Over the past 63 years, CAR has tested vehicles of all shapes and sizes. Here, we take a look back at German sportscar maker, Porsche, and ten of its most significant models to have passed through our test garage.

1. 911 Turbo (930)

Originally, the 930 Turbo was intended to be a homologation model, allowing Porsche to enter the turbocharged 911 into the FIA Group 5 racing. However, thanks to its popularity, Porsche decided to put the car into full production, starting in 1975. First available as a 3,0-litre flat-six, the engine was enlarged to 3,3 litres in 1977. Tested in January 1982, the 930 Turbo used its 221 kW and 412 N.m of torque to reach 100 km/h in just 6,10 seconds. A four-speed gearbox was the only transmission option until 1989, where the last batch of 930 Turbos produced received a five-speed Getrag manual transmission. Due to the rear-engined layout and brawny powertrain, the 930 Turbo was known for being tricky around corners. Many stories of unprovoked oversteer earned the Turbo the nickname "The Widowmaker".

Price (when new): R72 750 (1982)
Engine: 3,3-litre, flat-six, turbopetrol
Power: 221 kW at 5 500 r/min
Torque: 412 N.m at 4 000 r/min
0-100 km/h (as tested): 6,10 seconds
Top Speed: 229 km/h 
Transmission: four-speed manual

2. 944 Turbo 

The cover car of our May 1986 issue, the 944 Turbo offered performance to rival the 928 and 911 Turbo for far less money. Thanks to a turbo, the 2,5-litre four-cylinder engine was capable of 162 kW and 330 N.m of torque. Weighing in at just 1 280 kg, it comes as no surprise that the 944 Turbo was 3 km/h faster than the 928 S Automatic during testing. With a recorded 256 km/h, the figure even eclipsed the Porsche provided number of 245 km/h. Testers commented the 944 finally had an engine worthy of its excellent platform. "In this car, the engine has finally caught up to the chassis." Subtle exterior enhancements differentiated the Turbo from its lesser siblings, with larger rims, "turbo" badging on the rear and a unique front-end treatment, to name a few. While this performance didn't exactly come cheap, compared to its bigger siblings, it was a relative bargain.

Price (when new): R128 100 (1986)
Engine: 2,5-litre, inline-four, turbopetrol
Power: 162 kW at 5 800 r/min
Torque: 330 N.m at 3 500 r/min
0-100 km/h (as tested): 6,54 seconds
Top Speed: 256 km/h 
Transmission: five-speed manual

3. 911 Turbo (964)

Replacing the ageing 930 Turbo, the thoroughly revamped 964 welcomed a Turbo addition in 1990. With more power, anti-lock brakes and reworked suspension, the 964 was considerably more refined, not to mention easier to drive. An extensive road test in our January 1992 issue mentions the improvements, but still cautions those brave enough to dance with the Turbo that "handling is nervous, even edgy by some standards and certainly not tidy". While certainly not a description commonly used to describe the dynamics of modern Porsches, the 964 Turbo required respect from the driver. "Balance the throttle and stay in touch with the stream of signals emanating from the steering and its sheer exhilaration." A top speed of 265 km/h made sure it was fun in a straight line, too. Interestingly, the January '92 issue the Turbo featured in went on to be one of the most successful editions of CAR magazine ever printed.

Price (when new): R729 135 (1992)
Engine: 3,3-litre, flat-six, turbopetrol
Power: 235 kW at 5 750 r/min
Torque: 450 N.m at 4 500 r/min
0-100 km/h (as tested): 5,40 seconds
Top Speed: 265 km/h 
Transmission: five-speed manual

4. 911 Turbo (993)

A figure of 289 km/h. That is what the 993 Turbo achieved on its top speed run in the January 1996 road test. Not only is that exceptionally fast, but it also managed to be the fastest vehicle CAR had ever tested at the time. Just four years after testing its 964 predecessor, the next-generation was made available in South Africa. In a wise move, the 993 was given four-wheel drive to assist in managing the powerful 3,6-litre flat-six positioned in the rear. While heavier (1 510 kg), the 993 was capable of 0-100 km/h in 4,63 seconds. In an attempt to appeal to more customers, the 993 was available with features previous 911s lacked. Dual front airbags, an extensive trip computer and even electrically operated seats gave the Turbo an interior to take on luxury cars. A six-speed manual was a first, too, replacing the five-speed used on previous 911 variants.

