B​ecome an armchair expert on... The Porsche 959

4w ago


Alex Goy is a freelance motoring journalist who writes for the likes of Motor1, Carfection, CNET and DriveTribe.


T​here’s a Porsche for everyone, even people who like turbomeganutter cars from the 80s. Meet the Porsche 959. Here are five things you need to know...

​1 ) It was built for rallying because the 911 needed to evolve

Like most mental cars from the 80s, the 959 was designed to go very quick around the rally stages of the world. See, the 911 needed to evolve, consistently, and Porsche needed a test bed to see what could be done.

Race cars can be great test beds for new tech, and so the 959 was put together to see just how much grunt the 911 could truly get away with under extreme stress. While development cars did compete in other events, the 959 never ran in Group B as the class was killed off before it could enter.

2) Its engine was awesome

Nowadays 444bhp isn’t a headline figure, really. An Audi RS3 is tickling that. But in the mid-80s things were quite different. Its 2.8-litre flat six came with two turbos that worked in sequence – meaning you got a little bit of boost to get you trucking, then a massive burst of it when you hit the right point in the rev range. The Sport version would crack 0-62mph in 3.6 seconds, and hit 197mph. In the 80s.

3) You could have your choice of 959 madness

Two variants were built. The hardcore would likely plump for the ‘Sport’ version, which was a pared down nuttermobile. The Komfort spec afforded drivers a few more creature comforts, which meant that while it was a smidge slower to various ludicrous speeds, you could actually use it as a daily. If that’s your kinda thing.

4) There was an even faster one

If 444bhp and 369lb ft wasn’t enough for your ‘more is more’ 80s garage, fear not! Because Porsche built a faster one – the 959S. The S came with bigger turbos and 508bhp, which means it would crack 211mph. Only 29 were built.

5) It was full of smart tech

As well as all wheel drive that shimmied power from front to rear and back again as the car needed it, its aero was trick as well. The faster you went, the more stable it got (in theory). Also, its body is made from aluminium and Kevlar, while its floor is made of Nomex. Lightweight composites like carbon fibre might be available as trim options on a 320d these days, but back then they were complex, expensive, and difficult.

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Comments (6)
  • Such a shame that we never got the chance to see it among group B monsters.

    29 days ago
    8 Bumps
  • Never knew about the 959S, that would've been a game changer in the mainstream market. Still couldn't take one over an F40 though if I'm honest, luckily I don't see myself facing that decision any time soon

    26 days ago
    2 Bumps


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