Well as many of you guys know, my previous fun vehicle was a 2010 GT-R. I sold that back in the beginning of December when a friend of a friend walked up and asked if I was interested in selling it. Rest was history. The original plan was to buy a newer, 2012+ DBA GT-R. Specifically a blue one. Turns out that color is the most popular and every time I called about one, there was a deposit down, etc. While all of this was going on, a good friend of mine with similar tastes and similar cars sold his 2012 GT-R and bought an 07 997 turbo. He basically called me gushing about how much he was enjoying it essentially because of how different was from the GT-R. This piqued my interest a bit. A MANual transmission would be fun to have again as well My buddy ended up with 63.5mm upgraded compressor VGTs, injectors, sachs 2.5 clutch, and an E85 tune from Doug at Topspeed. The car made 675 whp and has run a best of a 6.0 60-130 which puts it at right at a 139-140 mph car. Given the relatively minor mods, the car was FAST. I liked the sound of this.
Looked around at my options out there and kept coming back to one car: 2007, Arctic Silver / Sea blue interior. I absolutely LOVED the interior color. It is a dark slate/gray blue color that looks a bit like a dark gray. If I didn't tell you it was blue, you'd most likely just think it was some sort of dark ebony or gray. Looks absolutely phenomenal and fairly rare. The car had the other options I wanted for the most part having the nav, 6 disc changer, and sport chrono. I really wanted the adaptive sport seats, but even the standard ones have been great. It did have a full front and side clear bra, however, which has been doing its job very well since 07. Also came with a 3" AWE exhaust, GIAC flash, and H&R springs. Also had the 997.2 rear end conversion done with factory rear bumper and tail lights (no accidents). I negotiated in a set of BBS CH-Rs as well. The car was clean, didn't have excessive owners, and was well maintained. Catch it was 1000 miles away..which tends to be the case with my car purchases.
I flew up to New Jersey yesterday morning. I had questioned him very carefully over the phone and by email. The guy knew his stuff and welcomed a PPI. Needless to say, I bought it. 14.5 hrs and 952 miles.
Some thoughts, first impressions, and a little comparison with the GT-R:
Though the GT-R and 997 look fairly similar on paper, they could not be any more different in the real world. The Nissan actually feels more solid, and screwed together. It is like a block of granite and you feel that weight. The 997 has a much lighter feel. The cockpit is open and airy rather than being hunkered down in the bunker of the cockpit in the Nissan. It feels more lithe, more lively. You get a better idea of the corners of the car in the 911. The view out the rear view mirrors is just sex as well. Those huge hips and intercooler intakes are downright sensual
The motors also appear similar on paper, but again could not be more different in character. The GT-R is clinical. Press a button and its all done for you. Cranks perfectly in the same amount of time, every time. No key to turn, just a fob in the pocket. The 911 takes a regular key, and you must actually hold the key in the cranking position until it's running. Sounds like a silly thing, but I haven't done this since 07 when I got rid of the Evo. It's very analog and pleasing, and really helps the car feel special. The 997.1's engine is a very close iteration of the Mezger block found in Porsche's older GT1. Strong as an ox (pushed to nearly 900 whp for a few years of racing by AMS now), dry sump, all the fun stuff. It traces its roots back to the air-cooled days and is a lot more gruff, guttural, and "chuffs" more like an air-cooled than any of the new DFI motors. Sounds different. The GT-R manages to have turbos with quite a bit of capability that seem to spool up impossibly fast for their capacity. Make no mistake, the 997 turbo is LAGGY in comparison. At first I was a bit dismayed by it until I learned to drive around it. The transient response of the VTGs is just dismal in relation to the GT-R. There's not a whole lot going on before 3.5k rpm, at which point it literally feels like someone kicked you in the butt and the car rockets off. The power delivery is also quite different. The GT-R comes online very early and just sits there. Almost feels turbine powered. No peaks, no valleys. The 997 has variocam and that combined with the sizable turbos leads to a strong midrange, but ferocious top end. The car feels like it pulls harder and harder all the way to 7k. Makes you want to be up in the rev limiter all the time with the way it pulls above 6k. The GT-R gets high pitched up above 6k. The 911 wooshes and is much lower pitched, with more of a bellow. In this state of tune, the 911 is making somewhere in the 520 whp/wtq area. Really, the power seems great as is, but I know I'll get used to it soon. I'm planning on mild turbo upgrades also. I'd like to see around 700 whp. That's more than enough power with no sacrifice in spool up on the mildly modded VTGs.