Price (when new): R799 000 (1996)
Engine: 3,6-litre, flat-six, turbopetrol
Power: 300 kW at 5 750 r/min
Torque: 540 N.m at 4 500 r/min
0-100 km/h (as tested): 4,63 seconds
Top Speed: 289 km/h 
Transmission: six-speed manual

5. Boxster (986)

Introduced in 1996, the original Boxster borrowed styling cues from the hallowed 550 Spyder. Despite its polarising exterior design, the first-generation Boxster found fans thanks to its balanced handling and its more affordable price tag. Following a subtle facelift in 2002, the Boxster gained power increases along with a few interior and exterior changes. Tested in the February 2003 issue, the 2,7-litre Boxster found favour with the test team, despite the modest outputs of 168 kW and 260 N.m of torque. With a 50:50 weight distribution, the smallest offering from Zuffenhausen impressed in the corners, with many testers lauding the exciting but predictable handling. For those craving more power, the 191 kW Boxster S was available for R130 000 extra.

Price (when new): R515 000 (2003)
Engine: 2,7-litre, flat-six, petrol
Power: 168 kW at 6 300 r/min
Torque: 260 N.m at 4 700 r/min
0-100 km/h (as tested): 6,79 seconds
Top Speed: 251 km/h 
Transmission: five-speed manual

6. 911 GT3 RS (996)

"The most precise, and the most rewarding, of all the 911s to drive." It comes as no surprise this stripped-out, focused 911 would go on to score a full five stars in our April 2004 road test. While the high-quality interior remained, many of the luxury features were stripped out in the name of weight saving. Recaro racing seats featured both a regular seatbelt as well as a harness for track use. Interestingly, South African GT3 RS examples were equipped with air conditioning, a feature not available in overseas variants. Perhaps the most obvious distinguishing features of the lightweight 911 are the painted wheels and decals that adorn the side of the vehicle. Available either in red or blue, the design harks back to the '70s Carrera RS 2,7. Even more hardcore than the regular GT3, the RS features a 3,6-litre flat-six, churning out a healthy 280 kW at 7 400 r/min. Just 25 examples were allocated for South Africa, making it a rare and collectible 911. 

Price (when new): R1 675 000 (2004)
Engine: 3,6-litre, flat-six, petrol
Power: 280 kW at 7 400 r/min
Torque: 385 N.m at 5 000 r/min
0-100 km/h (as tested): 4,57 seconds
Top Speed: 306 km/h 
Transmission: six-speed manual

7. Cayenne Turbo (9PA)

A mere two months after the road test of the 911 GT3 RS, CAR staffers found themselves behind the wheel of yet another powerful Porsche. Despite possessing copious amounts of power and sharing a badge, the two cars couldn't be any more different. In a move that shocked the Porsche faithful, the brand launched its first SUV in 2003. Initially, the Cayenne attracted plenty of negative press, with many criticising the opinion-splitting styling. While various engine options were available, it was the 4,5-litre V8 Turbo that saw itself at the centre of a road test in our June 2004 issue. Being the first V8-powered Porsche since the 928 GTS, the Cayenne had plenty of grunt. The 0-100 km/h sprint was over in just 6,03 seconds. Despite its high ride height, the Cayenne could rival the BMW X5 for sportscar-like handling. Yet, unlike the X5, it was equally at home off-road like a Range Rover. All this talent came at a price, though. At R1 475 000, a prospective customer could own both a V8-powered X5 and a Mercedes-Benz S500, with R41 000 change to boot.

