911 Longevity. Is it good?

I’m in the market for a new car, and I’m debating between a 2005 or newer (997 gen) Porsche 911 or a 2011 or newer (N55 Engine) BMW 135i. My family’s owned a BMW before and repairs were actually really good. I spent about $5,000 on repairs (not including regular servicing like oil and tires) for the entire lifetime on my family’s 1998 BMW 318, and we threw it out at 290,000km (180,000 miles).

Anyway I’m considering an older Porsche, but I’m concerned about repairs. I plan to use this car as a daily driver, and I drive about 20,000 km (13,000 miles) a year. I have a few questions because I can’t find any articles about long term reliability.

  1. How long does a Porsche engine last before it clonks out normally? I live in Toronto, which is just a bit bigger the Chicago, so most of my driving will be in traffic.
    -Is it reasonable to expect 250,000km + (150,000 miles +)?

  2. How often does it break down? I often read that a Porsche 911 is a super reliable car, however at the same time Lemon-Aid rated the 911 “below average” mostly due to expensive servicing and faulty electronics. I read that a common issue with the 911 is the Rear Main Seal breaking, and that costs about $1,400 to fix. Plus I hear $700 repairs are fairly common (which isn’t bad).
    -How much should I expect repair costs to amount to during the lifetime of the car? How much more will this cost to repair then a BMW 1/3 series over the lifetime of the car?

  3. Does Oil really cost $250? How many KM does that last? I ask because most cars need oil after 8,000km, but my buddy’s Lexus & BMW only need one ever 24,000km.

  4. How long does a clutch typically last? I hear they are expensive to replace since you have to drop the engine.

I don’t mind paying more for maintenance, a 911 is a $100,000 car brand new, but I want to get a $ value for how much more it costs when I make my decision. Finally…

  1. 9 year old Porsche 911 or 3 year old BMW 135i? Which should I get? - I’m 25, and I only ever drive with my girlfriend, so I’m getting a Cabrio as well.

Sorry for 3 threads, it gave me an error message when I clicked post so I thought it didn’t post.

Allow me to suggest you visit a Porsche specific forum or two. My guess is that you’ll get far more information there.

I can tell you that no matter what anybody says, there’s no way I’d go 24,000 kilometers between oil changes in any vehicle I owned.

Thanks, the first Porsche Forum gave me exactly what I was looking for.


That’s a 996 buyers guide. Have you searched for a 997 buyers guide?

If you can afford the upkeep, and find one that’s been maintained, AND will do maintenance ‘by the book’, then a 911 is very reliable. Expensive, but reliable.

Be sure and locate reliable sevice near where you live. My friend, a devote BMW owner has no qualified service shop within a couple hundred miles of his summer home. It hasn’t bit him yet…but he worries.

No direct experience, 20 year old Corolla owner, my only sports car experience is a 1972 Fiat Spider I owned for two days, but from reports here both cars sport a good design and both are reliable. There was at least one post I recall here about an unusual problem with the Porsche’s electrical system, you might want to search these forums for that topic. All in all either car should serve you well, but expect that repair cost will be more for the Porsche probably.

The 3 year old BMW is likely to be more reliable than the 9 year old Porsche simply because it is much newer. As a daily driver, the 135i is a better choice.

But why not a Boxter or Boxter S? They cost much less than 911 and handle better. The Boxter is often considered to be the best handling production car on the road. The base 911 Cabriolet will set you back about $30,000US, while a 2011 Boxter or 2009 Boxter S will be about the same price. You will, of course, have to add cost for options for the Boxters or 911, but the point is the significantly lower price.

Or the Cayman.

I bet there is a REAL pecking order for German performance models. 911 owners get the best parking spots. German luxury buyers are fairly snobbish.

bmw 135 hands down. you don’t need space, you want to enjoy things daily, and you want to impress your girl. go with the beemer. i would.

Or try another approach. Since most of your concerns deal with servicing, and the cost thereof, try checking out your local service shops; the places you would have either of these cars serviced. Talk to the service managers at your local BMW, Porsche, and independent service shops. Who makes you the most comfortable? Who knows their business, and is willing to give you the time of day? Ask them why they wouldn’t buy the other guy’s product.
Both cars are nice, as is the BoxSter, but I suspect the older Porsches will cost more in service than the newer BMW. Neither are cheap. Just try pricing a new set of tires for a 911, which BTW, they go thru rapidly.

BMW better than Porsche in most respects. However, all German luxury cars cost an arm and a leg to keep running. Judging by your handle, you are prepared to face that. If you’ve always owned German cars, you won’t be surprised. Just don’t talk to Lexus owners.

I had an friend who drove a Mercedes and he justified the cost (as did his wife) by telling me he did not drink, gamble nor had an expensive mistress!

An engineering colleague went from a 5 Series BMW to a Lexus and kept wondering why he did not have any repair bills to speak of and why his new car always started.

911 parts are obscenely expensive.

Just go ahead and get the 911. When you are retired and setting on your front porch you can say- I had a 911 when I was 25 instead of I wish I had bought that 911.

Porsche parts are generally expensive, but BMW’s are not cheap either. Rennlist or similar forums would have tons of information about the 997 generation. The trick is to find a car that has been babied and maintained regularly. A german specialist shop would be a great place to start since they can tell you which ones to buy and which ones they see too many problems with.

Car & Driver featured the used 911 several months ago. It included some common pitfalls and repairs for several generations. You should be able to find the article online.

I have no directly applicable advice. However…

In 1969, when I was young and sporty, I bought a Porsche 912, partly based on Porsche’s reputation for longevity. (Does anybody else here remember Wayne Green’s extolling Porsches back then?) I discovered that Porsches lasted “forever” only because their owners were obsessive about keeping them going. I had many sad experiences with that car’s unreliability, but those might not apply to today’s Porsches.

The basic question here – Which of these two fine and fancy cars has better longevity? – seems incongruous, like the threads we used to see about “Can I use regular grade gasoline in my fancy expensive car?” Why did they buy an expensive car if they were going to have to worry about the cost of gas?

The cars the OP is considering are bought so you can have fun driving them, not so they will last like an un-sporty but durable Toyota, Honda, Chevy, Ford, Checker, … If you want the fun and can afford it, go for it; it’s your money. If you want longevity, maybe you should look at something else.

(Yes, I realize that you might want to consider longevity, even on a fun-mobile, but I doubt that there are any credible data to distinguish between these two. The sample size is too small.)

The comment about finding service locally, tell me about it, heh, heh.

I have been driving my 2002 Sienna around 850 miles into Mexico for nearly 10 years now, and it how has 200,000+ miles on it. There is a Toyota dealer a couple hours away, but I am guessing getting parts for the 2002 might be air freight from the US. They didn’t start making Toyotas here until 2003.

That is why I went to what the military calls, “High rel maintenance.” That means identifying to the best of your ability the parts which are likely to fail at a given time/distance interval, and replacing them (in my case when I am back in the States) before they actually fail.

An example might be O-sensors. Some people have said they have driven their cars great distances with no failures, but others report that Toyota’s O-sensors start failing around 100,000 miles. Sure enough, my first one failed at, I think, 110,000 miles or so.

Of course, the military spends a fortune on each vehicle, for engineering studies and high-rel plans. I have to read and think and guess a lot, but so far except for a bad battery, which happened to be available in my village, and flat tires, I have been able to drive back to McAllen for any repairs needed.

If a car is essentially reliable, as Toyotas usually are, you can get by with thought and planning.