In 1983 the 928S with 5-speed manual transmission and 4.7L-16v M28/19 engine was the fastest car sold in North America, at 146 mph. It was the fastest production road-car in the world in 1986, having been recorded at on the salt flats in Utah using an early 928 S4.
Ordered by Ferry Porsche to come up with a production-feasible concept for his new model, Fuhrmann initiated a design study in 1971, eventually taking from the process the final specs for the 928. Several drivetrain layouts were considered during early development, including rear and mid-engined designs, but most were dismissed because of technical and/or legislative difficulties. Having the engine, transmission, catalytic converter(s) and exhaust all cramped into a small rear engine bay made emission and noise control more difficult, something Porsche was already facing problems with on the 911 and wanted to avoid. After deciding that the mid-engine layout didn't allow enough room in the passenger compartment, a front engine/rear wheel drive layout was chosen. Porsche also feared at the time that the U.S. government would ban the sale of rear-engined cars in response to the consumer outrage over the Chevrolet Corvair, started by Ralph Nader via his book "Unsafe at Any Speed".
Porsche engineers wanted a large-displacement motor to power the 928, and prototype units were built with a 5.0 L V8 producing close to . Very early units used one four-barrel carburetor, which was eventually rejected in favor of Bosch's K-Jetronic fuel injection system. When increasing concern within the company over the pricing and availability of fuel during the oil crisis of the 1970s became an issue of contention, smaller engines were considered in the interest of fuel economy. A push began for the development of a 3.3 L powerplant they had drawn up specs for, but company engineers balked at this suggestion. Both sides finally settled on a 4.5 L, SOHC 16-valve V8 producing (in North America), which they considered to have an acceptable compromise of performance and fuel economy.
The finished car debuted at the 1977 Geneva Motor Show before going on sale later that year as a 1978 model. Although it won early acclaim for its comfort and power, sales were slow. Base prices were much higher than that of the previous range-topping model and its larger size; the 928's futuristic styling put off many purists who were more attracted to the more compact 911.
Fuhrmann's replacement, Peter Schutz, decided that the models should be sold side by side, feeling that the 911 still had potential in the company's line-up. Legislation against rear-engined vehicles also didn't materialize. Although the 928 developed an avid fan following, it never sold in the numbers Fuhrmann had originally predicted and was discontinued in 1995.
“Who has the right to define a Porsche only as a rear-engine, air-cooled car? Just because the first two cars were this, can we not grow? Do we not evolve?” - Ernst Fuhrmann
The 928 featured a large, front-mounted and water-cooled V8 engine driving the rear wheels. Originally displacing 4.5 L and featuring a single overhead camshaft design, it produced 219 hp (163 kW/222 PS) for the North American market and 240 PS (176 kW/237 hp) in other markets. Porsche upgraded the engine from mechanical to electronic fuel injection in 1980 for US models, although power remained the same. This design marked a major change in direction for Porsche (started with the introduction of the 924 in 1976), whose cars had until then used only rear- or mid-mounted air-cooled flat engines with four or six cylinders.
Porsche utilized a transaxle in the 928 to help achieve 50/50 front/rear weight distribution, aiding the car's balance. Although it weighed more than the difficult-to-handle 911, its more neutral weight balance and higher power output gave it similar performance on the track. The 928 was regarded as the more relaxing car to drive at the time. It came with either a five-speed dog leg manual transmission, or a Mercedes-Benz-derived automatic transmission, originally with three speeds, with four speed from 1983 in North America and 1984 in other markets. More than half of production had the automatic transmission. Exact percentage of manual gearbox cars for entire production run is not known but its believed to be between 25 and 30%.
The body, styled by Wolfgang Möbius under guidance of Anatole Lapine, was mainly galvanised steel, but the doors, front fenders and hood were aluminium. It had a substantial luggage area accessed via a large hatchback. The new polyurethane elastic bumpers were integrated into the nose and tail and covered in body-coloured plastic; an unusual feature for the time that aided the car visually and reduced its drag. Porsche opted not to offer a convertible variant but some aftermarket modifiers offer convertible conversions.
The 928 qualified as a 2+2, having two small seats in the rear. Both rear seats could be folded down to enlarge the luggage area, and both the front and rear seats had sun visors for occupants. The 928 was also the first vehicle in which the instrument binnacle moved with the adjustable steering wheel.
The 928 included several other innovations such as the "Weissach Axle", an early all-wheel steering system that provides passive rear-wheel steering in certain off-throttle cornering situations, and an unsleeved, silicon alloy engine block made of aluminium, which reduced weight and provided a highly durable cylinder bore.
