I got a Porsche for a few reasons. One being (excited scream) I've always wanted one! I mean, come on! I had a Lamborghini poster on my wall only because they didn't sell a Porsche 911 poster. In video games, I skipped the Ferrari's and selected the German masterpiece that is the 911.
...and I wanted to slowly build a track car. The goal being; drive it to the track, play, drive it home. There are cars out there that will do it.... but only ONE I could think of that would do it with such strict, over-engineered German grace. Yes, I'll need to make some changes. No, it won't be as painful as modifying a BMW, and much less painful than what we get in the US from Japan, sadly.
For the past three months, I've been mostly-daily driving a 1999 Porsche 911 (model 996) and have learned much. Not only about Porsche, but about how a 911 drives. ...and I must say, it's wonderful.
The 996 got a bad rap from magazines of the times, and that's quite sad. They spoke of the headlights being the same as the Boxster. Despite the 911 being penned first... meaning... the Boxster copied the new 911... but that was ignored, since the Boxster came first. They spoke of the engine having an IMS bearing issue. This only affected about 8'ish% of all 911's. They spoke of the interior being bland. AS IF the 911's before it had luxurious interiors. The 911 was always supposed to be 'bare bones' sports car. That was part of the appeal. I, personally, blame my generation for wanting the soft leather, alcantara, satnav and on and on.
They talked of the 'cheap leather' on the seats. Well... 20 years on, and my seats look fantastic.
So, to the dead magazines. I say... nothing. Because they're dead. Last laugh.
YES, the Porsche 996 has it's drawbacks. NO, the 996 isn't perfect. But no car, ever, in the history of the automobile has ever been perfect. Ever.
There's something to be said about a 20 year old car that has that solid 'thud' when the door closes. Not a grind, or slop. Just a solid thud.
But... once you get on the road... that's where the 996 shines. You don't see the headlight design. You see the road... and you still see those huge fenders through the windshield. You're still driving a 911.
People complain about the shifter. Again, 20 years on and there's NO slop. I had a 2017 Subaru STI... and from the factory, there was slop in the shifter.
How does it drive? Well, it drives like a 911... you feel the road through your feet (get driving shoes if you haven't already) you feel it through your hands, and all the way down your backside. You run over a pebble and feel it. You look ahead and aim.. the car goes there. No drama... it just goes there. ...and it pivots like no other car I've ever driven. It feels like it has 4-wheel steering. ...and when the rear breaks loose, it's controlled and poetic.
The power is quite linear with a 'boost' feel about 4,000 RPM. ..then she pulls all the way to 7,000 RPM without worry. Again, no drama. The engine just wants to pull! Coming from a turbo car, where you have a 2,000 RPM window to play with, the Porsche 911 Carrera gives you about 3,500 RPM to play with... a window where there's always power. ...and again, it doesn't care if you're at 5,000 RPM. It just waits to pounce.
"Can it make more power?" Yes. You can squeeze more power from the M96. Does it need it? No. The guys I hear/read that need all the extra power and the guys who only know how to stab the throttle. They run a sloppy line, then use the power to make up for their lack of skill. The Porsche requires you to learn the proper line, learn how to make it work, learn to keep your speed up... carry it into the straight.
Thus far, this has been a great machine to drive, a great machine to work on and a great machine to just stare at.
I'm still pinching myself. I own a Porsche. I drive a Porsche. Often.