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It’s no secret that the Porsche 911 is one of the greatest driving enthusiast cars on the planet. It’s also no secret, of course, that they are quite expensive. With a brand new 911 starting at over $100,000 for the cheapest model, it’s woefully unattainable for most. However, the cheapest Porsche 911 you can buy is still a spry and spirited driving experience you couldn’t possibly regret.

The Porsche 996 911 is still the cheapest entry to the iconic rear-engine sports car

Guards red Porsche 996 911 driving down the street convertible with the top down.
Guards Red Porsche 996 911 | Porsche

The Porsche 996 is a 911. There seems to be some confusion among those who aren’t in the know on Porsche speak. However, if you ever hear someone say something like 996, 997, 964, etc., before saying “911,” they’re referring to that particular generation of the iconic Porsche.

The 996 generation is undoubtedly still the cheapest Porsche 911 you can buy. Introduced in 1997, the 996 was the first 911 that used water cooling, like you’ll find on virtually all modern cars. Prior to the 996, Porsche was still using air cooling for its legendary flat-six engines.

Cheapest Porsche 911 is the 996, a closeup on the iconic loved or hated 996 fried egg headligh shape
The “fried egg” headlights | Porsche

Despite the somewhat controversial “fried egg” headlights and massively dated interior, it’s still one of the best-driving cars one can buy. After all, it’s still a Porsche 911. It’s got the classic 911 architecture in its flat-six engine, rear-engine rear-wheel drive layout, and performance-oriented suspension to keep you flat through the corners.

How cheap is the cheapest Porsche 911?

A quick glance at Autotempest nationwide search results reveals a handful of 996 Porsche 911s for under $20,000. Often, at this price point, you’re looking at high-mileage examples or the lesser desired models. Lesser-desire models are convertible and automatic examples. Still, that’s a lot of car, pedigree, and fun for under $20,000.

A handful of manual convertible models are for sale at or under $20,000. That would be my bang-for-your-buck recommendation. Sure, the 911 coupe has its iconic lines. Let’s be honest, though, who wouldn’t love top-down cruising in a 911?


This 996 911 on Cars and Bids is Affordable Sports Car Perfection

Expanding your budget can net you higher-performance models like S models, “4” models (all-wheel drive), and even the spiciest of them all: the turbo trim. Even turbo models with manual transmissions can be found for around $40,000 with higher mileage if you’re OK with a convertible. With all-wheel drive and 420 horsepower, how couldn’t you be?

Of course, the 996-era 911 does have the infamous IMS bearing failure, which you can read about here. While shopping, be sure to either look for a car with a papered replacement of the bearing, or budget around $2,000 to immediately get it replaced.

Overall, the cheapest Porsche 911 is still exactly that: a Porsche 911. With a nicely maintained model, you couldn’t possibly go wrong. You’ll learn to ignore the dated interior when you put your foot down and zip through some windy mountain roads.