Porsche's design and development efforts paid off during the 1978 European Car of the Year competition where the 928 won ahead of the BMW 7-series and the Ford Granada. The 928 is the only sports car so far to have won this competition, where the usual winners are mainstream hatchbacks and sedans/saloons from major European manufacturers. This is regarded as proof of how advanced the 928 was compared to its contemporaries.
Porsche introduced a refreshed 928 S into the European market in 1980 model year, although it was summer of 1982 and MY 1983 before the model reached North America. Externally, the S wore new front and rear spoilers and sported wider wheels and tires than the older variant, but the main change for the 928 S was under the hood, where a revised 4.7 L engine was used. European versions debuted with 300 PS (221 kW/297 hp), and were upgraded to 310 PS (228 kW/306 hp) for 1984 model year. From 1984 to 1986, the ROW (Rest Of the World) S model was officially called S2 in UK. North American spec 1983 and 1984 S models used, among other differences, smaller valves, milder camshafts and additional equipment to obey emissions regulations, and were limited to 239 hp (174 kW/242 PS) as a result.
As the faster S model was not available in the USA and Canada during the first three years of its existence, a "Competition Group" option was created to allow North American customers to have an S model lookalike with spoilers, 16" flat disc wheels, sport seats, sport springs and Bilstein shocks. Customers could specify paint and interior colors the same way as on a normal 928. The package was available in 1981 and 1982 model years and was canceled in 1983 when the S model became available for these markets. Many cars have had S model features added by subsequent owners, making original "Competition Group" cars difficult to distinguish without checking option codes.
In 1982 model year, two special models were available for different markets. 205 "Weissach Edition" cars were sold in North America. Unusual features were champagne gold metallic paint, matching brushed gold flat disc wheels, two-tone leather interior, a plaque containing the production number on the dash and the extremely collectible three-piece Porsche luggage set. It's believed these cars were not made with S spoilers even though these were available in USA during this time period as part of the "Competition Group" option. The "Weissach Edition" option was also available for the US market 911 in 1980 model year and 924 in 1981 model year.
140 special "50th Jubilee" 928 S models were available outside the USA and Canada to celebrate the company's 50 year existence as a car manufacturer. This model is also sometimes referred to as the "Ferry Porsche Edition" because his signature was embroidered into the front seats. It was painted meteor metallic and fitted with flat disc wheels, wine red leather and special striped fabric seat centers. Similar 911 and 924 specials were also made for ROW markets.
Porsche updated the North American 928 S for 1985, replacing the 4.7 L, SOHC engine with a new 5.0 L, DOHC unit sporting four valves per cylinder and producing 288 hp (215 kW/292 PS). Seats were also updated to a new style. These cars are sometimes unofficially called S3 to distinguish them from 16-valve S models. European models kept a 4.7 L engine, which was slightly more powerful, as standard; a little detuned 32-valve engine together with catalytic converters became an option in some European countries and Australia for 1986. That same year, revised suspension settings, larger brakes with 4-piston calipers and modified exhaust was installed on the 928 S, marking the final changes to old body style cars. ROW models received these changes at the beginning of the model year while North American cars got them only after close to 900 cars were made, starting from VIN 1001. North American version of this late 1986 model is sometimes referred as S3.5 or S3½ because of these changes. Name is little misleading as more than 2/3 of 1986 North American model production had these updates.
The 928 S4 variant debuted in the second half of 1986 as a 1987 model, an updated version of the 5.0 L V8 for all markets producing 320 PS (235 kW/316 hp), spotting a new single-disc clutch in manual gearbox cars, larger torque converter in automatics and fairly significant styling updates which gave the car a cleaner, sleeker look. S4 was much closer to being a truly world car than previous models as only major differences between ROW and US models were instrumentation in either kilometers or miles, lighting, front and rear bumper shocks and the availability of catalytic converters in many ROW markets. Australian market version was only one with different horsepower rating at 300 PS (221 kW/296 hp) due to preparation for possible low grade fuel. Even this was achieved without engine changes.
A Club Sport variant which was up to lighter became available to continental Europe and USA in 1988. This model was watered down version of 1987 factory prototype which had lightened body and 10.9:1 compression ratio engine. Also in 1987 the factory made four white lightened manual gearbox S4 models for racecar drivers who were on their payroll at the time. These were close to same as later actual Club Sport models and can also be considered prototypes for it. An SE (sometimes called the S4 Sport due to model designation on rear bumper), a sort of halfway point between a normally equipped S4 and the more race-oriented Club Sport, became available to the UK. It's generally believed these Porsche Motorsport engined cars have more hp than the S4. They utilize parts which later became known as GT pistons, cams, engine ECU programs and a stronger, short geared manual gearbox. The automatic gearbox was not available.
