1987 Porsche 924S

The answer to flagging 924 sales materialized for 1987 in all markets, United States included, as an upgraded 924, also bearing an S suffix. Though it looked much like the original 924, right down to the old dash, it benefited from 944 chassis hardware and running gear, plus a good many standard extras (air, tinted glass, heated power-remote door mirrors, and power steering, windows, and antenna).

1987 Porsche 924S
The Porsche 924S put a 944 2.5-liter engine in the 924 body, to great effect.

With its lighter-than-944 shell and the smoother, more potent eight-valve 944 engine, the 924S had a higher top end than the old 924 Turbo and nearly the same acceleration. It also proved quicker than the base 944 -- to Porsche’s embarassment. But the 924S was the answer to a prayer for many Porsche fans of lesser means. And by late-Eighties standards it was fair value at $19,900 to start.

For 1988, the
U.S. 924S and 944 shifted to a catalyst version of the eight-valve 2.5-liter four, previously restricted to Europe, to gain 11 horses (for 158 total) and 15 pounds/feet of torque (to 155). Tighter compression (10.2 versus 9.7:1) and recalibrated DME did the trick. The factory said the manual-shift 924S was now 0.3-second quicker to 60 (at 8.0 seconds) and 3 mph faster all out (137 mph). Comparable 944 figures were 8.2 seconds and 136 mph (up from 131).

With one exception, the four-cylinder series was otherwise little changed for ’88, though options proliferated: CD player, more elaborate 10-speaker audio, “soft look” leather upholstery. Another kind of option appeared in a Special Edition 924S and 944. Only 500 of each were built to assure exclusivity, but they were little more than the regular models with specific paint and interior and certain optional features included.

Porsche 924S
The Porsche 924S was Porsche's entry-level model, and a smart sports car buy.

The aforesaid exception was the new 1988 Turbo S, which swelled Porsche’s four-cylinder U.S. line to no fewer than five models. Inspired by the racing 944 Turbos running in the European pro-am Porsche Turbo Cup series, it was another low-volume special, only this time the run was 1,000, of which 700 came to America and 270 stayed in Germany. (We leave it to you to figure how many that left the rest of the world.)

It was worth latching on to, despite a stiff U.S. base price of $48,350. The reason was 247 horsepower, up 30 from the normal Turbo, achieved via a bigger blower giving more boost (up to 11.7 psi). Suspension was upgraded to match in the usual Porsche way. So were wheels: new-design 16-inchers, with the rears growing to 9 inches in width. Wrapped around them were meaty V-rated Goodyear Eagle VR performance tires sized at 225/50 fore, 245/45 aft. Also included were the massive ABS brakes from the 928S4, with 12-inch front rotors and 11.8-inch units in back. Rounding out “standard extras” were limited-slip diff, “full-power” front sports seats, special cloth cockpit trim, fold-down back seat, headlight washers, and rear wiper. You also got premium audio, cruise control, and sunroof, but in a cagey move recalling Sixties Detroit, Porsche made those items “mandatory options,” which inflated the true bottom line by $2,157.

Still, Car and Driver’s Tony Assenza termed the Turbo Sa bargain” -- and not with tongue in cheek. After all, this was the most exciting 944 yet, with 0-60 coming in 5.5 seconds by C/D’s watch, the standing quarter-mile in 13.9 at a racy 101 mph. “You’ll have a hard time finding a GT machine that’s as easy to drive fast and as easy to live with as the 944 Turbo S,” said Assenza. “It’s by far the stongest performing four-cylinder car in the world, and only a few cars of any stripe can match or beat its numbers. The same holds for its combination of mechanical smoothness, creature comforts and handling precision. Add all its virtues together and its least expensive competitor is the Porsche 928S4, which, comparably equipped, costs another twenty grand. See? We told you the 944 Turbo S is a bargain.”

Motor Trend also branded the Turbo S a bargain. Though that magazine managed only 6.57 seconds to 60 and 15.1 seconds at 97.4 mph in the quarter-mile, dynamic behavior earned the usual five stars. Nevertheless, editor Jeff Karr couldn’t resist chiding some nuisances Porsche hadn’t addressed, “like having the single sideview mirror control joystick on the driver’s door but positioning the left/right selector switch on the console. Or how about the tripmeter reset button disguised as a vent control knob? They’re probably still coughing beer out their noses in Weissach over that one.”

Porsche 924S side view
The tempting Porsche 924S was priced at just under $20,000 in 1987.

Check out the complete story of Porsche cars, including these fabulous models:

Porsche 356

Porsche 911

Porsche 914

Porsche 924, 944, 968

Porsche 928

Porsche 959

Porsche Boxster

Porsche Cayenne

Porsche Cayman

For Porsche prices and reviews from the auto editors of Consumer Guide, see: