Group tests

Porsche 911 through the ages - Porsche 3.2 Carrera (1984-1989)

The new 991-spec Porsche 911 can trace its roots back through half a century of automotive evolution. Richard Meaden charts the iconic coupe’s journey

This is the 911 I used to draw on the back of my school exercise books when I should have been learning the periodic table or some other cobblers. Consequently I feel like I know the 3.2 Carrera, even though I’ve never driven one.

After the power-assisted precision of the 964, the 3.2’s unassisted steering is a shock. It’s really heavy, so although it does wriggle and shuffle in your hands, it feels quite dead once you apply steering lock. There’s surprising grip, but you’re always aware of the tail’s effect on your trajectory. It’s an effort to drive this car quickly and it’s much harder to relax and have fun with than the 964. In truth, it’s the first car in the test where I’ve felt the old-school 911 traits actually inhibit the driving experience.

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Bov hits the nail on the head after his drive: ‘In this company the 3.2 Carrera feels like a bridge between the classic and the modern, and it’s compromised as a result. There’s much more grip, but that brings much more weight to all the controls and the information is lost somewhere along the way. The steering is really hefty, the clutch a bit of a pain, and although beneath all that is a car with a workable balance, I’m not sure you’d feel that keen to dip into its reserves as freely. To me this is the biggest disappointment of the day. I love the way it looks, but I’m not keen on how it drives.’

NEXT PAGE: Porsche 911 3.0 SC (1978-1983)

Specifications

Porsche 911 3.2 Carrera
Engine Flat-six, 3164cc
Power 228bhp @ 5900rpm
Torque 209lb ft @ 4800rpm 
Transmission Five-speed manual, rear drive
Tyres 185/70 VR15 front, 215/60VR 15 rear
Weight 1280kg
Power-to-weight 181bhp/ton
0-60mph 5.6sec (claimed)
Top speed 153mph (claimed)
Years produced 1984-1989
Price new £22,537 (1984)
Price today £10,000-£20,000
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