanks to new aluminum cylinder heads with larger valves. This would also be the first time that a limited-slip differential was an available option. Other changes for 1970 included new undercoating and a buzzer that would go off when the driver forgot and left the ignition key in. The 911 lineup remained virtually the same for 1971.
The models remained the same from 1972 through 1973, but featured a new, larger 2341 cc engine, which would universally be known as the 2.4 L engine. (This nickname was despite the fact that the displacement was actually closer to 2.3 liters.) In all markets the 911E and 911S used Bosch (Kugelfischer) mechanical fuel injection (MFI). The 911T was carbureted for 1972 almost everywhere except some select Asian markets, and the U.S. where emission regulations were high and forced Porsche to use mechanical fuel injection instead. U.S. 911Ts were switched to the new K-Jetronic CIS (Continuous Fuel Injection) system from Bosch in January of 1973.
The 2.4 L cars receiving a newer, more powerful transmission dubbed type number 915, thanks to power and torque increases. Inspired from the Porsche 908 race car transmission, the 915 went for a traditional H pattern with first gear up to the left, second gear underneath first, etc., rather than the 901/911 transmission's 'dog-leg' style first gear arrangement.
To help with high-speed stability the 911S model received a subtle spoiler under the front bumper. Often referred to as the classic mainstream 911s, these early models only weighted around 2,315 pounds. The 911 ST racing model was produced in very limited numbers and were available with engines of either 2466 cc or 2492 cc producing 266 hp at 8000 rpm. These models did very well at the Sebring 12 Hours, the Daytona 6 Hours, the Targa Florio and the 1000 km Nürburgring.
Considered by many to be the 'greatest classis 911s of all-time', the 911 Carrera RS was a truly beautiful example of Italian racing. RS, or Rennsport, is translated to 'race sport' in English, and the Carrera name was reintroduced from the 356 Carrera which had been named from the 1950 Porsche class victories in the Carrera Panamericana races in Mexico. Porsche wanted to enter racing formulae that required a certain minimum of production cars built, so the RS was created. The Carrera 2.7 RS sported a larger engine of 2687 cc developing 210 hp with Bosch (Kugelfischer) MFI, compared to the base 911S. The Carrera featured revised and stiffened suspension, larger brakes, wider rear wheels and rear fenders and a 'ducktail' rear spoiler.
The RS Touring version weighed 2,370 pounds, and the Sport Lightweight version weighed around 220 pounds lighter since it was composed of thin-gauge steel in the body shell along with thinner glass. A total of 1,580 were made, more than the 500 that were necessary to qualify for the vital FIA Group 4 class. 49 Carrera RS models were constructed with 2808 cc engines that produced 300 PS.
The Carrera RS 3.0 was launched in 1974 with mechanical fuel injection that produced 230 PS. Costing nearly twice the price of the 2.7 RS, the 3.0 featured plenty of racing capability that made up for its pricetag. The Carrera featured more radically flared fenders, larger (185/70VR15 front and 215/60VR15 rear) tires and the classic ducktail rear spoiler. The brakes system came from the Porsche 917 while the chassis was very similar to that of the 1973 Carrera RSR. The shipping weight was incredibly light, around 1,984 pounds, thanks to thin metal plate panels and a very sparse interior. This lightweight homologation special was not meant for U.S. automotive market, but 1,800 models were built for the rest of the world.
Racing teams purchased the Carrera RSR 3.0 and scored outright wins in various major sports car races of the 1970s. The prototype Carrera RSR Turbo featured 2.1 L engine due to a 1.4x equivalency formula landed second place at the 24 Hour of Le Mans in 1974 and won several major races. This engine winning such a significant race set the tone for the future of Porsche sporting attempts in car racing.
For 1974 the engine size was enlarged to 2687 cc, which increased the torque. Impact bumpers were introduced to conform to low-speed protection requirement of U.S. laws. These bumpers would remain unchanged for the next fifteen years. Two of the three models, the 911 and 911S models now used K-Jetronic CIS Bosch fuel injection, retaining the narrow rear arches of the old 2.4, now had a 2.7-liter engine producing 150 hp and 173 hp respectively.
Launched in all markets except for the U.S., the 2.7 Carrera used the 210 PS RS 911/83 engine with Bosch (Kugelfischer) MFI from the /73 Carrera RS. Built from 1974 through 1976, the 2.7 MFI models had the same rear widened arches as the '73 Carrera RS and was mechanically identical. The coupe weighed the same as the '73 Carrera RS touring; 1075 kg. The same 2.7-liter engine found in the 911S that produced 173 hp powered the U.S. built Carrera model.
