Porsche’s ugly duckling: the 944

The front-engined Porsches are the worst thing that ever happened… for the 911 fans. For “normal” people, this is just another way to live their passion. I drove one of these strange cars, a Porsche 944.

As for my test of the MG B, this test was made in Champagne in the tiny and windy roads of “Pays d’Othe”.

Little history of the Porsche 944

The Porsche 944 replaced the Porsche 924, the first front-engined car of the manufacturer, launched in 1976 with an engine coming from the Audi 100. It was a nice car but not really a sport car. Fortunately, Porsche engineers are pretty good at transforming engines, and this one was a bit more sporty than the Audi.

In 1982, the Porsche 944 appears. It is an evolution of the 924 it replaces. The engine is the same as the 924S, a four cylinder of 2.5 litres, made by cutting a Porsche 928 in half! Great program!
The car architecture is based on the transaxle principle, front engine and rear gearbox.

The power will start to 163 HP and finish at 250 HP for the Turbo ones. The Porsche 944 S2 has a 3 litre engine, the biggest 4 cylinder in a production car!
The Porsche 944 was sold between 1982 and 1991, 162.452 cars were made in coupe and cabriolet.

Driving a Porsche 944 : efficient and reassuring

The Porsche 944 I drive today is Quentin’s car. He bought it one year ago, to have fun with a sport car. His 1987 944S officially delivers 190 HP, but with an improved exhaust line the car is around 200 HP.
The design is beautiful, expressing power, and more modern than the 924. The wheels have a great design, and apart two or three spots due to the aging varnish, nothing to notice on the car.

First step, we stow the photographic stuff in the huge boot. In fact, I can put everything I have in, good news.
The driver seat is fine, it offers a good support. It’s also smooth, enough to be comfortable for long drives. Some of my friends told me that I would have the steering wheel on my knees, but on Quentin’s car, it comes from a 911, it’s smaller and  totally ergonomic.
The gear shift is under the right hand (remember, this is a french car), perfectly. The engine runs properly.

Here we go for a long drive on the windy roads. It’s perfect to test a sport car like the Porsche 944. Contrary to the test of the MG B, the road is dry !
First brake with a bit of fear, but no, the pedals have a good feeling, a real resistance. The right pedal offers the same touch, a good resistance, a good progressiveness and if we consider the nature of the engine, it’s almost impossible to have a bad surprise by losing control.

It’s possible to drive “legally”, even with a 200 HP sport car. We can talk on board without becoming deaf. With the right pedal, fixed on the floor, and its progressiveness, it’s easy to respect speed limitations, even in a city.

As soon as we see the out of city sign, I release the cavalry. The power is available, and we can get on high revs without any problem. The thrust is linear… after 4000 rpm. The speed increases, without issue, the balance is good and we don’t feel any strange reactions. No escape of the rear wheels, it’s locked, it’s Porsche.
The steering wheel gives me just the information I need, no parasites, no blurred zone, no jolting, even on bad roads. The only surprise on a very, very, damaged road comes from the brakes, the wheels were not really in contact with the road.

To conclude, the car is efficient when we want to drive sportly but also very reassuring, without any surprise. A car to recommand.

Drive a Porsche 944

Depending on the version and on the mileage, you can find 944s from £2.500 for a 2.5 to £25,000 for a rare Turbo S or Turbo Cabriolet with low mileage.

Ranking :

5 étoiles



– low price Porsche not a 911 –
– Colmfortable ans usable as a daily heavy car –
– Sportly
– Youngtimer style
Rarity 3-etoiles
Price  from £2.500 to £25.000

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