Porsche 911 991

Porsche 911 991

A rolling showcase of fresh Porsche technology and a redevelopment of the 911 for a new generation, the 991 is available in a huge number of different engine, trim and body options… Words Dan Furr. Photography Petersen Automotive Museum.


Hints and tips for the hunt

Last of the narrow bodies. Last of the naturally aspirated 911 Carreras. Return of the classic Targa hoop. These are just three of the 991's claims to fame. However you think the model should be remembered, its legacy is assured — the 991 is the most successful 911 to date, a title previously held by the 997 before the 991 generated significantly more sales (total 991 production volume reached almost 235k units by close of play in December 2019, some 20k more than its predecessor). Unlike the 997, however, the 991 was a radical rethinking of the 911 concept, developed on an entirely new platform. In fact, if you include the original 911, the 991 represented only the third major development of 911 architecture, the second being the 996 and its switch to water-cooled engines and crossmodel product development in the mid-1990s.

Yes, the 991 was bigger than previous 911s, but this didn't mean it was heavier. Quite the opposite, in fact — due to the use of composite materials and increased amounts of aluminium during assembly, the 991 Carrera was actually lighter than its immediate forebear when equipped with a stick shift. And the balance of weight was much improved, largely thanks to the introduction of a new transaxle allowing the rear wheels to be positioned three inches further back.

As you'd expect from a 911 introduced six years after the previous generation's debut, the 991 felt significantly more modern than the 997, though praise was less than universal. Many 911 enthusiasts, for example, criticised the 991's lack of 'feel', suggesting the introduction of electrically assisted power steering and other modern technologies dulled the driving experience when compared to that of the more 'analogue' 997. Granted, the 991 is blisteringly quick (even in early Carrera trim, top speed is 180mph and the dash from zero to 62mph takes just 4.6 seconds with PDK transmission installed) and comes positively packed with gadgets, but does this amount to a distraction from the art of driving? Many would argue the case, but sales figures don't lie — the ease in which even the most inexperienced driver can take control of a 991 hugely increased the 911's appeal, encouraging a newer, younger demographic of enthusiast to take the plunge and join the ranks of Porsche ownership for the first time.

As we all know, the asking price of used sports and classic cars has shot through the roof during the past couple of years, meaning you'll need to act fast if you want to grab a 991 at the kind of price point we've seen the model dip to in recent times. We're talking overlap with 997 Gen II territory for an early 991 Carrera. Those holding out for a further drop in values are probably kicking themselves for not striking sooner, but there remains bargains to be had, especially if you're prepared to buy your 991 from a private seller.

Here's an overview of what you need to be aware of when on the hunt for a seventh-gen 911 to call your own.


As ever, let's address the basics first. The 991 you’re looking at should display a matching Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) on its V5 registration document and on the identification stamps located on the inside edge of the bonnet and on the engine cover, as well as on the body shell, next to the offside sill beside the driver's seat (right-hand drive cars). Take a look and you'll see a carpeted flap which you can flip open to reveal the VIN.

Elsewhere on the V5, you’ll see the engine number. We'll admit, with the 911's powerplant placement and underbody cladding taken into consideration, it can be difficult to check the number stamped into the block when scrambling around on the floor, but a dealer should be happy to get the car up on a ramp and put your mind at ease if you suspect a replacement engine has been fitted. There might be a perfectly reasonable explanation for this (mechanical failure and replacement under warranty), but make sure it ties in with what the supporting paperwork suggests. Receipts from Official Porsche Centres or recognised independent specialists should fill you with confidence and, in our experience, it's more than likely the garage responsible for carrying out the work will be happy to chat to you about the fault and, importantly, the fix.

Spend a couple of quid at mycarcheck.com, where you can download a history report outlining any insurance claims, change of registration number, recorded mileage and whether there’s any outstanding finance on the car. You should also enter the vehicle’s details into the DVLA’s free-to-use MOT history database, which can be found at bit.ly/dvlamot. The service will return all test passes, failures and advisories registered as far back as electronic records are stored (which is helpful in identifying any ongoing mechanical or safety issues) and, if you have the V5 document number at your disposal, you can even see which test centre carried out the inspection.

