While some of us might've missed the best opportunity to grab one when the 996 Turbo was selling for little more than a well-optioned Civic, it remains a bargain. In its day, its top speed was something special; just five miles per hour shy of the coveted 200-mile-per-hour-mark. But beyond the obvious straightline shove, the 996 Turbo offered a level of versatility and refinement which helped it straddle the fence between sports car and cosseting tourer. Nowadays, those qualities can still be appreciated—at a quarter of what these cars fetched when new.
As Mr. DeMuro goes through the 996 Turbo in his characteristically meticulous fashion, we realize just how usable a car it is. The questionable exterior styling is easily ignored when the plush, supportive, detail-laden interior—particularly lovely in black and brushed aluminum—is taken into account. In fact, you'd be hard-pressed to find someone who felt the 996's cabin wasn't a considerable step forward from the 993's.
Styling is subjective, but it is a large part of why the 996 Turbo is so reasonably priced—nearly half that of what a 993 Turbo goes for currently. Those entry costs make it a steal in many eyes, but even with the robust Mezger motor making life a little easier, the actual cost of ownership puts some off.
Nevertheless, it offers plenty of performance for the money, and that is what continues to draw people to this car decades after its debut. When optioned with the X50 kit, owners can enjoy another 35 horsepower and stronger mule-kick-to-the-kidneys acceleration when the boost arrives. This comes courtesy of bigger K24 turbochargers, larger intercoolers, a revised ECU. For the horsepower junkies, the 996 Turbo is still a viable tuning platform. As we've seen before, a few additions can turn these cars into highway monsters.
Unfortunately, the cost of the 996 Turbo has risen from the $30,000-mark it resided around in 2018 to the ~$45,000-mark nowadays. For that money, does the all-weather capability, impressive performance, and renowned reliability make it good value? Let us know in the comments below.