Bring a Trailer Bargain of the Week: 1999 996 Porsche 911 Carrera

With even a base Porsche 911 Carrera now starting at six figures, the iconic sports car has gotten farther out of reach for many enthusiasts. Thankfully, the German brand’s used cars serve up significantly lower barriers for entry. Some are low enough that they’re arguably undervalued. And when it comes to bargain-priced Porsches, it’s hard to top something like this 1999 996 Porsche 911 Carrera on Bring a Trailer.

Ignore the headlights and IMS: the 996 Porsche 911 Carrera lives up to its sports car heritage

A dark-blue 1999 996 Porsche 911 Carrera drives down a road
1999 996 Porsche 911 Carrera | Porsche
1999-2005 996 Porsche 911 Carrera
Engines1999-2001: 3.4-liter ‘M96’ flat-six
2002-2005: 3.6-liter ‘M96’ flat-six
Horsepower3.4-liter: 296 hp (1999), 300 hp (2000-2001)
3.6-liter: 320 hp
Torque3.4-liter: 258 lb-ft
3.6-liter: 273 lb-ft
TransmissionsSix-speed manual
Five-speed automatic
Curb weight2910 lbs (1999 manual)
0-60 mph time4.6 seconds (1999 manual, Road & Track)

For lack of a better term, the 996 is still the red-headed stepchild of the Porsche 911 world. Not only is its styling disagreeable to some, but its (gasp!) liquid-cooled engine changed the sports car’s tried-and-true formula. And that’s before getting into the problematic IMS bearing.

In recent years, though, the 996 Porsche 911 has gained a substantial following. Firstly, its unpopularity makes it one of the few affordable modern Porsches. And secondly, it’s a 911. That means, once you look past the surface, you’re left with one of the best sports cars, new or used, you can buy.

Yes, when Porsche launched the 996 911 Carrera in 1999, it ditched the beloved air-cooled engine. However, despite being bigger than the preceding 993, the 996 is about 120 pounds lighter. And even before the 2002-model-year upgrades, the 996 911 Carrera is more powerful than the equivalent 993.

The rear 3/4 view of a gray 996 Porsche 911 Carrera 4 with a roof tent on a beach
996 Porsche 911 Carrera 4 with roof tent rear 3/4 | Porsche

Furthermore, the 996 Porsche 911 Carrera drives better than the 993. Its steering is just as accurate and communicative, but calmer and less demanding of corrections. And overall, the 996 is “more measured, more planted, more confidence-inspiring than…earlier 911s,” Hagerty notes.

Also, the 996 Porsche 911 introduced several welcome performance and luxury features. A telescopic steering column and electronic rear spoiler came standard, for example. And while it was optional on the Carrera, the Carrera 4 and Turbo offered standard traction control (dubbed ‘Porsche Stability Management’) for the first time. In addition, the 996’s interior is roomier than the 993’s cabin with some ergonomic control upgrades. Plus, thanks to the built-in mounting points, you can mount a roof rack or tent to the 996.

You can bid on this 1999 911 right now on Bring a Trailer

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As a 1999 model, the 996 Porsche 911 Carrera currently listed on Bring a Trailer has the smaller version of the M96 flat-six. However, there’s a benefit to getting a 1999 model. Unlike all other 996s, it has a throttle cable, rather than an electronic throttle body. And that makes it easier to maintain.

This 1999 Porsche 911 Carrera also has several desirable features. Besides the traction control, it has a limited-slip differential, leather upholstery, Turbo-look wheels, power front seats with memory functions, a Becker audio system, and a CD changer. Also, it has fog lights, cruise control, an electric sunroof, automatic climate control, and Porsche’s Automatic Braking Differential, which is essentially stability control. This car also has a B&M short-throw shifter kit installed.

With roughly 56,340 miles on the clock, this 996 Porsche 911 is in solid shape. It has a zero-accident history and only has a few minor scratches. The seller recently readjusted the front bumper and performed some paint-less dent repair, which might contribute to its clean appearance. And before you ask, yes, a previous owner replaced the IMS bearing. The seller recently replaced the ignition coils and spark plugs, too.

A 996 like this 1999 Carrera is a cheap and reliable way into Porsche 911 ownership

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As of this writing, this 1999 Porsche 911 Carrera is listed at $20,000 with three days left in the auction. That’s roughly 50% lower than a good-condition 996 commands today, Hagerty claims. And with the IMS bearing replaced, this 911 has already eliminated one of the 996’s biggest headaches.

Given that it is an older 911, a pre-purchase inspection is recommended. But apart from the IMS, the 996 is a fairly reliable Porsche. As noted earlier, it has a DIY-friendly throttle cable, not a throttle-by-wire system. The only remaining issues are oil seepage from places like the rear main seal as well as failing air/oil separators.

Leaks are mainly a high-mileage issue, though, R&T says, and an old separator is more annoying than detrimental. And because it’s kind of buried in the engine, it’s better to replace it alongside a clutch job. Though seeing as this 1999 Carrera isn’t belching blue smoke from its exhaust, the separator is likely fine.

In short, this 996 1999 Porsche 911 Carrera is a bargain of a high-end sports car that should give you plenty of worry-free smiles.

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