Let's start at the beginning. Shortly after all the dinosaurs died and turned into oil, Porsche launched the 911. There were a huge number of models spawned after the first officially designated 911 appeared in 1965. The basic shape hasn't changed radically to this day, nor has the rear-engined layout, although there have been a few developments along the way. The key milestones in 911 development include the 1972 Carrera RS model - still viewed by some as the definitive 911 - the launch in 1974 of the first turbocharged model, the arrival of all-wheel drive variants in 1989 and, in 1997, the introduction of water rather than air cooling. The model that ushered this change in was the 996 generation (latter day Porsche models having a three number 'code' to denote their model type. For example an early Boxster is a 986, a late one a 987 in Porsche speak). The '996' marked a shift in Porsche's development of the 911 range.
The 996 also did enormously well for Porsche and survived fully seven years before the model we examine here, the 997, was launched. Where the 996 was revolutionary, the 997 is more an evolutionary finessing of the 996 theme, tidying up the styling, imbuing the car with a higher quality, more technologically dense feel and adding even more exciting models to the mix. At first, just 3.6-litre Carrera and a 3.8-litre Carrera S coupes were offered, with Cabriolets arriving in December 2004.
In mid-2008, Porsche announced a revised range featuring their new Direct Fuel Injection (DFI) engine. Buyers could also specify the revolutionary PDK semi-automatic gearbox, offering manual pleasure with automatic convenience. There were also a series of very subtle styling changes. These included larger rear view mirrors, newly-designed 18-inch and 19-inch wheels and new lights featuring LED technology.