The Porsche 993 is the internal designation for the Porsche 911 model manufactured and sold between January 1994 and early 1998 (model years 1995–1998 in the United States), replacing the 964. Its discontinuation marked the end of air-cooled Porsches.
The 993 was much improved over, and quite different from its predecessor. According to Porsche, every part of the car was designed from the ground up, including the engine and only 20% of its parts were carried over from the previous generation. Porsche refers to the 993 as "a significant advance, not just from a technical, but also a visual perspective." Porsche's engineers devised a new light-alloy subframe with coil and wishbone suspension (an all new multi-link system), putting behind the previous lift-off oversteer and making significant progress with the engine and handling, creating a more civilized car overall providing an improved driving experience. The 993 was also the first 911 to receive a six speed transmission
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A major change was the implementation of all alloy multi-link rear suspension attached to an alloy sub frame, a completely new design derived from the 989, a four-door sedan which never went into production. The system later continued in the 993's successor, the 996, and required the widening of the rear wheel arches, which gave better stability. The new suspension improved handling, making it more direct, more stable, and helping to reduce the tendency to oversteer if the throttle was lifted during hard cornering, a trait of earlier 911s. It also reduced interior noise and improved ride quality.
The 993 was the first generation of the 911 to have a 6-speed manual transmission included as standard; its predecessors had 4 or 5-speed transmissions. In virtually every situation, it was possible to keep the engine at its best torque range above 4,500 rpm. The Carrera, Carrera S, Cabriolet and Targa models (rear wheel drive) were available with a "Tiptronic" 4-speed automatic transmission, first introduced in the 964. Beginning with model year 1995, Porsche offered the Tiptronic S with additional steering wheel mounted controls and refined software for smoother, quicker shifts. Since the 993's introduction, the Tiptronic is capable of recognizing climbs and descents. The Tiptronic equipped cars suffer as compared to the manual transmission equipped cars in both acceleration and also top speed, but the differences are not much notable.Tiptronic cars also suffered a 55 lb (25 kg) weight penalty.
The 993's optional all wheel drive system was refined over that of the 964. Porsche departed from the 964's setup consisting of three differentials and revised the system based on the layout from its 959 flagship, replacing the centre differential with a viscous coupling unit. In conjunction with the 993's redesigned suspension, this system improved handling characteristics in inclement weather and still retained the stability offered by all wheel drive without having to suffer as many compromises as the previous all-wheel-drive system. Its simpler layout also reduced weight, though the four wheel drive Carrera 4 weighs 111 lb (50 kg) more than its rear wheel drive counterpart (at 3,131 lb (1,420 kg) vs. 3,020 lb (1,370 kg))
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The external design of the Porsche 993, penned by English designer Tony Hatter, retained the basic body shell architecture of the 964 and other earlier 911 models, but with revised exterior panels, with much more flared wheel arches, a smoother front and rear bumper design, an enlarged retractable rear wing and teardrop mirrors.
A 993 was promoted globally via its role of the safety car during the 1994 Formula One season.
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The 993 generation of the 911 is often referred to as the best and most desirable of the 911 series, not only because of its beauty, but also because of its great performance, even by modern standards. The 993 is quoted as "the last complete 'modern classic'"; "the 993 was and forever will be that last fresh breath of air that Porsche gave the world; elegance and muscle all in one package." The book "Porsche 993 - Essential Companion" refers to the 993 as the "King of Porsche," and it is generally acknowledged as "The purists' Holy Grail."
In its April 12, 2017 article entitled "The Porsche 993 Actually Lives up to the Hype," Road & Track writes that the 993 is "something truly special," with "a combination of old-school feel and modern usability that isn't found in many other cars," with "great steering, great brakes, and a wonderfully composed package." It also states that "The 993 is also beautifully built -- it's a relic from the time when Porsche didn't cut corners anywhere."
The 993 was replaced by the 996. This represented a dramatic change for the 911. As many enthusiasts agree, "the 993 is one of the sweetest spots in the 911's half-century of existence," and while "more modern versions might be more dynamically capable, they're bloated behemoths in comparison to the lean 993."