Michael's 1988 928s4 review



From epinions.com

Until the introduction of the Cayenne SUV, Porsche has only made one 8 cylinder car: the 928. At its introduction to the world in 1978 it became the only sports car to ever be named "Car Of The Year". Each subsequent model year through the end of production in 1995 brought with it improvements in performance, comfort, and handling. Not only was the 928 more often than not the most expensive Porsche available (mine had a sticker price of over $80,000 - and that was in 1988!) but is was one of the most powerful and fastest in terms of top end speed. In 1986 Al Holbert set two world land speed records in the newly introduced 1987 928 S4 at the Bonneville Salt Flats. That made the 928 the fastest production car in the world with a top speed of 171 MPH.

The 928 is not a substitute for a 911 - or for any other car. It has a character and presence all its own. Unlike most super cars out there, the 928 has all of the features that make a GT the desired car for long highway rides - across the county or across the continent. The interior is luxuriously appointed and the seats are comfortable and supportive enough to prevent road weariness.

In terms of performance, in a 1988 you can expect to see a top speed of 162 MPH with the strong and reliable Mercedes built 4 spd automatic transmission. You'll pick up another 3 MPH with the available 5 speed.

Weighing in at around 3,500 pounds means that your 0 - 60 times won't get any better than around 6.3 (5.7 with the 5 spd) - you'll have to step up to a 928 GT or GTS to bring those down - and even then it will still take 5.5 seconds or so to move the bulk of this car to 60 MPH. You will see 1/4 mile times at around 14.5 seconds - at well over 100 MPH.

Where's it all coming from? The aluminum alloy engine is a 5.0 litre, 32 valve, 4 cam powerplant that produces 316 bhp at 6000 rpm and 317 ft.lbs of torque at 3000 RPM. EZK electronic ignition and Bosch LH fuel management control it all.

The brakes are matched to the performance so the 4 piston calipers on the '88 will take you from 60 - 0 in just under 3 seconds.

Another difference between this super car and others is that it is oh so easy to drive. Instead of fighting to keep control, the 928 seems to anticipate the road ahead. Lift up on the accelerator going through a turn and the Weissach rear axle adjusts the rear toe-in preventing the car from over-reacting to the sudden change in inertia. The power assisted steering never leaves you feeling like you are fighting with the front end for control. All in all, it is a remarkably relaxing experience to pilot a 928 S4 at high speeds - and one that pastes a grin on your face from ear to ear, from start to finish.

So what does it take to own a piece of automotive and Porsche history? Depending on what you are looking for and which model year you choose you can pick up a 928, 928S or 928 S4 for anywhere between $5,000 and $20,000. A good solid middle of production car like my 1988 in good shape with low miles will cost around $15,000.

That means for the price of a used Honda you can drive a true super car that will still run with the best of them. Have you seen Mark Anderson on Speedvision racing his (13 year old!) S4 at Laguna against big money new cars? Or have you caught Mark Kibort at Sears point giving fits to late model cars with his 1984 928S? Did you read how Susan Kirby-Thomas set the Women's Public Highway Land Speed Record at September 1999 Silver State Classic - driving her 1988 928 S4?!

Older performance cars of any ilk can be expensive to maintain. In the US we are very fortunate to have a several independent vendors that continually source and supply maintenance and repair parts for the 928 at costs much lower than the dealerships. [ed: see list at end] Still, working on these complex machines takes knowledge and experience, not to mention some special tools. If you don't do your own work, make sure you have a qualified local mechanic who knows these cars or your just asking for trouble and undue

It can cost nothing or it can cost $10,000 to get your newly acquired 928 in to top running condition. Always try to buy the newest shark you can afford in the best condition you can find. It shouldn't cost more than $3,000 over a 3 year period to keep an S4 in top running shape - so budget $100 a month for maintenance and you should be fine. What you choose to spend to upgrade things like wheels, tires, stereos, etc. should never be counted in maintenance costs.

For less than the cost of going zoom zoom zoom, you can go BWAAAAHHHH! (c)PT



pics: http://www.hamelin-usa.com/928/ 


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