The “Turbo Era” is upon us! I have a love/hate relationship with it. My general rule of thumb is that I enjoy driving naturally aspirated cars over turbo-charged cars. However, I LOVE and always have LOVED Porsche Turbos (As in the model, “Turbo”). I even love the old ones where the only thing that was predictable about their performance is that “there was gonna be some turbo lag” and “eventually you’d go fast” …but you usually could not tell when! Those early air-cooled Turbos were very unpredictable, but it was ok and to me, it added a unique character. Then recently, Ferrari started to head in the turbo direction. I, along with many others, was skeptical. Though after really putting some miles on several 488s and a few Cali Ts I can say that I am a fan. Those cars have virtually no turbo lag and are extremely fast. You don’t have to take my word for it either as Ferrari’s turbo-charged engines have won numerous design and engineering awards along with several “Engine of the Year” awards from the major automotive publications. Next, there is McLaren, which I will not discuss to much as they are a very modern car company and basically everything they make is turbo-charged. I’ll sum up McLaren by simply saying that I am a fan. Then there is BMW and those that know me know that I do not like most BMWs, though in an effort of fairness, I make a point of driving ever “M” car that comes out and having recently driven an M2, M3 and M4 on a track I have only one word “disappointing”. In contrast, the modern Mercedes turbo-charged cars are great. Their styling really appeals to me and I think they have done a nice job with the exhaust note. I also feel their power delivery is exceptionally linear. Finally, Audi, I happen to like the turbo-charged Audis of recent day, especially the RS variants for many reasons. I will leave Lamborghini out as they don’t make any turbo-charged cars yet (though they are coming!) and I don’t care about Japanese cars. There I said it.
By now you’re probably wondering: “What the hell does all of this rambling about turbo-charged cars have to do with 2012-2016 Porsche 991s? Aren’t those cars naturally aspirated? My answer: Exactly! This monthly column is about VALUE! As said before, my goal is to spot the value in the market and bring it to you, the reader’s attention on a consistent basis. So, in a time when world emissions controls are forcing most manufacturers to switch to turbo-charging to be competitive in the never-ending horsepower wars, I am here on the side lines tell you to scoop up the modern naturally-aspirated models.
The idea for this article has been brewing inside me for several months. This past fall a good friend and client dropped by with his new Porsche C2S Cabriolet, the new twin-turbo version, raving about it. Knowing that I am a Porsche fan and experienced driver he was curious about what I thought. Surprisingly to him, I literally had zero interest in driving it. Like you, I have read all the articles, listened to the famous automotive journalists praise of the new Carrera’s twin-turbo engine and understand its performance advantages on paper. Though I was skeptical. I simply did not, and to this day STILL do not understand how Porsche can make their top-of-the line “Turbo” model (the one model where the turbos belong!) and then also make the sub-model turbo-charged. Does that make sense to you? The reason the “Turbo” was originally called “Turbo” was because it was “TURBO-CHARGED” and that made it special, but now, there is a base model that is also turbo charged? Confusing? Yes! So needless to say, I did not want to drive the car. I had mentally written-off Porsche and was quite mad for their tainting of what I believed was otherwise the single most pure and wonderful full-scale car line-up of any current manufacturer. Still my friend pestered me about driving his car and out of pure politeness, I eventually obliged about a week later. It ended up being exactly what I thought it would be. A beautiful, powerful, elegant sports car that seemed to do everything well. So my friend was right, it was a nice car, but I still did not like it. In fact, the whole time I drove that car all I could think about was how impressed I was back in 2012 when I drove my first C2S Coupe, or how cool the 2015 Targa 4S was or how much I genuinely enjoyed driving the 2016 GTS 4. Those were great cars! They still are! All of the 2012-2016 Porsche 991 variations are simply great driving cars and to me, they are all more fun to drive than the 2017+ twin-turbo evolution and that my friends signifies VALUE!
In doing research for this article I found examples of the 2012-2016 991/911 priced from $50,000 to over $150,000. Faithful readers know that in this article we only discuss cars priced under $100,000 and let me tell you…there are dozens of awesome examples priced under $100,000. Literally pick your poison. You can have a C2, C2S, C4, C4S, GTS, GTS 4, Coupe, Convertible, Manual, PDK, Aero Package etc. The only version of the 991 Porsche that I could not find consistently priced under $100,000 is the Targa Version. The large majority of those cars were priced over $100,000 and only a few, undesirable, high-mile examples were priced under $100,000. Though, soon enough, I’m betting even a good 4S Targa will be less than $100,000 and generally I think the median price for these cars will trend down over the next year or two before it stabilizes and possibly inches up.
Let’s face it, these are great cars! Natural aspiration, 345-400 Horsepower, beautiful, timeless, meaningful lines, an ergonomic champion of an interior that is also beautiful to look at, reliability, supreme build quality and in most cases remaining factory warranty! In a world that is quickly moving toward turbo and hybrid engines, I believe these are the 911s for the modern purist and thus
they should hold value well.
If I was buying one of these cars, I would look at a classic shape C4S Cabriolet. I happen to really like the lines of the 4S cars with their wide hips, subtly-flared side skirts and the beautiful rear-end LED light treatment that stretches from taillight to taillight. I also like just about any 991 with the GTS package. There are also a few customer-ordered C2S’s with Aero kit and ceramic brakes floating around with manual transmissions that make great alternatives to the much higher priced GT3. Get one with decent miles and keep it maintained and it will treat you well long term.