Porsche 964 Turbo S: The beacon

When Michael Schumacher was still occasionally testing for AUTO BILD 30 years ago, the editors presented him with a 911 Turbo as part of a super sports car comparison.

The then Benetton Formula 1 driver nudged the front fender with his right index finger and played a bit with the rear end crossing the corners, but without getting excited. Too heavy, too soft, too slow: The turbo seemed to him out of time.

Porsche 964 Turbo S

With the 964 Turbo S, Porsche crossed the turbo in 1992 with the naturally aspirated Carrera RS intended for the race track.

No wonder. Belatedly, Porsche had given the 964 series the 13-year-old turbo engine of the predecessor for model year 1991 – as a kind of emergency solution after the failure of the 965 performance project. Modern things were different, that was clear to everyone.

1992 small series Turbo S launched

The reputation was tarnished when the new Turbo won the IMSA Supercar Championship in the USA at the end of 91, and in 1992 Porsche launched a hard-edged small series with an “S” after “Turbo”.
Porsche 964 Turbo S

18-inch “Speedline” rims make room for larger brakes, but hardly fit into the wheel arch.

First of all, we take it easy than the car wants to look at. The bright color “Speed ​​Yellow” was specially mixed for the Turbo S (and still adorns the calipers of Porsche’s ceramic brakes today).

Four centimeters lowered

The three-piece Speedline rims are 18 inches for the first time on the 964 and fit into the widened Turbo wheel arch only with difficulty. Early standard 964 were only designed for 16-inch wheels, for larger formats, sheet metal folds had to be flanged at first.

When the doors are opened, the metallic click of the mechanism sounds like that of all old 911s. You can feel the lowering by four centimeters as soon as you sit down.

Porsche 964 Turbo S

In terms of width, the S corresponds to the normal Turbo. This makes it 12.3 centimeters wider than an RS.

The door itself moves more easily and also sounds less full when closing. Just like the hoods, it is made of carbon fiber reinforced plastic; Side and rear windows are made of thin glass. Without the rear seat and airbags, molded door panels and insulating material, this saves 180 kilos or 13 percent of the weight.

Turbocharger dampens intake noise

At first, nothing is acoustically noticeable. In this racing machine, too, the mass balance of the six-cylinder boxer ensures almost complete freedom from vibration. In addition, the turbocharger dampens the intake noise.

The perfect view forward and the lousy rear view through the beautiful “cup” mirrors that are too flat on the outside also simulate 964 normality.

Porsche 964 Turbo S

The trunk lid is made of carbon fiber reinforced plastic and is therefore even lighter than the aluminum part of the Carrera RS.

But then you notice how difficult it is to turn the 235 rollers on the front axle: no power steering! And when Tempo 30 is exceeded, the first pebbles rattle in the uninsulated wheel house; the rock-hard chassis begins to transfer even the smallest bumps directly into the bucket seat.

The driver learns to appreciate the more direct connection with the road surface and the machine when he presses the accelerator pedal and the engine speed exceeds 3200 revolutions.

381 instead of 320 hp

The S boost pressure builds up a few hundred revolutions earlier than the standard turbo and transforms from a car into a fighter jet in the blink of an eye. From 4000 there is no holding back, up to 6800 you can turn. 381 instead of 320 hp are the maximum.

Porsche 964 Turbo S

Air-cooled boxer at the rear, rounded rear and steep windscreen, standing pedals, trunk at the front – the Turbo S still shows similarities with its ancestor VW Beetle.

The increase in performance is primarily the result of modified camshaft profiles, and the S has a little more boost pressure, which in total even leads to more torque in the speed range relevant for everyday use.

Schumi would probably have been happier with the more directly translated steering and the brake hydraulics of the S taken from the 964 Carrera RS in the AUTO BILD test than with the technology of the series turbo.

Probably something with the engine, but probably not really. “The performance characteristics are from the day before yesterday. Just as abruptly as the turbo kicks in, the limiter shuts it off as hard as nails,” summed up the Formula 1 driver at the time. “Nevertheless, with its age-old rear-engine concept, it does a remarkable job.”

With the ever milder classic look, however, one can now say with a clear conscience: the car is quite simply sensational.

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