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      03-17-2018, 06:07 PM   #1
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Z4 M vs. 996 - what are the differences?

I took a 2000 996 cab for a spin today. I had some interesting impressions, particularly back-to-back with the Z4 I took to get there. I'm hoping to hear from folks who have experience with both, to see if my impressions are normal or if there was something particular about the car I drove.

The ride felt a little flintier; not harsher, in fact it felt as though the 996 handled larger bumps better. But I felt every. little. thing. Could be tires? Pirelli P Zeros on the 996, Michelin PSS on the Z4.

There were vibrations at speed. The owner told me it was a common issue and that it was difficult to fully smooth out the vibrations on a 996 -- at some speed or another, there would be a vibration. Really? Or am I looking at a bent rim (or 2).

It was a Steptronic, which shifted almost imperceptibly. Also normal, or should it give me a kick? I did not flog the car by any means, but did accelerate briskly once on an onramp.

Thanks for weighing in.
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      03-18-2018, 02:19 AM   #2
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Alignment/balance?
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      03-18-2018, 06:58 AM   #3
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I owned a 2001 996, the thing was solid as a rock, no vibration at any speed. In fact one of the things I liked about the Z4MC was that it wasn't quite so smooth, less refined more visceral. I now have a 993, which is less refined than the 996. A more enjoyable driving experience for my taste.
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      03-18-2018, 07:13 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JamesNoBrakes View Post
Alignment/balance?
I'm thinking balance, because it varies with speed. Possibly a bent rim; the car was used in the city extensively earlier in its life and could have hooked a pothole or curb.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RABAUKE View Post
I owned a 2001 996, the thing was solid as a rock, no vibration at any speed. In fact one of the things I liked about the Z4MC was that it wasn't quite so smooth, less refined more visceral. I now have a 993, which is less refined than the 996. A more enjoyable driving experience for my taste.
Thanks for the perspective. I'm dipping my toe into p-cars, and while a 993 appeals to me more on paper, I want to see if I like the experience at all before committing at quite that level. I also felt a greater sense of refinement in general from the 996, which is why the grumbles and rumbles seemed out of place. I even asked if the tires might have been overinflated for storage purposes; owner said no.
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      03-18-2018, 07:22 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wdb View Post
I'm thinking balance, because it varies with speed. Possibly a bent rim; the car was used in the city extensively earlier in its life and could have hooked a pothole or curb.

Thanks for the perspective. I'm dipping my toe into p-cars, and while a 993 appeals to me more on paper, I want to see if I like the experience at all before committing at quite that level. I also felt a greater sense of refinement in general from the 996, which is why the grumbles and rumbles seemed out of place. I even asked if the tires might have been overinflated for storage purposes; owner said no.
The 996 is a great car, but to be honest I couldn't get past the headlights. Maybe that makes me shallow. If I was going for a newer Porsche I'd be looking at a 997 or 991, both are a bit more expensive than a 996 but I think you'd be happier. I've always loved the 993, but couldn't afford one at the time and that's how I ended up with the 996. I ended up paying almost double what I could've had the 993 for a few years ago.

I put lots of posts up here commenting on the 996 and 993. I don't think you'll go wrong getting into P cars. I loved my bmw but always felt that Porsche was the real deal as until a few years ago all they did was sports cars. Just my two cents. Happy hunting.
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      03-18-2018, 07:44 AM   #6
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I have a 997 in my sights too.

One thing I noticed when inspecting the 996 is that 911's have gotten bigger. The car was at a storage facility with a bunch of other machines including older and newer Porsches. The current cars looked like the 996 on steroids; larger in every dimension, particularly width; enormous rim diameters. It was an eye opener. They're not really all that little anymore.
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      03-18-2018, 08:04 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RABAUKE View Post
The 996 is a great car, but to be honest I couldn't get past the headlights. Maybe that makes me shallow. If I was going for a newer Porsche I'd be looking at a 997 or 991, both are a bit more expensive than a 996 but I think you'd be happier. I've always loved the 993, but couldn't afford one at the time and that's how I ended up with the 996. I ended up paying almost double what I could've had the 993 for a few years ago.

