993 is the company's internal name for the version of the Porsche 911 model manufactured and sold between late 1993 and early 1998 (model years 1995-1998 in the United States), replacing the 964. Its discontinuation marked the end of air-cooled Porsches, with the 993 being not just the last air-cooled 911, but also the last of the hand built 911s.

Porsche 993.jpg
Porsche 993
aka Porsche 911
Production 1993 - 1996
Class Sports Luxury
Body Style Coupe
Length 4245 mm (Carrera)
Width 1735 mm (Carrera)
Height 1315 mm
Wheelbase 2271 mm (Carrera)
Weight 1370 kg (Carrera)
Transmission 6-speed Manual/4-speed Tiptronic (latterly Tiptronic S)
Engine 3.6 litre flat-six, air cooled - turbocharged on Turbo and GT2
Power Carrera - 272 hp
Turbo - 408 hp
Similar Ferrari F355
Lamborghini Diablo
Aston Martin DB7
Designer Tony Hatter

New Decade, New 911

It's hard to believe that the 993-generation 911 was the first all-new model since 1963. The shape had gently evolved over the years - the first cars' sleek bumpers giving way to the USA-necessitated 'Impact Bumpers', then the arrival of the 1980s SC and Carrera models, the addition of the Tea Tray spoiler, and then the return to sleek bumpers for the 964-generation. All the models shared the same roof, and very similar dimensions and panels. But all this was to change, as Porsche set about blowing away the cobwebs from the 911 with the all-new 993.

Launch - With a Waiting List

The 993 was unveiled in early 1994, and as soon as Porsche had started to build them, buyers were beating a path to the dealerships' doors. This was a good sign - Porsche was on its way back around, after poor sales from the lacklustre 968 and 964 models. The press at the time gave the car gushing reports, and rejoiced in the fact that Porsche had implemented its brief for the new family member perfectly - improvement in the three categories of engine, styling and handling.

The styling was the car's tour-de-force - the staid looks of the 964 giving away to a smooth, Coke-bottle hipped form - but still pure 911. The upright wings and headlamps had been relaxed and canted backwards by a few degrees, giving the car a breath-taking modern look. The new alloy wheels, from the 968 range, complemented this, and to finish the exterior revamp, a new set of fresh colours was drawn up. Small details stood out - the aerodynamic mirrors, the teardrop exhausts and the wide haunches all combined to ensure that the 993 was the best-looking 911 ever. The visual makeover was enhanced by a re-designed interior, with new fabrics, a new seat design, improved heating and improved dashboard fabrics. Airbags were fitted as standard.

Under the skin, the 3.6 litre flat six engine retained its air-cooling (much to the delight of the purists), but with a 10% power increase - peak power was now up to 272 BHP. The new engine featured lavish use of exotic metals, such as magnesium for the fan housing, and a strengthened camshaft along with lighter pistons. A sophisticated Bosch ignition system was employed to keep the engine running as sweet as intended. In 1995, the powerplant was uprated with the addition of VarioRam, a sophisticated induction system which could change the length of the inlet pipe at different engine speeds to provide optimum performance all the way through the rev-range.

To cover the handling aspect of the design brief, the traditional semi-trailing arm suspension was scrapped and replaced with a multi-link system - very similar to the 928's Weissach Axle system. New dampers were fitted to improve the ride quality. Drive was delivered to the wheels via a six-speed manual or four-speed Tiptronic gearbox. The 993 was offered in both two-wheel drive Carrera and four-wheel drive Carrera 4 forms - the latter featuring a completely redesigned (on post-1995 cars) system over the departing 964 Carrera 4. The new drivetrain was lighter, more responsive, smoother and faster than the previous system - allowing true all-weather high-speed ability. This cured the deficit that had plagued the 911 since its inception - lift-off oversteer - due to its ability to independently brake a spinning wheel.

The range-wide 1995 overhaul included the return of a synonymous model - the Targa. The new model was the personification of the new high-tech 911 generation, with such engineering marvels as the glass roof, replacing the dated roll-bar of the traditional Targa. The large glass panel, which stretched from the A-pillar right down to the rear window, was mounted upon electric motors, and could be slid down at the owner's fancy, creating a large open space, akin to a convertible. The glass itself was UV-resistant, to prevent the cabin becoming a furnace on hot days. The model included a special, model-specific alloy wheel design - a contemporary five-spoke, split-rim design. The basis of the Targa was in fact a bare cabriolet shell.

