Old vs New Drag Race: A 2016 VW Golf GTI Takes on a 1999 Porsche 911 Over the Quarter Mile?

2016 vw golf gti vs 1999 porsche 911 drag race

Have you ever wondered just how much time and technology has improved the breed over a couple of decades? In other words, how much more automotive performance can you buy today versus 20 years ago?

Andre and I decided to find out so we lined up two cars toe to toe at the drag strip to see which one is faster.

In one corner is the returning champ…a 1999 Porsche 996 that you may also know as the Porsche 911 Carrera. The 996 was the first of the modern water-cooled Porsche 911s. When our test car was new it cost just over $70,000 and it came equipped with a 3.4L flat-6 normally aspirated engine producing 296 horsepower.

andre smirnov and roman mica

In the other corner is the modern challenger: a 2016 VW Golf GTI that’s powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 that produces 210 horsepower and 258 lb-ft torque.

Both cars are German. Both cars are equipped with 6-speed manual transmissions, but that’s about where the similarities end. The 911 is rear-engined and rear-wheel drive while the GTI’s front wheels power and propel the car. That’s a drag strip advantage for the Porsche as the 911 hooks up much easier and can blast off the line without wheel spin. However, the GTI is turbocharged and at about one mile above sea level, the forced induction helps make up for high altitude power loss.

So which car is faster down the drag strip: the new GTI or the now classic 996? We’re still editing the video but I’m going to give you a hint to the results. Take a close look at the picture below and if you do a bit of deduction you can figure out which car ran the faster time.

ET time slip

But this first run does not tell the entire story because on the second run Andre and I switched cars and did it all over again. The results are interesting and informative.

We’ll publish the results and the video this Saturday as part of our ongoing Project Porsche Video Series. In the meantime check out this video from the same series where we find out which classic Porsche is the fastest around a race track and in an all out drag race: