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911 Carrera 3.6 – 272 ch [1994 à 1995]

993 Carrera v 996.1 Carrera: which is the better driver’s 911?

Manchester Free Trade Hall, May 1966: Bob Dylan casts aside his acoustic guitar and plugs in an electric Fender Stratocaster. The folk faithful look nonplussed. There are boos, and one heckler famously shouts “Judas!” as the feedback fades. 

Porsche had its own ‘Judas’ moment in 1998, when it replaced the 993 with the 996. In doing so, it called time on 35 years of the air-cooled flat six. This was progress but it felt like a revolution and, like those diehard Dylan fans, many 911 aficionados saw it as a retrograde step.

Fast-forward two decades and the 996 is viewed as an emerging classic: the start of something new, rather than the death of everything we held dear. Prices are edging upwards, yet the first water-cooled 911 remains a poor relation to its forebear in terms of values. Typically, you’ll pay twice as much for a 993 Carrera as an equivalent 996.1.

Myth-busting time, then. Is the 993 really a better car? Objectively, no: the 996 is faster, stiffer, safer and more efficient. Surprisingly, it’s actually lighter too. However, sports cars are subjective; a Porsche should feed the senses and stir the soul. So forget worn valve guides or failed IMS bearings, this latest Total 911 comparison is purely about driving.

The cars lined up are a 1996 993 Carrera and a 1998 996.1 Carrera, owned by Hugh Harvey and James Hunter respectively, and kindly supplied by RPM Technik. I’ll drive them back-to-back on some of Hertfordshire’s best A- and B-roads to distil the differences and pick a winner, straight up. Air or heir? This could get controversial…

It seems sensible to start with the 993 and it’s the car I’m more excited about driving – such is the mystique of the air-cooled 911. It’s smaller than its successor, but not to the degree you might think: overall width and height are almost identical. Even so, a narrower body (the extra width comes from those curvaceous wheel arches, which stylist Tony Hatter likened to bulging muscles) means its cabin feels ‘cosy’ if I’m being kind, ‘cramped’ if I’m not.

The 993’s dashboard is hardly an object lesson in ergonomics either. The steering wheel rim obscures the outer gauges and heater controls, and there’s precious little stowage space. My main issue, though, is with the pedals, which are skewed awkwardly towards the centre of the car. They’re floor-hinged (an original 911 design quirk expunged in the 996), and their height and spacing are perfect for heel-and-toe work. However, their alignment – or lack of – makes it all too easy to push the throttle instead of the brake in those first few miles.

To read the full feature of our comprehensive 993 v 996.1 Carrera test, pick up your copy of Total 911 issue 160 here or at any good booksellers. You can also download the digital edition to any device via Apple or Google newsstands. 

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Porsche 964 Carrera versus Porsche 993 Carrera

Launched exactly a quarter of a century after the original 901, the Porsche 964 was meant to be “the 911 for the next 25 years”. Printed in the press material at the 964’s unveiling, these were the words of then Porsche AG Chairman, Heinz Branitzki.

As corporate claims go, it was simultaneously extravagant and conservative. Despite numerous small updates (and the continuous upsizing of the flat-six engine), the 911 had, technologically, seen few major changes between its Frankfurt unveiling in 1963 and the 3.2 Carrera’s exodus from the line-up in 1989.

The lack of wholesale development had nearly been the undoing of the 911 – declining sales in the late 1970s led Ernst Fuhrmann to the brink of axing the 911 – so to expect similar endurance from the 964 seemed optimistic at best.

Porsche 964 interior

The Zuffenhausen board boldly claimed that 87 per cent of the 964’s componentry was new though, suggesting that, in their eyes, die neue Neunelfer would be able to survive a similarly protracted product cycle.

Like Branitzki’s audacious assertion, the reality of the 964 Carrera was both contemporary and conventional. The 3.6-litre M64/01 engine was Porsche’s first flat six that could be offered unaltered around the world, however, it found itself mated to an upgraded version of the five-speed G50 gearbox seen in the 3.2 Carrera.

Aesthetically, it cut a familiar silhouette (smoothed slightly front and rear with integrated bumpers, a hallmark of Benjamin Dimson’s design) yet, under the metal sat a full-length undertray reducing the drag coefficient to an alltime low.

Porsche 964 Carrera front

After 26 years, the torsion bar springs finally bowed out too, replaced by coilover dampers, but the general suspension layout remained the same: a MacPherson strut out front with a semi-trailing arm at the rear.

The automotive dichotomy of the 964 didn’t deter buyers from placing an order for the new 911 however. On average, the 964 Carrera (if C2 and C4 figures are combined) sold nearly as well as its 3.2-litre predecessor – one of the most popular Porsche models of all time.

But, in an ever-changing automotive environment, faced with the impending age of digitisation, Porsche realised that it couldn’t afford to let its iconic sports car stand still again. Just four years after the 964 Carrera’s launch, it found itself replaced by a new generation: the 993.

To read our Porsche 964 Carrera v 993 Carrera head-to-head in full, pick up Total 911 issue 146 in store today. Alternatively, order your copy online for home delivery, or download it straight to your digital device now.

Porsche 964 v 993 Carrera rear

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Porsche 993 Carrera 2… Sport & loisir ! Ou le contraire…

Printemps 2011, Eric se sépare de sa Lotus Elise. Il cherche sa remplaçante, une caisse aussi bonne pour les sorties loisir que pour aller ruiner du pneu sur la piste ! Un engin avec 4 places et des perfs du niveau de celles de sa petite anglaise… C’est finalement vers une allemande qu’il décide de … Continuer la lecture de Porsche 993 Carrera 2… Sport & loisir ! Ou le contraire…

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Porsche 993 Carrera 2 – De l’air et des courbes ! (Photos)

La 911, je vous l’ai faite dans tous les sens… toutes les positions ! Hé bien si vous pensiez que j’allais vous lâcher le slip avec celle là, dites vous que c’est loin d’être terminé ! Surtout lorsque Ben m’a proposé quelques clichés de cette magnifique 993 Carrera 2 full d’origine… Oui, aujourd’hui, j’ai décidé de … Continuer la lecture de Porsche 993 Carrera 2 – De l’air et des courbes ! (Photos)

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Cet article Porsche 993 Carrera 2 – De l’air et des courbes ! (Photos) est apparu en premier sur De l’essence dans mes veines.

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Une 993 Carrera séduit par sa charmante simplicité

Temps de lecture estimé: 1’30 Alors que nous ne cessons de parler d’autos aussi rares qu’exceptionnelles, à l’image des GT3 RS, 993 GT voire de prototypes tels que la plus mythique des 907, il est parfois bon de revenir aux sources de sa passion en prenant soin de mettre de côté tous les excès qu’elle … Lire la suite Une 993 Carrera séduit par sa charmante simplicité

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