997: Upping the Ante
The 997 built on the 996’s superb mix of speed and handling, and gave the water-cooled 911 a more voluptuous look.
Instead of the usual new 911, two new 911s were introduced for the 2005 model year: the Carrera and the Carrera S. Carrying the internal designation 997, these cars were an evolution of the preceding 996. The 997 was hailed as a big step forward by the media, and seen by most Porschephiles as a big step (back) in the right direction for the water-cooled 911.
While the 997 kept the 1999-2004 996’s chassis and greenhouse as its basis, it ditched the “slab” sides and unusual headlight designs for flared fenders and headlights that recalled the air-cooled 993. The 997’s interior marked a return to Porsche forms, as well, with a linear dashboard, 1980s-esque air vents, simpler door panels, and squarer seats — another clear departure from the 996’s ovoid shapes.
While the 997 Carrera got a 325-hp, 3.6-liter engine very similar to the 320-hp 3.6 in the outgoing 996, the 997 Carrera S got the largest production flat six offered to American buyers yet, at 3.8 liters. With 355 hp, a 0-60 time of 4.6 seconds, a top speed of 182 mph, and sub-eight-minute Nürburgring lap times, the Carrera S backed up its good looks and proved to be a strong seller — outpacing the base Carrera for much of its lifespan.
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