Except for the German market, the Carrera was available for purchase with the ducktail from the 1973 Carrera RS for the 1974 model year. The ducktail was standard on the Carrera in the U.S. The whaletail was an available option for 1975 and 76 on the Carrera. A special limited run of 113 Carrera 2.7 coupes were constructed with the 911/83 RS engine for 1976. The Belgian police received 20 Targas.
The 911 Carrera 3.0 in 1976 featured the Turbo's 2994 cc engine, but without the turbocharger. The K-Jetronic CIS now developed 200 hp and aluminum replaced magnesium for the crankcase and gearbox housing.
The 912E was a 4-cylinder version of the 911, like the 912 that was produced in 1969, also produced in 1976. The 912E used the I-series chassis and the Volkswagen 2.0 engine from the Porsche 914 instead of the 356 engine in the old 912. 2,099 units were produced before the front-engined Porsche 924 replaced it in 1977.
The first production turbocharged 911 was introduced in 1974. Marketed as Porsche 930 in North America, the car was simply called Porsche 911 Turbo in Europe. 930 was the internal type number, and it sported a distinctive body shape thanks to wide wheel-arches that housed wide tires and a large rear spoiler (dubbed 'whale tail' on the early cars). This turbocharged version initially featured a 3.0 L engine 260 PS and was known for its white-knuckle acceleration and its extreme turbo lag. The capacity jumped to 3.3 L 300 PS for 1978 and also received an intercooler placed under the rear spoiler.
The racing version was called the Porsche 934 of 1976 and production figures of the basic 930 soon qualified it for FIA Group 4 competition. Many models were participants at Le Mans along with other races, includes some historic battles with the BMW 3.0 CSL 'Batmobile'. The Porsche 935 evolved from the 2.1 L RSR Turbo of 1974 and was called FIA Group version. The 500+ PS car was fitted with a slope nose and was campaigned in 1976 by the factory, and won the world championship title. Until the FIA and IMSA rules changed, private teams went on to win numerous races, like Le Mans in 1979, and continued to compete successfully with the vehicle well into the 1980s.
The 930 was equipped with a five-speed gearbox only in 1989, its final year of production. In 1990 the 930 was replaced with a 964 version that featured the same 3.3 L engine. In each subsequent generation of 911's there have been turbocharged variants.
Porsche introduced the newest version of the 911, called the 911 SC in 1978. The SC designation was introduced for the first since the 356SC, and there would be no Carrera version of the '911SC'. The 911 SC featured a 3.0-liter engine with Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection and a 5-speed 915 transmission. The original power output was at 180 bhp, but eventually became 188 bhp, and finally bumped up to 204 bhp in 1981.
A Cabriolet concept car was debuted at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 1981 that was a true convertible and four-wheel drive. The four-wheel drive was dropped by the time the car made it to production. Late in 1982 as an '83 model the first 911 Cabriolet was introduced, the first Porsche cabriolet since the 356 of the 1960s. During its first year a total of 4,214 of the popular model were sold despite its premium price relative to the open-top targa. Since this introduction the Cabriolet version of the 911 has been available ever since.
In 1979 Porsche AG decided to replace the iconic 911 with the new 928, but sales of the 911 were so strong that their plan was rethought. Porsche CEO Peter Schutz chose instead to revamp the 911 lineup. 911 SC sales totaled 58,914 units.
In 1984 the successful SC series was replaced with the 1984 911 3.2 Carrera, resuscitating the Carrera name from the 1970's. This version was the last iteration in the original 911 series, since future models would now feature new body styling with new brake, electronic and suspension technologies. Powering the Carrera was a 3.2-liter horizontally opposed flat 6-cylinder, a new higher-displacement motor that Porsche claimed was 80% new. The 95 mm bore was borrowed from the previous SC model, combined with the '78 Turbo 3.3 crankshaft's 74.4 mm stroke, the new swept volume of 3164 cc was achieved. The compression ratio was bumped from 9.8 to 10.3:1 thanks to higher domed pistons. New exhaust systems and inlet manifold were fitted and the 915 transmission was a carryover from the SC series for the initial three model years. A new five-speed gearbox sourced from Getrag with proven BorgWarner synchronizers was introduced in 1987, model number G50. This version was slightly heavier and featured a hydraulically operated clutch.
Porsche added one-touch centralized locking to the 911 Carrera for 1985. This feature was extremely helpful for those drivers who couldn't or wouldn't reach across the narrow cockpit to the only other door to either lock or unlock.
