But is there anything you should watch out for?
The starting price for a 2017 Porsche 911 Carrera is $89,400, and that is before you start to add any options. For that amount of money you will get a twin-turbo 3.0-liter flat-six with 370 horsepower. The new 991.2 generation 911 is an excellent car, but it is rare to see one that is less than $100,000. No wonder why the 911 is a dream car. However, we know that if you are willing to buy used, you can get a 911 that costs less than a Honda Accord. We ran a search on Cars.com and were impressed at how cheap it could be to get a 911. But is there a catch?
We specifically looked for a 997 generation 911. The Porsche 911 comes in a variety of flavors, so you do have to winnow down what you are looking for quite a bit. In our opinion, the best way to buy a 997 is a coupe with a six-speed manual. The 911s that we are looking at in the $30,000 range are early 997 models, which were available with a five-speed automatic. Trust us, the manual is the one you want. If you are a big fan of convertibles, we say go for it because they seemed to be slightly cheaper than the coupes. This is because enthusiasts look for the lighter, more track-friendly coupe, which makes them a bit more difficult to find.
Once you have finally tracked down a perfect coupe with a manual transmission, you have another big decision to make. Should you buy a Carrera S with high mileage, or should you get a base Carrera with less miles? We picked out two, 2005 Porsches that both cost exactly the same amount (actually the S is $95 less). The Carrera S that we found looks to be in pretty good condition, with a bit of normal wear and tear with the interior. The car is for sale for $34,900 with 84,000 miles and is painted silver with a brown interior. The base Carrera is also silver, but with a black interior, and only 60,000 miles on it. The car has a silver interior which appears to be in amazing condition and is offered for $34,995.
We chose these cars to illustrate a point. For less than $35,000 you could have your choice of a Carrera or Carrera S, although you might have better luck finding a base Carrera with lower miles and in better condition for less money. The base Carrera came with a 3.6-liter flat-six with 325 hp. Stepping up to the Carrera S got you a bigger 3.8-liter engine with 355 horsepower. Which ever model you choose, you should watch out for a few things. When buying such a complicated sports car, we recommend getting a pre-purchase inspection which should uncover any big mechanical issues. We also recommend looking for a car with a full service history.
Even if you do manage to find a car that seems perfect, there are a few common faults to look for on the 997. Revolution Porsche has created a list of all of the common issues that you should look for. Over-revving is a big deal when buying a used Porsche. By checking the ECU, you can tell how many times the engine has been revved past the redline. If a car has been over-revved a lot, it could mean that car has led a rough life. Very early 997s had an issue with IMS bearing failure, but Porsche fixed this issue in late 2006. Buying a 2007 or newer model should eliminate this issue. Another big issue is cylinder bore scoring, which can lead to engine failure.
The issue was not a problem on the direct injected engines in the 997.2 generation or on the Turbo and GT3. However, you can have an inspection done for this issue before you buy. The 997 was built very well, and you shouldn't have any problems with the transmission (manual or auto), suspension, or brakes. Buying one of these cars should really be done in person because, at this price, you never know what condition the car is really in. You can find a 911 that has curb rash on the wheels, broken leather on the interior, chips in the paint, or any number of cosmetic issues. Porsche interiors from this generation can wear fast, so you want to make sure that the interior looks nice on the one you buy.
Don't let some of the common faults discourage you from buying a 997. We think that the 997 is one of the best values in the Porsche world right now and if you can find a good one, your world will be opened up to a ton of driving pleasure.