Is this the prettiest generation of the Porsche 911? Much of the Top Gear office would argue that it is. The classic nine-eleven silhouette – still with relatively fine proportions – draped with subtle details. No fried egg shapes or strong LED patterns for the lights, and some simple, silver rims in a size that does not make you slalom every single hole. It’s a joy to see.
Especially in Turbo shape, with its dramatic ventilated wing that manages to be bolshy in size, but still stylish in the way it is gently draped over the rear tire. Swim.
This is the Porsche 911 in its 993 generation, the last of the air-cooled 91
402 hp and 398 lb ft produced by its 3.6-liter twin-turbo flat-six therefore did not seem as scary as they could have done in the time of rear-wheel drive turbos. AWD performance was still in its relative infancy; Porsche was among the pioneers, but had so far only offered it as an alternative to the 964-gen 911, or as standard on the mighty 959 hypercar.
We are sure that the purists of the time will have found time to sniff about it, just as they have about the introduction of stability control, PDK transmissions and electronic power steering in the decades that followed. 993 does without these, the gearbox is a six-speed manual with a difficult clutch pedal and a shift that requires a tough wrist action, while the steering is… well, almost perfect.
We also got a 993 Turbo S, launched in 1998. Where it is now a staple in the range – the current, 992-generated 911 Turbo appeared as an S-first (nabbing of our Performance Car of the Year trophy in the process) – it was actually a run-out special for the 993 and air-cooled 911s as a whole, produced by Porsche’s Exclusive department and the receiver of larger turbos – for a total of 450 hp – and a unique body set, including a larger rear wing. And today it has an even bigger price tag.
Photo: Jonny Fleetwood