The Fastest of Its Time: Porsche 959

The Porsche 959 stands as the epitome of automotive excellence. Being a pleasant fusion of cutting-edge technology and high-end performance, it set the standard for other car brands to follow.

Table of Contents

Meet the legend, Porsche 959

Porsche 959 Sport in red

The Porsche 959 is an automotive masterwork of a sports car and a stunning success born from the persistent pursuit of high-performance excellence. It is iconic evidence of Porsche‘s commitment to pushing the boundaries of automotive innovation and constantly challenging its market rivals. Unveiled in 1986, it was produced till 1993 and was meant to be a rally car, but Porsche had to build at least 200 legal road units of the 959 to satisfy FIA Homologation regulations.

Porsche 959 Komfort

The road version debuted at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 1985 as the 1986 model. It had two trims.

  • Porsche 959 Komfort
  • Porsche 959 Sport

What was so innovative?

Porsche 959 Sport in white

During its successful introduction to the automotive world, it was the fastest road-legal sports car as it had two major elements.


Porsche 959 design

The Porsche 959 boasted a lightweight composite body and a collection of hardcore technologies, such as the adaptive suspension and the all-new tire pressure monitoring. Its innovative technological use impacted the thinking of other automotive brands, influencing the following generations of high-performance vehicles. Only 345 units were made, making the Porsche 959 a rare car and a collector’s dream.

What’s under the hood?

Porsche 959 engine bay

The engine bay of the Porsche 959 is a complete masterclass. Loaded with a 2.8-liter twin-turbocharged inline-6 or flat-6 engine at the rear, this car was a complete package for the buyers’ sporty needs.

Straight six engine of Porsche 959

The engine of the Komfort trim would produce an outrageous 444 hp and 500 Nm of torque, which would propel the car at insane speeds with insane acceleration, making it the. The use of two sequential turbochargers gave the Porsche even more agility. The Sport trim had larger turbochargers; thus it had more horsepower than the Komfort- 508 hp.

Stick shift for Porsche 959

The transmission was a 6-speed manual and a Porsche’s all-wheel or 4-wheel drive system named Porsche-Steuer Kupplung all-wheel drive system. Car and Driver tested the Porsche 959 in their facility in which it did 0-60 in just 3.6 seconds. The Komfort trim has a top speed of 197 mph, whereas the Sport trim has a top speed of 211 mph, making the Porsche 959 the fastest road-legal car. Guinness World Records also recognized the Porsche 959’s stats as the highest road-tested speed and fastest acceleration for any car.

Drive of the Porsche 959

Porsche 959 drive

No doubt, Porsche gave us their most clever and promising ingredient, the Porsche 959. Porsche claimed that the 959 doesn’t develop any aerodynamic lift at high speeds, making it a perfect car to maneuver at high speeds.

Porsche 959 drive 2

The handling of the 959 is not that sharp, but it stays in its line and corners beautifully. The power steering is responsive and accurate, whereas the ride is comfortable. The double wishbone suspension gives it a comfortable edge in the city as cruising through it gets super comfortable. On the highway, it just gets better with the 959 as it pulls away effortlessly and with stability.

Porsche 959 drive 3

On curvy back roads, the grip is more than expected, though the cornering isn’t that sharp; it doesn’t fall off its line. Due to the turbochargers, it gets an extra push at high speeds and can pick any opponent on race day.  

Other stability technologies include:

  • Ride height control
  • “Control Coupling” 4-wheel drive
  • Three-position shock absorbers with damping function
  • Tire pressure monitoring system

How about the looks?

Porsche 959 side look

With its aesthetic build, the Porsche 959 is a car of elite taste and retro mindset. Its compact design and sleek look cater to its performance specifications visually well.

Porsche 959 lights

The signature Porsche oval-shaped headlights, in contrast with the not-too-fussy lower grille, can be observed. Both elements are separated by turn signals in between.

Porsche 959 air vents and side skirts

The sides of the 959 seem like it has a wide body kit installed at the rear wheels, but Porsche blesses with the standard graceful design 959.

Porsche 959 rear spoiler

A low rear wing can also connect to the car’s body from its sides with the graceful 5-spoke wheels. Wide-angle exterior mirrors make the car more aerodynamic, while telescoping headlight washers are also available, which add to the beauty of the 959.

At the back, sleek taillights run across in width of the and as we pop the trunk, the engine can be seen.

Inside the cabin?

Porsche 959 interior

The interior of the Porsche 959 is just as beautiful as the exterior. Enough outward visibility is there for the drivers, and the steering wheel is adjusted to a perfect position, making every drive worth it.

Porsche 959 seats

Cabin space is average, with full plush leather and electronically controlled seats. However, one irritating interior drawback is the haphazard arrangement of control switches on the dashboard. Other than that, the overall interior looks very fine.

The air vents are positioned ideally, while the layout is very driver-focused. Being a 2-door coupe sports car, the Porsche 959 lacks a little room at the back as the space for passengers in the back is insufficient and uncomfortable.

Porsche 959 speedometer

The comfort trims get plusher interior and exterior treatment, including:

  • Silver Wheels 
  • Bridgestone tires
  • Dark Grey Metallic Seat with Dark Grey Carpet color
  • All leather Seat material
  • Electric Sport Seats

Real-world MPG

According to AutoData, the Porsche 959 lacks a bit in fuel economy as its competitors outdo it in terms of fuel economy. In the city, the 959 is believed to have a fuel economy of up to 10.7 mpg; on the highway, it is 17.5 mpg. 

Expert’s verdict

Porsche family

Experts at Car and Driver say:

“We hesitate to call any car perfect. The absence of flaws in any product of human endeavor is extraordinarily rare. But we have just returned from West Germany, where we finally got to drive a Porsche 959 on the street, and the word “perfect” is difficult to avoid. What single word more accurately describes a car that combines race-car performance with luxury-sedan comfort that is equally adept at commuting through rush-hour traffic, profiling in jet-set locales, negotiating blizzard-swept mountain passes, and outrunning light airplanes? The Porsche 959 can accomplish almost any automotive mission so well that to call it perfect is the mildest overstatement.”


Porsche 959 with the latest porsche 911

The Porsche 959 stands as the epitome of automotive excellence. Being a pleasant fusion of cutting-edge technology and high-end performance, it set the standard for other car brands to follow. Its innovative design and engineering prowess showed the world that an extremely high price tag can be justified with this tech and performance. The twin-turbochargers and standard 4-wheel drive delivered an exhilarating blend of power and precision, bringing the 959 under all the highlights. The Porsche 959’s lightweight composite body also allowed it to dash from one point to another in a flash, showcasing its brilliant engineering and use of technology. This exceptional machine not only reformulates the standards of its time but continues to carry the legacy of automotive brilliance to date.

Highs and Lows

Written by: TAZ

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