Introduced for the 1999 model year, Porsche’s 996-generation 911 marked the first time the marque’s iconic model utilised a water-cooled engine configuration. It was a risky, though altogether necessary transition for Porsche to make due to ever-increasing power gains which were being realised by their competitors, together with burgeoning emissions standards. The marque’s initial water-cooled production engine was developed from the Hans Metzger-designed blueprint found in its famous homologation special, the 911 GT1 released in 1997.
While the silhouette of the type 996 carried on the traditional look of the 911, designer Grant Larson introduced several significant updates that included a more aggressively raked windscreen, a completely retrimmed interior, and a new headlight design. In 2002, Porsche introduced the 911 Carrera 4S, an all-wheel-drive variant that borrowed the wide-body look, as well as the brakes, front fascia, and suspension of the contemporaneous 911 Turbo.
By 2004, this exceptional Italian-market Carrera 4S had been delivered to its first owner. The model’s water-cooled engine had increased in size to 3.6-litres of displacement and was been further updated with a new crankshaft, pistons, connecting rods, “VarioCam Plus” adjustable valve timing, Lokasil-treated cylinders, and Bosch Motronic ME 7.8 engine management system. For those enthusiasts seeking additional power without jumping from the Carrera up to the 911 Turbo, Porsche offered the ‘X51’ Carrera power kit, which provided a 30 brake horsepower increase by way of exclusive aluminium intake and exhaust manifolds, modified cylinder heads, and redesigned camshafts and valves.
Delivered new to Rome on 5 May 2004, this ‘X51’ Carrera 4S is made evermore notable on account of its desirable and extensive specification. Its long list of factory equipment listed on an accompanying Porsche build report includes Black Basalt Metallic (Z4) paint over a full black leather interior, elective removal of the sunroof, six-speed manual transmission with open differential, 18-inch Techno Sport wheels, and stainless-steel exhaust system.
Stepping across the Carrera-inscribed door sills, it is plain to see that the car’s interior is richly furnished with comfort-spec power seats featuring headrests embroidered with the Porsche crest, as well as a special-order trim package which added aluminum-and-black leather finishes to the gear selector, handbrake lever, and centre console. Occupants are also sure to benefit from the PCM navigation system, electronic climate control, remote six-disc CD changer, and Harman Kardon sound system.
Since entering The Carrera Collection in March 2016, this Carrera 4S ‘X51’ Coupé has been sparingly used. It currently indicates just 40,840 kilometres at time of cataloguing, and would be a tremendous, accessible offering for the Porsche enthusiast looking to experience a surefooted, naturally aspirated 996 for themselves.