Sunday, July 29, 2007

The Porsche 928, part 4

The 928 S4 variant debuted in the second half of 1986 as a 1987 model, an updated version of the 5.0 L V8 for all markets producing 320 PS (235 kW/316 hp), spotting a new single-disc clutch in manual gearbox cars, larger torquen converter in automatics and fairly significant styling updates which gave the car a cleaner, sleeker look. S4 was much closer in being truly world car than previous models as only major differences between ROW and US models were instrumentation in either kilometers or miles, lighting, front and rear bumper shocks and availability without catalytic converter in many ROW markets. Australian market version was only one with different horsepower rating at 300 PS (221 kW/296 hp) due to preparation for possible low grade fuel. Even this was achieved without engine changes.

A Club Sport variant which was up to 100 Kg lighter became available to continental Europe and USA in 1988. This model was watered down version of 1987 factory prototype which had lightened body and 10.9:1 compression ratio engine. Also in 1987 factory made four white lightened manual gearbox S4 for racecar drivers who were on factory payroll at the time. These were close to same as later actual Club Sport models and can also be considered prototypes for it. An SE (sometimes called the S4 Sport due to model designation on rear bumper), a sort of halfway point between a normally equipped S4 and the more race-oriented Club Sport, became available to the UK. It's generally believed these Porsche Motorsport engined cars have more hp than the S4. They utilize parts which later became known as GT pistons, cams, engine ECU programs and a stronger, short geared manual gearbox. The automatic gearbox was not available.

For 1989 model year visible change inside was digital trip computer in dashboard. At same time Australian model received same 320 PS (235 kW/316 hp) engine management setup as other markets. Porsche debuted the 928 GT in the late winter 1988/89 after dropping the slow selling CS and SE. In terms of equipment, the GT was most like the 928 SE, having more equipment than a Club Sport model but less than a 928 S4 to keep the weight down somewhat. It had the ZF 40% limited-slip differential as standard like the Club Sport and SE before it. Also like the CS and SE, the GT was only available with a manual gearbox. ROW 1989 CS and GT wheels had an RDK tire pressure monitoring system as standard. This was also optional for same year ROW S4. For 1990 model year Porsche made RDK and a 0-100% variable ratio limited-slip called PSD (Porsche SperrDifferential) standard in both GT and S4 models for all markets. This system is much like the one from the 959 and gives the vehicle even more grip. In 1990 the S4 was no longer available with a manual gearbox.

The S4 and GT variants were both cut at end of 1991 model year, making way for the final version of the 928. The 928 GTS came for sale in late 1991 as a 1992 model in Europe and in spring of 1992 as an early 1993 model in North America. Changed bodywork, larger front brakes and a new, more powerful 5.4 L, 350 PS (257 kW/345 hp) engine were the big advertised changes; what Porsche wasn't advertising was the price. Loaded GTS models could eclipse $100,000 USD in 1995, making them among the most expensive cars on the road at the time. This severely hampered sales despite the model's high competancy and long standard equipment list. Porsche discontinued the GTS model that year after shipping only 77 of them to the United States. Total worldwide production for all years was a little over 61,000 cars.

Second-hand models have largely fallen in value, the result of generally high maintenance costs due largely to spare parts that are expensive to manufacture. The earliest versions, however, especially those models with the Bosch K-Jetronic (CIS) injection system, have few electronic components and therefore can be repaired more easily provided spare parts can be found. Various enthusiast supported parts suppliers exist, especially in the United States.

The GTS model has retained a high value however, and as of 2006 the price for all variants is apparently starting to creep upwards (Classic Motorsports, March, 2006 issue, p. 38). A great community dedicated to the 928 exists online even today, and the car has won a huge fan base. The 928 was such a powerful vehicle in its day that even models 25+ years old are able to outperform current sport/grand-touring models of various manufacture.

With the release of the Cayenne sports utility vehicle, Porsche has met with renewed success with a front-engined, V8-powered model. The company's 2005 announcement that a new V8-powered 4-door grand tourer model called Panamera would be launched in 2009 fueled rumours and fan speculation of a reborn 928. Although the Panamera will be a 4-door model, Road and Track magazine published a speculative piece in their April 2006 issue in regards to the possibility of a new, 928-esque coupe that may debut on a shortened version of the Panamera's platform sometime around the 2011 or 2012 model years. Although feasible, this is pure speculation as of 2006. The article seemed to indicate a re-use of the 928 nameplate although Porsche's recent tendency to give non-numerical names to their vehicles and a desire to separate the vehicle from past models may preclude the possibility of calling the vehicle 928.

Also noteworthy is that there are several manufacturers of supercharger and turbo kits specifically for the 928. The stock engine for any year is capable of handling significant power increases without part failure. More owners have opted for supercharging their vehicles as the conversion is reasonably straight forward whereas the fitting of two turbo chargers on each of the exhaust manifolds has caused problems because of the lack of space.

technorati tags: Porsche 928 S4, porsche ,ferrari ,jaguar ,lamborghini ,lotus ,bugatti ,aston martin,maserati ,alfa romeo,cars,sports cars, exotic cars

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