After decades of continuous development and improvement that began with the introduction of the Porsche 911 in 1967, resulting in a more strengthened and safer structure as well as a perfectly balanced chassis with every passing year.
The Porsche 911 was available as a coupe, a cabriolet, or as a Targa. The first body variant to be introduced when each one of the previous generations was unveiled was the coupe, and then it was reinforced and strengthened to make it stiff to improve body roll and structural rigidity.
Since its introduction, all the past five generations, Porsche management always insisted on paying homage to the original 911 and their faithful respect to their tradition and beginnings may have resulted in limiting the creativity prospects of its styling. It also offered more challenges in the long run.
The rear-mid-engine layout of the car was chosen for engineering, packaging, handling, and performance reasons, but this resulted in a handling transition from oversteer to understeer in a split second at higher speeds, and this resulted in crashes and fatalities, thus the original Porsche 911 earning a nickname called “Widowmaker”. In the 1960s and 1970s, people gathered around to witness how a rich man or woman managed to climb a tree or a lamp post in their Porsche 911.
With time, clever weight distribution techniques, clever suspension setups, upgrades, lightweight body construction techniques, and improved aerodynamics resulted in better balance and a more refined ride without compromising performance.
The Porsche 911 always had prominent front fenders and this was a design element that it inherited from the Porsche 356 family. Erwin Komenda, the designer of the Porsche 356, included this design element to show the drivers where the front wheels are. This design element was carried over when Butzi Porsche and his team were designing the Porsche 911.
The Porsche 911 was designed by Butzi Porsche as a 2+2-seater with a fastback style sloping roofline to give it a sportier feeling. Ferry Porsche chose the concept designed by his son Butzi and his modelers and dismissed Erwin Komenda’s concept even though he tried to convince Ferry Porsche for a notchback style roofline offering more room for four adults.
The Porsche 997, the replacement of the Porsche 996, was unveiled as a 2005 model year car and despite sharing almost identical looks, one and each body panel was different.
Porsche claimed that 80% of the mechanical components were all-new for the Porsche 997 and no single suspension component was interchangeable between the Porsche 996 or Porsche 997 series.
Still, both generations shared the interior 2+2 seating layout and the water-cooled 3596cc inline-six engine as standard. The pistons, crankshaft, the entire engine block was carried over from the Porsche 996. Now the Type M96/05 engine was tuned to deliver 325hp at 6800rpm for the basic variants, while the Porsche 996 S variants were equipped with an enlarged 3824cc inline-six engine called Type M97/01.
Type M97/01 engine delivered a maximum power output of 355hp at 6600rpm.
Both engines featured VarioCam Plus valve management. This is a complex intake valve mechanism incorporating two interacting switching cup tappets driven by two camshafts of varying sizes on the intake camshaft to improve low-end torque as well as the higher-end power output.
The Porsche 997 lineup received 19-inch wheels as standard instead of the 18-inch ones in the Porsche 996 series. This necessitates the shorter final gears to make the best use of the improved torque and power output. Additional grip and cornering power required an all-new electronic spring and damper suspension system. This also allowed the engineers to resurrect an idea that they had with the Porsche 959, Porsche’s active stability management system.
The interior was completely redesigned and offered four seats for grown adults following its tradition to do so.
When developing the Porsche 996, Porsche designers and engineers wanted to incorporate an elevating rear wing to aid stability and to reduce drag, but a severe financial crisis resulted in eliminating the idea all along. But, with the sales success of the Porsche Boxter, Porsche 996 series, as well as the Porsche Cayenne, now Porsche had more than enough money for research and development. So, a new elevating rear wing was incorporated into the Porsche 997 as standard.
The Porsche 997 Cabriolet variants featured a rear wing that rose higher to accommodate its different airflow. Cabriolet variants also featured a tuned exhaust system to provide the more aggressive soundtrack, a decision taken to ensure that the occupants of a Cabriolet moving at higher speeds will be able to hear the engine not.
As Porsche began the production of Porsche 997 through the 2005 model year, it wrapped up the production of Porsche 996 Turbo S variants. Porsche 997 Cabriolets were delivered to dealers all around the world in April 2005. By the summer Porsche 997 Carrera 4, and Porsche Carrera 4S variants were made available. 40% of the Porsche 997 models produced in 2005 were cabriolet variants.
In 2006, Porsche 997 Targa variants also featured the same retracting glass roof along with a fixed rear window with electric defogging. All the Targa variants were exclusively all-wheel-drive. Despite sharing the same roof panels, the structure was reinforced enough to allow the occupant to close it or to open it while traveling at speeds up to 30mph.
For the 2007 model year, Porsche 997 Turbo cabriolet and coupe variants were introduced with a maximum power output of 480hp.
In 2008, the Porsche 997 GT3 was unveiled. 997 GT3 packed 415hp. The 997 GT2 was unveiled in the same year with 530hp maximum power output.
In 2009, Porsche unveiled some engineering updates into the Porsche 997 series.
The new base engine was now enlarged up to 3614cc and delivered 345hp at 6500rpm with the help of direct fuel injection for more efficient combustion, higher power output as well as reduced emissions.
997 S variants were equipped with a 3800cc inline-six delivering 385hp at 6500rpm using the same direct fuel injection technology.
997 and 997 S variants were available with either a six-speed manual or an all-new seven-speed Porsche Dopplekupplungstreibe (PDK) double-clutch gearbox.
The New PDK gearbox proved to be smoother, and it offered faster gear shifting than the manual system and for the first time, manual transmission-equipped cars were slower than the automatic ones in terms of acceleration.