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Developed as the replacement for the Porsche 924, the 944 made its debut for the 1982 model year. Buyers had to wait until 1985 for Porsche to make the 944 Turbo, a car that finally had the power to match the looks. The 2.5L inline 4 cylinder used a single KKK K26 turbocharger that increased power output to 217 hp at 5,800 rpm. Peak torque was rated at 330 Nm (243 lb-ft) at 3,500 rpm, with power sent to the rear wheels via a 5-speed manual transmission.
The 944 Turbo featured stiffer suspension with progressive springs, strengthened gearbox, external oil coolers, optional forged Fuchs wheels and integrated front bumper design. Stopping power came in the form of Brembo 4-piston fixed calipers with 12-inch discs borrowed from the Porsche 911.
Further 944 Turbo models would appear in the years following, with the Turbo S entering the market in 1988. The S had various improvements that increased the cars power output and handling abilities. In 1989, Porsche dropped the S designation with all 944 Turbos now making use of the advancements.