Guide: Porsche 911 Turbo (993)
Although the turbocharged 911 had been conceived as a limited production homologation special, demand unexpectedly proved sufficient that the model became a permanent fixture in the Porsche line up. It offered supercar-rivalling performance with the kind of day-to-day practicality for which the 911 had become renowned.
Contrastingly, rivals like the Ferrari BB and Lamborghini Countach were recalcitrant beasts which allowed the 911 Turbo to occupy a unique position in the marketplace. Although it became renowned for infamous lift-off oversteer and old-school boost delivery, neither did anything to hamper its popularity.
The 993-based 911 Turbo was the third generation of this iconic machine. It followed the original 930 which had been built with a 3-litre engine from 1975 to 1977 and then with a 3.3-litre motor until 1989. The 964-based 965 followed in 1991 which initially inherited a reworked version of the outgoing 3.3-litre engine. A 3.6-litre unit subsequently arrived in 1993.
For this latest incarnation Porsche made several important developments. Most notably, the 993 Turbo had an engine equipped with twin turbos, full-time four-wheel drive and a six-speed gearbox. Like the 965, it was available only as a Coupe.
The 993 Turbo arrived when Porsche was undergoing something of a renaissance. The early 1990s had seen the company’s sales nosedive as a result of outdated models and a global recession. An image closely associated with the excess of the 1980s had not helped either. However, the arrival of the 993 in September 1993 had reinvigorated the marque and, when the highly anticipated Boxster arrived in late 1996, Porsche were financially back on track.
The 993 Turbo was unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in March 1995.
It used the 993’s improved steel monocoque complete with the normally aspirated Carrera 4’s lightweight four-wheel drive system. This delivered a maximum torque split of 20% to the front wheels with the remainder sent to the rear.
State of the art ABS 5 was sourced from the Carrera RS as were the 322mm diameter cross-drilled and ventilated discs and red four-piston calipers.
The suspension layout was the same as every other 993: a MacPherson strut arrangement at the front and a multi-link Weissach axle at the rear. Coil springs and Monroe shocks were fitted all round plus beefier front and rear anti-roll bars.
New 18-inch two piece wheels were designed with five angled spokes to assist brake cooling. The rims measured 8-inches wide at the front, 10-inches wide at the rear and originally came shod with Continental tyres.
Although the limited production 959 built between 1987 and 1988 had featured a twin turbocharged engine, the 993 Turbo was the first series production Porsche to be equipped as such.
Its Type M64/60 motor was another air-cooled, all-alloy Flat 6 with a single overhead camshaft for each bank of cylinders. Unlike many other high performance manufacturers, Porsche still deemed two valves per cylinder sufficient. By contrast, the recently introduced Ferrari F355 used no less than five valves per cylinder.
Displacement was 3600cc thanks to a bore and stroke of 100mm and 76.4mm respectively. Compared to the normally aspirated 993, compression was reduced from 11.3:1 to 8.0:1. This was, however, an increase on the single turbo 3.6-litre 965 which ran at 7.5:1.
Engine management was courtesy of the latest Bosch Motronic 5.2 and Porsche fitted two KKK K16 turbochargers with dual intercoolers and integrated wastegates.
Peak output was 408bhp at 5750rpm and 398lb-ft at 4500rpm. The twin turbo arrangement also gave excellent low speed torque; an astonishing 332lb-ft was available at just 2500rpm.
The 993 Turbo was only available with a six-speed manual gearbox and no Tiptronic option was ever offered. The reinforced Type G64/51 ‘box came with longer ratios and strengthened internals to handle the new engine’s enormous torque. A limited-slip differential was standard along with Porsche’s Automatic Brake Differential (ABD). ABD prevented individual wheels from losing traction under hard acceleration or braking.
Traditionally Porsche’s turbocharged 911s came with widened, bespoilered bodywork and this 993 variant was no different.
All four wheelarches were flared to accommodate the wider wheels and tyres. The revised front bumper was home to three re-shaped intakes; one large central duct for the radiator which was flanked by two smaller intakes for the brakes. Deep side sills were neatly integrated with the bulbous fenders and the fixed, body-coloured rear spoiler was home to both turbo intercoolers.
The 993 was arguably one of the best looking 911s of all and this latest widebody interpretation was equally handsome. Compared to its forced induction predecessors, there was a subtlety that earlier Turbos lacked which added to its appeal.
The Turbo’s interior was little changed from the regular 993. The familiar dash layout remained with five primary instruments housed in a simple oval binnacle. A new 320kph or 200mph speedo was the only change of note. Driver and passenger airbags were standard along with leather upholstery, electric windows and an onboard computer.
Buyers could enhance their cars with any number of options from the enormous list available. This included sports seats, extended leather, body coloured wheel centres, a supplementary oil cooler, sports exhaust, heated seats, an aero kit, carbon fibre or wooden cockpit inserts, a sunroof, air-conditioning and many more. Truly individual machines could be ordered via Porsche’s Exclusive department.
All told, the 993 Turbo weighed in at 1575kg. It offered a top speed of 184mph and 0-62mph time of 4.5 seconds.
Two particularly significant options were introduced during the course of production. For the 1996 model year an X50 power kit was added. This included the supplementary oil cooler and a re-mapped ECU; output rose to 430bhp as a result.
For the 1998 model year Porsche also offered the XLC power kit. In addition to the X50’s oil cooler and re-mapped ECU, the XLC option included bugger K16 turbos. Output was 450bhp.
An interesting footnote to the 993 Turbo story was the batch of 14 Cabriolets built by Porsche Exclusive at the behest of Fritz Haberl.
Haberl was a long time Porsche and Volkswagen dealer from Munich. His family firm, MAHAG, was once the most successful dealership in Germany.
Soon after the 993 Cabriolet was unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in March 1994, Haberl met with Porsche executives to discuss the possibility of a limited edition turbocharged version. At this stage the proper 993 Turbo was still on the drawing board.
Porsche ultimately agreed if Haberl could find ten buyers. The quoted price for each unit was DM264,000 compared to DM112,000 for a standard 993 Cabriolet. 14 examples were eventually completed, five of which were right-hand drive.
These cars started life as standard 993 Cabriolet bodyshells. They were then fitted with the single turbo Type M64/50 engine plus the brakes and 17-inch Cup wheels from the outgoing 3.6-litre 965. A distinctive body coloured rear spoiler came from the 1994 965 Turbo S.
Text copyright: Supercar Nostalgia
Photo copyright: Porsche - https://www.porsche.com