Porsche 911 Carrera (996, 3.6 litre) ~ 2001-2004
The original 996’s exhaust system attracted complaints that it sounded bland and not like a 911, so Porsche developed a new system that made a more inspiring noise, especially at low revs.
Combined with a new Motronic engine management system, these changes boosted power from 300bhp to 320bhp at 6800rpm, while maximum torque increased to 370Nm at 4250rpm.
The power went through a revised version of the previous six-speed gearbox, with stronger internals and a three, instead of two, bearing input shaft to reduce vibration. As before, a five-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission was optional, but in order to cope with the extra power and torque this was now the same unit as fitted to the 911 Turbo. The cabin also came in for attention. While remaining essentially the same design, it was treated to a glovebox (something which was sadly lacking from the original 996), revised instrumentation, integral cupholders, electric bonnet and boot releases and new interior lighting in the form of LEDs that bathed the controls with a subtle glow. Where fitted, the PCM sat-nav and telephone systems were updated, while the interior plastics were given a more modern matt finish.
It’s all subtle stuff, but the face-lifted 996 was undoubtedly a better car. The on-paper performance was pretty much unchanged, but the enlarged engine gave a useful boost in low- and mid-range torque, which made the 911 feel more powerful and easier to drive. And there was no doubt that the restyled bodywork made the 911 look less like a Boxster.