Porsche 964 head-to-head: Carrera 2 vs Carrera 4

The year 1989 turned out to be rather pivotal: the Berlin Wall crumbled with the rest of the eastern bloc, Asia began to rise as a global economic force, while in technology, the first unofficial text message was sent.

For Porsche observers, 1989 also brought the introduction of the new 964, a car that, with Porsche claiming it was 85 per cent new, was the company’s most radical revision of the 911 ever.

The internet was in its infancy then, a website typically only lasting 200 days, but nobody could have predicted the debate that Porsche’s new all-wheel-drive take on the 911 would impact on forums hosted on it. Thousands of pages on motoring websites still exist about it today, the 964 sparking a dispute that runs right through to the current 991 series 911: which is better, Carrera 2 or Carrera 4?


It is a tricky argument, and one that is unlikely to ever be resolved given the intricacies and differences between both cars and what buyers expect from them.

The Carrera 4 introduced the 964 to the world, Benjamin Dimson’s design not just presenting a smoother aspect thanks to its integrated bumpers, that party trick pop-up rear spoiler and 16-inch Design 90 alloy wheels, but also flat under-body cladding that helped the 964 deliver a 0.32 coefficient of drag figure, as well as more work for Porsche technicians.

The introduction of teardrop mirrors, in place of the large ‘flag’ or ‘elephant ear’ mirrors in 1992 might have improved that drag figure further still, as well as been in keeping with the more aerodynamic direction the 964 represented over its predecessors.


Even with the red Carrera 4 here featuring those older, larger mirrors, it’s a beautiful thing. It’s not often you get the chance to do some serious miles chasing a 964, but Dan from Paul Stephens is up ahead en route to the photo location in that Carrera 4, and I’m behind.

It’s been a while since I’ve been in a 964, and the first opportunity to really sample the 2 and 4 back-to-back on the same roads, in the same conditions, but chasing the 4 from the driver’s seat of the white 2 is a rare treat.

The 964’s styling may have had its detractors, but it’s always been one of my favourite 911s (even as a 993 owner), an evolutionary turning point blending old and new worlds, its significance in the 911’s lineage as impactful as the year it was introduced.

To read our full Porsche 964 Carrera 2 v Carrera 4 head-to-head, pick up Total 911 issue 133 in store. Alternatively, download it straight to your digital device now.

964 Carreras

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