ONE OF THE THINGS I LIKE MOST about the 996 generation of the 911s is that they sit in a beautiful sweet spot between the analog classics and the bit-too-electronic-for-my-tastes modern 911s. Although they do have a few niceties like traction and stability control, ice-cold air conditioning, and four valves per cylinder, overall they feel viscerally analog, and I love them for that.
However, I’m also a modern human, and therefore experience big parts of my personal and work life through my mobile phone. With a streaming music subscription like YouTube Music, Spotify or similar, you have instant access to an almost limitless musical library of artists and songs. With Waze or Google Maps you have a live atlas, with up-to-date traffic-based navigation calling out your fastest route. Google Assistant is ready — by voice activation — to find you a highly rated nearby restaurant, provide the upcoming weather forecast, schedule a meeting, or fill you in on the results of the latest F1 race.
I’m a modern human, and therefore experience big parts of my personal and work life through my mobile phone.
Therefore, I’ve spent the past few years (for my previous 911, and then my current one) looking at options for a head unit that could bring the power of the Internet into the car. There have always been some good options on the market for replacing the original stereo head unit in the 996 with a touchscreen head unit. Adapter brackets are available which can help almost any head unit fit, so you can pick up a Kenwood or Sony unit with a touchscreen for $1,000 or even less, and have it installed by a local AV shop. Many people do this, and it’s a great way to go.
But personally, I don’t like any of those set-ups. I find they always look “aftermarket,” with mismatched plastics, fonts, colours and button designs. Considering the head unit is front and centre in the dash, I just couldn’t bring myself to replace the original stereo with that type of solution, and in my last car I just kept the old one in there.
So, when Porsche announced the Porsche Classic Communication Management (PCCM) products, I knew I had to have one. Two versions are available: one with a 3.5-inch display for classic cars with smaller radio slots (single-DIN), suitable for all 911 vehicles from the F model up to the 993 model, and for transaxle vehicles — and one with a seven-inch display for all 996 and 986 models (double-DIN). The units are dash-matched, with all the right plastics and fonts and buttons, so when installed in your car makes it look like it rolled off the factory line with the latest tech in place.
Both systems feature Apple CarPlay. The PCCM Plus also features Google Android Auto. You can cast audio wirelessly over Bluetooth, but to use some other features like live navigation you’ll need to connect the USB cable. Aside from the obvious benefits of both of these terrific tech systems, another big bonus is the upgraded audio quality. Even without fine-tuning the audio equalizer, the quality is a big step up over the original deck.
Since they’re Porsche original, they’re not cheap, at around $3,000 installed for the PCCM Plus. That’s significantly higher than one of those alternatives I mentioned above. But it’s a very nice treat having it in the dash and, unlike some of the other things we spend our car-money on, you see and feel and hear the benefit every time you slide into the saddle. </>