2007 Porsche 911 Targa 4S
2007 Porsche 911 Targa 4S. Click image to enlarge

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2007 Porsche 911 Targa

The 2005 Porsche 911 marked something of a return to the traditional for this storied sports car. Gone were the controversial “fried egg” headlight clusters of the previous generation (the 996), and the overall styling of this car, code-named the 997, was more reminiscent of the 993 car – the last air-cooled 911 – which had been replaced in 1999.

In 2005, base-model 997 cars used a 3.6-litre flat-six engine making 325 horsepower, while the sportier S models got a 3.8-litre engine making 355 hp. The mighty 911 Turbo was a carry-over model in 2005, riding on the previous-generation platform until 2007. The 997 Turbo got a 480-horsepower, twin-turbo version of the 3.6-litre engine.

All-wheel drive models joined the line-up in 2006, and in 2007, the glass-roofed Targa arrived, offered exclusively with all-wheel drive. The 2007 lineup also included the 911 GT3, a lightweight, racing-inspired model powered by a high-revving, naturally-aspirated version of the 3.6-litre engine. In 2008, the even more potent GT2 arrived, with its 530-hp (!) twin-turbo 3.6-litre engine.

2007 Porsche 911 Targa 4S
2007 Porsche 911 Targa 4S. Click image to enlarge

All 911 models came standard with a six-speed manual transmission. A five-speed “Tiptronic S” automatic was an option in most 911 models, while the GT2 and GT3 models were sold with manual transmissions only.

For all of the 911’s performance potential, fuel consumption is surprisingly low. Natural Resources Canada’s EnerGuide rates the 2005 base 911 Carrera at 12.8/8.2 L/100 km (city/highway). All-wheel drive and uplevel S models use a little more, of course, but even the Turbo is fairly frugal, posting consumption numbers of 13.3/8.5 L/100 km (city/highway) in 2008. In fact, the nutty GT2 is the only car that tends to be really thirsty in normal driving, with a city rating of 18.8 L/100 km; on the highway, this 2008 model was rated at 8.9 L/100 km.

Consumer Reports has incomplete reliability data on the 911 (this is a low-volume car, after all), but the information it does offer shows the car to be average to below-average as a used car buy. According to CR, trouble spots vary, depending on what year you’re considering; a more… well, “reliable” indicator of what to look out for is this page at the Porsche Club of America’s website.
Here, you’ll discover that 997 Porsches are prone to engine failures due to a bad “intermediate shaft” (see here and here). A Google search for “997 intermediate shaft” brings up several hits from Porsche forums and other websites.

2007 Porsche 911 Targa 4S
2007 Porsche 911 Targa 4S
2007 Porsche 911 Targa 4S. Click image to enlarge

Some 2005 S models had piston ring issues caused by frequent high engine speeds.

Long crank times when starting a 997 might be normal, caused by the engine management system’s anti-flood function, which shuts off the fuel injectors if flooding is sensed during start-up.

Leaking rear main engine oil seals are a common problem, despite a redesigned seal for 997 cars that should have fixed a similar issue that affected the previous-generation 911.

Neither the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) nor the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has crash-tested the 911.
Canadian Red Book values a 2005 base model 911 Carrera at just shy of $51,000 about half of its MSRP, while a 2008 base model is worth about $85,000. Values rise sharply for high-end models; a 2007 Turbo is worth more than $115,000, while a 2007 Targa comes in at more than $86,000.

Real-world pricing often differs from Red Book’s suggested values, and almost never more so than when you’re dealing with an exotic like the 911. For example, Red Book’s valuation for a 2007 GT3 is $105,000; a quick browse of the Quebec and Eastern Ontario PCA chapter’s website (http://www.rennsport.ca) uncovered a GT3 for sale in the Montreal area with an asking price of $135,000.

As exotics go, a 911 is on the tame end of the scale, bringing everyday usefulness, comfort and reliability to a class that’s otherwise full of temperamental supercars. Like most cars, the 911 isn’t perfect, so do your research before you buy, particularly in terms of long-term maintenance and potential repair costs.

Pricing

Red Book Pricing (avg. retail) November 2008:

Year
Model
Price today
Price new
2008
911 Carrera
$85,100
$93,200
2007
911 Carrera
$72,675
$100,700
2006
911 Carrera
$60,725
$104,300
2005
911 Carrera
$50,875
$101,400

Online resources

Despite assertions by some Porsche drivers that many owners of these cars spend too much time enjoying their cars to bother with Porsche forums, there are still several good ones out there. 6SpeedOnline.com and Rennlist.com both have good 911 sections, though Rennlist doesn’t provide a dedicated 997 discussion area. The forums at PelicanParts.com lump the 997 into a section with the older 996. Roadfly.com provides a 997specific section, but the forum layout can make it tough to follow a thread. The Porsche Club of America (PCA.org) is a terrific resource for owners, with a Tech Q&A section where Porsche experts answer questions.

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    Manufacturer’s Website
  • Porsche Canada

    Recalls

    Transport Canada Recall Number: 2006007; Units affected: 291
    2005-2006: On certain vehicles, an inadequate weld on the exhaust system could allow the tailpipe to detach while the vehicle is in motion; this could startle the driver and/or endanger other road users. Correction: Dealers will replace the tailpipe.

    Transport Canada Recall Number: 2007393; Units affected: 2

    2008: Certain vehicles may contain a defective switch console for the Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) and Traction Control (TC-Off) switches. The LEDs in the switches can signal a function change in the PASM mode or the deactivation of Traction Control even though the switches were not actuated. Should these systems be inadvertently disabled, their safety benefits would be unavailable to the driver, which could increase the possibility of a crash during aggressive driving manoeuvres. Correction: Dealers will replace the switch console.

    Crash test results
  • National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
  • Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS)

    Used vehicle prices vary depending on factors such as general condition, odometer reading, usage history and options fitted. Always have a used vehicle checked by an experienced auto technician before you buy.

    For information on recalls, see Transport Canada’s web-site, www.tc.gc.ca, or the U.S. National Highway Transportation Administration (NHTSA)web-site, www.nhtsa.dot.gov.

    For information on vehicle service bulletins issued by the manufacturer, visit www.nhtsa.dot.gov.

    For information on consumer complaints about specific models, see www.lemonaidcars.com.

  • For more Used Vehicle Reviews by Chris Chase, click here

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