The Porsche 996 was a new design developed by Pinky Lai under Porsche design chief Harm Lagaay from 1992 to 1994, it was the first 911 that was completely redesigned, and carried over little from its predecessor as Porsche wanted the design team to design a 911 for the next millennium. Featuring an all-new bodywork, interior, and the first water-cooled engine, the 996 replaced the 993 from which only the front suspension, rear multi-link suspension, and 6-speed manual transmission were retained in revised form. The 996 had a drag coefficient of Cd=0.30 resulting from hours spent in the wind tunnel. The 996 is 185 mm (7 in) long and 40 mm (2 in) wider than its predecessor. It is also 45% stiffer courtesy of a chassis formed from high-strength steel. Additionally, it is 50 kg (110 lb) lighter despite having additional radiators and coolant.
In 2002, the standard Carrera models underwent a facelift. In addition, the engine capacity was also increased to 3.6-litres across the range, yielding gains of 11 kW (15 PS; 15 hp) for the naturally aspirated models. 2002 also marked the start of the production of the 996 based Targa model, with a sliding glass "greenhouse" roof system as introduced on its predecessor.