I put lots of posts up here commenting on the 996 and 993. I don't think you'll go wrong getting into P cars. I loved my bmw but always felt that Porsche was the real deal as until a few years ago all they did was sports cars. Just my two cents. Happy hunting.
As RABUKE says, the 997 is a much better looking car. But I must ask, why compare a Porsche (racing car from the factory) to a Z4? The Z4 is a nice car but certainly NOT a Porsche.
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      03-18-2018, 08:42 AM   #8
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Stock suspensions on 996/997 era cars can be pretty firm: compliant but similar to a sport suspension on some other makes.

How old were the tires as well? Some second/third cars sit for years. When we got our 987 it had original Mich N rated from the factory still: I swapped them out a year later after they had 6 years on the car: the non N rated new set of PSS was a slightly more compliant ride.

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      03-18-2018, 09:40 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cliverman View Post
As RABUKE says, the 997 is a much better looking car. But I must ask, why compare a Porsche (racing car from the factory) to a Z4? The Z4 is a nice car but certainly NOT a Porsche.
I'm not on the same page here. I find the cars to be quite comparable in their category. Both "sports cars", 2-seaters, similar horsepower, similar features and amenities. The 996 is certainly not a detuned racing car; like all modern Porsches it is a road car first and foremost.

If you've owned or driven both I'd love to hear your thoughts on how they compare.
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      03-18-2018, 10:20 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wdb View Post
I'm not on the same page here. I find the cars to be quite comparable in their category. Both "sports cars", 2-seaters, similar horsepower, similar features and amenities. The 996 is certainly not a detuned racing car; like all modern Porsches it is a road car first and foremost.

If you've owned or driven both I'd love to hear your thoughts on how they compare.
I’ve driven both and I understand your not being on the same page.
I wasn’t trying to insult your car or your choice. Have a great day.
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      03-18-2018, 10:51 AM   #11
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Remember that OP is referencing a Z4 M coupe, not a plain "vanilla" Z4. Big difference.
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      03-18-2018, 11:07 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by SakhirM4 View Post
Remember that OP is referencing a Z4 M coupe, not a plain "vanilla" Z4. Big difference.
Understood. I do like the Z4 GT3.
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      03-18-2018, 11:40 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cliverman View Post
Understood. I do like the Z4 GT3.
Sounded pretty good too!

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      03-18-2018, 12:21 PM   #14
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Id trade my z4m in for a 997 or 991 gt3 but not for a regular carrera or a 996. no real advantage in doing so, especially not for the cost difference.
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      03-18-2018, 05:16 PM   #15
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Once again thanks everyone for chiming in.
Quote:
Originally Posted by bvanlieu View Post
Stock suspensions on 996/997 era cars can be pretty firm: compliant but similar to a sport suspension on some other makes.

How old were the tires as well? Some second/third cars sit for years.
Thanks for the commentary on standard suspensions. Excellent question regarding tire age too; I've reached out to see if the owner knows. EDIT: mid to late 2012. Kinda old.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cliverman View Post
I’ve driven both and I understand your not being on the same page.
I wasn’t trying to insult your car or your choice. Have a great day.
That's kind but it doesn't answer my question.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mirko View Post
Id trade my z4m in for a 997 or 991 gt3 but not for a regular carrera or a 996. no real advantage in doing so, especially not for the cost difference.
I want a summer daily driver that calls to me, yet is practical enough to serve as an honest daily driver. I kinda want the top to go down too, but that's not a deal maker or killer.

In terms of 'calls to me' vehicles I have a 3.0si coupe and a Z4MC. I don't particularly see either as a daily driver, although I know some folks do. I want something a bit more refined but still enjoyable when called upon. Plus, well, "so many cars, so little time"; I want to expand my base of experiences. A rear engined flat six seems a good way to do that.

