Porsche’s introduction of the second-generation water-cooled 911 with model 997 in 2004 marked a return to the familiar round headlights – not unsurprising given all the hate that the 996 received for its “fried egg” headlights. Underneath though the changes were small. The engine, while carrying a new code (M97 instead of M96) is pretty much the same, but now with a large single-row IMS bearing instead of the smaller one that causes the well-known IMS bearing issues. Unfortunately, bore scoring appears to be relatively common, especially on the 3.8l S models. Some companies use steel liners to solve this issue, but this is not the proper way as the rest of the engine is made of aluminium. There are a few engine specialists out there who fix it the proper way with new aluminium cylinders.
The 997 truly kicked off Porsche’s 911 model mania. It could be had as standard Carrera with a 3.6l engine, as Carrera S with 3.8l, and as four-wheel drive Carrera 4 and 4S models. Available body styles where coupé, convertible, and targa – the latter with a retractable glass roof. Then there’s of course the Turbo and Turbo S, always with four-wheel drive, and also available as convertible. The top of the range are the GT3/GT3RS and GT2 models.
The facelift to the 997.2 generation in 2008 brought about major changes. The interior was updated, turn signals and rear lights switched to LED technology that updates the look of the car quite a bit. But most importantly, a new engine was introduced and gearbox. The direct-injected MA family of engines is reputed as being much more reliable than the M96/M97, dealing with both the IMS and score boring issues. The torque-converter based Tiptronic was replaced by the double-clutch PDK transmission, which does have an automatic mode, but can also be shifted race car-style with paddles. The existing models were continued, but the ultimate model was only available for a short time: The GT3 RS 4.0, which now commands insane prices.
A 997.1 Carrera does 0-100kph in 5 seconds and has a top speed of 285 kph. The Turbos will get you below four seconds for the sprint to 100 kph.
- Better looking than the 996
- 997.2 generation is reliable
- Last “analog” hydraulic power steering 911
- While the IMS appears to be less of an issue, bore scoring is on the 997.1 models. A pre-purchase inspection should include a boroscope inspection of the cylinders.
- 997.1 interior is a bit dated, but less ’90s than the 996.
- 997.2 models are significantly more expensive than 997.1
If money were no issue, a 997.2 Carrera S. Otherwise a base-model 997.1 Carrera with the 3.6l engine, which seems to be a bit less susceptible to bore scoring.