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Get Your Bank Account Ready, The Porsche 997 Turbo Just Got Stupid Cheap

Illustration for article titled Get Your Bank Account Ready, The Porsche 997 Turbo Just Got Stupid Cheap

The concept of a free lunch is an impossibility in nature. You need to put energy into a system to see it come out. However, used Porsche 911 prices, as we all know, don’t obey things like the laws of physics, and therefore sometimes present the market with world-beating cars for the equivalent of loaded minivan money. It ain’t free, but it’s close enough.

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Let’s be clear and define our terms before the commenters say that anything more valuable than their My Little Pony pillowcase holding $236.75 in nickels can’t, by definition, be counted as “stupid cheap.” Listen, imaginary person that is now too embarrassed to comment, the Porsche 997 Turbo’s cheapness is relative to its overall value, which as it stands, is a hell of a lot. It doesn’t mean that anyone can buy one, but it does mean that a lot more people may now have this option.

The Porsche 911 Turbo has always, in one form or another, been one of the definitive sports car yardsticks. It was the Nürburgring smasher that your grandmother could drive with room for luggage and launch acceleration that could be medically certified as an effective treatment for constipation.

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The first mass market water-cooled 911 with forced induction was the 996 Turbo, which as it stands is one of the best performance values you can get for your hard earned dollar. However, the 996, with all its face-melting goodness, is and always will be, butt ugly. Even with wheels and a suspension drop, it suffers from the same kind of corner-cutting, ovoid build quality that you’d see in a Ford of the same era, and if you’re honest in where your allegiances truly lie, you’ll admit that the 996 is what you’d buy if you couldn’t afford a 997.

Illustration for article titled Get Your Bank Account Ready, The Porsche 997 Turbo Just Got Stupid Cheap

The Porsche 997 Turbo, made from 2007-2012, used an engine derived from the Porsche 964 GT1 car, a 3.6-liter, twin turbocharged flat six-cylinder that produced an absolutely epic 470 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque. This got the car from a standing start to highway speeds in 3.7 seconds in five-speed Tiptronic trim and up to a top speed of 193 miles per hour.

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A six speed manual transmission was available, and although it is more desirable in the market, the automatic is one of the best torque converter equipped gearboxes Porsche has ever built and is no slouch when it comes to dishing out more than adequate shifts for less than adequate drivers.

The car featured active body control, stability management, and had an optional Sport Chrono pack, which included a Sport mode and an overboost function, which gave you 20 percent more maximum turbo pressure from the specially designed twin Borg Warner VTG variable vane turbos.

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Say what you want about exclusivity and prestige, but this Porsche gets uncomfortably deep into supercar territory on the performance front.

Illustration for article titled Get Your Bank Account Ready, The Porsche 997 Turbo Just Got Stupid Cheap
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As far as its looks, The 997 Turbo maintained the same small-ish dimensions that you expect from a traditional 911 body, but exponentially increased the amount of ergonomic function and refinement from previous models, both inside and out.

The interior is a goddamn masterpiece compared to the garbled mess that is the 996, and the exterior was so popular that Porsche did little to deviate from it for its newer 991 generation, while 996 owners are currently scrambling to find body kits that will update their runny egg headlights to something that resembles this body style.

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Illustration for article titled Get Your Bank Account Ready, The Porsche 997 Turbo Just Got Stupid Cheap

A decent, first year example with low miles will set you back anywhere between $45,000 and $65,000, depending on options, colors, and the previous owner’s irrational sentimental attachment.

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Both hardtop and convertible options are available, although I’d opt out of a drop top, if only for the weight savings.

The 997 Turbo’s current trading prices are down a bit from the $70,000+ they commanded just a few years ago, and a far cry from their original $130,000 original price tag, which means that they’re finally following the GT-R’s curve, without all the expensive and inevitable gearbox failures of first year models.

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This steep drop in price means that examples requiring a bit of work or have had a questionable history can be had for about the price of a loaded Honda Odyssey, but oozing bang for the buck for a budding gearhead, and perhaps a few fluids as well.