I certainly wouldn't trade my M for the 996 I drove, but then I don't plan on parting with that car any time soon. We have miles yet to go. I will probably part with the 3.0si though, although a bit reluctantly truth be told; that lightweight N52 makes for a very sprightly dance partner.

Whether or not a 996 replaces it is still up in the air.

Last edited by wdb; 03-18-2018 at 06:44 PM.
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      03-18-2018, 06:44 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wdb View Post
Once again thanks everyone for chiming in.
Thanks for the commentary on standard suspensions. Excellent question regarding tire age too; I've reached out to see if the owner knows.

That's kind but it doesn't answer my question.


I want a summer daily driver that calls to me, yet is practical enough to serve as an honest daily driver. I kinda want the top to go down too, but that's not a deal maker or killer.

In terms of 'calls to me' vehicles I have a 3.0si coupe and a Z4MC. I don't particularly see either as a daily driver, although I know some folks do. I want something a bit more refined but still enjoyable when called upon. Plus, well, "so many cars, so little time"; I want to expand my base of experiences. A rear engined flat six seems a good way to do that.

I certainly wouldn't trade my M for the 996 I drove, but then I don't plan on parting with that car any time soon. We have miles yet to go. I will probably part with the 3.0si though, although a bit reluctantly truth be told; that lightweight N52 makes for a very sprightly dance partner.

Whether or not a 996 replaces it is still up in the air.
Best of luck with your choice. I didn’t answer your question as I did not want to argue with you. Much of the feel of these two cars is subjective and driver choice. I sure there’s nothing that I can add to your decision - my apologies for even “chiming”in.
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      03-18-2018, 06:45 PM   #17
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Apologies, I didn't realize there was an argument going on.
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      03-19-2018, 07:37 AM   #18
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I sold my Z4MC last fall and bought a 993, black on black. I've been wanting one for a long time and finally could afford to pull the trigger. It's a different car to drive but I love it. I got it from the largest Porsche dealer in North America, it has a pretty complete service history, the dealer did a bunch of work on it, $14K all in and gave me a 1 year warranty. Life is short, if you lust after a 911 then you need to think about it,
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      03-19-2018, 09:52 AM   #19
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Remember the 996 and early 997 will all have the potential of IMS bearing failures. There are solutions but they aren't lifetime fixes.

Unless the Porsche was new enough to have the PDK I wouldn't bother with the old automatic, feels like it defeats the purpose of getting an old 911 if you get an automatic.
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      03-19-2018, 12:22 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aaaaah View Post
Remember the 996 and early 997 will all have the potential of IMS bearing failures. There are solutions but they aren't lifetime fixes.

Unless the Porsche was new enough to have the PDK I wouldn't bother with the old automatic, feels like it defeats the purpose of getting an old 911 if you get an automatic.
So I'm on holiday in Florida this week and we rented a Mustang convertible which is nice. Automatic obviously, first "flappy paddle" car I've driven and I honestly don't see the point. I'm old school give me three peddles.
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      03-19-2018, 12:36 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mirko View Post
Id trade my z4m in for a 997 or 991 gt3 but not for a regular carrera or a 996. no real advantage in doing so, especially not for the cost difference.
a 996tt will make you never get back into that z4m again
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      03-19-2018, 12:40 PM   #22
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incredibly biased here but i own a 996tt (with 1k hp), a 997TTS (modded but a convertible) and a 991 turbo coupe (also modded), each generation is larger, the jump from 997 to 991 is HUGE, literally its like double the car (in terms of size and road presence).

OP, depending on the year of your z4 i would not trade it for a standard 996 911 coupe, they have IMS bearing issues, a 2000 is 18 years old at this point. If you could swing a 996 GT3 that would be a different story, but i am guessing thats not the case.

If i were you i would hold out and wait for either a turbo, or a 997.1 in stick to replace your z4 (the automatic in the 997.1 is horrible, i would skip at ALL costs) and if you can swing it go into a PDK 997.2, you will not be disappointed.
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