Opinion: Why the Porsche 996 is a better 911 than the 993
Over the years, we have been accused at various times of perpetuating the notion that the 996 generation of Porsche 911s is inferior to all others. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth and, to prove it, I’m here to convince you why the Porsche 996 is truly a better bet than the 993-type neunelfer it replaced.
For one thing, thanks to the switch to water-cooling (something denounced wholeheartedly by Porsche ‘purists’) it’s much harder to overheat a Porsche 996, especially in traffic.
Getting stuck in a city centre jam in a Porsche 993 is one of life’s truly nerve-wracking experiences. However, if you find yourself in the same situation behind the wheel of a Porsche 996, you’ve got much less to worry about.
That will allow you to sit back, relax and enjoy the more ergonomic cockpit and improved driving position. Sitting in a right-hand drive 993, you’ll find your legs askew trying to reach the offset pedals whereas a Porsche 996 sees you in a much more comfortable position.
And, while far from perfect, the button layout inside a Porsche 996 is much more intuitive than the scattergun approach used in the 993 (and every other generation before it).
Of course, experiencing a Porsche 911 isn’t just about such trivialities. Thankfully, all variants of Porsche 996 benefit from greater performance (one of the reasons behind the water-cooled switch) and, when comparing like for like, I’d even argue they drive better.
In standard form, the 993 Carrera’s engine feels a little flat compared to the rev-happy M96 unit in the 996 Carrera. Likewise, the 993’s chassis dynamics are firmly rooted in the past while the 996 benefits from a much more modern, nimble character.
While the Porsche’s last air-cooled generation of sports cars may have given us the 993 Carrera RS, the 996 introduced us to the now-iconic GT3 too, a sub-brand of 911s that has opened up the performance envelope to those not wanting something as hardcore as a Rennsport.
They’re affordable too (at least in the current market). Thanks to the air-cooled boom, Porsche 993s are no longer an entry-level option, leaving myriad 996 Carreras as the gateway into Porsche 911 ownership.
Now for the big one though. Those lights notwithstanding, I think the Porsche 996 is better looking than the 993. There are certain front three-quarter angles where the 993 and its flattened, 959-esque headlights just don’t look right.
Catch it from the wrong perspective and the 993 looks warped and (dare I say it) ugly. Meanwhile, the 996’s silhouette is much more cohesive and timeless. After all, there’s a reason why the general shape of the 911 has changed little in recent years from the lines originally seen on the 996 generation.
So, there you go: six reasons why the Porsche 996 is a greater generation than the 993. And, if you still don’t believe me, just remember, the 993 nearly bankrupted Porsche. It was the 996 though that helped to save Zuffenhausen from folding.