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Porsche 911 History

1996 Porsche 911 Turbo Performance

Commuting is the last thing most people would do with a Porsche 911 Turbo, yet the 993 iteration happily tolerated that, unlike its high-strung forebears. And for all the extra power, Road & Track's Paul Frere found this Turbo "a much better balanced car, not only in terms of handling, but also in its overall demeanor.

Each of its features is perfectly matched to the others, and even before the loud pedal is depressed, one is impressed with the much better ride. Gone is the teeth-shaking progress of the old [Turbo, while handling] is much smoother and [more] progressive...And on bumpy roads, the bumps are better absorbed, the car is more stable and fewer corrections are required."

Porsche 911
It was hard to miss the 993-series Turbo even in a more subtle shade than yellow.

Of course, the new all-wheel drive made a huge difference. R&T's Doug Kott later enthused that it worked "[s]eamlessly, fantastically, producing the sort of tenacious roadholding simply unheard of with previous 911 Turbos." Backing that up, Kott recorded a stellar 0.92g skidpad romp and an excellent 65.2 mph in the slalom test.

"The new Turbo still behaves very much like a rear-drive car -- the front wheels, fed a maximum of 15 percent of the engine's total torque, work as a safety net, helping to pull the chassis back to its intended line until a combination of lateral loading and throttle overexuberance blows the tail loose. In most situations, the balance is nearly neutral, with sheer grip and unflappable composure being the overriding sensations. Never before has 400 horsepower been more easily or efficiently channeled to the ground."

Even so, Georg Kacher, Automobile's European correspondent, found that "although the grip is tenacious, it is not unlimited." On undulating roads "the lack of spring travel and the tires' tendency to tramline can have as profound effect on directional stability as three large whiskeys. Curvy, poorly surfaced highways should also be treated with respect."

Despite the expected ABS and Porsche's Automatic Brake Differential traction control, "[a]t superhuman velocities the 911 Turbo's front end will pitch hard in its fight against the expansion joints, the steering wheel will drum and tug, and the rear end will sidestep fractionally when you back off or tighten the line. But unlike lesser cars, the Porsche will pull through."

On better pavement, it pulled like a Saturn V rocket. "Speed is a drug," Kacher allowed, "and the new 911 Turbo has what it takes to turn aficionados into addicts. Flooring the loud pedal instantly makes you king of the road, and thanks to the intelligent four-wheel-drive hardware, it hardly matters if the asphalt is wet or covered with snow.

Progress is anything from brisk to lightning fast, and as long as the road surface is reasonably even, corners are an adrenaline-producing bonus. The g-forces grab your soft parts and make them splash from one side of the body to the other." A Star Trek-type inertial dampener might have helped, but Porsche hadn't gotten around to one yet.

No car is perfect, of course, but the 1996 Porsche 911 Turbo came awfully close. It was certainly state-of-the-art for its time, and some critics even judged it superior to the instant-legend Porsche 959.

Yet thanks to engineering that enhanced capability while reducing build costs, Porsche could deliver this thrilling machine to U.S. customers for $4,000 less than the previous '94 Turbo: $105,000 (excluding luxury tax, freight and options) -- a bargain, all things considered.

Porsche 911
The '96 Porsche 911 Turbo offered 400 horsepower via twin blowers.

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:

  • Porsche new cars
  • Porsche used cars
  • 2007 Porsche 911
  • 1999-2006 Porsche 911
  • 1995-1998 Porsche 911