After three decades of producing rear-engined, air-cooled cars, Porsche began experimenting with more mainstream configurations in the late 1970s with an eye towards mass appeal. The Stuttgart company released a series of front-engine, water-cooled cars, first with the 924 in 1976, then with the 928 in 1978. The Porsche 944 appeared in 1982 as a more performance-oriented take on what the 924 initiated.
The Porsche 944 Turbo, first shown to the international press in February 1985 and on sale beginning in July, was the first car in the world to produce the same power output and driving performance, with or without a catalytic converter: 220 hp and a top speed in excess of 245 km/h.
Since its 1985 debut, the super-fast four-cylinder with its water-cooled turbo technology generated a great deal of approval, along with several racing successes. The trade journals celebrated the debutant as the “world’s fastest catalyst-equipped car” and the “world’s cleanest sports car”; other summed it up with “Porsche’s Super Technology”.
Beginning in November 1987, Porsche offered the 944 Turbo S as the extraordinarily sporty top model of its four-cylinder family. Compared to the normal 944 Turbo, the S model had a 2.5-liter engine developing 250 hp. This powerplant was a direct descendant of the racing engine used in the Turbo Cup, which had proven itself under extreme motorsports conditions. As from model year 1989, this engine became standard in the 944 Turbo.