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1989 Porsche 944 Turbo S vs. 1991 NSX

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Let me start by saying that I have always wanted to get an NSX - right from when they were first released. I was planning on cashing in some stock options to pick one up next year. However I just got a deal on a 1989 944 Turbo S that I couldn't pass up (about 1/2 of retail price) so I bought it. I had planned on making some money on the car when I sold it to buy my NSX. I have been having a blast driving the 944 though. I just test drove an NSX for the very first time and to be honest it didn't have the power that I was expecting. It seemed to be missing that nice push in the back that I get when the turbo kicks in on my 944. It sounded great, looked even better but I just didn't think it had the power/performance that my 944 does. Now I am wondering if it is worth my 944 turbo plus an extra $30K canadian. Has anyone raced or driven a stock 944 turbo S (not just the plain 944 turbo)? How did it compare to your NSX?
 

Lud

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The 944 turbo s is a great car today and was absolutely fantastic at the time it was introduced. I have never tested one side-by-side with an NSX but a friend of mine used to have one so I have a little experience in them.

Each car has a few parts of the acceleration curve that they would probably be better at, but overall straight-line acceleration should be pretty similar with the NSX maybe having a little bit of an edge. The power band on an NSX is also wider so you should have more real-world usable power (as opposed to simply drag racing, which is not what either car was designed for).

It is common for someone used to a forced-induction car to feel the NSX doesn't have much power. I think there are several reasons for this.

First, there is an illusion of more power in a forced induction car because you feel it "kick in" at higher RPMs. Even a supercharged car, which is usually smoother than a turbo, will spool up the boost as RPMs rise. On a turbo car in particular the power band tends to be "peaky". On an NA car like the NSX the power band is pretty smooth.

Another reason is the gearing and 8k redline. The stock 5-speed NSXs have pretty tall gearing. Combined with the cars high redline it takes a while to reach the top of most gears.

All these things give the impression of not accelerating as fast as you really are.

[This message has been edited by Lud (edited 25 October 2000).]
 
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Actually Wayne(from Doug & Wayne of the NSX files) does own a 1989 944 Turbo which would make it an S car. I own all three of Doug's videos and follow his website religiously. (By the way Doug when does the new video come out and is there some footage of that sweet F355 on it?) I know when the cars were stock Wayne was beating him at the Virginia City Hill Climb. According to Doug it was because the Hill Climb is suited for cars with high torque. Since Doug has added his supercharger and lightened his car things have changed. I don't know what Wayne has done to his car either because Doug doesn't speak much about it - except when he beats him or it breaks down.

[This message has been edited by SoloRacer (edited 26 October 2000).]
 
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Thanks for that input. I'm not up to speed on too much of my Porsche history regarding the mid to late 80s cars. I don't remember reading ever that it was an "S" version turbo so I wasn't too sure. Like you I follow that site religously and have the videos. A must for any NSX owner...or wannabe owner.

Torque is nice...

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Lud

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I don't think either car has been stock since they started doing the videos...?

[This message has been edited by Lud (edited 26 October 2000).]
 
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I have spent a considerable amount of time behind 944's, turbos, S's, S2', and all. Have owned 5 of them over a period of 9 years. I have also driven two NSX's. A 91 and a 94. Differences: Neither one is a drag light king. The Turbo gets it's ass kicked easily by just about anything off the line till that big turbo kicks in,then LOOK OUT. The standard turbo is a little better off the line due to the smaller turbo unit. The NSX is quicker then either one off the line. The NSX is a hell of alot more reliable then the turbo. dont get me wrong, I love the 44's and they are reliable, but no NSX.
Service: Hell, it takes up to 7 hours to remove the oil pan on the 44 because of the turbo plumbing which is EVERYWHERE. Book is 9! We wont even discuss servicing the turbo itself. Turbo S's have a spring loaded timing belt tensioner that has gone a long way in preventing the timing belt/valve crushing problem of earlier 44's. Still, the timing belt on the turbo and S is the SAME belt as an early RABBIT. Scary to think that my 320hp 944 turbo had a skinny timing belt like that. Everything on this car is a pain to do except for the oil change.
Handling: Turbo S's are much better then earlier cars but it wont touch an NSX around a track. At least till the NSX brakes get hot. The Turbo has stock HUGE 928S4 Brembo calipers. Very awesome brakes. These are the brakes others upgrade to. The 944 also has a better steering feel and input then the NSX. NSX is still good but no 944. Any 944. NSX shifts a hell of alot better then the 944.
performance times: average
88 turbo s- 0-60 in 5.5 seconds, 1/4 in 13.8 seconds/ 247 hp.
91 NSX 5 sp- 0-60 5.4 seconds 1/4 in 13.6

