Porsche 944 was introduced in 1982 as Porsche’s new entry level model. The Porsche 944 was a replacement for the Porsche 924, although the 924 stayed in production until 1988 as an even lower-priced alternative. The Porsche 944 was based on the 924, but featured numerous changes including updated bodywork. The interior was mostly the same as in the 924. The 944 was introduced with a 2.5-litre straight-4 engine. The 4-cylinder engine was basically one half of the Porsche 928’s 5.0-litre V8 engine. While the engine design was very similar to the V8, very few parts were interchangeable.
The engine was factory-rated at 152 horsepower in its U.S. configuration. In addition to being slightly faster than the 924, the 944 was better equipped and more refined than the 924. It had better handling and stopping power and was more comfortable to drive. The factory-claimed 0-60 mph time of less than 9 seconds and top speed of 130 mph (210 km/h), although the real figures might have been a bit better.
In mid-1985 the Porsche 944 was updated for the first time. The interior’s ergonomics were improved with a completely new dash and door panels. Heated and powered seats were available as an option. The radio antenna was embedded in the windshield and there were a new Porsche Hifi sound system. The alternator was upgraded from a 90 amps to 115 amps, the starter was revised and the car got a larger fuel tank. To reduce noise and vibration levels, the mounting of the transaxle was also changed. In 1985 Porsche also introduced the Porsche 944 Turbo as a high performance variant.
In 1987 came the naturally-aspirated 944S model. Also in 1987, dual air-bags and an anti-lock brake system were introduced as options on the base model. Wheel offset was increased from 23 mm to 52 mm to provide clearance for the optional ABS brakes. In 1988 Porsche introduced the 944 Turbo S with 247 hp. In 1989 the regular 944’s displacement was increased to 2.7 L and the 944S2 was introduced with a 208 hp 3.0-litre engine. The 944S2 had the same rounded nose and a rear valance found as in the Turbo model. The S2 was also available as a cabriolet.
The 2.7-litre base model was discontinued in the 1990. The Porsche 944’s final year of production was 1991 and next year it was replaced by the 9688. The 944 was a huge success for Porsche throughout the 1980s, and was available in several forms throughout its evolution: 944, 944S, 944 Turbo, 944S2, and the 944 Turbo S.