Porsche 964 Turbo 3.6: Bigger is better
The evolution of the Porsche 911 Turbo is the stuff of automotive folklore. Now 40 years old, Porsche’s fetish with forced induction has resulted in nearly 20 Turbo and Turbo S variants leaving the factory at Zuffenhausen during that time.
Porsche, of course, introduced the first 930 Turbo back in 1974 for the 1975 model year, then powered by a 2,994cc flat-six engine. In 1978 the Turbo was granted its first major revision in being fitted with a 3,299cc engine, which the model would retain for the next 15 years right up until 1993.
During that time, power on these ‘Turbo 1’ 911s would creep up incrementally from 260bhp to 330bhp. Up until 1988 though, the Turbo had been driven through a four-speed gearbox and it was only in 1989 that it received a five-speed unit, which accounted for some of the models’ increase in top speed.
Referring to the old 930 Turbo model, Thomas Schmitz, specialist in rare Porsche models and accompanying me on test, quips: “There is a common joke in Germany that if you drive a fourspeed Turbo you don’t need a throttle pedal; you can just have a switch, because it is either power on or power off.”
The introduction of the 964 Carrera 4 in 1989 brought with it a new 3.6-litre engine, but unfortunately the turbocharged unit was not ready for the new Turbo model at launch.
It was a little more than a year before the 964 Turbo arrived in February 1991, and contrary to expectation it was fitted with the old 3.3-litre engine from the 930.
However, power was up on its predecessor thanks to a larger turbocharger, a new injection system and revised electronic engine management. Those 964 Turbo models produced from 1991 onwards are referred to as ‘Turbo 2’ models, despite being powered by the same basic 3.3-litre engine.
Notwithstanding the press department’s efforts to convince the media that the new 3.3-litre 964 Turbo was more powerful and represented a great stride forward over the Turbo 1, in reality the much heavier body negated any real advantage in performance.
To read our full test drive of the rare 3.6-litre Porsche 964 Turbo, pick up the latest issue of Total 911 in store now. Alternatively you can order your copy of issue 120 online, or download it and save up to 30%.