Re : Porsche 911 (996) Turbo | The Brave Pill

Re : Porsche 911 (996) Turbo | The Brave Pill

Saturday 11th January

Porsche 911 (996) Turbo | The Brave Pill

Why a leggy example of the fastest 996 might actually be a sensible choice...



While we often like to select strange and exotic candidates for Brave Pill, this column does found itself drawn repeatedly to the watering holes where the most attractive beasts congregate. This week's offering marks the third time a Porsche 911 has featured here in slightly under a year, which may well be too much. But on the available evidence, the steering committee couldn't resist it. As on the two previous occasions, our Pill is from the least-loved 996 generation, but it also comes from the top of the pile. Yep, it's a Turbo, one wearing both an adventurous odometer reading and a seriously attractive pricetag.

Granted, 996 Turbos have been cheaper. About five years ago a few slipped beneath the twenty grand barrier, something that triggered a wave of stories celebrating the fact and encouraging readers to sell internal organs or mortgage their kids to buy one. Anybody who heeded such advice has subsequently enjoyed a modest increase in values, although one that won't have done more than offset some of the sizeable running costs of a typical example: most cars now sit somewhere around the Β£30K mark.

But thanks to a highish mileage our Pill is available for a substantial saving on that, the vendor asking just Β£25,000. Considering this is a car that can almost hit 200mph and has an all-wheel drive chassis enabling it to run rings around most supercars of the same era it's still hard to see that figure and not use the word bargain, even if it used to be cheaper. Compare the 996 Turbo to the generations on either side of it and the contrast is even more marked; you'd need to spend at least three times as much for even a shabby 993 Turbo (if you could find one) and the minimum buy-in for an early 997 Turbo is still in the low forties.


Our Pill's 140,000 miles - and a combination of purplish Cobalt Blue paint and grey trim - will lead many to see it as a less desirable specimen. But it's not hard to muster a counter argument. As commenters frequently point out - doubtless while surrounded by pink soft furnishings and wearing argyle sweaters - colour is all about personal choice. Nor is the mileage cause for undue alarm, rather proof this Turbo has lived its best life in a way it was designed to do, and has obviously been looked after well to do so. There's even a head-over-heart case to be made for the range-topper, which may well turn out to be a more sensible choice than its less powerful siblings.

Because while the move to water cooling saw Porsche switch the regular 996 Carrera to an all-new M96 engine, one that has since become notorious for scoring its bores, eating its IMS bearing and creating the sort of bills that create both welts and tears, the Turbo didn't. Instead it uses a twin-turbocharged 3.6-litre version of what became known as the Mezger flat-six, one that is closely related to the motor of the naturally aspirated 996 GT3, and more distantly to the GT1 racer. This doesn't suffer from either of the M96's common failings, and is generally held to be about as bullet-proof as something making 420hp can be.

While that output might not sound outrageous by modern standards, this was one of the quickest cars in the world when it was launched, especially given how often it allowed drivers to deploy its full firepower. Even now we're living in the future of 2020 a 4.2-second 0-62mph time and a 190mph top speed isn't exactly hanging around.


The 996 Turbo was also a radical departure from earlier boosted 911s. Before it the quickest members of the clan combined their performance with handling traits that would often result in either sweated-through underpants or the purplest of prose in those considered manly enough to review them. The original 930 Turbo was one of the first cars to earn the 'Witwenmacher' nickname in its homeland - widowmaker in English - a term adopted from the highly lethal Lockheed F-104 Starfighter that killed an alarming percentage of its pilots in Luftwaffe service. While the 930's successors became progressively less scary, the 996 Turbo was the first that could be fairly described as friendly.

After securing compromising pictures of my then editor I was assigned to a comparison that involved both a then-new 996 Turbo and a Ferrari 360 in the early 'noughties, this involving time on both road and track. In the dry the Ferrari was definitely the one: more agile, more exciting, better sounding and fractionally faster at full fang. But when it rained the 911 left it for dead, seemingly regardless of the relative amounts of driving talent piloting each car.

Beyond its mighty engine the Turbo's star feature was its all-wheel drive system, and the ability this had to find grip to match the huge output. This used a viscous coupling and wasn't as smart or quick acting as more modern systems, but back then it felt like a Get Of Jail Free card, sending torque forwards to counteract the Turbo's thrown hammer weight distribution under big loads. It wasn't a big, fluffy pussy cat - but it would allow liberties I wouldn't have dared attempt in earlier cars. Like the R34 Nissan Skyline GT-R, it seemed impossibly accessible for something so quick.


