In the fairytale, Goldilocks walks into the home of three bears and lays down in their beds. The first one is too firm, the second too soft, and the final one just right. Now if the bears were Porsche drivers owning the first three watercooled generations of 911 (bear with me), she would walk into their garage and drive each of their cars. The 991 would be too modern, the 996 would be too strange, and the 997 would be just right - and here is why:
The 991 is widely appreciated, but it brought some weight and size with it, along with a whole lot of new technology. The 996 is without a doubt the most polarizing generation of 911. It was the first watercooled 911, Porsche had not quite figured out automatic transmissions yet, the interior reflected the time it was created in, the M96 had some growing pains, and finally there were those headlights. The 997 sits between these two generations, in what I would consider the sweet spot.
After the headlight fiasco of the 996, the 997 indicated a return to more classic Porsche styling. The headlights were round, the interior was simpler, and the car retained the best lines and proportions of the previous cars. The next generation 991 sacrificed the steep hood and headlight creases for an increase in frunk size, and the round headlights took on a subtly oval appearance.
In terms of size, the 997 had the same bones as the 996. It did, however, have a much smaller footprint than the 991 that followed, with a shorter wheelbase and a narrower track width. The 997, in both its C2S and C4S body styles, is the perfect size. Narrow enough to pick a driving line within the same lane, and short enough to challenge and engage its driver. The 991 was a shift towards the 911 as a grand tourer, with a bigger footprint, some added luxury, and a switch to electronic power steering. The 991 had become a much easier car to drive.
The 997 was also the last generation of 911 where Turbo meant turbo. The 991.2 C2S introduced turbochargers to non-turbo named Porsche’s, and the current 992 has reached turbo performance equalling the 997 Turbo S in just its C2S form. As impressive as that is, it does draw a certain appreciation for the usability of 997’s. Sitting anywhere between 325 and 385 horsepower, 997 Carreras contain just the right amount of power to use on the street. Add to that the engagement of a smaller car, the rawer steering feel, and the linear output of a naturally-aspirated flat-6, and you have mine and Goldilocks’ favorite modern 911.
In case you needed more convincing, the 997 gave us the GT2 RS, the GT3 RS 4.0, the last Hanz Mezger engines, it introduced us to PDK, and reintroduced us to Speedsters. The only catch is they’re getting harder to find. The 997 generation overlaps the financial collapse of 2007 and the subsequent recession. As a result, 997 volumes were understandably poor. Those that own 997’s are holding on to them, and the market is starting to adjust to the increasing appreciation for this very special Porsche. The occasional pre-owned 997 makes Porsche Centre Langley its home from time-to-time, but they are never here for long.
Written June 2021