Water cooled Carreras for dummies.

So, you’re contemplating a water cooled Carrera.   Good for you, I’m still a traditional holdout, but I get where you’re coming from.  Porsche did all it could with regards to power and emissions using an air cooled motor.  With the razor sharp temperature control possible using coolant cleaner emissions and much power was available.   After all, Porsche isn’t about air cooling, its about continuous improvement.

996 Carrera S  had a bumper facial like the turbo model.

The 996  1999-2004
These Carreras are quite distinctive because they departed from round headlights which turned out to be astetically  dissapointing to the purists that were already up in arms about the departure form air cooling.  The major thing to know about the 996 model years is that they were known, by people in the know anyway, as fragile.   The Carrera and Carrera S had IMS failure issues.  That’s the bearing and seal that holds the crankshaft in place.  The bearing would fail and disaster would result.  This, and the less traditional headlight design makes buying a well maintained 996 a great bargain.  Assuming the IMS has been retrofit with an improved unit.  Or skip the IMS issue altogether with the more durable GT3 or Turbo.  
996 S models were wider with some turbo looks from the brakes and front bumper facias, but essentially the same as a Carrera.

997 Carrera GTS  was a more raw, faster version of the "S"  

The 997  2005-2011
This was Porsche's attempt to make things right with the traditionalists.  It worked, bigtime.   So don’t expect any bargains here. IMS failures were resolved for the most part.   They reverted the headlight and some interior designs back to the popular appearance of the 993 air cooled cars. They pay homage to the race car roots, but clearly these newer Carreras are more luxury oriented than the air cooled relatives.

997 S models were given larger motors in the 997. Yahoo!

Okay, so now you've decided the best deal on a 997 is for you. Wait, not every year is the same. If you have the funds, look into 2009 or newer 997s. They are quite special if you ask me.

2009 997s brought in the PDK transmission which was clearly a game changer. No longer do you have to suffer the stigma of not having a manual transmission if you have a wooden left leg.  The PDK is a true racecar sequential manual transmission that is superior to your old 6 speed stick shift.   Just like the slide rule and pocket watches, it is now time for the clutch pedal to go bye bye.  Strangely, people in the USA are not taking to the PDK like they should. Kind of like the metric system, they just don't get it. This is an opportunity for an evolved buyer.

2009 is also the beginning of the direct injection system. Yep, fuel injectors so tough they fire directly into the combustion chamber.  No more computers calculating how much fuel to dump into an intake runner, and compensating for runner length and temperature, just spray exaclty what you need right into the combustion chamber.  Too cool.

Consider a Targa.  The glass roof Targa is great fun, and retracts a huge roof panel. It's all the fun of a convertible without loosing those perfect Carrera lines.  How can  you lose?  Just get a factory warranty because fixing a broken targa top is not for those of us with thin wallets.   I like Targas in darker colors because the roof doesn’t stand out as much.  Historically, Targas weren't offered in AWD and certainly not in a cooler S model. But they are in a 997 Jack!

Also consider the safety of AWD. I like the idea of a AWD car, I prefer that my wife drive one, because you never know when the weather is going to turn against you. Of course, with a rear engined car, you never know when the road will turn against you either. Or maybe a telephone pole will turn against you. They are typically a good value, too. Used Porsche buyers really love rear wheel drive cars .  So often you can get a better price on an AWD.  It’s true, technically in ideal conditions the rear wheel drive cars are faster.  But, let’s get real here.   In the real world, you’ll likely go faster with an AWD, water, grease, leaves etc are on the roads in the real world.  As for complexity, Porsche’s AWD system is simple enough not to be an issue for you, in years past they were more complicated, but not anymore.  Take advantage of a possibly lower price and buy a Carrera 4.  If your buddies  are all jealous, just pry the “4” off your decklid with a screwdriver.

For me, my current wealth dictates I buy cars that will sell for what I pay for them. A couple wrong moves and my car budget would be gone forever. So I stick with cars over 10 years old. If this blog ever earns me more than $12/hear I'll consider the car above  -  a 2009 Direct injected 997 Targa 4S with a PDK transmission. Hell, I might even let the dog ride in it.

The down side.  

Okay so you've chosen. You've got a car that is track inspired, but very street-able. Although it might be huge in comparison to older Carreras, the smooth quiet ride and cup holders help with real world drives to Starbucks located off cobblestone roads. The all wheel drive system gives you confidence your super car will not turn it's power against you. It isn't a rattling, squeaking convertible, but your Targa roof allows most of the some benefits on sunny days. You've got paddle shifters that control a real track developed MANUAL transmission, not an automatic with paddle overrides. Moreover, that PDK keeps you comfortable in Seattle traffic, and requires no talent when stopped at uphill traffic lights. We wouldn't want you to spill that coffee. You've found a super car that easy to drive. It's really not that impressive, when you think about what you've spent. But more power to you. 

Congrats, you are all set. Now go apply a coat of wax and loan it to your wife. She's gonna love it.


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