The Porsche 944 is a sports car manufactured by German automobile manufacturer Porsche from 1982 to 1991. A front-engine, rear-wheel drive mid-level model based on the 924 platform, the 944 was available in coupé or cabriolet body styles, with either naturally aspirated or turbocharged engines.
Intended to be produced into the 1990s, major revisions planned for a 944 "S3" model eventually morphed into the 968, which became its replacement. Over 163,000 cars were produced in total, making it the most successful sports car in Porsche's history until the introductions of the Boxster and 997 Carrera.
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The Porsche 924 had originally been a project of VW-Porsche, a joint Porsche/Volkswagen company created to develop and produce the 914 which was sold in Europe badged as both a Porsche and a Volkswagen. In 1972, a replacement for the Volkswagen version of the 914, code named EA-425 began development. The model was to be sold as an Audi as part of the VW-Audi-Porsche marketing arrangement. Porsche was to manufacture its own version of the car. At one point, VW head Rudolf Leidig declared the EX-425 was going to be a VW exclusively, thus denying Porsche's version of the 914's replacement. Although testing had begun in the Spring of 1974, Volkswagen cancelled the EX-425 program, the reason being significant financial losses due to declining sales and rising development costs for new vehicles as well as the departure of Leidig. The recently released Volkswagen Scirocco was expected to fill the sports coupé market segment.
The COC Porsche is available for all Porsche 944 built by the European market.
Porsche introduced the 944 for MY 1982. It was slightly faster (despite having a poorer drag co-efficient), 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 a 0–97 km/h (60 mph) acceleration time of less than 9 seconds (8.3 seconds according to "Porsche the Ultimate Guide" By Scott Faragher). The factory-claimed top speed of 210 km/h (130 mph) was also pessimistic, Autocar having verified a top speed of 254 km/h (157.9 mph).The car had nearly even front to rear weight distribution (50.7% front/49.3% rear) courtesy of the rear transaxle balancing out the engine in the front. North American-market cars had bigger bumpers and the front bumper had a larger rubber portion, replacing the auxiliary lights as required by the North American laws.
In 1983, American tuning company Callaway Cars began offering a turbocharged package for the US-Spec 944 in collaboration with Porsche. The standard 2.5 L Inline-4 engine was not suitable for forced induction because of the higher compression ratio of 9.5:1 which made the engine prone to failure when subject to forced induction along with the complex Bosch Motronic engine management system. Callaway engineers overcame this problem by increasing the volume of the engine's combustion chambers by milling away metal from both piston heads and chamber walls and by tweaking the Motronic system so it would ensure optimum fuel injection to the turbocharged engine along with installing their own Microfueler unit. This step was highly effective, but required disassembly of the entire engine, leading to the high cost of the package.
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The 944 was on Car and Driver's Ten Best list from 1983 through 1985, and the Turbo made the list for 1986.In 1984, Car and Driver named the 944 the Best Handling Production Car in America.