The archetypal sports car might have its engine in an unconventional place but Porsche has honed the 911 to near perfection. This 997 model replaced the closely related 996 generation, and Ireland’s Celtic Tiger years means there’s a good few to choose from on the used market. The 997’s replacement was introduced late 2011 for the 2012 model year, though some models like the Turbo and GT continued to be produced into 2012.
Few car ranges, let alone high-end sports cars, offer such an expansive choice of models as Porsche’s 911. This 997-series 911 was produced from 2007 to 2012, with basic 3.6 Carreras being the entry point to 911 ownership. Alongside it is the more powerful 3.8-litre S and run-out GTS models, the incredibly fast Turbo and Turbo S and the track-focused GT3 and even more hardcore GT3 RS. At the very top end there are the super rare GT2 and GT2 RS, which were built in tiny numbers. Mix in a Cabriolet in standard, S, Turbo and Turbo S forms, a Targa with a large opening glass roof, four-wheel drive variants dubbed '4' and manual or automatic choices (the autos were originally called Tiptronic, with later, 2009-onwards, cars featuring a ‘PDK’ twin-clutch self-shifter) and there’s a 911 to suit everyone.
Standard equipment depends on the specific model, but the majority of cars have been specified with Porsche’s PCM (Porsche Communication Management), which incorporates telephone connection, audio and satnav. Other desirable options include PASM (Porsche Active Suspension Management) on standard Carreras and Sports Exhausts. All versions are fast, all drive beautifully and all are surprisingly practical.
It’s easy to be seduced by the 3.8-litre S model with its greater output, but a 3.6-litre Carrera 2 with a manual transmission is about as pure as 911 motoring gets. Sadly it’s also rare, with the majority of 911s sold as automatics. Early 3.6s had 325hp, that rising to 345hp from 2009. Look for cars with PCM and PASM, as well as desirable extras like sports seats and a sports exhaust.
Porsche 911 Carrera 2
Engine: 3,596cc six-cylinder petrol
Maximum speed: 285km/h
0-100km/h: 5.0 seconds
Fuel consumption: 11.0 litres/100km
Blend of performance and economy
Great to drive
Not cheap to run
Rear seats are tiny
Road and tyre noise
The 911 is rightfully proclaimed to be a sports car you can use every day thanks both to legendary reliability and surprising practicality. Few others offer so much at the 911’s price point, with comparable performance Italian cars costing significantly more to buy and run. Decent choice should make finding a good one easy, too.