In the looks department, I will say that I never found the GT-R beautiful. It was cool in a form meets function sort of way, and had very interesting lines and hardware. Science. The stock 997 turbo is a nice thing to behold, particularly the rear...but HO-LE-CRAP does a little lowering, and some nice, wide 12" BBS wheels go a long way to turning it into an absolutely sinful experience for the eyes. The pictures simply do NOT do this car justice. It is so damn hot in this form IMO, it makes me want to take my clothes off Couple of car buddies today just couldn't get over the hotness. Good friend who was there when I first got it home was literally jumping up and down saying "Oh my god, pictures don't do it justice!" when I pulled up. This is in stark contrast to the "boring-as-plain-oatmeal" stock silver 997TT in my work parking lot.
In the handling and dynamics department, the GT-R feels more relaxed pushing the limits. You are never nervous about an abrupt breakaway. The car is cool, calm, and collected. The grip endless. Turn harder, brake harder, accelerate faster. It does it. Like I said earlier, the limits are astounding, and easy to explore relatively speaking. The 911 is certainly not nervous and does not endear the driver with a sense it is trying to kill you (a la C6 Z06) but it does feel lighter (which it is), more nimble, more willing to dance through the corners with you than bulldoze through them. More finesse. It is fun, and a nice change.
The interior of the 997 is interesting. Supposedly full leather. There's stitched stuff on the dash and center console. Leather? Sure, Ok. Interior leather smell reminds me some of my best friend's 924S he had in high school that we bombed around in whenever given the chance. It is a cool throwback for me. The GT-R had a fine interior, the material were never an issue. The design did make it appear of lower quality, but the actually materials to the touch were more than acceptable. The 911 seems to have more small little baubles and bits just looking to break off, but plastics and design are markedly improved over the 996. I find it a great place to be. Road noise is well controlled. Exhaust is relatively quiet. The alcantara headliner is very nice. Nice sound system. Surprising amount of room for crap with the rear primordial "seats" folded down flat. The nav and ICE is a bit needlessly fussy. The buttons themselves have a very cheap, mushy press. Same goes for the blinker stalk. It has tap for 3 blinks, but that's in an area of "wet concrete" between single blink and full on blinker. Minor stuff. Overall it was a very pleasant place to be for 1000 miles in one sitting.
I got 24 mpg over the course of the entire trip, which included a good amount of "product familiarization." Happy with the mileage. Immediate plans are a little interior refreshing...there's some scuffing on the sill plates I'm going to correct, and also replacing the awful Ventus V12s that came on the CH-Rs with some proper MP super sports. Other plans are Sachs 2.5 clutch, injectors, GT2 intercoolers (cheap and insanely effective), and a mild VTG upgrade. Maybe E85, maybe not.
Overall I'm very, very happy I decided to make the swap. The car is so different from anything I've had before. Porsche-philes find this addictive, but I have to admit it was a bit off-putting for me at first. As I get more and more used to the car, the more I am enjoying it. It is a pleasure to behold, and even more fun to zip around in on these awesome roads near my house. The "analog," old-school approach to its performance is also a nice change of pace in a world of increasing flappy paddles, push buttons, and computer assistance on everything. I look forward to my time with her, and each and every time I walk out into the garage
And a final one with her tucked away safe and sound