Friday, July 6, 2007

The Porsche Type 993, part 1

The Porsche Type 993, or simply 993 (nine-nine-three or nine-ninety-three), was the version of Porsche's 911 model produced from late 1993 through early 1998, replacing the 964. Its discontinuation marked the end of air-cooled Porsches, giving it a special place in the hearts and minds of enthusiasts.

As before, Porsche made several variants of the 911 to satisfy every driver. The Carrera was reliable, safe and fast, and was the sports car you could use every day; the Carrera Cabriolet and Targa were ideal for sporty cruising; the 180mph Turbo and Turbo S were supremely quick; and the uncompromising Carrera RS and GT2 were race-oriented.

One of the most noteworthy changes in the 993 over all preceding 911s is the implementation of an all-alloy multi-arm rear suspension attached to an all-alloy subframe. Its design was derived from the project 989, a four door sedan which never went into production, and was later continued in the 993's successor, type 996. It required the mentioned widening of the rear wheel arches, which itself leant to the 993's new-found stability. This suspension improved the 993s cornering abilities, making it more direct and more stable and helping to reduce the infamous tendency to oversteer if throttle was lifted during hard cornering found in earlier 911s. It even contributed to reduced interior noise.

The 993 was the first generation of 911s to have a standard 6-speed manual transmission — previous cars, except for the exotic Porsche 959, had 4- or 5-speed gearboxes. As the 993 was capable of speeds exceeding 270 km/h, a sixth gear became necessary in order to cover this speed range. In virtually every situation, it was possible to keep the engine in its best torque range above 4500 rpm. The Carrera / Carrera S / Cabriolet and Targa models (2WD) were further available with a "Tiptronic" 4-speed automatic transmission, first introduced in the 964. Beginning with model year 1995, Porsche offered the advanced Tiptronic S with additional steering wheel mounted controls and refined software for smoother, quicker shifts. Since the 993's introduction the tiptronic is capable of recognizing climbs and descents.

Further, the 993s optional all wheel drive system was refined over that of the 964. Porsche departed from the 964's setup consisting of three differentials and revised the system based on the layout from their 959 supercar, replacing the center differential with a viscous coupling unit. In conjunction with the 993s redesigned and recalibrated suspension, this system vastly improved handling characteristics and still retained the stability offered by AWD without having to suffer any compromises in understeer. Its simpler layout even reduced the system's weight. The advantages of this concept were reason enough for Porsche to retain it in all succeeding 911s with AWD.

Other improvements include a new dual-flow exhaust, larger brakes with drilled discs, a revised power steering, etc.

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