Porsche 996.1 v 996.2: Clash of the Carreras

Oh, the 996 Carrera. It’s been some journey for this rather controversial 911, right? The pitted history of Porsche’s 996 is one that is well versed in the motoring press and beyond, so restating its apparent tribulations will be of little relevance here.

However, 2015 witnessed something of an upturn in fortunes for the first water-cooled generation of 911, as values began to elevate. Sure, these rises were only incremental in comparison to those bestowed upon the 964 or 993 RS in similarly recent times, but whereas £10,000 once comfortably got you into a second-generation 996 Carrera (and a manual Coupe at that), today the same figure will get you into, well, nothing of any great repute.

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Instead, first-generation 996s with a palatable condition and history currently begin from £12,000, with second-generation cars starting at around £14,000.

So, the goalposts for an entry-level Porsche have moved on in terms of cost but the fact remains that, should you want a seat in a coveted 911 for relatively elementary money, a 996 Carrera or Carrera 4 is still very much the answer.

But with such muddying of the marketplace in terms of values between first and second-generation 996s, which is the better proposition? It’s time to find out.

Walking around an example of both cars in the rear courtyard of Paul Stephens’ eponymous business, I take my time to absorb their aesthetics and presence. It’s been a while since I was last in the company of any 996 Carrera and already their reasonably small proportions have taken me aback.

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When did the 996 get so slender? Don’t forget, this was the 911 that received criticism upon its release from some sectors for appearing too bulky, not helped by the fact it was nearly 200mm longer, from end to end, than its 993 predecessor, with a 78mm longer wheelbase, even if it was only marginally wider by 30mm.

Today though, any such accusations as to its cumbersome proportions are emphatically washed away. Park a 996 Carrera next to a comparatively barge-like 991 and the 996 will look delightfully petite, humble even. Just like a classic, air-cooled 911, dare I say.

To read Lee’s full Porsche 996 Carrera head-to-head, pick up Total 911 issue 136 in store today. Alternatively, order your copy online for home delivery or download it straight to your digital device now.

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