First off, let me start by saying, dont be fooled into thinking that by spending more money for a car you are getting the very best built product that money can buy. This is not true, and holds true f...
First off, let me start by saying, dont be fooled into thinking that by spending more money for a car you are getting the very best built product that money can buy. This is not true, and holds true for Porsche's as well as Ferrari's and Lambo's. you are buying exclusivity and a badge more so than a phenomenally built product. They are sports cars first and foremost, and luxury vehicles dead last. They all squeak and rattle (stiff chassis), they are all loud on the road (light weight and no sound absorbption) and they all have mechanical quirks. They are not as reliable as Toyota's and Honda's, but if you know anything about vehicle design and thermodynamics you understand that purpose built sports cars are amazing feats of engineering.
Now onto Porsche 997 Gen 1 Carrera S.
As far as a fun factor and chassis dynamics, this car is brilliant. With the PASM system it is the best of both worlds. I highly recommend this car with PASM, it is a system that works brillantly to provide a supple ride when in Normal mode, and a after-market suspension feel when in Sport mode. Its the one thing that impressed me the most when I started driving this car.
911's are loud. Rated the 2nd loudest car behind the Lamborghini. And im not talking engine loud, I'm talking driving around wind noise and tire noise loud. My wifes BMW is like an empty conference room compared to a packed football stadium which is a 911. So dont buy it expecting it to be a refined, quiet, experience.
Now to the things that dissapoint me about Porsche.
Porsche also adopted Toyota's Lean manufacturing and so money no object went out the window and money saving became the entire focus.
For example, all 911's historically were true dry-sump engines. This means they were true racing engines, and they cost more to build because of it. Small airplane motors have to be dry-sump motors so that the engine continues to get oil even when up-side-down, in fact Porsche used to make an aviation motor because their design was inherently good for it. Starting with the 996 of 1999, they started building two different engines, one for the normal 911 which was no longer a true dry sump and another for the more expensive models like the GT3 and Turbo which were true dry sump motors and built like the products of old. Dont be fooled when you read that they have "integrated dry sump" motors. That is not a true dry sump engine and is a fancy way of saying that it has an oil pan.
So because of this change in philosophy, Porsche now builds two different levels of motor. What I call the true, money no object motor, and the normal, everyday driver motor. Example: cost of new GT3 motor is $60k, cost of new normal 997 3.8 motor is $20k. Think there is some quality differences there?
So if you are interested in buying a 997 gen 1 car, just know, that it should be okay as a 7/10ths sports car, but there are some design flaws in the motor that could creep up if these cars are pushed very very hard.
You want to have an oil analysis done for sure!
Also have the oil filter cut open and inspected for metal frags.
Have the sparks plugs removed and have a bore scope inserted in all the cylinders to check for cylinder wall scoring, mainly happens on the two cylinders on the passenger side, closest to the front of the car ( cyl 5 and 6)
Inspect the water pump for weaping or leaks and check that the pulley isn't wobbly.
Some other issues is they can be hard to get into first gear when cold, common problem, can live with it.
If the car has aftermarket exhaust, can have a stutter if in Sport mode when accelerating hard from low rpms. Another common issue, that you can learn to drive around but is annoying. After market exhaust seems to be the common cause.
Now all of that being said... I drive mine daily, have 82k on the odometer and have changed the water pump and have added an additional radiator, and I change the oil more ften than recommended and the car has been great. But I dont drive it hard like I did my Turbo either.
If you want to drive the wheels off it, get a GT3 or Turbo.