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Video: 1989 944 Turbo was "best-balanced high-performance car" ever tested by Motorweek

Thursday, April 23, 2015

It's "Throwback Thursday" (TBT), and Motorweek has posted its Retro Review of what is arguably the best of the 944 range: the 247-horsepower 1989 944 Turbo. Just how good is the last of the turbocharged 944s? Motorweek states: "Porsche 944 Turbo owners will get a car that's much more than just fast. They'll get a machine in which the suspension and brakes have been carefully tailored to its powerful purpose. They'll get a machine in which all the parts are working in concert. They'll get the best-balanced high-performance car we've ever tested."

While the 1989 model (and the special edition 1988 944 Turbo S that it's based on) came with the most horsepower and the best brakes and suspension, it would be a mistake to discount earlier Turbos if you're in the market. Watch the video below to see Motorweek's Retro Review, and then scroll down for a short guide of the various updates Porsche made to the Turbo over the years.

1986 944 Turbo: The year the 944 Turbo was launched. It had a 2.5-liter, turbocharged and intercooled four-cylinder engine that made 217 horsepower and 243 pound-feet of torque. Top speed was advertised as 152 miles per hour. With the engine mounted up front and transaxle gearbox at the rear, the 944 Turbo had nearly 50/50 front/rear weight distribution and very balanced handling. Fixed four-piston brake calipers are mounted front and rear within wheels sized 16 x 7 and 16 x 8, respectively. Ventilated discs are sized 11.73-inches up front and 11.77-in. at the rear.

1987 944 Turbo: In the Turbo's second year, the 944 range received new wheel offsets.

1988 944 Turbo: No big changes for 1988, but...

1988 944 Turbo S: ...Porsche offered the limited-edition 944 Turbo S, which initially came only in the exclusive Silver Rose Metalic exterior color with a burgundy interior. Porsche offered the Turbo S in different exterior and interior colors when the initial batch of 1,000 Silver Rose Metallic cars sold out. Horsepower increased to 247, and torque was up to 258 lb-ft. Zero-to-60 mph now took only 5.7 seconds, and top speed was raised to 162 mph. Sportier suspension was fitted, as well as bigger, fixed four-piston brakes. They clamped down on larger 11.97-in. rotors up front, though the rear discs were unchanged at 11.77 in. Wider 16 x 9 wheels were fitted at the rear, while front and rear tire sizes increased 20 millimeters to 225 and 245 mm.

1989 944 Turbo: In 1989, the Turbo S was dropped, but the "regular" Turbo received the same upgrades: 247-hp engine, better brakes and suspension, and bigger wheels and tires.

The Turbo S and '89 Turbo command a premium because they're newer and better, but really, any 944 Turbo is a great car. Plus, earlier Turbos can easily reach and exceed stock Turbo S power levels with simple, relatively inexpensive modifications.

As with any Porsche, maintenance costs can be pricey — and maintaining a Turbo will cost more than maintaining a naturally aspirated 944 — but by keeping up on maintenance you can avoid most unexpected trips to a repair facility and manage running costs. Search The Mart classifieds (if you're not a member, try our PCA Quest program for access to The Mart), Craigslist, and Porsche forums, and you're sure to find good-condition 944 Turbos for under $10,000.

Source: Motorweek via YouTube

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