A Porsche 944 is a 2-seater sports car manufactured from 1982-1991. The 994 represents a different approach towards building a Porsche sports car because these models are front-engine mounted, as opposed to a mid-engine mounted Cayman/Boxster or a rear-engine mounted 911.
The 994 was one of the most successful Porsche sports cars in history, with more than 163k cars produced. It’s also fairly reasonable to consider a sporty 944 for daily driving duties. While the 944 is greatly dated when it comes to technology and comfort, its reliability and dependability are still fairly robust.
The 944 models were originally intended for mass production, and Porsche wanted these cars to run for years to come. Some owners have reported that the turbo versions of the 944 are not as reliable as a naturally aspirated 944, but even the turbo is widely considered as a dependable car.
If you want to buy a 944, try to find one that has been maintained correctly, because no matter how reliable a certain platform is, the specific car you are looking at might not share those characteristics. That being said, a 944 daily driver is a nice prospect.
Body, interior and electronics: Places to check on your Porsche 944
It’s fairly safe to say that the Porsche 944 is reliable, but there are some aspects of the 944 that require more attention. First of all, 944s are older cars. This means that you should always check the car out for any signs of rust or corrosion, and a 944 has a few designated trouble spots, mostly on the visible parts of the bodywork.
One of the defining characteristics of the 944 are the pop-up headlights, and these were considered rather high-tech back in the day. After a while, they can begin to cause issues, so be ready to check the mechanics before making any decisions.
A glance at the leather seats can tell you a lot about the car, and in most cases, all Porsche models offer a well-built, robust interior that can stand the test of time really well, especially compared to a lot of other German manufacturers.
Carefully examine the sunroof, because there are a few reported instances of water ingress around the sunroof. A 944 hood, for example, can sometimes cost upwards of $1300, so make sure all the body gaps align.
Mechanics, drivetrain and suspension on a Porsche 944
A Porsche 944 engine will easily last you more than 250k miles, if it’s maintained correctly. This means that your number one drivetrain priority should be a careful engine inspection. Porsche 944s are not the most valuable Porsches out there, so some owners may not have been as keen to maintain them properly.
Some owners have reported turbo smoking or rumbling in some instances, but the general engine and turbo configurations are quite reliable. While 944 engines are generally leak-free, always check for leaks, and proof of proper maintenance is always appreciated.
The suspension of the 944 has always been dependable, but there are some instances of reported ball-joint wear and tear. The transmission of the 944 is decent even today, but worn-out synchros, whining and oil leaks are fairly expensive to rebuild.
Porsche 944: Value and maintenance costs
If you if do end up deciding to buy a Porsche 944, how much should you spend for a decent one? After all, a cheap Porsche is not exactly a common thing. Many people do believe though, that Porsches are like fine wine, they age well, even though they might cause you a few headaches.
A decent Porsche 944 will cost around $30k, and if you want an auction-condition 944, you are looking at around $50k. Whether a 944 is a good long-term investment is unclear at this point, but some 944 models have experienced a nice bump in value.
A 944 is reliable and relatively cheap to buy, but is it cheap to run? It’s fairly uncommon to come across a Porsche model that does not require a $1000+ yearly maintenance cost. Although a 944 is a mass-produced Porsche model, the yearly maintenance costs for the 944 are still somewhere around the $1000 region to begin with.
A $1000 yearly maintenance cost is probably the best-case scenario if you opt for a well-maintained lower mileage vehicle. If you buy a $20-30k 944, you might double or even triple the yearly maintenance costs quite easily.
Which is the best Porsche 944 model?
Pretty much all Porsche 944 models are considered great, but the best 944 model is probably the later production version of the Porsche 944 Turbo Cabriolet. Only 625 were sold, and the appeal is mostly thanks to the 250hp turbo engine.
The 1990 Porsche 944 S2 Coupe is also highly praised due to the 3L engine. This version of the 944 was the most expensive one due to performance, comfort, and styling upgrades. The 1988 Porsche 944 S Coupe was also fairly advanced for 1988, and many enthusiasts believe the 944 S Coupe is the best 944 out there.
Is the Porsche 911 better than a 944?
This is a very difficult question to answer, but some Porsche enthusiasts do believe that the 944 is an all-around better car compared to a 911. The 944 was slower compared to a 1983 911, but it did offer more comfort and better technology.
It’s hard to pick a winner because both of these are really loved in the car enthusiast community. If we had to choose, a 911 is a better sports car, and the 944 is a better car overall.
Are Porsche 944 models going up in value?
Predicting the value of a car is fairly tricky and sometimes impossible. It’s fairly safe to say that the Carrera GT or a 2.7RS will be going up in the coming years, but a 944 is not as famous as some 911 models are. That being said, some 944 models have doubled or even tripled in price.
As of right now, a 944 is still sometimes a great buy. The well-maintained 944 models are likely to go up in value in the coming years, but the levels of appreciation are hard to predict. Some enthusiasts think that the 944 is already way too expensive to be considered a sports car bargain.