For 1989 model year visible change inside was digital trip computer in dashboard. At the same time Australian models received the same 320 PS (235 kW/316 hp) engine management setup as other markets. Porsche debuted the 928 GT in the late winter 1988/89 after dropping the slowly selling CS and SE. In terms of equipment, the GT was like the 928 SE, having more equipment than a Club Sport model but less than a 928 S4 to keep the weight down somewhat. It had the ZF 40% limited-slip differential as standard like the Club Sport and SE before it. Also like the CS and SE, the GT was only available with a manual gearbox. ROW 1989 CS and GT wheels had an RDK tire pressure monitoring system as standard. This was also optional for the same year ROW S4. For 1990 model year Porsche made RDK and a 0-100% variable ratio limited-slip called PSD (Porsche SperrDifferential) standard in both GT and S4 models for all markets. This system is much like the one from the 959 and gives the vehicle even more grip. In 1990 the S4 was no longer available with a manual gearbox.
The S4 and GT variants were both cut at the end of 1991 model year, making way for the final version of the 928. The 928 GTS came for sale in late 1991 as a 1992 model in Europe and in spring of 1992 as an early 1993 model in North America. Changed bodywork, larger front brakes and a new, more powerful 5.4 L, 350 PS (257 kW/345 hp) engine were the big advertised changes; what Porsche wasn't advertising was the price. Loaded GTS models could eclipse $100,000 USD in 1995, making them among the most expensive cars on the road at the time. This severely hampered sales despite the model's high competency and long standard equipment list. Porsche discontinued the GTS model that year after shipping only 77 of them to the United States. Total worldwide production for all years was a little over 61,000 cars.
Second-hand models' value decreased as a result of generally high maintenance costs due largely to spare parts that are expensive to manufacture. The earliest versions, however, especially those models with the Bosch K-Jetronic (CIS) injection system, have few electronic components and therefore can be repaired more easily provided spare parts can be found. Parts suppliers supported by various enthusiasts exist especially in the United States.
The GTS model has retained a high value however, and as of 2006 the price for all variants is apparently starting to creep upwards (Classic Motorsports, March, 2006 issue, p. 38). A great community dedicated to the 928 exists online even today, and the car has won a huge fan base. The 928 was such a powerful vehicle in its day that even models 25+ years old are able to outperform current sport/grand-touring models of various manufacture.
With the release of the Cayenne SUV, Porsche has met with renewed success with a front-engined, V8-powered model. The company's 2005 announcement that a new V8-powered 4-door grand tourer model called Panamera would be launched in 2009 fueled rumors and fan speculation of a reborn 928. Although the Panamera will be a 4-door model, Road and Track magazine published a speculative piece in their April 2006 issue in regards to the possibility of a new, 928-esque coupe that may debut on a shortened version of the Panamera's platform sometime around 2011 or 2012 model year. Although feasible, this is pure speculation as of 2006. The article seemed to indicate a re-use of the 928 nameplate although Porsche's recent tendency to give non-numerical names to their vehicles and a desire to separate the vehicle from past models may preclude the possibility of calling the vehicle 928.
Also noteworthy is that there are several manufacturers of supercharger and turbo kits specifically for the 928. The stock engine for any year is capable of handling significant power increases without part failure. More owners have opted for supercharging their vehicles as the conversion is reasonably straight forward whereas the fitting of two turbo chargers on each of the exhaust manifolds has caused problems because of the lack of space.
Another easily noticeable visual difference between versions is the style of the rims. Early 928s had 15" or 16" "phone dial"-style rims, while most 1980s 928s had 16" slotted "flat disc"s, CSs, SEs and 1989 GTs had 16" "Club Sport", later GTs had 16" "Design 90" style which were also option on same period S4s, the GTS used two variations of the 17" "CUP" rims.
