At first sight, the 944 was just a facelifted 924 but, in fact, it was much more than that. The front and rear wheel arches were flared out to give the car a much more aggressive demeanour, and to cover the larger wheels – a style that was an evolution of the bolt-on arches of the 924 Carrera GT.
However, the big news was that the 944 had a new engine to replace the underpowered Volkswagen-derived unit of the 924. The 2.5-litre Porsche-designed engine had balance-shafts to compensate for the inherent imbalance of the four-cylinders and, with an output of 163bhp it put paid to criticisms that the original 924 was an underpowered VW.
The front-mounted engine and rear gearbox gave a good weight distribution which, combined with revised suspension, ensured that the 944 handled superbly.
At first, the 944 had essentially the same interior as that of the 924. However, in 1985 the car received an all new and much improved dash, which has become known as the ‘oval dash’ on account of its curvaceous design. At the same time, new door panels were incorporated, along with a concealed radio aerial, 115 amp (up from 90 amp) alternator, larger fuel tank, uprated sound system and a revised transaxle mounting to reduce noise and vibration. The original ‘cookie cutter’ wheels were replaced by ‘telephone dial’ items; so called because of their circular holes.
Engine: Front-mounted, water-cooled straight-four
Compression ratio: 10.6:1
Maximum power: 163bhp at 5800rpm
Maximum torque: 205Nm at 3000rpm
Brakes: Front: 282mm discs; rear: 289mm discs. Servo assisted
Wheels & tyres: Front: 15x7J with 185/70VR15 tyres. Rear: 15x8J with 215/60VR tyres
0-60mph: 8.4 sec (auto 9.6 sec)
Top speed: 137mph