The Current Internal Question for the 911 Buyer : Which one to buy, the Porsche 997 vs the Porsche 991
If you’re a buyer for a semi-new Porsche 911 you have two great choices in terms of budget – the Porsche 997.2 vs the Porsche 991. We’ll going with the Porsche 997.2 here cause it has many features that improved on the Porsche 997.1 including a new engine design, PDK transmission, Direct Fuel Injection, LED exterior lights, more HP, and upgraded telemetrics including Bluetooth. It is currently considered the best 997s you can buy on today’s market.
Immediately following the popular and acclaimed 997.2 was the updated 911 model, the Porsche 991 (2012 – present). Porsche totally updated the car to make it wider, longer, not heavier, and more importantly more powerful with upgraded 9A1 engines. Also the PDK was improved over the 997.2 as well as the interior and chassis. Price wise you can get an early 991 model that is close in cost to a 2011 997.2 model – so that begets the question: which model to get.
Unfortunately its not as simple as the adage “buy the newest car you can get”. While the Porsche 997.2 and Porsche 991 can seem similar there are very big differences between the two that will determine which car is best for you. We will do our best to outline the pros and cons of each model.
Porsche 997.2 – The greatest Water-cooled 911?
The Porsche 997.2 is considered a future classic by many owners or admirers of the 997 platform. Part of it is due to the old legacy of Porsche 911s that won’t be seen in future 911s. This includes a hydraulic steering wheel and in the case of the 997.2 Turbo, GT3 variants having a “Mezger” engine in the back engine bay. With the future of Porsche and all cars going to turbo-charging, electric steering and improving gas emissions, the 997.2 was still part of the old-school train of making the best sports car you can – first.
The 997.2 came with updated engines from the 997.1, known as the 9A1. This engine was important because it introduced Direct Fuel Injection (DFI) to the 911 but even more importantly erased any IMS issues from the model. The previous engine in the 997.1 was the M97, which still had IMS as a trouble spot. The 9A1 engine mated to the new PDK transmission improved the performance of the 997.2 dramatically. The Porsche 997.2 still offered a 6-speed manual as well. And it had the hydraulic steering which is better then the current electric steering found in the Porsche 991.
The 997.2 was a smaller car as well, so the interior brought a more intimate sensibility to the driver and is considered by many more ‘raw’ in feel then the newer and more ‘GT-like’ Porsche 991. The materials were top-notch and the body of the 997.2 evoke the classic Porsche 993.
More importantly the Porsche 997.2 Turbo and Porsche GT3 kept the Mezger engine. From 2010 on, the Porsche Turbo was sold with a turbocharged 9A1 engine and then all Porsche 911s afterward used the newer engine as well. The Mezger engine is a race-bred engine that has a long history of performance and efficiency and many fans will buy the 997.2 Turbo or GT3 strictly for the engine alone. Currently Porsche 997.2 GT3s are appreciating like mad due to the issues of the Porsche 991 GT3, the 997.2 does have the Mezger engine and it offer a 6-speed manual.
Overall, if you’re into tradition and are keen on certain components of the Porsche 997 including the hydraulic steering, Mezger engine, the smaller footprint, and the Porsche 993-like bodywork, then the Porsche 997.2 is for you.
In with the New but is New Always Better? The Porsche 991
The Porsche 991 is overall a better car then the Porsche 997.2. Its newer. Has newer technologies, more performance. But its also bigger. And longer. And because it has to embrace new technologies like electric steering, it does not better the Porsche 997.2 in some areas.
Overall the Porsche 991 is a great new model for Porsche. They were able to improve the car to the 997 in so many ways but kept the weight similar and performance even better. The engines are the same 9A1 engines found in the 997.2 but now with added HP. They improved the PDK to shift faster and also improve daily driving shifts. The interior is very modern now, with digital readouts in the speed0meter and the latest technology do-dads.
The chassis is a huge improvement over the Porsche 997.2. Because its longer and wider, the chassis absorbs the road and handles the road much better then the tweaky 997.2. With the improved PDK and the updated engines, these Porsche 911s are definitely world-class sport cars.
But sometimes bigger ISN’T always better. While the Porsche 991 is a great car, it does not fit the sports car makeup of previous 911s. It feels like grand cruiser – something comfortable to drive to work, and comes awake when you hit curvy roads on the weekend. But its not a full-time sports car. The Porsche 991 Turbo has more performance upgrades then the previous version but was always considered the cruiser of the line-up, and now even more so.
The highlights of the Porsche 991 lineup is again the Porsche GT3 offering PDK transmissions only, plus all wheel steering and a 9,000 RPM ripping NA engine. The engine was probably a bit too powerful cause it started fires in first owner cars and Porsche had to replace all GT3 engines at no cost. But the Porsche GT3 is still a great car and carries the tradition of a race-bred 911 available off the showroom.
Overall, the Porsche 911 is a great big cruiser sports car. It been accepted by Porsche enthusiast that the new Porsche Cayman (981) has replaced the Porsche 911 as the pure sports car of the Porsche lineup. And new variants like the Cayman GTS and the Cayman GT4 only fuels that perception further.
So which one for you? The Porsche 997.2 or Porsche 991?
Our advice is to drive both. Back to back if it can be done. Both drive differently and depending on the needs of the buyer (i.e. are you looking for comfort or looking for something sporty all the time), they will respond immediately to the model that fits their needs. Price wise you will be very close for certain models and will be able to buy the higher value 997.2 models (i.e. Porsche 997.2 GTS or Turbo) for the price of a lower Porsche 991 model (i.e. Porsche 991 Base or Porsche 991 CS).
Either way, you won’t lose. Good luck hunting.
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