Porsche 964 Turbo X88 v Porsche 993 Turbo S: Legacy of the 959
The financial cost to Porsche with the 959 might have been punishing, but the legacy it created would permeate through the company for many decades. Technologically, the 959 created a seismic shift in the sports and supercar marketplace that would see rivals take years to catch up.
Its resonance is obvious today, and the 959’s legacy would be immediate too, the 964-generation being the first 911 to benefit from the advances it introduced.
Four-wheel drive offered on the standard Carrera line-up, along with power steering and ABS, was offered in 1989. All 964s would benefit from the suspension revisions that the Carrera 4’s four-wheel drive necessitated, with the front and rear torsion bar setup from the previous 3.2 binned in favour of MacPherson struts at the front, with concentric coil springs and cast aluminium lower arms.
The rear would benefit from suspension derived from the Turbo, with cast aluminium trailing arms with coil springs, the suspension front and rear allowing for improvements in the geometry, and ABS braking contributing to the wheel stability, too, to the benefit of control.
Visually, the 964’s adoption of thermoplastic bumpers and a bonded windscreen would modernise the 911’s look, while improving its aerodynamic efficiency.
Oddly, the teardrop rear mirrors, which improve both the look and airflow, wouldn’t feature on the 964 until 1992. The underbody airflow was managed more effectively, the 959’s influence again helping Porsche improve its core model’s high-speed stability.
Significant as the 964’s gains are from the 959, they pale when compared to those of the 993. The 993 didn’t just borrow technology from the 959, but its front end has a lot of 959 in its DNA.
The lower bumper section in particular, as well as the shape and positioning of the headlamps and indicators, are all very evocative of the 959 (and the 965 missing-link that never reached production).
The most obvious link though would be technologically, the 993 Turbo adding another turbocharger into the mix (albeit parallel as opposed to sequential), that additional blower helping to drive the standard four-wheel-drive system that was fitted to the flagship Turbo.
To read more about the legacy of the 959 in our Porsche 964 Turbo X88 v 993 Turbo S head-to-head, pick up Total 911 issue 142 in store today. Alternatively, order your copy online for home delivery, or download it straight to your digital device now.