2003 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S

I always get a kick out of hearing people knock the Porsche 996 911, especially for its looks. The runny egg headlights, and the large taillights make it an easy target, but I’m always quick to remind folks that even the worst looking 911 is still much more enjoyable to look at than the majority of other vehicles. This is especially true in the case of the Carrera 4S which borrows its extra wide, and aggressive look from the 911 Turbo. While reclusive purists will firmly declare that an AWD 911 is the work of the devil, aka. accounts who saw their value, I’m firmly in the camp of open minded individuals who see them as the perfect 4 season vehicle. When everyone else has had to put their toys away for winter, the C4S owner gets to keep playing with his. Charging up snow covered roads on a set of Bizzaks sounds like my idea of a good time, and on top of that, a 911 with a Thule rack is a beautiful thing. If you’re the type to not be too precious about your cars, and use them as they were intended to be used, there’s no need for a winter beater if you drive a C4S, just an extra set of wheels, and tires.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2003 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S on Cars.com


Year: 2003
Model: 911 Carrera 4S
Engine: 3.6 liter flat-6
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Mileage: 63,500 mi
Price: $33,500

Pristine, performs as-new, never wrecked or painted body, clean CarFax, Seal Grey exterior, Boxster Red interior (special order), 6 speed manual transmission, X51 engine package (345 horsepower, std is 320hp), rear wiper, sport seats, sport exhaust, Porsche short shift kit, 19 inch wheels with Michelin Sport tires, K and N air filter system, new Bilstein PSS10 suspension system ($3500. Fully

Is it hard to picture the above car handling its own in inclement weather? Absolutely, but that’s due to the shiny 19″ wheels, and perfect stance afforded by the Bilstein coilovers. A set of winter wheels, an increase in ride height, and this rig would look the part. It certainly won’t have trouble backing up the look either, as it has been tastefully modified. The current owner opted for an X51 engine package that bumps power up to 345 horses, a Porsche factory short shift kit, sport exhaust, and perhaps most interestingly, a Boxster Red interior. Contrary to what many Porsche owners think, a red interior doesn’t make the car any faster, but I think it does loads to improve the overall aesthetic of this example. Imagine getting back to your 911 after a full day on the mountain, what do you want to greet you? An interior awash in black or grey? Heck no, you want to warmth, and vitality of red. Added bonus in this example, you get the sports seats which are night, and day better than the regular thrones stuck in the 996s. The only thing I’m on the fence about is the specialty steering wheel, which appears to have piano black trim sections at the top and bottom. Not sure why anyone would want that, but steering wheels are easily replaced, and a full alcantara option wouldn’t be out of place here, especially on days when you forget your gloves.

Now then, I’ve spent the majority of this piece championing the C4S as a winter ride, probably because it’s 100 freaking degrees in Los Angeles. The great thing about the C4S is that it has the potential to check all the boxes I’ve mentioned, but if you live in a one season climate, you can just leave it as is, and enjoy a killer example of a 911. The 996 won’t be the unloved car for much longer, and I think the tide has already begun to turn in terms of enthusiasts’ opinions on them. How fast this will be reflected in the market is unknown, but there’s no time like the present. If you’ve been on the fence waiting to join the 911 owners club, this is a solid opportunity to get in with a wonderful example.

-Andrew

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9 Comments

  1. I’ve never minded the 996 exterior that much, particularly the C4S. What I can’t stand the look of is their interiors.

  2. People who want in on rear engined Porsche ownership always say the ship has sailed on 911’s. I tell them get a low mileage 996 (with IMS fixed) and you have the best value in the used car market IMHO. You get the performance as well as the daily driver capabilities that no vintage air-cooled car can provide. I know I have an air-cooled 911 and they are amazing but these cars are so much more of a value for someone trying to own their first 911 and use it regularly if they can’t afford to just use on weekends.

    There was a time when the air-cooled cars were not as loved and look at them now. With turbo’s being used in the 2016 911 maybe collectors start pining for the days of the “classic” water cooled, normally aspirated flat six.

    Maybe Magnus Walker buys a 996 and that turns the tide on what collectors think of these cars. And then we all say remember when you could buy a 996….

  3. The link to the actual ad appears to be broken.

  4. @DB, thanks for the notice, the link is corrected.

  5. Ditto on the sports seats. Perfect color combo.

  6. I’ve never been a fan of the 996 because of its melted/been out in the sun too long aesthetic. However, this one ticks a lot of boxes for me including the red interior. The steering wheel doesn’t bother me as much as the 19″ wheels. I’d rather have the stock Turbo wheels.

  7. The stock wheels are a much better look for sure, though I recently saw a 996 C4S with 997 Carrera Sport wheels, and now think that is the best look ever.

    Similar to this example- http://members.rennlist.com/nj_gt/200801GT3_02.JPG

  8. Indeed, the whole IMS issue was completely blown of of proportion anyway, though I’m glad not everyone knows that because it has no doubt helped to keep the price down.

    Before I found the insane deal on my M235i, I was deciding between a 08+ Cayman S or 996 C4S, and when the time comes to leave the Bimmer, I’m likely going for the 996, but we’ll see where the market is at by then I suppose!

  9. It’s a huge knock against them for sure, not particularly attractive, and cheap as a Porsche has ever been. 997s really aren’t much better either, but I suppose the upside would be it’s not as big a deal to tip it all out, and throw a cage in there…

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