Porsche looks back at trailblazing 996-gen 911

porsche 911 996 1

Porsche looks back at one of its trailblazing automobiles — the 996-generation 911.


  • Where did the 996-generation Porsche 911 make its debut?

    The 996-generation Porsche 911 made its debut at the 1997 Automobil-Ausstellung (IAA) International Motor Show in Frankfurt.
  • How many 996-generation Porsche 911 did the company sell?

    According to Porsche, the company was able to sell roughly 175,000 samples of the 996-generation 911.
  • For the German automotive brand, the 911 with the internal codename 996 was the car that secured the company’s continued independence. The 996-generation Porsche 911 Coupe was a revolutionary model, that it wowed fans of the Stuttgart-based carmaker when it made its debut at the 1997 Automobil-Ausstellung (IAA) International Motor Show in Frankfurt.

    August Achleitner, Head of Porsche’s Technical Product Planning, Vehicle Concepts, and Package including Special Projects, said that the 996-gen Porsche 911 Coupe had a water-cooled engine in lieu of Porsche’s air-cooled two-valve-per-cylinder powerplant.

    The air-cooled four-valve boxers didn’t work “due to various hotspots” that they “couldn’t get a handle on,” Achleitner explained.

    porsche 911 996 gen

    It also introduced a new parts-sharing concept, which impacted every department involved in the front end — from the suspension to the electrics, the body, and the overall packaging.

    “Porsche needed a car in a lower price segment, to help generate a higher volume of sales. So this led to the idea of the Boxster and the 996 sharing parts,” Achleitner said.

    The year after, Porsche introduced a Cabriolet model of the 996-gen Porsche 911. Some six months later, Porsche complemented the duo with an all-wheel-drive 911 Carrera 4 in Coupe and Cabriolet versions — each using the body of the base 911.

    While the Turbo and Carrera 4 models were pre-planned, the Porsche 911 GT3 launched in May 1999, came about almost by chance. Due to changing motorsport regulations, Porsche built a 355 horsepower (hp) offshoot of the 911 as a road-legal homologation vehicle and as the successor to the 911 Carrera RS.

    The 996-generation Porsche 911 was reworked in 2002 and the 911 Targa and the 911 Carrera 4S Coupe with the wider bodywork of the 911 Turbo joined the family. The open-topped 4S version followed in 2003.

    In 2004, Porsche also offered a Cabriolet version of the Turbo and — as one of the various special models — the 911 Carrera Coupe “40 Years of Porsche 911.” From 2005, the Turbo S was available as a Coupe and Cabriolet.

    porsche 911 family shot

    Never before had there been so many variants of the 911 as in the 996 generation. Porsche would go on to sell roughly 175,000 examples.

    Photos from Porsche

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