Complete Porsche 928 lineup, specs, economy, dimensions

1978 Porsche 928 - Technical Specs, Fuel economy, Dimensions1977 - 1995 Porsche 928 Coupe92815 Trims 219 to 350 Hp

The Porsche 928 is a two-door grand tourer available from 1977 to 1995

The Changing Car World

When the 1970s energy crisis occurred, it left many performance-focused carmakers with a difficult decision about power versus fuel. Porsche, well-known for its race-focused vehicles with a strong emphasis on performance through the perfection of the weight to power ratio, now had a new world to deal with. The Porsche 356 and the later Porsche 911 had firmly cemented the brand as a high-performance and capable automaker, while the introduction of the entry-level Porsche 914 and later 924 models proved to be worthwhile entry-level options. But Porsche had nothing to fill the gap for clients who wanted a luxurious option like the Porsche 911, but was also insistent on purchasing an efficient vehicle that doesn’t waste fuel while putting around town. And the decreasing sales of the 911 proved that to be true.

Porsche 928 Design and Introduction

The result was the Porsche 928. It was a new grand tourer model that would bring together the best of a luxury sedan with a sports coupe, and it was ready to compete with brands like Mercedes-Benz and BMW. In a major shift from other Porsche designs, the 928 received a front-engine layout with rear-wheel drive. This made emissions and noise control easier to accomplish, while also allowing for different engines to be utilized. After much deliberation and design challenges from Ferdinand Piece and Porsche engineers, the Porsche 928 selected a 4.5L single overhead cam 16-valve V8 engine to be used, producing 240 horsepower in European models, limited to 219 horsepower in North American variants. It was considered enough power while also being somewhat fuel efficient. The engine was upgraded to electronic fuel injection in 1980 for the North American models. Some of the body panels were made from aluminum to save weight, while a substantial rear luggage area provided ample rear cargo space. Polyurethane bumpers were developed and selected for the 928, featuring body-colored plastic coverings to provide another distinct luxury look. Pop-up headlights were also featured. While considered a grand tourer, the 2+2 configuration had a fairly small rear seating area that was best used by children. The rear seats could fold down to provide additional rear cargo space.

Updated Variants 

Over the years, the Porsche 928 received a variety of design updates. These included integrated rear spoilers switching to a separated wing, the addition of side skirts, and wider rear fenders in the GTS model to allow for increased wheel sizes. In 1980, the 928 S was introduced in the European market, with the North American market following in 1982. It used a new 4.7L engine with up to 310 horsepower using electronic fuel injection. North American models were limited to 234 horsepower with a variety of engine modifications to appease regulators. The 928 S received a new 5.0L DOHC engine in 1985 for the North American models, bumping power production up to a respectable 288 horsepower. In 1986, the 928 S4 was introduced as a 1987 model with the 5.0L V8 engine in all markets, now producing 316 horsepower. This model also received an improved the transmission to a single-disc clutch and exterior styling updates. The Porsche 928 GT was released in 1988. It was a mid-range model 928 with a ZF limited-slip differential and a manual transmission. 

Reflections on the Porsche 928

Some Porsche enthusiasts could view the 928 as a step away from the deep racing history of the performance automaker, bringing in a front-engine design and putting fuel efficiency as a top priority. But others would be able to view the Porsche 928 as a solid response to a market demand, providing a roadworthy vehicle that combined luxury with performance while also prioritizing fuel economy. The Porsche 928 was likely an excellent way for Porsche to attract new customers to its brand through a difficult and tumultuous period for the auto and oil industries. While sales were somewhere around 60,000 units total, the longevity of the Porsche 928 offering exemplifies its importance to the brand’s overall success.