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It’s also tough not to mention that the 3.6-liter motor takes to modification particularly well, with power-adder kits that increase the output to Mclaren-murdering levels, if you’re willing to dole out amounts of money that wouldn’t necessarily get you divorced, but would have your spouse heavily weigh their options.

As a comparison, Infiniti’s new Q60S will set you back around the same amount as a decent used 997 Turbo, but it has nowhere near the driver engagement, refinement, road-holding ability, or sheer speed that a Porsche 997 will mush into your grinning mug every time you press the right pedal. The same goes for anything new in this price bracket. Power for pound, it’s untouchable.

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The 997 is also one of the most reliable German cars in general, bar none, with no nasty IMS bearing failures that plagued the naturally aspirated versions of previous generations, and although parts can be a bit more expensive and bespoke, the aftermarket is plentiful enough that you won’t have to spend sleepless nights finding a good used module that Porsche no longer makes for a car that is quickly becoming a lawn ornament. It’s the embodiment of the phrase “Take care of it, and it’ll take care of you.”

I’m not sure that these stellar models will depreciate any further, so now is likely the best time to get one, before any surprise market fluctuations push prices for this car just out of reach of the common enthusiast’s retirement account.

Tavarish writes and makes videos about fixing and modifying cars on the internet. Sometimes they actually run.

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DISCUSSION

freeman23444
freeman23444

Having owned a 997 for 3 years, they are great cars, but not without problems (rattles, squeaks, various issues - btw. nobody who has owned these cars would call the interior a “masterpiece”...though it certainly is compared to the 996). My run of the mill 997 C2 cost plenty to maintain over these 3 years, but didn’t depreciate at all and was very much worth it. There are some more expensive repairs on the Turbos as the rear spoiler assembly likes to fail (coincidentally, that failed on my 997 C2 as well), though the engine is obviously bulletproof (though rebuilds at high mileages are common as with almost all other performance cars). I’m not going to talk at length about the merits and demerits of the 997 though, I’ve done this countless times on Jalopnik and everyone interested may feel free to check out my post history.

What I’d actually like to talk about is the appreciation of 997 Turbos. Though I watch all of your videos on YouTube and don’t think you’re as crazy as some people claim, Freddy, you’re a bit off the mark on this one. The 997 Turbos you posted here are obviously very, very troublesome and understandably the bottom of the market. That private seller car on eBay throws up a plethora of red flags and I wouldn’t touch it with a ten feet pole. The other, much more expensive one, has the TipTronic transmission, which isn’t as bad on the Turbo, but still pretty bad. For this kind of money, you can do what I did, put in another 5k and get a one year old used F-Type R, which is faster than the old 997 Turbo and has a much better automatic transmission. It’s also almost a decade newer. TipTronic transmissions are not sought after at all. It’s also silver metallic - which immediately takes a chunk off the price as well as it’s not a particularly sought after color either.

The truth of the matter is: all 997s have been holding their value very well and some cars have been appreciating, mainly 997.1 Turbos with the original Mezger engine AND particularly with the manual transmission. These cars are very, very hard to get now and have nowhere to go but up. Calling these “stupid cheap” and “depreciating like the GT-R” is just one thing: very, very wrong. You can’t pick the undesireable cars with questionable history and equipment combinations and claim that these cars are cheap now. They are not and for good reason. I will admit that I’ve not looked very carefully at the US market as I’m from Europe, but here in Germany, “proper” 997 Turbos (decent color, flawless maintenance history, no accidents, preferably manual) have been appreciating for a while now.

In most cases, Euro prices in Germany and USD prices across the pond are roughly analogous. The “bottom of the barrel” cars over here are in the high 60k (€) range, where they have been for a while. “Decent” cars are in the 80k (€) range. Highly sought after cars, like 997.1s with the Mezger engine + 997.2 infotainment system (just a single model year) are already close to 100k - the very rare cabriolet version of that might even be more than that.