Arriving in late 1997, the 996 model 911 was Porsche’s first ground-up, reworking of the 911 concept. Revolution over evolution, an all-new car that Porsche simply had to build. Sharing much with the Boxster, out went the air-cooled flat-six, in favour of a more noise and emissions compliant, water-cooled flat-six.
The 996 was bigger, but lighter than the outgoing 993 and was able to lay to rest some of the 911s quirks, that had perhaps put off some buyers. Its arrival was perfectly timed too, taking advantage of a global economic boom and a much wider customer base, for what was a more mainstream machine.
Not that the 996 had sanitised the 911. It was still largely unique in a front and mid-engined sports car world, with a balance feel and signature all of its own and that sonorous flat-six howl from the rear.
Early 996 Carrera 2 models were initially 3.4-litre powered, with 295bhp. Proving to be a massive hit, the 996 C2 promptly cleaned-up as EVO’s Car of the Year in 1998. The 996 Carrera 4 followed in 1999, sharing its stiffer bodyshell with 996 GT3. And of course, Targa and Cabriolet versions were also very much on the 996 agenda.
A Gen2 996 was launched in 2001, with a revised front end that took its styling cues from the 996 Turbo, and with it came 3.6-litre, flat-six with 320bhp, replacing the 3.4-litre. As well as more power, the 3.6-litre engine produced a significant torque boost: 273lbs/ft at 4250rpm v 258lbs/ft at 4600rpm, a telling comparison, that could be really felt on the road.
As with previous 911 generations, the 996 Turbo donated its wide bodyshell to the model range. The resulting 996 Carrera 4S, proved to a big hit for all the obvious reasons: Turbo look and four-wheel drive security, without Turbo outlay and costs. And aside from the Turbo, the 996 market clearly puts the C4S on top.
Which brings us rather neatly to this 2003 996 C4S. First supplied by Porsche Centre Nottingham and finished in Arctic Silver, this is a prime example of a 996 C4S, that ticks all the boxes. Silver is the right colour, the all black leather interior compliments it perfectly and the manual six-speed is much sought after in a market where the Tiptronic dominates.
Mileage stands at a modest 65,300 and for those that equate the 996 with potential trouble, then be reassured that the IMS bearing has been replaced with an upgraded LN Engineering item. The RMS seal has also been replaced and the engine has been borescoped and is in perfect health.
The 996 C4S was well equipped in standard form. Additional options on this car, include rear wiper, Litronic headlamps, Porsche Communication Management (PCM – antiquated now, but could be replaced with Porsche’s excellent Classic Communication Plus unit), CD changer, Aluminium Look Package and Aluminium-Coloured instrument dials.
The service book is fully stamped, with a mix of Porsche Centre and latterly specialists, RPM Technik and JGC Porsche. This is backed up by a comprehensive and full folder of invoices for all works carried out. In-short, this C4S has clearly been exceptionally cared for by its previous owners.
Just lovely, really. Wide of body it might have been in 2003, but now it’s positively snake-hipped, compared to a modern 992 gen 911.
The engine – which also went on to serve in the 997 – mixes torque with an appetite for revs, when required and proves that 320bhp is more than enough for our small island. Mix that with a flick-of-the-wrist manual shift and analogue steering, plus passive suspension that works well on our unique UK tarmac.
Turbo look, without the Turbo trauma is the cliché, but the C4S did, once again, pull off that famous Porsche sleight of hand and we would suggest that this is close to the sweet-spot in the modern/classic Porsche world, before the full onslaught of driver aids and electronic controls.