The Porsche 944 debuted in 1982 as the company’s entry-level sports car and as a replacement to the Porsche 924. It was discontinued in 1991 when Porsche engineers realized that what was intended to be the 944 S3 or the third evolution 944 had so many changes that they had come up with an entirely new model. So instead of making a new version of 944, Porsche shifted to producing an entirely new model, the 968. Throughout the 1980s, the 944 was a big hit for Porsche; it was offered in several forms throughout its years of market existence. The very first 944 was equipped with a 2.4-liter straight 4 engine.
1985: Porsche 944 Turbo (951/952)
The Turbo is a higher-performance version of the first Porsche 944. It is internally known as 951 for left-hand drive and 952 for right-hand drive models. Its turbocharged and intercooled version of the standard engine is able to crank up 220 hp at 6000 rpm. It’s also the first car to use a ceramic portliner to maintain a favorable working temperature inside the engine.
1987: Porsche 944S (Super)
The 944S derived its power from a 190bhp engine, marking Porsche’s first use of four valves per cylinder heads in the 944 series. This version’s base model comes with an anti-lock brake system and dual air bags as options. To provide clearance for the optional ABS brakes, the wheel offset was increased from 23mm to 52mm.
1988: Porsche 944 Turbo S
Compared to the 944 Turbo, the Turbo S came in more powerful with 247bhp and 250 ft lb torque. This model owes its higher power output from its bigger turbo housing on the exhaust, remapped engine management computer, as well as larger exhaust valves that are sodium cooled. When it was tested by Car and Driver in June 1988, the 944 Turbo S was able to achieve 0-60 mph in staggering 5.5 seconds and quarter-mile time of 13.9 seconds at 101 mph, making it the fastest production four-cylinder car of its time.
1989: Porsche 944 S2
By the time it was released, the Porsche 944 S2 was equipped with the world’s largest four-cylinder engine at that time—three-liter engine that’s capable of delivering 211bhp at 5800 rpm and 280Nm at 400 rpm. This engine is large enough that Porsche even needed to use a balancer shaft just to play down roughness in the engine’s balance.
1991: Porsche 944 Turbo Cabriolet
In this model, the powerful 250 bhp engine of the Turbo S was housed within the Cabriolet body. Among the 625 Cabriolets built, 100 were right-hand drive and were sold in the UK market. None of these units were sold in the US market.