Damage may have been inflicted upon 991s driven in anger, so check panel gaps to make sure they’re straight. Look for signs of mismatched colour and don’t be afraid to ask questions. You might be eyeballing a Porsche which has simply been tapped with a trolley in a car park, but then again, the car might have been stacked into a tyre wall at a race circuit. Either way, Porsche body repairs shouldn’t be done on the cheap, so ask to see receipts relating to the work, if applicable. A paint thickness gauge will help you to determine if you’re looking at quarters full of filler.

The 991 was celebrated for its superior build quality and came in a mind-boggling number of model variations and trim packages, with a huge list of cost options for original buyers to take advantage of. With this in mind, think carefully about the 911 you want to be in charge of. If a GT3 is too aggressive, but a Carrera too tame, then consider a GTS, which sits comfortably between the two.

Perhaps you'd like a 991 drop-top? If so, it's worth noting the 991 saw the return of the classic brushed aluminium Targa hoop, which was discontinued with the arrival of the 993 Targa for the 1996 model year. For the 991, a new electronically operated soft top and classic glass 'dome' paid tribute to fifty years of Targa in sensational fashion.


There really does seem to be a 991 to suit every taste and budget(ish). Porsche really went to town when it revamped its Individual Equipment list in readiness for the 991's arrival — super-audio this, embossed that, GT-the other. The only limit to what was possible seemed to be the depth of buyer's pockets. What this means for those of you scanning the used car scene is that you can hold out for the specification you desire without fear of missing the boat — there are so many 991s spanning a colossal number of model variants over an uncharacteristically long model lifecycle, you can almost guarantee your dream specification is just waiting to be discovered in the classifieds.

This won't come as any surprise to owners of older 911s, but the Sport Chrono Plus package is well worth holding out for. Not only does it deliver a drop in ride height and, therefore, a more meaningful stance, this superb add-on (indicated by the almost novelty lap timer/stopwatch positioned in the centre of the dashboard) changes the behaviour of the host 991, altering chassis, engine, transmission and suspension characteristics in dramatic fashion, making for a far more engaging and, dare we say it, more enjoyable ride.

Adaptive sports seats, Porsche Dynamic Light System (PDLS), parking sensors and BOSE stereo equipment make a big difference to the driving experience (yes, we know you'd rather be listening to the sound of the roaring flat-six), especially if you intend to spend time behind the wheel soaking up miles on long journeys. It's also worth thinking about what kind of upholstery takes your fancy. Granted, most people treat full leather as the default, but a GTS comes trimmed in lashings of Alcantara and gorgeous colour-coded double stitching, marrying a GT feel with serious opulence. It's the specification we'd hold out for.

The Carrera T offers arguably purer seat time, with its model-specific, fabric-trimmed, manually adjustable seats and the removal of many toys, reducing weight and driver distraction. There's still plenty of leather and Alcantara on show (the latter covering the headlining), but there's no rear seats (they were reinstated as a no-cost option) and GT-style door pulls. 991 interior trim is hard-wearing, no matter the material, and the optional 360mm GT steering wheel (complete with paddle shifts for PDK cars and driving mode selector dial for Sport Chrono Plus) transforms the driving experience. Ten years on, the 991's Porsche Communication Management (PCM) system remains superb, delivering excellent connectivity to a range of smart devices and crystal clear in-drive telephone calling.


Tiptronic S may have kick-started the mass movement from Porsches with manual transmission to those with semi-automatic gearboxes, but PDK (introduced to the 997 Gen II and becoming an instant hit) has well and truly taken over. Nevertheless, the 991 brought us a seven-speed manual stick shift, even though the 991 GT3 — the model you'd think most buyers would expect to carry a manual cog swapper — was launched as PDK-only. For almost every other 991, save for the aforementioned GT3 and the Turbo S, a choice of manual or PDK was made available. Things changed for the facelift 991, when the GT3 was finally given what purists had been crying out for: a six-speed manual, but Turbo-badged 991s were now PDK only. This is a key consideration for those of you looking for top specification with manual transmission — you may find earlier cars are better at satisfying your requirements.

One of the biggest changes to overall 911 specification came with the introduction of electrically assisted power steering. We cover this (and other 991 technologies) on page 96, so won't wax lyrical about it here, suffice to say this was the single biggest feature 911 enthusiasts criticised, some saying it diluted the driving experience. What few complained about was the introduction of rear axle steering, debuting on the GT3. Car speed determines whether the rear wheels steer in the same or opposite direction as the fronts, the latter proving useful for parking manoeuvres. The system was a £1,592 cost option on applicable models, including the sporty 991 Carrera T. Rear axle steering was standard equipment on the GT3, GT3 RS, Turbo and Turbo S, and makes a big difference to the feel of the host 911 in all cornering conditions.