While engines are strong, any 911 Turbo is going to be expensive to keep in fettle; if it was a restaurant the online review would have £££££ written next to it. Routine servicing is pricey, although most owners will use specialists these days, but age and use will also bring plenty of non-routine costs to keep even the sturdiest credit card exercised. But the very fact this Turbo has racked up such a high mileage is proof that somebody has been paying substantial bills throughout its long lifetime; it's certainly not been getting stale under a sheet in a dusty garage.

The vendor reports that our Pill has recently been given treated to new wastegates - a common failure point - as well as fresh brake discs and pads all-round, plus various bushes. He or she also points us to an MOT history which, by Pill standards, is pretty much clean enough to eat your dinner off. The official record also supports the seller's assertion that mileage accumulation has slackened off recently, but proves the car is still being used. For much of its earlier life this Turbo was doing some serious travelling; full credit to whoever owned it in 2009 and managed to do nearly 25,000 miles between two MOTs. Oh, and it's a manual, too - which is definitely a better choice than the slushy Tiptronic.

Will the 996 ever ascend to the desirability of other generations of 911? Probably not - but does that really matter? Here's a well-proven, usable example of one of the most desirable members of the clan that looks entirely capable of reaching a double century if looked after properly, all for an amount it would be easy to spend on options on a new 992. Who's game?

See the original advert here.


Author
Discussion

Ursicles

Original Poster:

891 posts

191 months

Saturday 11th January
quotequote all
Had one and loved it though probably didn't really have pockets deep enough to run it! Luckily bar a clutch which I went halves with the dealer on it was really reliable.

18 months, 10k miles and sold it for 50% more than I paid smile

189mph on the autobahn will always be a memory of that car and how it still wanted to pull.

mikiec

101 posts

35 months

Saturday 11th January
quotequote all
for 30k you can get another 420bhp 4wd coupe:

https://www.pistonheads.com/classifieds/used-cars/...

mileage significantly less as well

Billy_Whizzzz

1,222 posts

92 months

Saturday 11th January
quotequote all
The turbos were never pretty and the 996 is as ugly as sin inside and out but this is as bullet proof a super car as you can get and the engines are good for 200k plus. Some even moot that Mezger engines can see 500k.

Veeayt

2,907 posts

154 months

Saturday 11th January
quotequote all
mikiec said:
for 30k you can get another 420bhp 4wd coupe:

https://www.pistonheads.com/classifieds/used-cars/...

mileage significantly less as well
As much as I would love a Mezger and a 911 shape, this would be my bet.

sr.guiri

342 posts

38 months

Saturday 11th January
quotequote all
Brave pill?? One of the best places to park your cash, if you ask me. The prices of these are only going in one direction.

If this was correct hand drive, I wasn't driving around Latin America in an old VW Kombi and I didn't already have a 964 which certainly won't be driven enough over the next few years, I'd have this in a snap.

Brave pill for only the most nervous of people, maybe. For anyone else, it's a no brainer.



Venisonpie

492 posts

31 months

Saturday 11th January
quotequote all
Not really that brave however they're not the last word in agile. Stodgy is best how I'd describe the steer.

UpTheIron

3,754 posts

217 months

Saturday 11th January
quotequote all
If there is nothing major wrong that's a very good buy indeed.

If I was worried about running costs but ona budget I'd be choosing a leggy 996TT over an R8 any time.

Not sure you could pick up a 996TT for sub 20k in 2015 either!!! 2008/9 if you looked hard maybe.

bobski1

834 posts

53 months

Saturday 11th January
quotequote all
Been looking at big engine estates for some future proofing but this came on my radar the other day & can say I'm really tempted by one. The looks don't bother me at all and the reputation for reliability is a big plus. Is there anything to look out for when buying? Most likely towards the lower end of the market

hucumber

476 posts

46 months

Saturday 11th January
quotequote all
mikiec said:
for 30k you can get another 420bhp 4wd coupe:

https://www.pistonheads.com/classifieds/used-cars/...

mileage significantly less as well
Crikey that is cheap! Would be a tough decision but I think I would still take the Porsche, and I'm not entirely sure why

Arsecati

447 posts

66 months

Saturday 11th January
quotequote all
mikiec said:
for 30k you can get another 420bhp 4wd coupe:

https://www.pistonheads.com/classifieds/used-cars/...

mileage significantly less as well
Damn! I thought these had only recently gone under £40k, had not idea they've gone below £30k. And after a quick check - there are loads. No brainer for me - at that price, R8 all day long (and I've just seen one at £26,990!!!)