Power was increased to 207 bhp at 5900 rpm with the new engine for North American-delivered cars, and to 231 bhp at 5900 rpm for other markets. This newest version could hit 0-60mph in 5.4 seconds and claimed a top speed of 150 mph according to Autocar. To help with more effective heat dissipation the brake discs were larger, and improved oil-fed chain tensioners were fitted to the engine. Oil cooling was improved with a finned cooler that replaced the serpentine lines in the front passenger fender well. A thermostatically controlled fan was also added. An upgrade of the fuel and ignition control components to an L-Jetronic with Bosch Motronics 2 DME refined driving and motor reliability. The DME providing a petrol cut-off on the overrun improved fuel-efficiency. Power was bumped up to 217 bhp for North American cars, and other markets requiring low emissions thanks to changes in the fuel map and chip programming from October 1986 and custom-mapped chips remain a popular upgrade. Unfortunately the fuel relay mounted externally on the DME is considered a weak point of the system.
The Carrera lineup featured three basic models, the Coupe priced at $31,950, Targa priced at $33,450 and the Cabriolet for $36,450. Only slight changes like the front lights were integrated into the front valance separated the Carrera from the SC. During its lifespan only very minor cosmetic changes were made throughout its lifespan, including a redesigned dash featuring larger AC vents that was introduced in 1986.
The M491 option, officially called the Supersport in the UK, or 'Turbo-look' was introduced in 1984. This styling looked a lot like the Porsche 930 Turbo with wide wheel arches and unique 'tea tray' tail. This option featured the superior turbo braking system, stiffer turbo suspension and wider turbo wheels. Since the popular 930 wasn't available, sales of the Supersport were very favorable the first two years.
A lighter version of the standard Carrera, the 911 Carrera Club Sport (CS) was introduced in August of 1987. Only 340 of these models were produced and featured engine and suspension modifications, and were purpose built for club racing. The Club Sport had a blueprinted engine with hollow intake valves and a higher rev limit, and lacked the extras like all power options, AC, radio, sunroof, undercoating, rear seat, sound insulation, rear wiper, fog lamps, door pocket lids, front hood locking mechanism, lockable wheel nuts, engine and luggage compartment lights and the rear lid 'Carrera' logo which helped save an estimated 155 pounds in weight.
Except for the CS's delivered to the UK, all of the models were easily identifiable by the 'CS Club Sport' decal found on the left front fender, and were available in a variety of colors, some special ordered. All CS models have a 'SP' stand on the crankcase and cylinder head but some US CS's didn't have the decal installed by the dealer. All of the CS models delivered to the UK were painted 'Grand Prix White' with a red 'Carrera CS' decal on each side of the car, and sported red wheels. Club racers loved the CS, but the lack of very few creature comforts made the CS not very popular with the general public. According to Porsche Club of America and Porsche Club Great Britain CS Registers there are only 28 documented deliveries to the US, 1 to Canada and 53 to the UK.
Produced worldwide from January to September 1989 was the 911 Silver Anniversary Carrera SE. Only 240 of this custom version with engine and suspension modification from the standard Carrera was specifically built for marketing the production of the 250,000th 911 that summer. This model was made special for 1989 to also mark the 25th year of 911 production. Production colors of the 120 models were either Silver Metallic or Satin Black Metallic. The Silver Anniversary model featured very limited production worldwide, a Limited slip differential and short shifting gear lever. The inside of the exclusive model featured lush silk grey supple leather seats that corresponded with black accent seat piping and silk grey velour carpet that went all the way through the trunk area as well. The steering wheel, knee bar and shift knobs were also encased in matching silk grey leather. A Porsche Exclusive special stitched leather center console in silk grey held CD holders and an outside temperature gauge while the shifter featured a leather boot in sleek silk grey leather. The special body-colored wheels were 16x6 in the front and 16x8 at the rear Fuch forged premium wheels. The front and rear spoiler was custom designed to create additional down-force. Today these excusive models are highly collectible .
Introduced in January 1989 until July of the same year was the 911 Speedster, a low-roof version of the Cabriolet. Produced in limited numbers as both a narrow body car with only 171 models produced, and a Turbo-look. A two-seat convertible with a low swept windshield, the Speedster was designed by Helmuth Bott in 1983, but wouldn't reach production until six years later. A total of 76,473 911 3.2 Carrera's were produced during its lifespan with 35,670 Coupés, 19,987 Cabriolets and 18,468 Targas.
In 1989 the Porsche 964 was introduced and became a major evolution in the 911 series. At the time the world economy was undergoing recession and the introduction of the Type 964 would be a very important vehicle for Porsche. The 964 was introduced as the Carrera 4 with '4' indicating the four-wheel-drive, a decision that demonstrated Porsche's commitment to engineering by reminding consumers that race and rally engineering does effect road cars. A rear spoiler deployed at high speed, the drag coefficient was down to 0.32 and the chassis was completely redesigned with the introduction of coil springs, ABS brakes and power steering. The engine was increased to 3600 cc and developed 250 PS. Some thought that the new car lost some of the purity of the 911's concept, though most agreed that the car was refined. A year later the rear-wheel drive version, the Carrera 2 was debuted.
