thought aloud by pablo deferrari
The twin-plugged, fossil of an air-cooled engine, was of course a flat six in 3600cc displacement, while the little engine that could from the 968 packed 2990cc. clearly, there was a difference of 610cc. now each one of the 964's cylinders measured 100mm with the piston traveling 76.4mm with each beat, the 968, however, to make up for having 2 cylinders less, had a slightly larger bore size of 104mm with a stroke of 88mm.
compression ratio...these two lumps worked under some serious pressure; 11,3:1 for the 964 against the 968's 11,0:1. so far, so boring.
now these numbers don't necessarily equate to much in terms of performance, so let's give you some that will. horsepower first...
the queen bitch 964, never designed to be cannibalized by its siblings, put out 247hp at 6100 revs...the little four packed 236hp at 6,200 revs; I won't point out the obvious, but there's only a 11hp difference.
to understand torque in layman's terms, torque is measured by 1 foot. so, if you exert 10lbs on a 1 foot bar, that's considered 10lb-ft. so, as far as an engine is concerned, if it's putting out say 200 lb-ft, it means that it 200 pounds of force on a 1 foot bar is needed to stop it's motion.
so how does the 964 compare to the 968 in terms of torque? 228 lb-ft at 4800 revs for the aging six, and, wait for it...225 lb-ft at a lower and cooler 4100rpm for the little guy.
3ft-lbs...that's it. that's what separates these two steeds.
It may not seem like a lot, but when you consider that the 968 is a four-cylinder, those numbers are too close for comfort for the guy driving a 911 that cost him nearly $65,000.
but hang on a second, you may say.
the 964 C2 has a top speed of 163 mph, goes like stink from naught to 60 mph in 5.5 seconds, and does the quarter mile in 13.6 seconds. while the 968 runs out of puff at 156 mph, sprints from a stand still to 60 mph in 6.1 seconds, and does the 1/4 miler in 14.7 seconds...and weighs in at 3,086 lbs, that's 55 lbs heavier than the C2!
how can you make such a comparison? you'll ask.
good point. while the numbers on paper tell us that the 911 is clearly the winner, you'd be missing the point...you forgot that it has two more cylinders and it was supposed to be faster than its $39,850 stablemate. imagine how embarrassing it would be for Porsche otherwise...
you're also not considering that the 968's Variocam, with it's minor overlap in valve lift that increases at 1500 rpm and again at 5500 rpm. this little four cylinder has what the 964 doesn't...it spreads all of this wonderful, grin-inducing torque at a much broader range.
and if pitted against the 964 at race course with loads of twisties piloted by two drivers of equal skill, that 968, if it not the outright winner, will give it a damn good run for its money and a pants-down spanking to boot.
the 968 is a very serious car...very serious. torque helps make it so.
image sources: ww.seriouswheels.com, www.wallpaperup.com, www.studiodual.com