(1992-1994) Porsche 911 Carrera RS (964) – Ultimate Guide
In hommage to the 1973 911 Carrera RS, Porsche used the same formula to produce a lightweight version of the Carrera 2 from the race-ready Cup car known simply as the Carrera RS. The Porsche Carrera RS, or 964 RS as it is more widely known started shipping in November 1991 as a 1992 model year car.
A primary objective for Porsche engineers was making the 964 RS as light as possible and in the end they were able to take out almost 300 pounds of weight. The bonnet was made out of aluminium, the side and rear windows were made from a lighter, thinner-gauge glass. Sound-insulating interior mats were removed, the front fog lamps were replaced with transparent covers and even the rust preventative undercoat was omitted. Porsche also removed the power steering, power windows, rear seats, electronically adjustable front seats and front armrests. The 964 RS was also fitted with lightweight magnesium Cup wheels. At 2706 pounds the 964 RS was 286 pounds lighter than the standard model.
The RS used an upgraded version (M64/03) of the M64 engine used in the 964 Carrera 2 and 4 (M64/01). Power was boosted by 10 horsepower from the new 3.6 liter boxer engine thanks to some magic by Porsche engineers. The pistons and cylinders were carefully selected and matched and the engine used rubber mounts in place of hydraulic mounts. It also had a lightweight single-mass flywheel that weighed 12 pounds. A lighter and simpler wiring harness was fitted and the ECU was reconfigured for higher octane fuel. Power went from 250 hp to 260 hp and torque increased from 229 ft/lbs to 240 ft/lbs.
The chassis was stiffened thanks to additional bracing and welding in key areas. The suspension on the Porsche Carrera RS was lowered by 40mm and made considerably stiffer with race-tuned shock absorbers. The front brakes comprised cross-drilled discs with four-piston fixed callipers as used on the 911 Turbo. The rear brakes were taken from the Carrera Cup race car.
Performance wise, the 964 RS had the same power and top speed as the coupe on which it was based. It out-accelerated its donor car by a lot thanks to its lighter weight. 0 – 60 mph was over in just 5.1 seconds (0.5 second faster than the standard C2). On the track it was awesome and easily bested the C2. If you want to understand cars like the recent 911 R, a car like the 964 RS is a good place to start.
The 964 Carrera RS was offered in three road legal versions. The first was a base option that offered no luxury at all, the second, a touring model, came with limited extras and the third was the N-GT (near-production GT).
One of my most memorable drives was in a 964 Carrera RS. The engine loves to rev, erupting with a visceral snarl in a way that today’s cars just can’t match. 260 hp doesn’t sound like a lot compared to today’s cars and the quoted 0 to 62 mph time of 5.4 seconds is doable in a minivan these days. But this just doesn’t feel like a 260 hp car, it feels much faster. It just builds speed insatiably beyond 4,000 rpm and with that rev-happy engine it just eggs you on to push and push. Love it.
The 964 RS has 322 mm Turbo discs the front, 299 mm Carrera Cup items at the rear and they work well in scrubbing off speed. The G50 gearbox with its short gearing coupled with the unassisted steering of the RS is pure magic. The car keeps you busy, adjusting the feelsome steering and rowing up and down the gears non stop. With all the slack taken from its chassis, the 964 RS also changes direction like no car I have ever driven. It is so engaging.
There are no electronic traction or stability systems apart from ABS, but feedback is so nuanced you hardly need them. You feel the level of residual grip through your palms, the soles of your feet and the seat of your pants. The way this pseudo—racer ambushes your senses is endlessly exciting.