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964 Model/Type Overview

The Porsche 964 was the model series for the Type 911 produced between 1989 and 1994. The Porsche 964 represented the first "modernization" of the 911 and is, by most measures, the most technically advanced while still still retaining the raw, classic sports car look and feeling of the original air-cooled 911 series. The 964 series also bridged the gap as an evolution between between the original 911 series and the model 993, destined to become the last air-cooled model of the 911 series:

"By systemically adding future-orientated technology to the 911, we achieve essential improvements: in performance, safety, comfort, easing the burden on our environment and fuel economy. Both the duration of each single sample and the constancy of our models contribute to the value of a Porsche sports car; thus the 911 has been refined many times over its 26-year lifespan."

-Dr. Ferry Porsche, 1991

The Porsche 964 was first introduced in 1989 in an all-wheel-drive configuration, called the Carrera 4 (or C4 for short), whose drive-train was evolved from the fabled 959 program in the mid-80's. Porsche said that around 85% of the parts in the C4 were new, with notable changes like a 3.6L engine, coil springs instead of torsion bars, ABS brakes, airbags, power steering, a retractable rear spoiler, and a new heating and air conditioning system that worked (!). Significant work was done on the body aerodynamics, and the 3.6L M64 engine was the first Porsche engine that was produced as a single engine for all worldwide markets, with 247 HP (net).

The manual transmission was an updated version of the G50 5-speed introduced in 1987. In 1990, the rear-wheel-drive version, the Carrera 2 (or C2), was added.  During the 964 program there were coupes, Targa's, cabriolets, and Speedsters, "turbo looks," plus the limited-run America Roadster, RS America (US only), and Carrera RS (non-US). models.  964's replaced 944's in the then 4 year old Porsche Cup racing series, and were used from 1990-1993.  45 964's were also prepared for a US race series that was cancelled, with the cars mostly being returned to street guise and sold.  In the US, upwards of 13,000 964's were sold.

At this point, the 964 line is pretty well shaken down, and there are some things to be aware of if you're considering buying one. Early engines were built without a cylinder head gasket, and in a small percentage of engines, can leak. Porsche fixed those that were found leaking at that time, with leaking being defined as wet to the touch. In 1991, Porsche updated the production engines by adding a cylinder head gasket, redesigning the cylinder head base, and installing all steel head studs. The 1990-on 964's use a dual mass flywheel, which helps isolate drive-train vibration, however, the early Freudenberg units proved unreliable.  In 1992 Porsche changed to LUK-manufactured units, which have stood the test of time. In late 1993, Porsche added a vent kit for the distributor, to help prevent the dual distributor rubber belt from breaking due to ozone concentrations. There is a $10 kit to add this to earlier 964's. 1989-1991 964's need different spacers on the steering rack if you want to fit 17" wheels. In order to store the top on the Cabriolet model, the rear suspension geometry was changed for all models in 1991, which is important to know if you make any rear suspension upgrades. As a Digital Motor Electronics (DME)-based Porsche platform, 964-owners should consider carrying a spare DME relay (part no. 993.615.227.00, around $22) in your glove-box.

Some people don't care for the 964 C4 all wheel drive system (as compared to the different and improved system of the 993, for example), so be sure you're OK with it before buying one. C4's have a high pressure (up to 180 bar or 2,600 psi) hydraulic-based brake system, as opposed to the more conventional vacuum-based system. This is important if you bleed your own brakes, as it's difficult, if not impossible, to properly bleed the 964 C4 brakes without a Bosch 9288 system tester, aka "the  hammer". This tool runs around $3,000, needs a Porsche-specific software module, and Bosch no longer supports them.  C2's and RS America's use a vacuum-based brake system and can be bled at home (2 bar or 30 psi on your pressure bleeder).  Of course, have a pre-purchase inspection done, so you know what you're getting and that you negotiate the best price for it's condition.

So what's it like to drive a stock 964? It's more quiet and isolated from the road and environment than earlier 911's.  The 3.6L engine, with it's additional horsepower,  is a joy.  It's heavy at around 3030 (C2) to 3250 (C4) lbs, the suspension is what you'd expect, with a tip towards the cushy side, and it pushes, or understeers in stock configuration, significantly at lower speeds. The heating and a/c system really does work better than earlier 911's.

The Porsche 964 was the last of the "true 911" body styles, representing the culmination of the most widely recognized shapes on earth.


Abridged 964 Model Specifications


  • Engine Design: Air/oil cooled, horizontally-opposed, dry-sump lubrication, rear-mounted

  • Engine Displacement: 3600 cc (219.7 cu in.)

  • Cylinders: Six, light alloy head

  • Bore and Stroke: 3.94 x 3.01

  • Compression ratio: 11.3 : 1

  • Fuel/Ignition: Electronic fuel injection, DME controller, with twin-spark with knock regulation

  • Crankshaft: Forged, 8 main bearings, enclosed in light allow case

  • Valve Train: Overhead cam, one per bank, double chain drive

  • Power: 184kW/247 HP (SAE net), 250 HP (DIN) @ 6100 RPM

  • Torque: 310Nm/228 ft lbs. @ 4800 RPM

  • Engine speed limitation: 6700 +/- 20 RPM

Drive Train

  • Manual Transmission (C2): G-50, Synchromesh 5-Speed manual

    • Reverse: 2.857:1

    • 1st: 3:500:1

    • 2nd: 2:059:1

    • 3rd: 1:407:1

    • 4th: 1:086:1

    • 5th (OD): 0.868:1

    • Final drive: 3:333:1 (3.444 ROW)

  • Manual Transmission (C4): G-64, Synchromesh 5-Speed manual

    • Reverse: 2.857:1

    • 1st: 3:500:1

    • 2nd: 2:118:1

    • 3rd: 1:444:1

    • 4th: 1:086:1

    • 5th (OD): 0.868:1

    • Final drive: 3:444:1

  • Automatic Transmission: A-50 Tiptronic 4-speed

    • Reverse: 2.086:1

    • spur gear: 1:100

    • 1st: 2:479:1

    • 2nd: 1:479:1

    • 3rd: 1:00:1

    • 4th (OD): 0.728:1

    • Final drive: 3.667:1

    • Moving-off ratio: 1.98:1

  • Clutch: Single-disk dry clutch with thrust plate, dual mass flywheel

  • Limited Slip Differential: available as option, 40% locking value, (100% variable in C4)


  • Top speed: 162 mph, 159 mph (Tiptronic)

  •  0-60mph: 5.5 sec (manual transmission) , 6.4 sec (Tiptronic)

  • 1/4 mile: 13.9 sec. (C2), 14.5 sec. (Tiptronic), 14.1 sec. (C4)

  • Co-efficient of drag: 0.32

  • Fuel Consumption

Selected Dimensions/Capacities

  • Curb weight (to DIN 70020): 3031 lbs./1375 kg (C2); 3100 lbs. (Tiptronic), 3252 lbs. (C4)

  • Wheelbase: 89.4 in.

  • Overall Length: 168.3 in.

  • Width 65.0 in.

  • Height: 52.0 in.

  • Front Track: 54.3 in.

  • Rear Track: 54.1 in.

  • Ground Clearance: 4.7 in. (US)

  • Fuel Tank: 20.3 gal (US)

  • Engine Oil: 21.12 qts. (US), oil change volume: 9.5 qts (US)

  • Transmission Fluid: 3.8 qts. (C2), 9.5 qts. (Tiptronic), 4.0 qts. (C4)


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