The Porsche 911 (996) C4S.. probably my favourite looking Porsche 911 to date. The body on these things really get the juices flowing, not to mention the 'pre-adrenalin' before jumping in and getting the revs up!
The car does fluctuate in price, and I would expect to pay minimum £18,000 for one of these. There are still several on the market between £20,000-£25,000 so if you are in the market I'd snap one up quickly. The Porsche 911 (996) Turbo is still a beautiful car, but most are plagued with age/abuse and the cost of maintenance would outweigh owning a Porsche 911 (997) Turbo. If you love the 996 shape and fancy a car that looks just perfect out of the box (Turbo Alloy Wheels, and as close to the Turbo Bodykit as possible) then I would suggest aiming for one of these. They feel good. They drive effortlessly. Servicing/Maintenance isn't as painful either because it is a naturally aspirated engine!
Standard power isn't too shabby with a healthy 320hp (370NM) out of the box. Personally I think all Porsche 911's need remapping, or some sort of 'release' from the software restrictions that are RPM/Pedal dependent from Porsche. They are one of the best manufacturers in the world but could learn a lot from Ferrari if they paid attention to how other companies tune cars before release. Bosch ME7 is the ECU for this era, whether you drive a Ferrari F430, Porsche 996 Turbo or dare I say a MK4 Golf (projectile vomits over laptop) you will be pleased to know they all operate on a simliar Bosch ME7 Protocol.
I had originally booked this car in for remapping, and had such a great time with the car - staying overnight in Weston-Super-Mare that I asked the customer if it was okay to borrow the car for some 'proper' driving then get a review written. Thankfully he was a gent and didn't object to me, or my right foot, as I put this engine through its paces!
My God it feels good. My senses are discombobulated as I climb through the 'new' RPM range - breathing life into this ECU is a nice feeling. Having the opportunity to work on Porsche 911's has given me enough of a playground to apply my tuning knowledge to a more classy type of vehicle. The best response from the Sports/Prestige market is when I work on a naturally aspirated engine, and get an excited reaction once I have programmed the first modified file (before data logging/analysis/adjustment). The torque gain is instantly noticeable - and I've been fortunate to have some previous customers mention my work on the 911 UK forums. I couldn't count off hand the amount of Porsche's I've worked on this year. It really has been incredible, and I never saw it coming.
Back to this beautiful 'beast' though..
The Chassis - God help my soul/drivers licence. These cars are always measured when a new Sports or Super/Hyper Car joins the market. The Porsche 911 is renowned for its great handling once you have learned to hold the reigns. Thankfully, the C4S is a Four-Wheel Drive car, which saved me having to practice or get used to it before throwing it nose first into a roundabout I'd never seen before! Once you've got the turn it you feel a little 'lift' from its big bum and you're sideways.. Controlling a Four-Wheel Drive Porsche is effortless and you can continue pointing the front wheels in your headed direction while the 'bum' sorts itself out ;-) Perfection.
The Body - Beautiful. Would you believe I asked to buy this car on the day? That is what the Porsche 911 (996) C4S does to people. It is a tad under 115,000 miles but that doesn't put me off wanting the car. I even said when he's near 200,000 miles to give me a call - I will use this as my ''daily'' and enjoy every last minute of its existence! The Turbo Alloy Wheels compliment the rest of the body. Front bumpers with GAPING vents lure you into the spectacle that this 911 is. The hips are WIDE and inviting.. it makes you want to drive at 100% throttle, knowing there are a number of CC's hanging over the rear axle. I love this car. I want this 'actual' car.
The Throttle - Well I shouldn't start with this, because I'll never shut up. It is an unrelenting seizure of adrenalin from around 3000rpm to redline! I tried to control myself on the dual carriageway but kept stomping my foot to the floor! I honestly haven't done this in a car for ages and for some reason couldn't stop myself. Now I realise how easy it is to lose your licence in a 911. Generally I'm quite reserved when driving Sports Cars, and tend to use 100% throttle sparingly. Usually when I find a good spot to enjoy 2nd/3rd gear there is usually a car in the way which saves me from catapulting myself into ridiculous numbers in my Porsche 911 (997) C2S. The roads were wide and clear so I went for it, and yes.. the Throttle felt good.
The Exhaust - I was told the vehicle had what is known as 'The Gundo Hack'. This is when people remove the baffles or do something to the exhaust to make it a little raspier. Personally I prefer the 'PSE' system available from Main Dealer but this is a popular modification on Porsche forums, and it serves its purpose well. I get a low rumble on start up. There isn't too much interference in the cabin when cruising around town. Full throttle is another story! My ear drums, heart and rib cage took most of the impact. It is 'the' perfect car. Not too loud - but when you depress the throttle you know about it ;-)
To end, this is such a cracking car. I still want it! I am hoping my customer will enjoy this vehicle for another 5-6 years then let me make an offer to purchase. It definitely isn't about bhp/torque when you step in the Sports/Prestige World. It is all about the 'delivery' of power, and how it 'feels' when you are driving such a car. If people want to chase horsepower numbers I would suggest buying an Audi RS4 and turn it into a Straight Line Power Hungry VAG Munching Plaything - though personally, I would rather own a Porsche 911 (996) C4S.
Nicholas Lawrence //ON CARS