993 & Turbo: The End of an Era

With all-new bodywork, rear suspension, transaxle, and more, the air-cooled 911 went out with a bang.

1996 Turbo (993)

Every new generation of 911 improves on the performance, handling, and refinement of its predecessors, and the new-for-1995 993 was no different. That’s not too surprising, given that Porsche claimed that 70-80 percent of the 993 was new or improved compared to the 964, a car that was 85-percent new compared to the earlier Carrera 3.2 and that had been in production for just six years.

The 993 featured Porsche’s first major restyling of the 911 — only the car’s greenhouse remained unchanged. Sensuously bulged fenders and a nipped waist gave the 993 a seductive Coke bottle shape, while the neatly tucked bumpers and reclined headlights presented a modern, aerodynamic look. Overall, the body shell was 20-percent stiffer than the 964’s. Similarly major alterations were found under the skin, as well, in the form of a six-speed manual transmission and an all-new rear suspension. Dubbed LSA (for Lightweight, Stable, and Agile), the new, all-aluminum, multi-link setup replaced the 964’s classic rear trailing arms, improving ride quality and handling while reducing noise.

Most other changes were evolutionary, ranging from a very lightly updated interior to larger brakes with a more-advanced ABS system to one-inch-wider wheels. The updated Tiptronic S automatic transmission could now be manually shifted via buttons on the steering wheel. The normally-aspirated air-cooled engine still displaced 3.6 liters, but internal and external changes raised horsepower from 250 to 272, while the addition of hydraulic lash adjustment for the valves reduced maintenance requirements. In 1996, the new VarioRam intake system boosted output to 282 hp — the level of the ’89 911 Turbo! Perhaps more important than ultimate power, however, was the fact that the 993 would be the last air-cooled Porsche.

Likely for that reason, 993 values are higher than those of its replacement, the water-cooled 996. The 993 also commands a slightly premium over its predecessor, the 964. The flip side of this higher purchase price is that a 993 is less likely to depreciate; indeed, these cars have actually appreciated over the last few years, which is more than you can say for just about any other 15-year-old car.

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