In 1990 the 964 incarnation of the 911 Turbo returned following an absence from the price lists. Initially it used a refined version of the 3.3 L engine of the earlier Turbo, but two years later a turbo engine based on the 3.6 L engine of the other 964 models was launched. The evolutionary Tiptronic automatic transmission was introduced in 1990 in the 964 Carrera 2 and featured adaptive electronic management and full manual control. This would also be one of the first cars worldwide to feature dual standard airbags, with the first car being the Porsche 944 Turbo (1987).
Inspired by the 1973 Carrera RS, Porsche re-introduced a limited edition RS model in 1992. The model was emissions-legal only in Europe. American customers clamored for their own model, so in 1993 Porsche developed the RS America, of which only 701 were built. The RS American received rear seats in 1994, and only 84 were made this year. While European RS was a homologation special, the RS America was an option delete variant of the regular model. The 1993 RS 3.8 sported Turbo-style bodywork, featured a larger fixed whale tail instead of the movable rear spoiler, and a 300 PS 3746 cc engine.
Only four factory options were available on the RS/RS America bare bones, higher performance version of the 964; AM/FM cassette stereo, AC, a sunroof and a limited-slip differential. The interior was very basic, more in fact than a standard 911. The door pockets had a simple pull strap for the opening mechanism and the interior door panels lacked the armrests. The RS America cost around $10,000 less than a fully equipped C2 at the time of their productions, these models today can claim a higher premium priced on the used market over a standard 964.
A Turbo version of the 964 series was launched in 1990 and is often mistaken for a 965.
From 1991 until 1993 the 964 Turbo featured the 930's proven 3.3 L engine which was improved to produced 320 PS. In 1994 the 964 received the Carrera 2/4's 3.6 L engine, now in turbo-charged form with a powerful 360 PS sent to the rear wheels. This model was produced through 1994 and still today remains an incredibly rare collectible.
Once again the 911 was revamped in 1993 and dubbed internal name Type 993. This would be the final incarnation of the air-cooled 911, which was introduced in 1964. A much sleeker modification, the exterior of the 993 featured all-new front and rear end that was much smoother and more aerodynamic. British Tony Hatter was responsible for the styling, under the direction of design chief Harm Lagaay.
The 993 also featured modified mechanics that included an all-new multi-link rear suspension that only enhanced the vehicles ride and handling. This inspiration for the rear suspension was taken largely from the stillborn Porsche 989's rear multilink design. Thankfully this suspension helped correct the earlier problem of over steering if the throttle or brakes were applied mid-corner. It also helped to reduce the lift-off over steer issues from before to a much more moderate degree.
The 993 was able to keep up with the stiff competition thanks to the new suspension and chassis modifications. The engine capacity remained at 3.6 L but was powered by an impressive 272 PS because of improved exhaust design and better engine management and eventually rose to 286 PS by 1996. This would be the first Porsche to introduce variable-length intake runners with the 'Varioram' system on 1996 models, once of the first of its kind to be used on production vehicles, helped the inherent compromise between high-rpm power production and low-rpm torque production. Rear-wheel-drive versions were dubbed simply 'Carrera', while a new four-wheel-drive returned as an option in the form of the Carrera 4. A lightweight RS version had power reaching 300 PS and capacity that rose to 3.8 L, and had rear-wheel drive only.
Some non-turbo models like the Carrera 4S, and later the Carrera S used the Turbo's wide bodyshell along with several other components. The well-loved Targa model made another appearance and sported a new large glass rood that disappeared under the rear window. The pricy air-cooled 993 Targa was sold under a limited release from 1996 through 1998.
In 1995 the first standard production Porsche with twin turbochargers was a Turbo version of the 993 that also became the first 911 Turbo equipped with permanent all-wheel-drive. Several comparison road tests were made between the model and the Porsche 959 due to similarity in specification and performance levels. The Turbo version was powered by the 3.6 L twin turbo M64/60 engine that produced 408 PS.
An extremely limited run of the 993 911 Turbo S with a boost in performance was produced by Porsche in 1997. The special boost of 24 PS over the regular Turbo's 400 PS was impressive. Body modifications included a scoop on the side right behind the doors for engine cooling and vents on the whale tail rear spoiler. Today these models still command a huge premium on the market because of their exceptional power and reliability.
