The Porsche 944 Turbo is the ultimate symbol of Porsche’s front-engine sports car from the 1980’s. Released in 1986 in the USA, based off the Porsche 924/944 framework, the Porsche 944 Turbo leveraged both improvements internally as well as externally from their lesser brethren. Despite being some of the least-expensive Porsches around, these cars offer excellent handling, a comfortable ride, all-around practicality, solid reliability, and a powerful engine. They’re seriously fun to drive, too.
Introduced in 1976 as a replacement for the 914, the 924 was Porsche’s first front-engine, water-cooled model. While its Audi-derived, 95-hp four-cylinder engine meant that early examples could be painfully slow in a straight line, the 924 received plenty of praise in the automotive press for its handling, styling, and reliability. The entry-level, $9,395-at-launch car was certainly a hit with consumers: Porsche sold more than 120,000 924s between 1976 and the end of production in 1985. From this impressive start, the Wizards of Weissach developed the evolutionary 944 and 944 Turbo, which built on the strengths of the 924 while being faster, better handling, and more refined. These cars went away from many of the standard VW parts used on the 924 and enhanced the performance of the model with better engines and flared fenders, which has been part of the classic 944 look to this day. The ultimate evolution of the 944 came with the Porsche 968, which was the last version of the 944 and ended production in 1995.
What Made the Porsche 944 Turbo Better then the regular 944?
The big update to the Porsche 944 Turbo was in performance. With a turbocharger added to the inline-4 engine, performance was upped from the base 944 S 189hp, to a whopping 217 hp. In addition a better suspension was added to improve handling. To round out the car, an external update to the body was made. Rounded front bumpers, and bigger turbo wheels filled out the flared wheel wells. This gave the Porsche 944 Turbo a menacing and serious stance. In 1988.5, a more powerful version of the Porsche 944 Turbo was launched. Called the Porsche 944 Turbo S, hp was bumped up to 247 hp, and stiffer shocks/springs were added to the wheels. As standard option, Porsche also added a limited slip differential (code name M030). In 1989, the last year of the 944 in the US, all Porsche 944 Turbo’s came with the Porsche 944 Turbo S package as standard, and the “S” was dropped from its name – it was just called the Porsche 944 Turbo. This was the ultimate expression of a turbocharged 944 and the one 944 fans today look for. The Porsche 944 Turbo became the highest evolution of the 944 and is today a still sought-after car today.
Performance to Match
The Porsche 944 Turbo sold at $50,000.00 USD brand new. But with its hp combined with its low weight, as well as the perfect 50/50 balance, it was also one of the best handling cars of its time. And was able to complete with all the supercars of its day. 0-60 times were recorded at 5.5 seconds by many American car review magazines. Grip and handling were outstanding as well. To put this all in perspective today, the 944 Turbo (a 25 year old car) can still complete with many of the standard sports cars today in terms of performance. Now that was performance. The biggest issue, if there is one with this car, is the turbo lag. All turbocharged cars have it including this Porsche. But thats part of the special feel of this car as the turbo kicks in as you gas the pedal. A total speed rush.
Buying one Today
Due to its age and turbocharged engine, the Porsche 944 Turbo is very inexpensive to purchase today. While the 1989 Porsche 944 Turbo is becoming a collector’s car (if in good condition), most Porsche 944 Turbo are brought by enthusiasts for track and daily driving cars. We, at Elite Auto, highly recommend the Porsche 944 Turbo as a great used car as long as you buy a model that was taken care of, or has all maintenance records. While these cars are cheap to buy, they still require the maintenance and cost of a $50,000.00 German sports car. Parts and labour will not be cheap, if your car needs lots of work. But even today, with its robust turbocharged engine, low weight and great handling, the Porsche 944 Turbo is a great car to drive.