Other desirable extras include Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes (PCCB, £6,018 when new, a must-have on super-high-output 911s and cars driven hard or regularly thrown into bends), dropped suspension (£558), sports exhaust (£1,773) and cruise control (£228), as well as the previously mentioned Sport Chrono Plus package for either PDK or manual, the latter benefiting from selectable automatic throttle blip (the former enjoying this and rapid-fire gear changes) among many other plus points. We sense a tech feature coming on…


If you're the kind of Porsche owner who likes to get their hands dirty, and if you're new to 991s but have previously owned an earlier 911, the first thing you'll notice come spanner time is… there appears to be no engine. That's right — flip the engine lid and you're presented with a plastic shroud housing two Spal fans contributing to presentation more in keeping with the interior of a PC tower than a sport car's engine bay.

Granted, there are oil and coolant filler caps to twist, but that's about it. Porsche doesn't want you fiddling. The 991, therefore, may not be the best 911 for you if driveway mechanics and tuning are something you're looking forward to. To put this into perspective, replacing an air filter (a simple task on an earlier 911) requires a 991's bumper and rear lights to be removed in order to achieve the required access. Very frustrating. Ultimately, you taking care of your 911's servicing isn't profitable for Porsche, so don't expect the job to be made easy. With the 991 Gen II's arrival in 2016, naturally aspirated Carreras were consigned to the history books. Instead, a three-litre, higher output, twin-turbocharged flat-six was rolled out across the range. Turbo no longer meant turbocharged — the nameplate recognised as Porsche's evergreen flagship (well, until the arrival of the 911 Turbo S, but that's another story) was now a trim identifier, a move which reached its zenith with the introduction of the Taycan Turbo. You know, the all-electric Porsche with no combustion engine and no, er, turbocharger. In contrast, GT3 aside, pretty much all facelift 991s are turbocharged, regardless of whether they carry a Turbo badge. Despite the lower capacity of the standard flat-six, this equates to blistering straight-line acceleration, but if you yearn for a naturally aspirated engine (many enthusiasts consider this is truer to the original 911 concept), then delve into the choice of early 991s at your disposal. The 345bhp 3.4- litre Carrera (with direct fuel injection) develops 288lb-ft torque, while the beefier Carrera S produces near 400bhp and 325lb-ft from its 3.8-litre boxer. In 2014, the GTS offered a hike to almost 430bhp. Readers in North America may want to hunt down a runout model produced at the end of first-gen GTS production in 2016: the US-only GTS Club Coupe, as featured in our pictures. Power was unchanged from the standard GTS, but styling evoking the 1973 Carrera RS 2.7 aesthetic was introduced to mark Porsche Club America's sixtieth anniversary. Only sixty units were built.

The fan-favourite 991 Carrera T (see page) is a stripped back Carrera offering near 370bhp, but there will always be those who hanker for a full-fat 911 Turbo. The 991 doesn't disappoint: first-gen Turbos (513bhp) close in on 200mph with the nought to 62mph sprint despatched in 3.6 seconds, dropping to 2.9 seconds for the Turbo S (552bhp). The second-phase 991 Turbo (533bhp, PDK only) takes three seconds dead to complete the same benchmark speed test, though the Turbo S (now 572bhp) time remains unchanged. The 991 Turbo S Exclusive disrupts proceedings with 205mph and almost 600bhp, while the GT2 RS, GT2 RS Clubsport and the 935 develop almost 700bhp, 553lb-ft torque and a whopping 211mph.

The 991's 3.4-litre flat-six was shorter in stroke than the 3.6-litre base engine in the 997 Carrera, resulting in a quicker-revving unit, but many of the same problems remain: intermittent misfires under load can be caused by busted coilpacks unable to cope with heat cycles in the engine bay, hot-start issues can be traced to a failing crank sensor (as demonstrated in last month's issue of 911 & Porsche World, a compromised alternator/ignition harness generates the same fault on the 997), while changeover solenoids are a known problem area — if one gives up the ghost by getting stuck, they all stop working, throwing up all manner of fault codes. Fortunately, many cars had the fault fixed under warranty and the likelihood is only one valve will need replacing (depending on model, there are up to eight).

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