1998 model Porsche 911 996 Carrera 2 Coupe road test.

Driving a Porsche Carrera 996 .

I have driven many of these water cooled Porsche 911. They are often criticized by pure Porsche people because of the water cooling. For sure this takes away the traditional metallic sound you get with an air cooled 911 - but was that so important?

The best things about a Porsche 996 are in my view found on the inside, very comfortable and more roomy that any previous models. If you are a bit on the ample size, or cant cope with unfolding yourself from tiny sports cars than try one of these.

porsche 996 Carrera 2 in ocean blue by adrian crawford.The 996 Carrera I am driving (see pic) is a '98 996 C2 coupe, LHD. In Ocean blue metallic with nephrite full leather (a green/grey colour which sounds a bit mad but looks so classy in the flesh).

It is everything a Porsche should be - capable, strong, well built and communicative.

Start it up and in fact it sounds pretty good, its very comfortable, you can find all the controls easily, the controls are nicely weighted - not hard at all. Out on the open road these cars go… although 'only' 3.4 verses the previous 993 size of 3.6 it has a few extra horses (300) and can really put them down well.

The effect on the handling of that big motor in the rear is now hardly noticeable, you no longer have to so cautiously explore the turns than any previous 911. It feels secure and composed.

To me it's a pity the front looks so similar to the Boxster (not ugly, just not clearly a 911). And in my view the performance and value have been improved at a cost.

Progress means less weight and thinner materials and you can notice the difference between an old 911 and a modern 996.The build quality is still high but the feel of the car is lighter, and I have found little bits of plastic trim broken and loose on very new examples.



Overall, it's still a great every day supercar, the likes of which you won't find with any other manufacturer. Very easy to live with, easy servicing, great performance and handling. Other cars make more noise but often don't work as well.

2 or 4 wheel drive? many owners would n't be able to tell the difference, but if you are  keen - you can tell. Its not such a big difference but a C2 has a slightly sharper feel to the steering than a C4. But a C4 does feel more secure in poor conditions at speed. 

For most people just buy the example you like best and don't worry. The Tiptronic S on 996 works very well and is worth considering , especially if you do a lot of town driving. The change is sharp, performance is similar, in fact there is little reason to have a 'stick shift' other than personal preference.

Coupe, Targa or Cabriolet? The coupe needs no explanation, the Targa looks superb doesn't it? Although I have not driven a 996 Targa I expect that there is a small penalty to pay in chassis rigidity and a little extra wind noise. But the way the roof works is fascinating. The full convertibles work very very well and Porsche pride themselves on their convertible tops. Don't be afraid of buying a convertible.

996 prices. At the moment in most of Europe these cars have suffered from oversupply and hence in some cases are perhaps too cheap. Often good 993 are more expensive. I doubt if this situation will last forever as people are conservative and will generally become more used to the 996 qualities as time goes by.

Adrian Crawford.

996 Turbo driving impression.

NEW. Porsche 996 Buyers Guide