As I start to utter the words Porsche 944 I can already hear the cries of ‘Not a real Porsche’ echoing through the WebSphere so let’s have a look and see how that pans out. Porsche have at times made slow cars and their fair share of ugly cars but they have always made drivers cars. I have yet to drive one without feeling it had been made for me, solely to enjoy myself and the 944 is no exception.
Now I don’t want to bore you with engine sizes and horse power but the power increased through its nine year production run. Naturally aspirated cars went from an initial 2.5 litre up to the beefy 3.0 litre S2 model. The much celebrated Turbo models were a more powerful alternative and very dynamic cars to drive, personally if you are looking for a ‘daily driver’ the 3.0 S2 is a more refined drive but if you are the type of driver that likes to venture out at the weekend and blow away cars that are 30 years younger then head for a turbo!
My drive was in a 1990 Porsche 944 S2 model which is just about to hit its 25th birthday and 100k miles. The interior feels snug due to the large transaxle tunnel running through the centre but its well organised and the driving position is wonderful. The car eases up through the gears with crisp precise changes and feels like it still has a lot of its horses in place. The one thing about 944’s is they handle like a dream, having the engine in the front and the gearbox in the rear produces nearly perfect 50/50 weight distribution. This 944 is no exception and it weaves through the corners with ease leaving me with the impression it has plenty more to give even if my nerve hasn’t. Steering at slower speeds can be heavy and you could be forgiven for thinking that there is no power steering. The car stops just as well as it goes with the 4 pot brake system it inherited from the turbo model halting the car with relative ease. Brakes were not the only thing the S2 stole from the turbo as its exterior was upgraded to match the turbos aggressive looks.
Now back to question, is the 944 a real Porsche, well it handles like one and has the Porsche crest on its nose so what else does it need! It doesn’t have the engine in the rear or the following of the 911 but if you want a cheap classic to enjoy at the weekends then a good Porsche 944 can be picked up for peanuts. Servicing is essential and not cheap but it will pay you back in spades and a well maintained car can keep going well past 200k miles. Look out for a car with a good service history that is used regularly, I would avoid anything that had been sitting for a long time. They tend not to be rot boxes although the sills can rot out from the inside if the drain holes get blocked. Belts should be changed every couple of years but a good independent will take a lot of the financial pain out of that. For investment the Turbo models will always be the most sort after and for some summer fun there was even a cabriolet released towards the end of it production.