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911 Carrera 4S 3.8 – 385 ch [2009 à 2012]

Porsche 997 Carrera 4S Gen2 ultimate guide

Despite having done much to boost Porsche’s coffers during a difficult period, the 996 generation endured something of a torrid time. The necessary change to water-cooling had divided opinion and loyalty, and some high profile engine problems had dented the company’s reputation for peerless engineering.

The commotion eventually died down, of course, and by the time the 997 arrived in September 2004, things were on a much stronger footing.

Highly regarded today, it was joined a year later by the four-wheel drive variants but what we’re interested in here is the Gen2 that was launched for the 2009 model year – and specifically the hugely capable C4S.

IP Yellow 997.2 Carrera 4S 023

We’ll start beneath the engine lid where this particular model received some significant changes, not least of which was the addition of direct injection and VarioCam Plus.

Powering the new generation was a 3.8-litre unit producing 385bhp at 6,500rpm and a useful 420Nm of torque. Featuring ‘Alusil’ cylinder liners and forged aluminium pistons along with that VarioCam Plus system that provided variable valve timing and lift on the inlet side, the heavily revised unit boasted impressive efficiency savings, including a carbon dioxide output 15 per cent lower than before.

The best news for buyers, though, is that engine problems such as IMS failure and scored cylinder bores had effectively been eradicated for the Gen2.

IP Yellow 997.2 Carrera 4S 036

And, given their usability and potential for higher mileages, an unimpeachable service record from a specialist or OPC will minimise any concerns.

Regular maintenance shouldn’t bash the wallet too much either, a 20,000-mile check costing around £330 and the bigger 60,000-mile check – which includes a change of plugs – in the region of £920 for a manual example (a PDK-equipped car is around £100 more for the same service.)

It’s worth mentioning that spark plug renewal is a more expensive and involved job than on a Gen1 as the rear exhaust silencers need to be moved, with the potential for battling corroded fittings. Required every four years, expect to pay around £280 to have this done by a specialist.

To read our complete Porsche 997.2 Carrera 4S buyer’s guide, pick up Total 911 issue 137 in store today. Alternatively, you can download a copy straight your digital device now.

 

Porsche 997 Carrera 4S Gen2

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Great Roads: Little St Bernard Pass, France

In March 2006, I found myself in the Alps, in a fuelled-up 997 Carrera 4S and with two days to myself. Naturally, I’d looked at maps, and read about this small road joining Italy and France, so, I punched it in the PCM, and headed out to drive it. The Little St Bernard Pass – or Col Du Petit St Bernard to be strictly accurate – links the Aosta Valley on the Italian side of Mont Blanc to the French side of the mountain. As you might expect, the road has two different numbers; the French call it D1090 and the Italians the SS26. The road follows the main alpine watershed, and at its highest, rises to 2,188m above sea level, through some of Europe’s most interesting and significant landscape. Great Roads: Little St Bernard Pass, France There’s another pass nearby – the Grand St Bernard Pass – which you may know, as it was used in the iconic opening scenes of the Italian Job, where the Lamborghini Miura drives to meet its abrupt end. There’s plenty of history to stop and take in, too. A 72-metre-wide stone circle rumoured to date back to the Iron Age is dissected by the Tarmac, and so arduous is the climb, the Tour de France has included the pass in its route on numerous occasions. With an average gradient of 5.1 per cent, it’s a test of both man and machine. Either direction is driveable, although it is worth noting that the Italian side has the most severe hairpins – you may prefer to drive up the slope or down. I chose up, to catch the views into the French descent. There are fewer barriers on the French side, which in the main has a more open aspect. Compared to many passes this one has less in the way of switchbacks every few hundred metres, as per Stelvio. Here the road is a little more open and bends hold more of a winding, climbing nature. It’s not a road to go flat out between each apex, though there are well-sighted sections in the middle near the old border post. Frankly, the scenery is so spectacular that it’s not the place to go for a maximum attack run – not to mention that at times the bends require plenty of concentration, even in a 911. My trip, though, didn’t quite go to plan. Turning off after the Mont Blanc tunnel on the Italian side, the start of the route was spectacular. With the snow-streamed peak appearing now and then, the landscape is jaw-dropping. Slowly rising up and up, the hairpins began to get more frequent, the snow getting deeper as the elevation increased. What began as barrier-high, soon reached the height of the car either side of the road after only a handful of kilometres. Soon, the road was just a gap carved between narrowing walls of ice. Then the inevitable happened; a wall of snow, with no break to the distant slopes of the mountains. Yes, the road was closed. I had to turn back.
Due to its altitude the road can be closed from October to June, so my February trip was patently pushing my luck. For a taste of a real Alpine Pass without heavy traffic, nor too many hairpins, I’d recommend it, though. Despite only managing part of it, it was still a great drive in a 911.   Essential info Location: Bourg-St-Maurice, France, to Pré-Saint-Didier, Italy. 45.40’49N 06.53’02E Length of drive: 33 miles Points of interest: Chamonix and area – winter sports, Mont Blanc Food and accommodation: Auberge de la Maison, Courmeyeur Mont Blanc, tel: +39 0165 869811. Hotel Edelweiss, Courmayeur, tel: +39 0165 841590
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