The Porsche 928 was a sports-GT car sold by Porsche AG of Germany from 1978 to 1995. Originally intended to replace the company’s iconic 911, the 928 attempted to combine the power, poise, and handling of a sports car with the refinement, comfort, and equipment of a luxury sedan to create what some Porsche executives thought would be a vehicle with wider appeal than the compact, quirky and sometimes difficult 911.
Since its inception in 1949, Porsche has manufactured only six front-engined models, four of which were coupes, including the 928. The car has the distinction of being the company’s only coupe powered by a front-mounted V8 engine, and the company’s first mass-produced V8 powered model.
During 1983 the 928S was the fastest car sold in North America, with a top speed of 146 mph (235 km/h)
By the late 1960s, Porsche had changed significantly as a company, and executives including owner Ferdinand Porsche were playing with the idea of adding a luxury touring car to the line-up. Managing Director Ernst Fuhrmann was also pressuring Ferdinand to approve development of the new model in light of concerns that the current flagship model at the time, the 911, was quickly reaching its maximum potential where it could soon no longer be improved upon. Slumping sales of the 911 seemed to confirm that the model was approaching the end of its economic life cycle.
Fuhrmann envisioned the new range-topping model as being the best possible combination of a sports coupe and a luxury sedan, something well equipped and comfortable enough to be easily driven over long distances that also had the power, poise and handling prowess necessary to be driven like a sports car. This set it apart from the 911, which was a pure sports car.
Ordered by Ferry Porsche to come up with a production-feasible concept for his new model, Fuhrmann initiated a design study in 1971, eventually taking from the process the final specs for the 928. Several drivetrain layouts were considered during early development, including rear and mid-engined designs, but most were dismissed because of technical and/or legislative difficulties. Having the engine, transmission, catalytic converter(s) and exhaust all cramped into a small rear engine bay made emission and noise control more difficult, something Porsche was already facing problems with on the 911 and wanted to avoid. After deciding that the mid-engine layout didn’t allow enough room in the passenger compartment, a front engine/rear wheel drive layout was chosen. Porsche also may have feared that the U.S. government would soon ban the sale of rear-engined cars in response to the consumer concern over safety problems with the rear-engined Chevrolet Corvair.
Porsche’s design and development efforts paid off during the 1978 European Car of the Year competition where the 928 won ahead of the BMW 7-series and the Ford Granada. The 928 is the only sports car so far to have won this competition, where the usual winners are mainstream hatchbacks and sedans/saloons from major Europeanmanufacturers. This is regarded as proof of how advanced the 928 was compared to its contemporaries.
History Source: Wikipedia