Produced for the GTI Le Mans racing class, the 911 GTI was launched in 1996. 25 homologation road-going models were required for qualifying for GT racing. With a top speed of 235 mph these models developed around 700 hp and could accelerate to 0-60 mph in 3.3 seconds. Powering both the road and racecars was the same twin-turbo charged engine from the Porsche 962. Achieving a victory at the 1998 24 Hour of Le Mans was a re-developed version of the 911 GTI racecar. The most powerful road-going Porsche ever produced was the GTI, even though it had a mid-mounted engine and was built for homologation purposes exclusively. The rear of the car came from a 962 Le Mans prototype, but the original front section design was inspired completely by the 911.
After a long productive run of 34 years, the well-known air-cooled 911 was replaced by an all-new water-cooled model. A major innovation for Porsche, the model known as the Type 996 would be the introduction, finally, of a newly design bodyshell. In the past, though there modifications, the previous 911 were all based on the original 1964 shell and the '996' would be the first truly 'all-new 911'.
The 996 was instrumental for Porsche and the effect it had on the company during the 1990s. Unfortunately many critics complained that the 996 shared a lot of similarities with the cheaper Boxster, and criticized the headlamps and dash that were taken directly from the less expensive vehicle. Porsche had a reason behind cutting costs with the 996 and kept the vehicle more advanced in other areas. The interior was different from previous 911 models and was often criticized for its lack of ornament, usually by older 911 owners. The Carrera had a 0.30 coefficient of drag. More than a dozen variations of the Type 996 were produced, including all-wheel-drive Carrera 4 and Carrera 4S models, the club racing-oriented GT3, and the forced-induction 996 Turbo and GT2. Often the Turbo, both four-wheel-drive and twin-turbo made magazines' best cars for sale lists.
6.8 inches longer than the 993 overall the 996 measured a total of 174.5 inches, just two-tenths of an in inch shy of a 2003 Civic Coupe. Ride on a relatively long 92.6-inch wheelbase, the engine was still in the rear. Enthusiasts considered driving the 996 to be a completely new experience compared to previous 911's. Much more 'civilized', the 996 was considerably more gentle traversing bumpy roads. For 1999 there were no Turbo or Targa models offered, but both two and all-wheel drive were available with Cabriolet or Coupe.
Naturally aspirated 911s were a carryover to 2000 with the only changes being a new exhaust that bumped output to 300 hp and stability control. This feature was already standard on the Carrera 4, but would now become optional on Carrera 2 models. The Turbo returned in Europe, and would be back in the U.S. by 2001.
Using a twin-turbocharged, water-cooled 3.6-liter flat six, the new 2001 911 Turbo produced 415 horsepower, which was distributed through an all-wheel-drive system. Edmunds.com Senior Road Test Editor Brent Romans tested the 911 Turbo in 2001 and claimed that the car was 'the pinnacle' and compared it to Star Trek's Wrath of Khan and The Beatles' Sergeant Pepper. The Turbo was available with an automatic Tiptronic transmission for the first time. Other updates for this year included a new audio system with a subwoofer, a modified three-spoke steering wheel, power releases for the engine cover and front luggage compartment and 'Turbo Look' wheels for non-turbo 911s.
In 2002 the Carrera and Carrera 4 underwent a revamp that included receiving clear lens front and rear indicator lights from earlier Turbo versions. This gave the 911 more separation from the Boxster look. Though the basic bones remained the same, an updated front fascia helped to further separate the models. Standard 911s received more horsepower thanks to a bump in displacement from 3.4 liters to 3.6 liters. The Targa model returned after four years, and the Cabriolet received a glass rear window. Turbo-style headlight clusters were fitted; a single cup holder was added along with a real glove box. Except for the 40th Anniversary 911, GT2, GT3 and Turbo the 911 Carrera didn't come with rear limited-slip differential starting from the models with water-cooled engines.
With 3.4 L engine displacement the power was 300 PS and featured dry sump technology and variable valve timing. In 2002 the displacement increased to 3.6 L and 320 PS. In just 19 seconds the convertible could transform from coupe to roadster thanks to the roof system. The convertible also featured a rear spoiler that can raise at speeds over 75 mph. The spoiler can also be raised manually via an electric switch.
Inspired by Porsche's racing GT3, the company launched a road version GT3 version of the 996 series simply called GT3 in 1999. This model sported weight-saving materials and even thinner windows, no rear seats and an emphasis focused on strict handling and performance. Rather than focusing on comfort the GT3 featured a lowered suspension ride height and was tuned for responsiveness, which greatly improved handling and steering. The engine in the GT3 was derived from the Porsche 911 GT1 '98 sports-prototype racing car rather than a version of the water-cooled units found in other 996s. The engine featured lightweight materials that allowed the engine to rotate at high speeds. Instead of the engine from the pre-facelift and revised Carrera, the engine was instead a naturally aspirated 3600 cc flat-six (F6). Initially the engine produced 365 PS before rising to 386 PS at the end of the 996 series' revision.
