Group tests

Porsche 911 through the ages - Porsche 964 Carrera 2 (1989-1993)

Richard Meaden charts the journey of the iconic Porsche 911 and its half century automotive evolution

Like the 996, the 964 is commonly held in lower regard than other 911 generations. But why? I’m not entirely sure, not least because it looks great; fist-tight and truly compact, it’s a proper 911. OK, the front bumper looks heavy, but the slim hips, upright screen and round headlamps give it a timeless silhouette.

It feels tough as old boots, shot through with that sense of bombproof solidity only found in German cars of a certain age. It’s a bit basic in some areas, but that sense of functionality prepares you perfectly for the driving experience to come.

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It’s hard to explain how potent this car feels, especially when the spec sheet says it has less than 250bhp. It really does have thumping performance, rich with torque and spiced with a dry-edged rasp that is – to my ears, at least – one of the great engine notes of any car.

The power steering feels sharper, weightier and more precise than the 993’s. There’s more chat too, from both ends of the car, and for the first few miles you have to concentrate to decipher the white noise from the important information. There’s a stronger, more linear connection between your inputs and the car’s responses than in the 993. There’s plenty of grip to lean on and when you begin to work it, the handling balance is beautifully expressive.

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You have to be more positive and confident than in the newer cars because you’re more aware of that rear-slung engine, but it’s an engrossing process and one that – thanks to power steering – is more immediately exploitable than my 964 RS with its heavy, unassisted steering.

Bovingdon has also found it to be pretty special: ‘The engine sounds terrific and really pulls hard. It has that same creamy torque as the 964 RS and here, thanks to power steering, you feel liberated to really work it hard, get the car floating between a bit of understeer and full-on oversteer. It’s got those modern 911 traits of strong, consistent brakes and a positive, if long-throw ’box, plus mini-supercar grunt and tiny dimensions for agility and an aggressive but controllable balance.’

NEXT PAGE: Porsche 3.2 Carrera (1984-1989)

Specifications

Porsche 964 Carrera 2
Engine Flat-six, 3600cc
Power 247bhp @ 6100rpm
Torque 229lb ft @ 4800rpm 
Transmission Five-speed manual, rear drive
Tyres 205/55 ZR16 front, 225/50 ZR16 rear
Weight 1350kg
Power-to-weight 186bhp/ton
0-62mph 5.7sec (claimed)
Top speed 162mph (claimed)
Years produced 1989-1993
Price new £41,505 (1989)
Price today £12,000-£20,000

Find used Porsche 964's for sale on the Classic and Performance Car site here.

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