THESE BEING THE PAGES OF EVO, it’s inevitable that some flavour of Porsche 911 features in a “used alternatives’ piece. We just can’t help ourselves, can we? Truth be told, good used 911s are often the pinto burst many a hopeful new coupe’s bubble, for they are always perceived to be at least a league above ’whatever they’re compared with. Besides, Porsche’s rear-engined stalwart might be a bit of a cliche, but unless you simply can’t abide them, 911 ownership is a genuine and worthy aspiration for many. You’d be crazy not to at least explore the notion of parking a 911 on your driveway, especially with a budget equivalent to the new TT RS or one of its rivals. So which to choose? If it were my money I’d find it very hard to resist the 997 Carrera GTS. There was always something special about this model, right from the off. Introduced in 2010, at the end of the 997’s life cycle, it could have been just another run-out model.
Yes, it was laden with options to make it seem like irresistible value, but it was also a wide-body car fitted with the special Power Kit motor (good for 413hp, and previously a ferociously expensive option), plus centre-lock wheels and a choice of manual or PDK transmissions. Further options included sports suspension, carbon-ceramic brakes and a limited-slip differential. Find one of the handful thus equipped and you really do have something very special.
Eventually you could get a GTS in four-wheel-drive and cabriolet forms, but for me it was always the two-wheel-drive coupe that held the greatest appeal. It was – and is – a cracking machine: a model at the end of its days but also right at the top of its game. And, being a 911, it felt smaller, more characterful, more consistent and more communicative than its successor. A truth amplified by the fact early 991s were a bit below par. The best non-GT (that’s to say non-Motorsport) 911 money could buy, the 997 GTS achieved instant cult status. A fact reflected in solid residual values, even as the 991 rendered it obsolete. Since then values have steadily strengthened.
A quick scan of the online classifieds tells its own story. That’s something of a double-edged sword, both for buyers and existing owners. Such strong prices are hard to swallow when you’re buying, but it comes with the reassurance of zero depreciation or maybe continued (modest) appreciation.
The downside of chasing that particular rainbow is that it could well stop you using your car as freely as you’d otherwise like. Given the beauty of the 997 GTS has always been its perfectly rounded abilities and irresistible usability, that would be a real shame. Few 911s before or since have been blessed with the breadth of talent to take everyday use in their stride yet offer a driving high so sweet you’re left questioning the need for anything faster or more aggressive.