Porsche introduced the Turbo version of the Type 996 for MY 2001 in 2000. The new Turbo engine originated from the 911 GT1 engine like the GT3 and, like its predecessor, featured twin-turbos and now developed 420 PS. The new Turbo was only offered with all-wheel drive (like its predecessor). The X50 package was a US $17,000 add on that boosted engine output to 450 PS with 457 lb/ft of torque across a wide section of the power band. With this package the vehicle could achieve 0-62 mph in just 3.8 seconds. In Europe this package is called Turbo S. A special 996 Turbo S coupe was added to the US lineup near the end of the 996 life cycle along with a new Turbo S Cabriolet with a extra boost of power; 450 PS and 457 lb/ft. The Turbo had an impressive top speed of 189 mph.
The 996 Turbo was much more eye-catching than previous Turbos and featured different front lights and bumpers than the Carrera and Carrera 4. The rear bumpers featured air vents that were similar to the ones found on the Porsche 959. The large vents on the front bumper were also replicas from the Carrera 4S and Cayenne Turbo. For the first time in Porsche history, and in the car design field, the styling of the 996 Turbo was done with the help of Computer Aided Styling. Before the full size clay model was a digital Styling model, and 99% of the styling changes were done on the digital model, then the clay model was milled in order to gain approval from the top management.
In 2003 the only changes for the Porsche 911 included a slightly modified front and rear fascia and gray tinted turn signal lenses instead of the previous yellow ones.
In 2005 the replacement for the 996 was launched, the 997. Sharing the basic profile of the 996, the 997 used a lot of the 993 for its detailing. The drag coefficient was down to 0.28 and the 997 shares less than 1/3 of its parts with the 996, but shared much of the technical features. Straying from the 996 teardrop design, the 997 headlights reverted to the original bug-eye design. The inside of the 997 was heavily revised with many aspects taken from the earlier models; in addition to fresh and modern takes not previously seen on the 911.
The first two versions of the 997 were the rear-wheel-drive Carrera and the Carrera S. The base 997 Carrera pumped out 325 PS from its 3.6 L Flat 6, the Carrera S sported a powerful 3.8 L 355 PS Flat 6 engine. The dominant Carrera S came standard with 19-inch 'Lobster Fork' style wheels, stronger and larger brakes with red calipers, a sporty suspension with PASM (Porsche Active Suspension Management), sport steering wheel and Xenon headlamps.
Porsche added all-wheel drive versions to the 997 lineup late in 2005. The Carrera 4 and Carrera 4S were launched as 2006 models and were wider than their rear-wheel-drive siblings by 1.26 inches to cover wider rear tires. The base Carrera 4 could achieve 0-60 mph in just 4.5 seconds with the 321 hp engine, according to Edmunds.com. The Carrera S was recorded at 0.62 mph in 4.2 seconds according to Motor Trend, though Road & Track recorded the S at 3.8 seconds. The 997 lineup includes both Carrera 2; 2-wheel drive variant, and Carrera 4; 4-wheel-drive variants. In November of 2006 the 4-wheel-drive Targa 4 and 4S were launched and featured dual sliding glass tops.
In 2009 the 997 was updated with a larger intake in the front bumper, near headlights and rear taillights, new clean-sheet design direct fuel injection engines, and the introduction of a dual-clutch gearbox called the PDK. U.S. models were introduced in 2009 with Bluetooth support built into the communications system.
Developing 473 bhp and 457 lb/ft of torque, the 997 Turbo featured the same 3.6 L twin-turbocharged engine found in the 996 Turbo. Part of this was due to the 997's VTG (variable turbine geometry), which combines the low-rev boost, and quick responses of a small turbocharger with the high rev power of a larger turbocharger. The new turbocharger improved fuel consumption over the 996 Turbo and produced much more power and flexibility. Because of these performance upgrades the 997 Turbo could reach 0-62 mph in 3.7 seconds and had a top speed of 193 mph. With the Tiptronic transmission Motor Trend magazine reported the 997 Turbo reached 0-60 mph in 3.2 seconds.
Resulting in much more neutral handling, along with greatly improving performance in all weather conditions, the 997 Turbo featured PTM (Porsche Traction Management), a new system that incorporates a clutch-based system that varies the amount of torque to the wheels to avoid tire slippage. According to Porsche, this system helped traction and handling by redirecting the torque to control oversteer and understeer. The 997 Turbo also had an all-wheel-drive system like the one found on the Porsche Cayenne.