TheOrangePeril

400 posts

129 months

Saturday 11th January
quotequote all
I've never owned a car of this level of performance, is 140k supposed to be high mileage for something like that!?

richinlondon

137 posts

71 months

Saturday 11th January
quotequote all

People talk about the looks of this as it it was a ssangyong Rhodus. Other than one less than optimal light treatment at the front it’s a nice looking car.



bobski1 said:
Been looking at big engine estates for some future proofing but this came on my radar the other day & can say I'm really tempted by one. The looks don't bother me at all and the reputation for reliability is a big plus. Is there anything to look out for when buying? Most likely towards the lower end of the market

Turbobanana

1,631 posts

150 months

Saturday 11th January
quotequote all
As a serial Saab owner I'm always a little surprised when an article alludes to a "high mileage" and the car turns out to have covered just under 10,000 a year.

Jalopnik recently ran a story about an early 900 that had c650,000 on the clock, and that had had a speedo change at around 300,000 making the total just under a million.

That's not a knife, etc.

GravelMachineGun

5,577 posts

108 months

Saturday 11th January
quotequote all
Don't hold me to this but I am sure I did a track day in this car when I was a wee lad. I'll need to dig out a photo but the plate looks EXTREMELY similar and the spec, colour, wheels etc are exactly the same.....

Arsecati

447 posts

66 months

Saturday 11th January
quotequote all
Turbobanana said:
As a serial Saab owner I'm always a little surprised when an article alludes to a "high mileage" and the car turns out to have covered just under 10,000 a year.

Jalopnik recently ran a story about an early 900 that had c650,000 on the clock, and that had had a speedo change at around 300,000 making the total just under a million.

That's not a knife, etc.
I retired my old Volvo 940 Estate at about 360,000 miles purely for economy reasons (still have it stored in a garage for nostalgia reasons!), and my current A6 Avant Daily has 208,000 miles and I never give it a seconds thought. I have over 140,000 on my old 944 S2 Cabriolet, and only did a 400 mile trip in one day in it, literally 2 weeks before Xmas - runs like new. So long as it's been looked after properly and servicing is up to scratch, mileage is just a number.

ATM

10,366 posts

168 months

Saturday 11th January
quotequote all
Main Article Wording said:
Our Pill's 140,000 miles - and a combination of purplish Cobalt Blue paint and grey trim
Sorry no

This is nothing like Cobalt - it is Lapis Blue.

Feel free to amend and then delete this post.

nebpor

359 posts

184 months

Saturday 11th January
quotequote all
TheOrangePeril said:
I've never owned a car of this level of performance, is 140k supposed to be high mileage for something like that!?
No, not on this car - these engines go forever if looked after, they are very unstressed

big_rob_sydney

2,423 posts

143 months

Saturday 11th January
quotequote all
One of the more sensible suggestions, I would have thought. Its not all about outright purchase price; running costs matter, and this avoids many pitfalls, as the article mentions. Also, the curse of depreciation seems like it wont bite; so if you want to enjoy a "relatively" safe Porsche Turbo, this seems like a good bet.

Mind you, I wouldn't go into this thinking it's an investment.

howardhughes

347 posts

153 months

Saturday 11th January
quotequote all
A beautiful car. Always loved these despite the negativity of the 'Headlights' I think it's aged extremely well.

shalmaneser

3,777 posts

144 months

Saturday 11th January
quotequote all
hucumber said:
mikiec said:
for 30k you can get another 420bhp 4wd coupe:

https://www.pistonheads.com/classifieds/used-cars/...

mileage significantly less as well
Crikey that is cheap! Would be a tough decision but I think I would still take the Porsche, and I'm not entirely sure why
Search for audi r8 cracked frame. There is a major problem with the v1 audi r8 which I suspect is affecting values.