Price (when new): R1 475 000 (2004)
Engine: 4,5-litre, V8, twin-turbopetrol
Power: 331 kW at 6 000 r/min
Torque: 620 N.m at 2 250 r/min
0-100 km/h (as tested): 6,03 seconds
Top Speed: 257 km/h 
Transmission: six-speed automatic

8. Panamera Turbo (970)

Like its SUV sibling, the original Panamera was never a candidate for first place in a beauty contest. Much of the Panamera's appeal was in its engineering. Another first for the automaker, the Panamera is Porsche's first four-door sportscar. Like the Cayenne, the introduction of a conventional model into the line-up angered many purists, claiming it was diluting the heritage of the sportscar maker. Still, the Panamera won over many when introduced, and gave those previously shopping for a BMW 7 Series or Jaguar XJ an even sportier choice. Despite the spacious and well-appointed interior, the original Panamera was a true Porsche at heart. Tested in the February 2010 issue of CAR, the Turbo variant impressed, with testers claiming "as a sports saloon, the Panamera has few, if any, true rivals". High praise indeed, but the big Porsche wasn't without its faults. A fiddly low-speed ride (as a result of its inherent sportiness) was inferior when compared to more traditional rivals.

Price (when new): R1 475 000 (2010)
Engine: 4,8-litre, V8, twin-turbopetrol
Power: 368 kW at 6 000 r/min
Torque: 700 N.m at 2 250 - 4 500 r/min
0-100 km/h (as tested): 3,91 seconds
Top Speed: 303 km/h 
Transmission: seven-speed dual-clutch

9. 911 Carrera S PDK (991)

"Is it too good?" reads the text beneath a Lime Gold-coloured 991, striking a pose on the cover of our July 2012 issue. Stylistically, very little differentiated the new model from its 997 forerunner. Subtle treatments to the front and rear kept the 911 looking fresh, while the interior was enhanced to offer more space. Underneath the skin is where the most important change took place. The 991 sported an entirely new platform, the first one since the introduction of the 996 twelve years earlier. On our test strip, the Carrera S managed to hit 100 km/h in a blistering 4,26 seconds, making good use of its 294 kW of power and 440 N.m of torque. While testers lamented the dilution of the 911's sharpness in the name of bettering its daily usability, there was no denying its talent. "As it stands, the new Carrera S is perhaps the quintessential 911. And that's only the beginning." Perhaps then, the Carrera S wasn't too good. But it was near perfect.

Price (when new): R1 113 000 (2012)
Engine: 3,8-litre, flat-six, petrol
Power: 294 kW at 7 400 r/min
Torque: 440 N.m at 5 600 r/min
0-100 km/h (as tested): 4,26 seconds
Top Speed: 302 km/h 
Transmission: seven-speed dual-clutch

10. 911 Carrera S PDK (992)

Some manufacturers have spent decades perfecting various automotive recipes. Volkwagen has its Golf, Mercedes its S-Class and Toyota even has two, the Hilux and Corolla. Despite using similar ingredients, rival manufacturers just can't seem to get their mixtures right, and as a result, their often delicious creations just aren't as close to perfect as the traditional recipes above. After 57 years of production, Porsche has pretty much nailed the usable-yet-thrilling sportscar. Tested in the September 2019 issue, the still-new 992 derivative scored an excellent 89/100. Despite not being the high-performance Turbo model, all current-gen 911s feature a force-fed flat-six. In the case of the latest incarnation, a 331 kW 3,0-litre propels the Carrera S. We managed an impressive 0-100 km/h time of just 3,41 seconds, while averaging 10,20 L/100 km on our mixed-fuel route. This, and the practical cabin, highlights the daily usability of the German bahnstormer. "Through meticulous evolution, this is as good as it gets in the world of sportscars and this 992 is unquestionably the most balanced 911 Porsche has ever made."

Price (when new): R1 708 000 (2019)
Engine: 3,0-litre, flat-six, twin-turbopetrol
Power: 331 kW at 6 500 r/min
Torque: 530 N.m at 2 300 - 5 000 r/min
0-100 km/h (as tested): 3,41 seconds
Top Speed: 308 km/h 
Transmission: eight-speed dual-clutch

Original article from Car