In August of 2009 Porsche introduced a revamped 911 Turbo. This model featured an updated PTM system that now gave a more rearward power bias and paddle shifters for the PDK double-clutch gearbox for the first time. The new Turbo used a completely new engine measuring 3800cc and was originally produced for the new Carrera introduced in 2008. Previous water-cooled turbos measured 3600cc and originated from the so-called Mezger motor powering numerous racecars. The intercooler and fuel system have been uprated on the new engine and the variable-vane twin turbochargers were extensively reworked to increase responsiveness and it developed 493 hp, 20 bhp more than its predecessor.
Porsche rated the new Turbo able to accelerate from 0-62 mph in 3.4 seconds, and having a top speed of 194 mph. The steering wheel held a display that show when Sport, Sporty Plus and launch control have been selected through the optional Sport Chrono package. The 996 Turbo sported very distinctive styling compared to the Carreras and featured front LED driving/parking/indicator lights mounted on a horizontal bar across the air intakes.
A fully optioned Porsche 911 Turbo, the 911 Turbo S was introduced in 2010. Featured a PDK gearbox and sport exhausts, the Turbo S had many options as standard. With a top speed of 196 mph, the Turbo S came with re engineered turbos with a boost of 30 HP totaling 523 hp. Car and Driver magazine road tested a Turbo S with PDK transmission and found it accelerated from 0-60 mph in 2.7 seconds.
Launched in the summer of 2006, the 911 GT3 was awarded 'the best handling car in America' by Motor Trend. With a top speed of 193 mph, the GT3 was nearly as fast as the Turbo had accelerates 0-62 mph in 4.1 seconds. A homologation version of the GT3 RSR racing vehicle was the 911 GT3 RS for competition events like Sebring and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Except for the addition of a lightweight flywheel and closer gear ratios for more improved response under acceleration, the RS powerplant was based on the 911 GT3. Unlike the GT3 though, the RS was built on the 911 Carrera 4 and Turbo body and chassis, and had a wider rear track for better cornering characteristics on the track. The RS was easily noticed by its bright orange or green color scheme with black accents, channeling the iconic Carrera RS of 1973. Further distinguishing the eye-catching model was the plastic deck lid topped by a wide carbon-fiber rear wing. The front airdam received an aero splitter, which improved front downforce and pumping more cooling air through the radiator. In Europe the RS received lightweight plexiglass rear windows along with a factory-installed roll cage. In 2009 production ended for the first generation 997 GT3 RS with a total of 413 units sent to the US, and total production numbering around 2,000 units.
The second generation of the 997 GT3 RS was announcing by Porsche in August of 2009. This generation would feature an enlarged 3.8-liter engine that produced 450 bhp, a modified suspension, new titanium sport exhaust, dynamic engine mounts, and updated lightweight bodywork. Soon after in the spring of 2011 Porsche introduced the third generation of the 997 GT3 RS with an enlarged 4.0-liter engine that produced 500 bhp. Using weight saving components like bucket seats, plastic rear windows, and carbon-fiber bonnet and front wings, the GT3 RS 4.0 used suspension components taken from the racing version. Other features included an aerodynamically optimized body, large rear wing and a low center of gravity. A first on a production Porsche were the lateral front air deflection vanes and increased downforce on the front axle. Improving the 911 GT3 RS 4.0's grip to the tarmac was a steeply included rear wing that aerodynamic force exerted an additional 190 kg. The RS 4.0 weighed 2,998 pounds.
In 2007 the Type 997 GT2 was introduced via an official press release on July 16. The first street-legal 911 to exceed 200 mph was officially launched at the 62nd Frankfurt Motor Show and arrived in dealerships by November of 2007. The GT2 was powered by a twin-turbocharged 3.6-liter 6-cylinder engine that generates 523 hp at 6500 rpm and 505 lb/ft of torque from 2200 to 4500 rpm. The GT2 had a 6-speed manual gearbox and rear wheel drive and a curb weight of 3,175 pounds. With a top speed of 204 mph, the speedy GT2 could hit 0-60 mph in 3.6 seconds. The GT2 smoked a Carrera GT by .3 of a second during an appearance on Top Gear, having a lap time of 1:19.5. The GT2 sported an updated front lip, different rear bumper and different rear wing from the 911 (997) Turbo and didn't have fog lights in the front bumper. The GT2 also is rear-wheel-drive instead of all-wheel-drive like the 997 Turbo.
