996: The Water-cooled 911

The 996, Porsche’s first 100-percent new 911 since 1964, has something for everyone.

2001 Turbo (996)

After 35 years of updated models, the new 996 was the first all-new 911 since 1964. And what a new 911 it was: larger yet lighter than its predecessor, the 996 was also more powerful, more refined, more aerodynamic, and easier to drive than the 993. As usual, old-school Porsche purists found things to grumble about — most often the introduction of water cooling for the flat-six engine — but the 996’s driving experience won over the majority of enthusiasts.

The 996 remains a very rewarding car to drive, and they can be purchased for less than $20,000: Depreciation, a weak economy, numerous cars for sale at any given time, and reliability concerns have taken a serious toll on values. These concerns about reliability are valid (see the sidebar on page 109), but aren’t the whole story. The possibility of expensive repairs is present in any used 911, and for us the potential risk is outweighed by the pleasure and practicality the 996 offers.

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