Porsche 993 Turbo: The Prototype

“It’s a 1993 993 Turbo,” I was told over the phone. For a second, that crucial year of production didn’t register as erroneous. “Wait a minute,” I said. “You say it’s a 1993 model year, so surely you mean it’s a 964 Turbo, right?” I asked. “You better come out to Germany,” was the candid reply.

It’s not often at Total 911 that we’ll swap countries on the mere whim of a phone call but in the interim, I’d seen evidence to prove the person on the end of the line was correct.

And so, a couple of days later, I found myself just outside Frankfurt, stood in front of what is undeniably a Porsche 993-generation Turbo – and a very special one at that.

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On reflection, the last air-cooled Turbo was a pivotal sports car for Zuffenhausen. Though its very name still carried huge gravitas among the 911 fraternity, technologically speaking, the Turbo’s star was in danger of fading.

This, even after a wholly credible, 15-year 930 project, which saw the car increase in engine capacity, gain an intercooler and Motronic engine management (plus a catalytic converter, dear American friends) as well as a slick, five-speed gearbox from Getrag.

Thanks to the culling of Porsche’s ‘965’ project, the subsequent 3.3-litre 964 Turbo of 1991 was merely a face lift, essentially the last 930’s beating heart fitted in the 964 Turbo shell, albeit with some small updates.

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Porsche’s second 964 Turbo effort was altogether more pronounced though, the engine a blown variant of the 3.6-litre M64 unit found in the 964 Carrera, with ABS, M030 Sports suspension and a rear axle borrowed from the 964 RS all standard equipment.

Though the specification was impressive, it still fell short of what was being proffered from the stillborn 965 project – and the Turbo’s reputation for being notoriously tricky to drive remained.

By contrast, the arrival of the 993 Turbo saw a new dawn for Porsche’s Turbo moniker. A new multi-link rear suspension with five links per corner was introduced; named LSA (Lightweight Stable Agile), the system greatly helped with the reduction of dreaded lift-off oversteer, which had blighted Neunelfers (blown or not) in decades gone by.

To read our prototype Porsche 993 Turbo test drive in full, pick up Total 911 issue 147 in store today. Alternatively, order your copy online for home delivery, or download it straight to your digital device now.

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