|ROW||928||4.5L 16V 240 PS|
|928 S||4.7L 16V 300 PS||4.7L 16V|
|928 S 50th Jubilee M406||4.7L 16V 300 PS|
|UK||928 S2||4.7L 16V|
|928 S M151||4.7L 16V 275 PS|
|928 S M298/M299||5.0L 32V 288 PS|
|ROW||928 S4||5.0L 32V 320 PS|
|Australia||928 S4||5.0L 32V 300 PS|
|ROW||928 CS||5.0L 32V|
|UK||928 SE||5.0L 32V 320 PS|
|ROW||928 GT||5.0L 32V|
|ROW||928 GTS||5.4L 32V 350 PS|
|928||4.5L 16V 219 hp||4.5L 16V 228 hp|
|928 Competition Group||4.5L 16V 228 hp|
|928 Weissach Edition M462||4.5L 16V 228 hp|
|928 S||4.7L 16V|
|928 S||5.0L 32V|
|928 S4||5.0L 32V 316 hp|
|928 CS||5.0L 32V 316 hp|
|928 GT||5.0L 32V|
|928 GTS||5.4L 32V|
|Model||Model years||Numbers made|
|928 (1, 2||1978-82||17669|
|928 S (3||1980-83||8315|
|928 S/S2 (4, 5, 6||1984-86||14347|
|928 S4 (7||1987-91||16213|
|928 CS (8||1988-89½||19|
|928 GT (9||1989½-91||1620|
1) Count contains unknown number of US "Competition Group" models made in 1981 and 1982 model years.
2) Count contains 205 US "Weissach edition" models made in 1982 model year. 205 is official number which might not be correct. There are indications 217 or more were actually made.
3) Count contains 140 ROW "50th Jubilee" models made in 1982 model year.
4) Count contains 2219 so called S3 US models made in 1985 model year and 877 1986 models made in early part of 1986 model year up to November 1985.
5) Count contains unknown number of 1986 ROW 32 valve S models.
6) Count contains 2071 so called S3.5 US models made in later part of 1986 model year starting from November 1985.
7) Count contains 6 Club Sport prototypes made in 1987 model year.
8) Count contains 10 European models and 2 US models made in 1988 model year and 7 ROW models made in early 1989 model year. Last Club Sport was made in early winter 1988/89.
9) GT production started in around February 1989. Some sources list 1626 cars made. Neither available number might not include estimated 70-80 US models and estimated 320-400 ROW models made in 1989 model year. If this is the case, they are included in 1987-91 S4 total and do not add up into total production quantity. Actual number of GT's can be up to 2100 cars made.
This point of view becomes problematic when examining the facts. In the hands of very skilled driver, a similar-vintage 911 could match the 928 on track, although the 928's more predictable handling nature, more "friendly" dynamics, balanced 50/50 weight distribution and more powerful engine meant that in most cases it proved a competent on-track match for the 911, and was easily capable of out-accelerating all but the 964 generation 911 Turbo, which is notoriously difficult to drive at the limit. This performance, combined with the 928's longer list of standard features, more compliant highway ride and the comfort level necessary to be driven for hours on end without fatiguing the driver made it a solid entry as Porsche's best all-around vehicle and most certainly competent to replace the 911 as Porsche's flagship just as Porsche management intended it to do when 928 was designed.
In 1986 Porsche together with tuning company AMG made few long wheelbase 928 specials with a similar rear door arrangement as the much later Mazda RX-8. Unlike 942, these had normal 928 headlights. One was presented to American Sunroof Corporation (ASC) founder and CEO Heinz Prechter. ASC was later partly responsible of making Porsche 944 S2 cabriolets.
So it didn't come as a surprise, that the drivers were: Bernd Mayländer, Manuel Reuter (Porsche Works Pilots), also Harm Lagaay (then Head of Porsche's Design Studio).
Vittorio Strosek sponsored MM with his Lightweight-Body-Parts and racing exhaust.
The car was officially entered by PORSCHE-CLUB-SCHWABEN.
Homologation minimum weight had to be, and actually is .
(more infos: „PORSCHE SCENE" -Germany- 12/2006 „Frisch aufgelegt: Stroseks Design Klassiker“ and
"911&PORSCHE WORLD" -GB- May/June 1994 „928 Cup Racer“ )
Lagaaij reports, that the car was very competitive and able to hold most 993GTR down, although the engine was no more than fine-tuned after chosen from a set of high power output specimen in Weissach. In the last race of the season at Hockenheim a crank-bearing ran dry. As the car was supposed to race in 1995 as well, she was made ready to continue her successful competition in the 1995 season. A fresh engine was installed, selected from the same lot of high output engines and tuned as before. But in 1995 Porsche's 928-production came to an end and the car consequently was not raced in the new season.
The late Max Moritz himself then had her join his collection of historic cars. She has never been put on the road again until after his death, when the family sold the car in October 2004 -with only 24500 km on the clock. (Porsche-Weissach is the only documented owner).
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