Porsche 911 Turbo (993) ~ 1996-1998
As soon as the 993-model Carrera came along with its curvaceous lines, people started to anticipate what a Turbo version would look like. They found out in 1995, when the new 911 Turbo was unveiled for the 1996 model year. And they weren't disappointed.
Giving the already good-looking 993 the wide-body Turbo treatment was a surefire recipe for success. The rear arches were stretched by 30mm each, to give the car massive presence from the back. The front and rear bumpers were enlarged downwards to make room for three large air-intakes in the nose, and to improve aerodynamics at the back. Also at the rear was a new interpretation of the famous teatray spoiler; this now wrapped itself over the engine cover – some said it appeared to have melted over the car – and was lighter than previous versions, and finished entirely in body colour.
The stunning bodywork was set off by a new style of alloy wheel. Constructed with hollow spokes to save weight, these were shaped so that they actually sucked cooling air onto the brakes behind. In true Turbo fashion, the 18-inch wheels were as large as conceivably possible; 8-inches wide up front and 10-inches behind, with 225/40ZR18 and 285/30ZR18 tyres.
The brakes themselves were suitably uprated from those in the Carrera and featured bright-red four-piston calipers acting on 322mm drilled and ventilated discs.
And the brakes needed to be good, too, to deal with the power. The engine was essentially the same 3.6-litre unit from the normally aspirated 911 but with lower-crowned pistons to reduce the compression ratio to 8.0:1, and single spark plugs per cylinder instead of two. Also, key components were strengthened to cope with the extra power.
But the revolutionary thing about the engine was the fact that it was fitted with two KKK K16 turbochargers rather than one. Unlike the sequential arrangement seen on the 959 (where one turbo kicked in after the other), these were arranged so that one worked on each cylinder bank. This meant each turbocharger could be smaller and so would spool up quicker, thus dramatically reducing turbo-lag.
A new Bosch Motronic engine management system controlled all this, and maximum power was a heady 408bhp, with 540Nm of torque, with plenty of the latter available from low revs to make the 993 Turbo so much easier to drive compared to its predecessors. Turbo lag was still apparent, but not nearly so much as on previous cars, and the power came in more smoothly from as low as 2000ropm – no longer did it hit you all of a sudden.
The driveability was further enhanced by the fact the power was directed to all four wheels – for the first time, the 911 Turbo was four-wheel-drive. The system was based on that of the Carrera 4 but with revised gear ratios and stronger internals. Like the Carrera 4, the Turbo featured ABD (Automatic Brake Differential) to reduce rear-wheel spin.
The looks, power and transmission combined to ensure that this 911 Turbo was a great success. And it still is today – for many enthusiasts the 993 Turbo was the best Porsche ever and the last air-cooled incarnation. Now wonder it's so sought after!