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The Essential Porsche 944 Buyers' Guide

Porsche 944 Buyers' Guide

The Porsche 944 was introduced in 1981 as an evolution of the 924 model. With its well-balanced handling, aggressive makeover and refined interior, the 944 quickly became a popular choice for Porsche enthusiasts. In this buyers’ guide, we will take a closer look at the history of the 944, its features and performance, and help you choose the right model for you.

Porsche 944 Model History

The 944 was produced between 1981 and 1991 with various updates and improvements over the years. Here are some of the key changes in the model history:

1982: The 944 was announced in June 1981 and began production in November 1981. The first model featured a 143bhp, 2.5-litre 8-valve engine.

1985: A major upgrade in February 1985 saw the introduction of the 'oval' dash, which improved the cabin ventilation and updated the interior appearance. In July

1985, the 220bhp 944 Turbo was introduced, followed by UK deliveries in November 1985.

1987: The 190bhp 16-valve 944S was introduced, with ABS as a new option.

1988: The engine was upgraded to 160bhp and a limited edition 250bhp Turbo S was introduced. The 944 'Celebration' was also released, marking the production of 100,000 944s.

1989: The engine was increased to 2.7-litres, with 165bhp. ABS became standard on all models and the Turbo was upgraded to 250bhp.

1990: The 944S2 was introduced with a 16-valve 3-litre engine producing 211bhp, available in coupe and cabriolet body styles.

1991: The 944 Turbo Cabriolet was introduced at the start of the model year. Production of the 944 Turbo and 944S2 stopped in July 1991, with the 968 model replacing all 944 models in 1992.

What's the 944 like?

The 944 inherited its well-balanced handling from the 924 model, but with a more powerful engine and refined interior. The 2.5-litre 4-cylinder engine was smooth and powerful, aided by balance shafts on either side of the crankcase. The interior was taken from the Gen 2 924 Turbo and the exterior was given an aggressive makeover. With its 5-speed gearbox and versatile design, the 944 was a pleasure to drive and offered practicality with its opening tailgate and spacious cabin.

Which 944 should I get?

When choosing a 944, aim to get the latest model you can afford, and make sure to check the condition of the car. On the early models, the 'oval' dash introduced in mid-1985 greatly improved the interior, so aim for a later model if possible. The 944 had a limited option list, so many cars will be selected based on their colour. Metallic colours tend to give the 944 more appeal, but make sure the paint quality is good. The 944S with its 16-valve engine was not as popular due to its disappointing performance, but the 211bhp 3-litre S2 was widely regarded as the best all-round 944. The base 944 was upgraded to 2.7-litres in 1989, giving it better overtaking capabilities. In the Turbo, the 944 gained a maturity that put its performance on par with the contemporary 911 Carrera. The 1989-90 models with the 250bhp engine are the best buys in the Turbo category. If you are looking for a convertible experience, the Cabrio is the only option.

944 variety to suit all styles

So, whether you're a seasoned Porsche enthusiast or a new fan of the brand, the 944 is a must-have addition to your collection. The 944 model range offers a variety of options to suit different driving styles and preferences. From the base model with its smooth and well-balanced handling, to the sporty S2 and the powerful Turbo, the 944 has something to offer for everyone.

When it comes to choosing the right 944 for you, it's important to consider the model year, the engine size, and the performance upgrades that came with each iteration. Keep in mind that the latest model year you can afford, with a good service history and condition, is the best option. The mid-1985 "oval" dash upgrade and the 1989 engine increase to 2.7 liters, for example, greatly improved the car's interior and performance.

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The Ultimate 944 Turbo

If you're looking for the ultimate 944 driving experience, then the Turbo models are the way to go. The 220bhp Turbos deliver a refined drive, while the later 250bhp Turbos offer even more exhilarating performance. The Turbo Cabriolet, with its top-down experience, is also a great option, but it's important to note that rear quarter visibility can be limited and the cabin can get quite dark.


In conclusion, the Porsche 944 is a true classic that offers a unique blend of versatility, performance, and style. With its smooth handling, powerful engines, and iconic design, the 944 is a timeless piece of automotive engineering that will never go out of style. So, get behind the wheel of this classic Porsche today and experience the thrill of driving a true sports car.

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