Road Test Performance and Impression

959 Sports
Tested by Auto, Motor und Sport
  Top Speed
197 mph
  0-100 km/h (62 mph)
3.7 sec
  0-160 km/h (99.5 mph)
8.3 sec
  0-200 km/h (124 mph)
13.0 sec
  Standing 1/4 mile
11.9 sec
  Standing 1000 m
21.6 sec
959 Comfortable
Tested by Fast Lane
  0-60 mph  (96.5 km/h)
4.2 sec
  0-100 mph  (161 km/h)
9.7 sec
  0-140 mph  (225 km/h)
19.2 sec

Car and Driver 

Translated back to english from the Chinese version C&D, Sept 1986

"Engine noise still come from behind, but it is no longer the familiar noise (Note: to 911). The noise from cooling fan and valves disappeared, replaced by the fuel injectors and the flat six's exhaust noise. (Note: C&D obviously ignored the fact that the 911 was also fuel injected)  

"In idling, 959 is as civilised as a cat. Press the throttle pedal slightly and the rev meter will turn softly. However, explore deeper and the car will release its soul like a wild animal. Between 4,000 rpm and 5,000 rpm, this engine sings clearly and deeply, showing its real ability. It cannot melt the road underneath, neither can it roar like an old Corvette nor press your neck to the headrest under acceleration, but it allows you to press the throttle as long as you wish and corners as fast as you like.  

"Under dry road programme, enter a 90 degrees bend quickly, the rear end will slide slightly. Since the front wheels grip hardly to the road, applies a bit opposite lock and you can get the tail back to its normal path. If the driver can keep the engine running at above 5,000 rpm, 959 can exit the corner like a rocket.  

"The operation of throttle and brakes rarely influence the path the car runs. Press or loose the throttle cannot lead to or stop the slide. Similarly, it can corner beautifully while you are braking hard, just like the throttle and brake pedals isolated from the car. One more thing has to be mentioned: the power steering is not too light and provides very good road feel.  

"Unluckily, we cannot test it outside Nurburgring race track.... 959 has well manner: wind and engine noise are suppressed very well; suspensions damp well even at their stiffest setting. In addition to the leather interior, first rate air conditioning and audio system, 959 is a luxurious car !! "


Autocar (8 June 1988)

When Autocar tested 959 a year later, the world had changed a lot. Ferrari raised the game by launching F40, which was claimed to be 959-beater. With a strong rival side by side, Autocar found the Porsche seemed to be slower and more civilised. But it was far more versatile than any supercars had ever tried to be.

"With the 959's all-weather traction prowess, creature comforts ( it's like a normal 911 inside, complete with small rear seats ), noise insulation, easy vision and cabin access, it holds an inherent advantage for everyday, year round use. Anyone who has driven a 959 on a variety of roads and especially in the wet knows how stunning good it is as a complete ultra-high performance road car." 

Contrary to most people's expectation, Autocar found the sequential turbo engine was more like a typical blown engine than F40, "Up to 4300 rpm, only the first turbo puffs into the cylinders of the flat six with its water-cooled heads ; above that, the second blower comes in. This makes the Porsche feel rather leisurely below 4500 rpm. Then it suddenly explodes as it begin to dispense real power. Its maximum torque of 369 lbft comes at 5500 rpm which is why the 959's six-speed transmission wants to be operated quickly."

Testing in a dry test track, Autocar said the 959 cornered considerably slower than F40 because of its weight, its high center of gravity and its 4-wheel drive which made it difficult to power slide. So it was not the performance choice, but surely the everyday driver's choice, "The 959 is a civilisied two-plus two with amazing driving performance.... Porsche wanted to build a car that contained the ultimate in drive-line technology and showed how easy and manageable very high power outputs could be made, in the hands of ANY driver in all conditions. Anyone who has driven a 959 in a range of weathers knows that it too, has succeeded."

A detailed report about the 959 - F40 contest is available in Part VI.


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