1980, 1981, and 1982 Porsche 928

In addition to the useful extra 20 pound/feet of torque and the strategic shedding of 200 pounds of curb weight through lighter materials, the Porsche 928 made a few other notable advances for the 1980 model year.

Several items were added to the options list in the United States for 1980: radio/cassette, rear wiper, headlight washers, and the big wheels and tires (replaced by five-inch-wide rims with 215/6QVR15 rubber). New extras included a six-way power driver’s seat (with a pair of rather hard-to-reach rocker switches on the cushion’s outboard side) and automatic temperature control for the climate system.

Base price was close to $38,000 now, though that included leather seating and a pliable cargo-area cover that rose with the hatch. Late that season, Porsche offered an extra-cost Competition Group that brought over all the goodies from the European S except its engine.

There was also a second U.S. offering for 1980: the Weissach Edition. Sales were deliberately limited to 205 copies, all with Champagne Gold metallic paint, matching alloy wheels, electric sunroof, fore/aft spoilers, and two-tone leather interior, plus a matched three-piece luggage set valued at over $1,000. An electronic-tune radio/cassette and the auto climate control were also included, as was a small commemorative plaque ahead of the shift lever. The Weissach would continue through mid-model-year 1982.

Porsche 928
Near continuous underskin improvements were the rule for the Porsche 928.

The 928 took a breather for ’81, though further emissions fiddling brought another incremental mileage gain on U.S. models. Not that fuel efficiency was a 928 strength -- Porsche never intended that. Still, the addition of an economy gauge for 1982, the year’s only significant change, was a telling admission in the wake of “Energy Crisis II” (1979-80). It registered instantaneous mpg in normal driving or fuel use in gallons per hour at idle or very low speeds.

Car and Driver’s Pat Bedard termed the magazine’s all-black 1981 test 928 “the triple distillation of evil, the baddest machine on any block. . . . But contrary to appearances, the 928, even with the so-called Competition Group, is a mannerly device lacking all the frenzy that characterizes rearengined Porsches.... It’s also a graceful performer on the track, something I wouldn’t say about the 911 or any other road car in its class. In fact, I can’t think of another car that offers as happy a combination of road comfort and ultimate handling.” In short, the 928 was still everything Dr. Fuhrmann intended -- and more.

During 1982, Porsche discontinued the original 4.5-liter 928 in Europe. This left only the 4.7-liter S, which finally arrived in America for 1983. On higher 9.3:1 compression, horsepower rose to 234 (SAE net) at 5,500 rpm and torque to 263 pound/feet at 4,000 rpm. However, price rose, too -- to 43 big ones to start -- but at least that heady sum included the Competition Group.

To maintain a semblance of fuel economy, Porsche lowered final drive to 2.27:1 with both transmissions. The optional automatic was now a four-speed, again from Daimler-Benz, with a better spread of ratios for overall performance; the five-speed’s four lowest cogs were more closely spaced for the same reason. A happy sign of an improving U.S. economy was the return of 160-mph speedometer scales.

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

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