Superb to drive and easy to live with, Porsche’s iconic 911 is a surprisingly sensible buying proposition
The 1999-2004 version of the 911 – which had the factory designation of 996 – was the first water-cooled 911. It’s known for its everyday flexibility. You could use it to tap into any level of performance and handling to suit the morning commute or the weekend blast.
You’ll need at least £10,500 to buy a used 996 with loads of miles on the clock. We like the 911 Turbo, but unfortunately so does everyone else, which cranks up the entry price to something more like £42,000.
911s are extremely reliable but keeping the servicing going is very important as such faults as do occur tend to be potentially expensive to put right. Services come up no more frequently on 911s than they do on most normal cars, but paying a Porsche dealer to carry out the work will cost you plenty. 25mpg is a typical sort of fuel consumption figure in ordinary use, with more than 30mpg available if you can resist flooring the throttle.
Few people wouldn’t know a Porsche 911 when they see one. For more than 50 years this beautifully engineered rear-engined coupé has been attracting a steady stream of buyers – plus a fair number of detractors who like to compare them to VW Beetles.
That’s a glib comment as the 911 easily stands up against with not only mainstream sports cars like the BMW 6 Series and Jaguar F-Type Coupé but also some of the best supercars in the world, including the Audi R8 and McLaren 570S.
The most affordable 911, the £76,412 Carrera, is What Car? magazine’s favourite sports car between £50-£100,000. Its 3.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine will produce more than enough power for the vast majority of users, and it’s a lot cheaper than Audi and Aston Martin rivals.
Here are eight more reasons why you should buy a 911.
Variety:the breadth of the 911 range means that everyone will be able to find a model to suit their requirements. Taking in everything from coupés to cabriolets, and from four-wheel drive cars to pared-back racers for the road, the range offers no less than 16 variants.
Front space: you could never call the 911 big, and the rear space is only big enough for two small children, but thanks to clever design the front two passengers should never a feeling of being shortchanged on space. Visibility is excellent too.
Practicality: once you’ve accepted that the rear seats are better used for luggage when dropped flat, you can get a decent amount of cargo in a 911. The main boot is of course under the front bonnet and will hold a squashy weekend bag.
Quality: rivals might beat it in terms of the amount of equipment, but even the cheapest 911 provides leather seats, sat-nav and big 19in alloy wheels.
Running costs: business users looking to justify a 911 can get comparatively low CO2 emissions – and an official 38mpg – in a 2WD Carrera with the optional PDK automatic gearbox.
Handling: one of the 911’s best party pieces is the way it goes around corners. Grip, especially on a four-wheel drive model, is immense.
Performance: this is the other ace in the 911’s hand, with 4.4-second 0-62mph sprint capability even in the bog standard Carrera. Move up to the Turbo or Turbo S and you’ll shave nearly 1.5 seconds off that.
Safety: Porsche puts six airbags and a sophisticated stability control system into every 911, along with Isofix child seat-mounting points on both rear seats. Adaptive cruise control is an option.