(1989 – 1991) Porsche 944 S2 Coupe – Ultimate Guide
The covers were lifted off the 944’s next-generation model in early 1989, the stunningly contemporary 944 S2. Porsche, as a company, were heading into tough times and were relying on the 944 S2 and the new 911, the 964, to make enough money just to stay afloat. Porsche upped the performance of the 944 S2 thanks to an upgraded engine, a 3.0 liter version of the DOHC double valve four cylinder that was good for solid 208 hp. The 16-valve engine was bored out from 2.5 litres to 3.0 litres.
To cut manufacturing costs, the entire cylinder head was taken directly from the 928’s V8, and the 16-valve engine provided enhanced performance with greater fuel economy over the outgoing 2.5/2.7 litre engine. A catalytic converter was fitted as standard on every S2 and the Bosch Motronic ignition system was modified to include twin knock sensors as well as storing information which could be read, via a computer uplink, at services. Additional upgrades to this engine occurred in 1990, when the intake manifold was modified, a larger oil cooler was added and an automatic three-sensor knock controller was integrated into the ignition system.
To suit this new engine version the car’s transmission and gear ratios were revised to get the best performance and driver experience. Peak power was 208 bhp @ 5800 rpm and torque was 207 lb-ft @ 4100 rpm. Performance wise, the 944 S2 was good for 6.90 second 0-60 mph time and a 14.9 second quarter mile. Top speed was 149 mph.
The model was offered with the familiar options of airbags, ABS brakes, a limited slip differential: while 16″ Series 90 cast alloy wheels were standard.
The 944 S2 featured the smooth front bumper and rear underspoiler, previously Turbo-only, as standard, along with a brand new alloy wheel design – the stylish ‘Design 90’. Colour charts were boosted by new colour variations, as well as an exciting feature – the ‘colour match to sample’ option, which would allow a buyer to have the car painted in a colour to match any size of sample. As a result, a large number of gaudy coloured cars left the Neckarslum plant, proving that some people have more money than taste. Very few interior changes were made, apart from a rear luggage blind, and from 1990-onwards, standard lift-out sunroof and split folding rear seat backs.
The 944 S2 brought an enticing option to the price lists, in the shape of the ‘ClubSport’, built to emulate the successful ‘Turbo Cup’ 944 Turbo-based racing series. The option deleted all sound-deadening, removed all electric components and included the addition of race-style bucket seats. Very few of these cars were built.
The S2 was also available as a cabriolet, a first for the 944 line. The Cabriolet, engineered by American Sunroof Company, was rumored to be two years late in arriving on the market due to unprecedented chassis flex problems. The finished article, despite being 70 KG heavier than the coupe, displayed no obvious signs of such problems, and its clean lines found a place in many hearts.