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The Porsche 911 Turbo doesn’t look like a supercar, but it accelerates like one—and costs like it, too. And even the used ones that weren’t owned by celebrities are rarely available at mere-mortal prices. But there is one that you can semi-regularly buy without getting a second mortgage. And there’s one up for grabs this week on Bring a Trailer: a 2002 996 Porsche 911 Turbo.

The 996 Porsche 911 Turbo delivers supercar speeds without worrying about IMS failure

A silver 996 Porsche 911 Turbo Coupe in a white studio
996 Porsche 911 Turbo | Daniel Pullen/Total 911 Magazine/Future via Getty Images
2001-2004 ‘996’ Porsche 911 Turbo
Engine3.6-liter twin-turbocharged flat-six
Horsepower415 hp
Torque413 lb-ft
TransmissionSix-speed manual
Five-speed automatic
Curb weight3395 lbs
0-60 mph time3.9 seconds (manual)
4.2 seconds (automatic)

Although the 996 is no longer persona non grata amongst Porsche fans, some versions of the first water-cooled 911 earned respect faster. Specifically, the ones without the dreaded IMS bearing. But that’s far from the only thing the 2001-2004 996 Porsche 911 Turbo has going for it.  

Considering a tuner just boosted the 2022 Turbo S to 800-hp territory, 415 hp might not sound like a lot. However, a sub-four-second 0-60 time puts the 996 Turbo in rarified company even today. Furthermore, this AWD autobahn cruise missile goes that fast with a stick-shift. Which, by the way, Porsche doesn’t offer on the current 911 Turbo.

Yet it’s not just raw speed that makes the 996 Porsche Turbo so impressive. It’s how unflappable it was in 2001 and still is. For one, the engine makes acceleration “effortless,” Hagerty says, and it’s so smooth you almost don’t know you’re at redline. Secondly, the standard AWD, wider rear track, stability control, and active rear spoiler, combined with the excellent suspension, make this a true all-weather, all-day sports car. It’s little wonder why Hagerty compared it to the 959, Porsche’s other iconic AWD supercar.

Also, the 996 Turbo got even better over the years. In 2002, for example, Porsche updated the entire 996 911 lineup with stiffer chassis, suspension tweaks, and interior upgrades. And by 2004, you could get the 911 Turbo in 450-hp X50 trim and/or with carbon-ceramic brakes. But you don’t need any of those things to appreciate this car: just get it and drive.

And this week on Bring a Trailer, you have a chance to do that.

You can bid on this manual 2002 Turbo on Bring a Trailer

As noted earlier, Porsche offered the 996 911 Turbo with a manual, which also made it faster than the automatic. And the 2002 example currently listed on BaT is indeed a stick-shift car with just under 40,300 miles on the clock. It’s also a well-equipped car at that.

In addition to the features mentioned earlier, this 2002 911 Turbo has xenon headlights, integrated fog lights, automatic climate control, and a torque-vectoring rear differential. Also, it has a sunroof, rear windshield wiper, leather upholstery, and power front seats with driver power lumbar support. Plus, it has a Porsche Classic infotainment system with a touchscreen, which is also the only modification.

Admittedly, this 996 Porsche 911 Turbo has some flaws. There’s a ding on the front hood, for example, and the spoiler warning light is illuminated. The seller says the latter issue might just be a blown fuse, though. But it has a clean, zero-accident history and plenty of service records. Furthermore, the seller bought the car last year just after the previous owner changed the oil, flushed the coolant, and replaced the serpentine belt.

Is an affordable 996 Porsche 911 Turbo a reliable budget supercar?


2023 Porsche 911 Sport Classic: Manual-Only Retro RWD Turbo

As of this writing, this 2002 Porsche 911 Turbo is listed at $18,600 with four days left in the auction. Keep in mind that this car started at $110,000 in 2002 and a base 2022 911 Turbo starts at $182,900. Also, a fair-to-good-condition 996 Turbo like this is usually worth $45K-$60K, Hagerty reports. In short, this BaT car is a genuine bargain.

Given that this car is also a used high-performance Porsche with at least one electrical issue, a pre-purchase inspection is recommended. Furthermore, although the 996 Turbo doesn’t have an IMS bearing, the adhesive holding the coolant pipes regularly fails over time. And while welding or pinning new pipes in place with stronger replacements fixes this, it’s an engine-out service that costs $2000-$5000. However, apart from that, a 996 Turbo doesn’t typically suffer any issues you wouldn’t see on other used forced-induction cars.

Still, if you want a bargain-priced stick-shift sports car that goes like a supercar and feels like a luxury car, this 2002 Porsche 911 Turbo might be worth a look.

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