The RS variant was introduced on May 4, 2010 to German dealers in Leipzip. Weighing 70 pounds less than the standard GT2, the RS developed 612 hp and 516 lb/ft of torque and had a top speed of 205 mph and could achieve 0-62 mph in 3.4 seconds.
On August 2011 Porsche announced several updates on the 991 Carrera and Carrera S. Powering the Carrera was a 350 hp 3.4-liter engine while the Carrera S was powered by a 3.8-liter engine that produced 400 hp. Increasing power to 430 hp was a Power Kit available for the Carrera S. The new length for the 911 was now 2.2 inches more and 3.9 increased wheelbase, totaling 96.5 inches. The rear axle was moved forward about 3 inches closer to the engine and the was a wider front track. Michael Mauer headed all of these design changes.
The new 991 sported very wide-set headlights that were more 3-dimensional and front fender peaks that were more prominent and wedge-like directional that seemed to float above the intakes for the twin coolant radiators. The biggest change was in the stretched rear ¾ view that had a more voluminous form and thin taillight slivers capped wit the protruding lip of the bodywork. The biggest change for the new 911 was the center console on the inside, inspired by the Carrera GT and adopted by the Panamera.
The 991 is the first Porsche 911 to use mostly aluminum construction and even though the car is larger than the previous model, it's still 110 pounds lighter. Both the Carrera and Carrera S are faster than the previous models thanks to reduced weight and increased power. Manual transmission cars could hit 0-60 mph in 4.6 seconds and 4.3 seconds for the Carrera S. 991 models equipped with PDK can accelerate from 0-60 mph in 4-4 seconds and 4.1 seconds for the Carrera and Carrera S. Models with the PDK transmission could opt for the sports chrono package which made the 991 Carrera accelerate from 0-60 mph in 4.2 seconds and the Carrera S in just 3.9 seconds.
The new 991 also featured the industry-first 7-speed Manual-Transmission with rev-matching as well as the tweaked PDK transmission. Another new feature wit the new manual-transmission is that in Sport Plus mode it blips the throttle during downshifts. Unless the vehicle is in 5th or 6th gear the 7th cog cannot be engaged.
Porsche was focused on improving fuel economy with the new model as well as increasing performance and to meet these goals they introduced a variety of new technologies in the 911. Replacing the previous hydraulic steering was an electro mechanical power steering, which helped reduce fuel consumption. Some enthusiasts feel that the very precise steering feedback for which the 911 is famous was reduced with the all new system. The 991 featured an engine stop start system that would turn the engine off at red lights as well as a coasting system that allows the engine to idle while keeping speed on downhill gradients on highways. This system allows for up to 16% reduction in fuel consumption and emissions over the outgoing models.
In an attempt to improve handling the new 911 featured a torque vectoring system that was standard on the Carrera S and optional on the base Carrera, which brakes the inner wheel of the vehicle when going into turns. This system allowed the vehicle to turn quicker and with more precision. Hydraulic engine mounts also help reduce the inertia of the engine when going into turns as part of the optional sports chrono package. The Carrera S offers Porsche active suspension management standard, and as an option on the Carrera. This system stiffens the suspension during aggressive drive and improves the ride quality during straights.
PDDC or Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control was another new feature on the new model that Porsche claims shaves 4 seconds off the standard model's lap-time around the Nürburgring. This feature assists the car in corner flat and is reputed to improve high-speed directional stability and outright lateral body control. Some reports suggest though that the car is more prone to under steer when equipped with this system.
Porsche launched all-wheel-drive variants of the Carrera models in January of 2013. Powered by a new all-wheel-drive system the new '4' and '4S' models power was sent to the front wheels only when necessary, which gave the driver a sense of piloting a rear-wheel-drive 911 when road conditions are ideal, and sending torque and power when road and weather situations are hazardous. Their wider tires, slightly wider rear bodywork and a red reflector strip nestled between the taillights easily distinguish these models.
Changes to the 2014 911 Turbo and Turbo S included a rear-wheel steering system incorporated in that turns the rear wheels in the opposite direction at low speeds or the same direction at high speeds, greatly improving handling. Other changes included a boost in power to 520 hp on the Turbo, and 560 hp on the Turbo S, which gave a 0-60 mph in 3.2 seconds and 2.9 seconds, respectively.
Over the year the well-loved Porsche 911 has won numerous awards including number three on the list of Top Sports Cars of the 1960s and the Carrera RS number seven on the list of Top Sports Cars of the 1970s. The 911 Carrera was named number seven on the list of Top Sports Cars of the 1980s and the 911 was named Number 2 on the list of '100 Coolest Cars' by Automobile Magazine's list. For 2005 the Porsche 997 was nominated for the World Car of the Year award.Sources:
By Jessica Donaldson