These are average and in my experience they are virtually the same in the straights.
But....like all turbo cars, a simple 500.00 chip swap and boom-your 247hp turbo is now at 290hp+. The 1/4 is in the very low 13's. for 1200.00 you can get the mass air flow kit/chip set and now your at 320hp. Hell for under 2500.00 the turbo can be at 365hp+ reliably. For under 5K it can be pushed to over 420hp with no NOS. Alot better then the painfully overpriced supercharger kits for the NSX. Not bad for a car that weighs a tad less then the NSX!
But as much as I like 944's, it is NOT an NSX. Especially in the sex appeal department. A 944 is a 944. A NSX, though some will not even take a double-take at them anymore, still garners quit a bit of attention.
Both great cars. But the NSX is in a higher league in my opinion then a 44 turbo.
 
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As others mention, the "perceived" acceleration in a 944S-T may in fact be greater than in an NSX (a big plus in my book, BTW).

The 944T was great, the 944S-T incredible, and I still salivate after the exotic 968S-T.

IMO any 944/968 car yields great joy, particularly at the track. Perfect balance and steering feedback.

But try driving an NSX for a couple of hours, you'll be hooked. Besides, a 10 year old NSX is a reliable daily driver, I can't tell you how many horror stories I've heard about the 944 line, particularly a T.

Having said that, if I had the garage space I would love to own a 944S-T as a track-only car!
 
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Thanks for the input guys. You are right in saying that the 944 T is not a good drag racer. I took it to the strip one night to see how it would do. I had a honda civic leave me at the light (major turbo lag). Of course I nailed him before the 1/8th mile point but it was embarrasing. I just wasn't willing to pound on my clutch to get a good launch. I love the looks of the NSX and that is what attracts me to the car. I drove one for about 20 mins and it just didn't feel all that special at the time - perhaps I was expecting too much I don't know. The seating position was quite different from my 944 T. In the NSX I felt like I was sitting fairly high in the car whereas in the 944 I feel like I'm sitting down inside the car. Might be something to do with the mid engine layout as I have never drove a mid engine car before. Also the clutch took some getting used to as it wasn't as hard sprung as my 944's. Also the gas pedal felt a little weird. When I floored it I could feel to pedal resisting me. It seemed like the last 15% pedal travel was somehow stuck and it took a good push to floor the car. Is this normal? I would think it would get tiresome under sustained spirited driving. The steering was fine but I agree that the Porsche does feel more direct. I didn't push the NSX hard enough to really try out the brakes.

In terms of a "higher" level of car I guess that would be subjective. What defines an exotic car? Is it performance? If so then the new camaro's and mustangs would be exotics but I don't see them that way. Is it the price tag? If so with the price of the higher end sport utilities they would qualify. Is it the brand name? Well most would say that Porsche, Ferrari, etc. would be exotics but Acura? Now we all know the NSX is an exotic so it must be a specific car. Is it exclusivity? Perhaps.... but then I don't know many guys who drive limo's either and they aren't exotics. I don't know what the answer is.

The thing I'm looking at right now is I love the looks of the NSX and if I could find one with a supercharger and exhaust for a little more money than my 944 T I would do it in a minute. The problem is a bone stock one will be at least $30000 canadian more than my 944 T and I don't know if the difference in the cars is worth the cash is all. I can get a used 911 turbo for about the same money as a used NSX and there is little doubt the 911 turbo is in the same league as the NSX plus it will have the performance edge. So maybe that is the logical upgrade for me I don't know. Unless of course anyone knows of an NSX for sale with a supercharger that they would be willing to let go for an 89 944 T and something like and extra 15K US?
wink.gif


[This message has been edited by SoloRacer (edited 28 October 2000).]
 