Widening The Range - The Models

The Turbo

No 911 generation is complete without the synonymous turbocharged model, and the 993 effort was one of Porsche's strongest to date. The already-perfect 993 curves were subjected to a nip and tuck, with wider front and rear arches, along with the svelte, modernised version of the Tea Tray. A new alloy wheel was designed, named the Turbo Technic, and featured innovative hollow spokes to keep the unsprung mass as low as possible. The 'Big Red' brakes were added to the car, so called because of their Guards Red calipers, and behind these, the suspension components, all around the car, were fashioned from lightweight aluminium.

But even bigger changes were afoot beneath the wonderful bodywork - the 3.6 litre engine was fitted with twin KKK turbochargers, which allowed the power to soar to a peak of 408 BHP. Twin intercoolers dominated the engine bay. However, the headline grabbing facts lay with the drivetrain - the 993 Turbo premiered the four-wheel drive chassis, which is now a traditional Turbo trademark. The power-split was 20-80 front to rear, which was Porsche's optimum for the car - any more to the front, and understeer would reign the driving experience. Any less, and the expense of the four-wheel drive system would be to no avail. The extra traction lent the car awesome performance and road-holding, unlike anything else of its period : the Diablo tried too hard, the Aston DB7 was just a Jaguar in a dinner jacket, and the Ferrari 512 TR was too temperamental. The Porsche marketeers made hay from the supercar performance, but also the rock-solid build quality and bulletproof reliability. The 993 Turbo was to become one of the most successful turbocharged variants of all time.

The Carrera RS

The Carrera RS entered the world in 1995, bringing with it the VarioRam system which would be rolled out throughout the range in the remainder of the year. The model was based upon the 993 Carrera's two-wheel drive chassis, and, as in similar vein of the 1973 and 964 RS variants, 50 kilograms were shaved from the kerbweight, through the ommission of luxury components such as the rear bench, electric windows and mirrors. The glass was produced thinner, and the steel bonnet was replaced with a lighter aluminium item - which was flexible to the touch. The larger 'Big Red' brakes were pinched from the Turbo, and the 3.6 litre was bored out to 3.8 litres, and produced a peak of 300BHP.

The car could also be ordered in Club Sport guise, shaving further weight, from ancillaries such as airbags and standard front seats. Externally, the Club Sport RS can be identified by the revised bodywork - a large, double-layer rear wing was added, in conjunction with a swooping front splitter.

The GT2

To many, the GT2 is the ultimate incarnation of the 993. Intended soley as a motorsport homologation special, the car was devised to comply with the GT2 regulations of the European GT championships, and also the USA IMSA series. The successful Turbo model was used as a base, and the Porsche engineers set about extracting a few more horses (eventually liberating 430BHP), along with stripping even more un-essential luxuries. As such, the four-wheel drive system was jettisoned, and the standard two-wheel drive layout was utilised.

This gave the GT2 model the reputation of a 'widowmaker' - mainly due to the fact that it had 430 turbocharged horses rampaging through the rear wheels only - but this was mainly fallacy. Sure, it was more difficult to drive than the Turbo, but the sophisticated suspension cancelled out and lift-off oversteer - however, it was an animal in the wet.

The bodywork is the GT2's, and 993's, parting shot - the effusive curves widened even more by the addition of some lovely riveted on plastic arch-extensions, front and rear. The look was completed by new front and rear spoilers, and three-piece magnesium Speedline alloy wheels, with the centres painted gold.

The 993 generation was the base of an even more extreme GT1 model - although only the headlights were retained from the standard car.


  • 1993-1997 - Porsche 993 Carrera Coupe
  • 1993-1997 - Porsche 993 Carrera 4 Coupe
  • 1994-1997 - Porsche 993 Carrera Cabriolet
  • 1994-1997 - Porsche 993 Carrera 4 Cabriolet
  • 1995-1998 - Porsche 993 Targa
  • 1995-1998 - Porsche 993 Turbo (latterly in Turbo S specification)
  • 1995-1996 - Porsche 993 Carrera RS
  • 1996-1997 - Porsche 993 GT2

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