Two years on, the 928 got an additional 7kW and anti-lock brakes – along with an S2 badge. CAR’s test team got its hands on one in January ’86 but that had the four-speed auto box, which was actually a Mercedes-Benz design used under licence. It was a popular choice in the 928’s life thanks to the V8’s superb raft of torque, and the test team reckoned it was the better version – unlike a Ferrari or a 911.
Ah, yes, the 911… turn to the back pages of that same CAR issue and you’ll see the 911 was still on offer for around R40k less than the R153 145 needed for the keys to a 928S. And that listing is the fly in the ointment in the 928 tale. Porsche’s prediction that the US authorities could outlaw rear-engined cars never materialised, and sales of the 1978-launched 911SC had been so strong that the company re-worked the model significantly to update its emissions and performance with the 3.2-litre Carrera.
Launched in ’83, the new Carrera clearly hit the mark with enthusiasts who still yearned for that chainsaw-like howl and twitchy road manners. The same year as that price listing, the 911 enjoyed an all-time sales peak of 17 000 cars; a number the 928’s most popular derivative, the S4, couldn’t even match over four years. It was quite an accolade for the 911 when you consider that the original design had debuted 22 years before.
That S4 – launched a year later in ’87 – was another marked evolution, thanks to a switch to four-valves-per-cylinder technology (in the interests of better emissions). Up front it now packed 235kW which translated to 262km/h, assuming you were brave enough to find out. And it looked subtly different with a revised front and rear bumper/light treatment and larger rear spoiler. There were improvements inside, most notably with electrically adjustable seats and an LED-based warning panel to notify you of things like tyre pressure changes and act as a trip computer with data on fuel consumption, range and distance travelled available when required – state-of-the-art fare for a late ʼ80s luxury car.