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From what I have read in your posts, it sounds as though the NSX doesn't really meet your needs and expectations. I remember when I was looking at NSX's I too felt it was sluggish compared to my '95 3000GT Spyder VR-4, but that soon became a fallacy. The NSX is probably the only exotic that can be used as a daily driver, that's why you see so many with high mileage, especially in areas like Fl and Ca where they can be driven all year. On the otherhand, try looking for a Porsche or Ferrari with the same mileage, I doubt you'll find one because of reliability issues. As for an older 911 Turbo, they are are very unrefined IMHO and difficult to drive compared to the NSX. On a last note, I don't think that a '89 944 Turbo is worth more than 13k US, so finding a supercharged NSX for under 30k is very unlikely.
 
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The seating position was quite different from my 944 T. In the NSX I felt like I was sitting fairly high in the car whereas in the 944 I feel like I'm sitting down inside the car. Might be something to do with the mid engine layout

Or it might have something to do with the low hood of the NSX, much lower than the Porsche. So even though you're sitting right off the ground in the NSX, it doesn't seem as low because you're still looking down at the road.

Also the gas pedal felt a little weird. When I floored it I could feel to pedal resisting me. It seemed like the last 15% pedal travel was somehow stuck and it took a good push to floor the car. Is this normal?

No.

I remember when I was looking at NSX's I too felt it was sluggish compared to my '95 3000GT Spyder VR-4, but that soon became a fallacy.

The NSX is a lot faster than the VR4, mostly because of the weight difference (the VR4 weighs 3800 pounds, a good 700-800 pounds more than the NSX).
 

Lee

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Also the gas pedal felt a little weird. When I floored it I could feel to pedal resisting me. It seemed like the last 15% pedal travel was somehow stuck and it took a good push to floor the car. Is this normal? I would think it would get tiresome under sustained spirited driving.

Actually, I have experience the same thing you descibe here with my 92. It seems to be more noticable when I floor it in say 4th or 5th at highway speeds. It pedal definately wants to put up a fight, something similar to the brake pedal pulsing when the anti-lock kicks in.
 

Edo

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I read somewhere in the FAQ that on the earlier models that didnt use the Throttle by Wire, the Throttle thingie got stuck at the very end on some rubber hose. Maybe a Vacuum hose? Anyways it would give you alot of resistance on the last 10% or so of pedal travel. You might want to check that.
 
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Hi Soloracer,
It happens that the car I previously owned before my NSX is a 944 turbo/s. I installed an Autothority chip (stage 2) and bumped the h.p. close to 300. If you think the car is good now wait till you chip it. It'll run smoother and throttle response is instant. A true case of night and day. Next to the Nsx, it is clearly the funnest car I owned. Now, why did I get rid of it. Lets put it this way, I knew the family history of the Porsche mechanic by having my car in the service bay far too often. Lets see, cam belt changes, brake rotors, etc. The NSX is just so reliable it seems all I do is oil changes and the 8000 rpms is oh so sweet. But with a chipped turbo you have a great car.
 
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Jungd,

I live in Calgary too. Are you a member of any of the car clubs around town? I would be interested in meeting you and seeing your car. It sounds like we both have the same tastes. *lol* I just took a guy for a ride in my 944 turbo who has a black chipped 87 944 turbo. He says mine feels chipped too. I thought maybe it was just the difference between a regular 951 (his car) and the 951S (my car). The week after I bought my car I went to secret street and met a guy there from Vancouver who was driving a 1990 951 that was chipped. I let him drive my car (with me in it) and he also said it felt chipped. I asked Wayde at South Center about it and he took a look and said that the banjo bolt that is used to raise the boost in the autothority system was not there. I also let him drive it and he said I was getting normal boost levels for a 1989 951. So now I don't know what to believe. I think the only way to find out is physically check the chips. Perhaps my car has the wastegate shims and weltmeister chips. If so that might explain why the NSX I drove didn't feel as powerful. I believe the weltmeister chips w/wastegate shims and FPR will produce over 300 hp at the flywheel.
 
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Hi Soloracer,
My car is currently winter stored so its hard to appreciate it in my garage. I use to belong to the Porsche Club Wild Rose Region. I have not taken my NSX to Race City Speedway, but my Porsche was a regular.
Your mechanic will know whether your car is chipped by just looking at the wastegate. Again, the Autothority chip from Virginia was unbelievable on the 944 turbo s. Its hard to imagine but on the track it was way more fun than any 911 because of the balance of the car was 50/50. I also went synthetic oil due to the heat of the turbos and highly recommend you do the same.
Maybe we can meet at a Starbucks?
good luck
 
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