Porsche 996 Turbo vs Porsche 997 Turbo

I've always been curious to see how much the 996 turbo has changed as it evolved into the newer 997 turbo model. Lucky for me I have a friend with a 997tt (twin turbo) who was happy to spare a few hours for a long overdue catch up and chat about all things Porsche. And for me I just had to bring the camera along. Very tricky conditions for photography as harsh sun facing us wasn't ideal. I didn't have my normal lighting equipment to help out so had to just make do.

The 996 Turbo was in production from 2000 to 2005 and the 997 Turbo was then produced from 2006 to 2012. They both have the same basic platforms and for the early 997.1tt models (like this one) they use the same engine as the 996tt, the legendary 3.6-litre flat 6 'Mezger' engine. Of course Porsche couldn't stand still with its development. Many tweaks and changes have been made to the newer model. An increase of around 60 bhp for the 997tt bumping it up to around 475 bhp and 457 lb ft. With its variable turbine geometry the new turbos are able to change the vane angles inside the turbo, directing the exhaust gases more efficiently at low and high revs. This gives it much less turbo lag (throttle response time) than the normal fixed variety fitted to the 996tt. One factory option that this car has is the Sport Chrono pack, with the touch of a button you get an overboost function that temporarily increases the boost by 3 psi for approx 10 seconds, taking the torque to around 505 lb ft.

The newer model is slightly quicker with the 0–62 mph in around 3.9 seconds with the manual transmission. The 996 is around 4.2 seconds 0-62 mph. 

Its a great experience sitting in the passenger side of your pride and joy. If not a little scary at times! Thinking to myself, don't get to close to that curb, There's a lorry coming in the distance, sharp bend next left. Come on just relax Matt.

Mark the owner of the 997 has kindly emailed me some thoughts on driving the older car........

I am a long time Porsche fan having owned a 1967 SWB 2litre S, Boxster S, 996 C2 and now the 997TT so feel comfortable enough to be able to offer a view on the 996 Turbo.
I am not one of the 'hate those lights ' brigade and I actually think as people wake up to the history of the car and see the racing origins, they will begin to become more sought after and highly regarded. I was chatting to a woman recently who thought the 996 looked newer than the 997, so there you are, with no preconceived ideas she thought the 996 looked more modern!
The headlights of the 996 were actually derived from the Gt1 Le Mans cars and should be looked at as a positive difference, but I guess even in the car world owners are 'conservative' and fail to see the beauty in difference unless they are specifically told its better. I secretly think it's a long term plan by motoring journos to devalue the cars so they could afford to buy one. Just ask any Porsche journo what they drive today and 90% will tell you 996!

So driving the car was something I was looking forward to doing and to compare it to my old 3.4 Carrera 2 and my current 997TT. I had always liked the analog feel of my C2 which was a tight car, very at home on the B roads of rural Hertfordshire and Essex, and to the extent that I still regret selling it to my good friend, who now still enjoys its delights.
Stepping into the 996TT takes me back to the interior of the C2 but it does feel different, more solid and safe somehow, purposeful and firm. This continues when I start her up - not having to worry about depressing the clutch as I have to with the 997- the sound of the updated exhaust is immediate and adds to the feeling of power in this particular car. With low mileage of 45,000 it is a tight car and as I pull away the suspension is like new over the bumpy farmyard concrete surface. The clutch is stiffer than the 997 but it adds to the feeling of the car being old school. This model had little in the way of tech and gadgets and I think that is why I like it - an old school car for an old school chap! You can keep the refinements that Porsche are now adding to the 991 current generations, for me the 996 and 997 are the end of the true line.

I turn onto the Suffolk B road and it's hard to not slam your foot to the floor but I take stock and feel the steering which is purposeful and see that she sits straight and level on the twisting road. A small amount of right foot shows me that there is slightly more turbo lag in the 996 than the 997 but other than that it's clear why Porsche are so much admired by car owners. Over the generations they have organically improved their cars, each model getting an upgrade and deleting some of the earlier development issues. It really is engineering at its best.

