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