So that's enough being nice to my passenger as I plant my right foot and pin us to the seats. OMG the noise, the power, the raw power is so pure. This is the primary difference between the 996 and 997 turbo in my opinion, the 996 is pure power, forget the water cooled v air cooled nonsense the 996 is analogue and does not pretend to be anything else. The 997 is a bit more luxurious and refined both in terms of interior and drive until you press the sport button and the car changes from a safe everyday drive into an animal. It hunkers down on its stiffened suspension and makes your stomach turnover with its speed. So in a way you get two cars in one, but this is not about the 997 so let's get back to the matter in hand.
Back to the 996 we decide to swap over and Matt Woods, the owner, takes the drivers seat back happy that he has his car back he shows me the braking performance as he stops on a sixpence (it's an old coin - ask your grandad) from a speed that I would not wish to disclose. So it may be a beast but it stopped me from saying hello to a very nice looking hedge and for that I am grateful to the years of Porsche engineering skill.

So would I buy one? Yes, I would.
Would I say it's better than the 997? No, not better but different.
Why do I like it? I think it's an age thing, I have always had manual cars and both of the cars that we own are just that. I think it's just the fact that there are less driver aids in the 996, it's a raw car, yes it's got its idiosyncrasies but then so to I and I like 'difference ' in this ever increasing corporate, homogenized society .
So my advice would be if you want to be different go out and buy yourself a 996 Turbo and stand out from the crowd, you will not regret it.

Thanks for trusting me to drive your car Matt and for the super set of images.

The 997 has 6 pot brake calipers on the front and 19 inch wheels.
Tyre wise, 235 on the fronts and 305 on the rears.

The 996 has 4 pot brake calipers on the front and 18 inch wheels.
Tyre wise, 225 on the fronts and 295 on the rears.

The wheel base on both cars are almost identical. Along with very similar heights and widths. Coming from the same platform that is no real surprise.

The air intakes for the intercoolers on the 997 do seem to stick out in the air flow more than the 996. Not a bad idea as these cars can suffer from heat soak. They are safe to run them flat out, it just means they might retard the power back a little for safely when they get hot, that is all taken care of automatically in the ecu.

Driving the 997tt you notice the ride is much softer and more comfortable than the 996tt, even with the Sport Chrono button turned on. (You really can feel the firming up of the suspension when on). Size wise there didn't seem to be much difference, even on the smaller roads it didn't feel any larger to drive. For me the biggest different was the throttle response. With the Sport button on, you only had to lightly touch the throttle and the car would spool up and take off. Pulling really strong from whatever gear you were in all the way to around 6500 rpm. A noticeable improvement in acceleration and response over the 996tt. This isn't to take anything away from the 996, many people included myself like the old feeling of flooring the throttle and waiting for it to shoot off down the road.

Sound wise I'm sure the 997 has a little more of a 'sporty' exhaust note then the 996 that is very quiet in standard form.

Both cars have hydraulic spoilers.

The 996tt seems to rise up further. 

The interiors are very different, a much more modern feeling in the 997 (left).

The 997 looks more modern with its sharper lines, saying that I don't think the 996 looks 2 decades old! And if you have a private number plate, I'm sure it looks newer than it really is.

Colour aside, larger screens on the outer pods and an extra 25 mph on the speedo in the 997. The big difference and a very welcome one is the oil temperature gauge on the 997, where the voltage pod is on the 996.

The once unloved head lamps on the 996 are slowly coming back in to fashion, I personally like them.

Big difference on the 997 from the front has to be the head lights and indicators.

You get an extra air intake on the filter housing on the 997tt. Different pipe work and a noticeable amount more room in the engine bay over to the left, as the 997 has different turbos you don't need all the diverter valves that are crammed in on the 996.

997 on the left, this model has the sports seats that are extremely comfortable.

  A quick glance from behind, the big difference is the exhaust configuration.

 More detailed photos.

Big thanks to Mark (www.blondesfineart.com) for a great morning.

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