The 968 had a somewhat new engine that differed from the 944. Although the engine block is basically the same 3.0L inline 4 from the 944S2, the head was a new version of the twincam design with variable camshaft timing called VarioCam. The power was bumped up from 211 to 240; and with a few simple steps, these things could make around 250. However, despite the myths, more power is expensive and hard to gain from that engine. The 0-100km/h test are a bit unclear, some say they do it in over 6 seconds, some say under 6 seconds. The thing about this 3.0L engine is that it's torquey—very, very torquey. As you can see from the dyno graph below, it's got most of the torque early on, which gives it a really fresh feel when accelerating out of a corner. The 968's are a bit heavy, not MKIII Supra territory, but the coupe still comes in at about 1400kg with the Clubsport weighing at around 1300kg.
There were also a few luxury options available, even though they came with most of the luxury features standard. Then you have the extremely rare and notorious turbocharged coupes. Only 20 968's with Turbos were ever built from the factory, 16 were called the Turbo S, which were similar to Clubsports, but with a different hood and rear wing. These shared a 3.0L block like the 968 and 944S2, but had the single cam 8V head from the 944 Turbo S. 305hp, 0-100 in 4,7 seconds and a top speed of over 280km/h. I find it rather sad Porsche didn't make more of these, but I can only image how hard these were to sell, considering how the base model was already very expensive. Then there were 4 Turbo RS race cars. These things were nothing short of devilish, being lighter and even more powerful. Specs are a bit unclear, but I've read the car that entered the 1994 Lemans had 450hp and weighed 1200kg. Chances of finding any 968 with a turbo mounted in the factory is like winning the lottery. But, there are replicas that are just as good, which would be a great choice if you can get past the "unoriginality."
The irony with the Clubsports pricing is that they were supposed to be a cheaper option to the coupe. Due to its raw nature, fewer numbers, and better usage of the 968 chassis, these were far from being cheaper. Now that they've become collector cars, they've skyrocketed past the normal 968 in price. For many, this is what the 968 should have been; there's something to be said when people want the CS letters on the back of their 968. But here's where the myth busting comes in. Many believe the CS comes stock with M030. This is completely false. The CS had the exact same sway-bars as the normal coupe. The dampers where the same as the normal coupes, and the lowered springs where the same spring-rate. So if someone tries to sell you "clubsport" sway-bars for your 944 or 968, make sure they're the actual M030 sway bars. With the CS you were paying more for less really, not that this is a bad thing. Another odd thing with the CS is that there was a comfort package available, meaning you get the interior of the standard car, with the airbags, electric windows and AC, as in the Sport edition for the UK market. The only differences to a 968 normal model car at that point is basically the CS badge and those lowered springs. These do exist, and I have seen one. It's honestly just ridiculous, and I wouldn't pay a single cent extra for one over a base model coupe.
The four banger transaxle Porsches are known for their excellent and neutral handling thanks to their near 50/50 weight distribution. This thing, when set up right, can pretty much devour corners. However, for some reason, Porsche set these up as GT cars instead of the sports car they should have been; the 944S2 had the same issue meaning that the suspension, especially at the rear, is super soft. This can produce some funky handling during hard cornering. Usually in the form of one of Porsche's most famous traits, over steering. That and under steering when entering a corner. The fix for this was quite easy, just not that cheap. A set of good dampers, stiffer and lower front springs, re-indexing the torsion bars to lower the rear would do the trick. And yes, this car still had a torsion suspension at the rear.
When hitting a set of twisties with a car like this, even bone stock, you'll quickly realize how it takes most corners faster than you dare to. Beware of understeer going into the corner if you're going too fast, especially if you're running a softer rear and staggered wheels. Following that understeer you will be greeted by a little oversteer upon exiting. Nothing dramatic but it can catch you off-guard. If you're lucky enough to have an M030 car you'll basically get an entirely different feeling car. It'll be much stiffer and faster through a corner, though I hear some complaints of the big sway bar at the front producing a bit of understeer. My 968 had a stock front sway-bar and a bigger rear one and this really made the car handle like it was on rails. The 3.0l engine is an absolute beast when accelerating out of the corner, it pulls you into what feels like warp-speed and goes through the entire rev-range before you can say "Oh shit!". There's no dramatic sudden-death boost coming on like a 951 instead, you have power available nearly throughout the rev range. For some, this can be seen as boring, but for others it's a near heaven experience.
Completely irrelevant winter driving is the 968's capabilities as a daily driver. You will basically be able to hit twisties and have a lot of fun with the balanced chassis and torquey engine. But It's also got that long-legged 6 speed that will make the engine cruise along the highway almost like you're in a Mercedes. Sadly I've never driven a Tiptronic, but I think and hope it's no different for highway cruising. The thing that surprises me the most is how comfortable it is inside and how both the comfort seats and those borderline-racing CS seats just hold you in place. The steering wheel is right where you want it to be, in front of your chest and unlike some cars, you're not stuck in an awkward position trying to get a grip on everything. Due to the transaxle tunnel, the gearshifter and armrest are right next to you. All the pedals sit just close enough but they're not cramped together off to one side like you could expect from an older sportscar. The entire package gives you a very comfortable position where you get a great feeling on what the car is doing.
Then there's the storage. It's ridiculous how much you can cramp into the boot of this car. It's more of a hatchback than an an actual boot though, seeing as the gearbox is in the way. And if you remove or fold down the rear buckets, there's even more room. You can call those things "seats" if you want to, but honestly, they're useless for anything bigger than an infant or an animal. If need be, though, you can fit a grown man back there and I have done that, but you won't be able to withstand it for more than 10-15 minutes. This was even with the seat in front of said person all the way to the front. This means you have two people doing yoga right behind you, and getting a knee to the shoulder or a foot in the back of your head is never good while driving. (True story by the way, I can attest to this).
For the price, these are still a great value. They're uncommon, not too rare, but uncommon as they were only made for a few years. Currently you can get one for the same price as a nice 944 Turbo, and this will be the hardest competition for the 968. You have to choose between the mellow, modern and sleek 968, or the all out 80's stupid-fast 944 Turbo. The differences are many when choosing between these, and looking back now, I might have chosen the 944 Turbo. Just because you can get easy power out of them, and that I love that 80's look; although, the 968 is much more modern car than the 944 Turbo which really comes in handy in not looking dated when driving it today. The 968's build quality is as good, if not better than any 911 of the same time. Everything feels solid and like it will last for years, except for the hinges on the armrest (all you Type2 944 guys know what I mean). A combination of composite parts and great galvanization made these things great and not prone to rusting; even my 300.000km winter driven daily was rust-free. It has everything you'd need in a car, plus it's still wicked fun for spirited drivng. If you wanna buy something special, that next to no one else has, and you're looking at sports coupes, these make for a great choice.
When buying one. Make sure the timing and balance shaft belts are in order. And look for cars with 220 option. An M030 car is a bonus, but this is stuff you can "simply" add later if you feel the need for a stiffer suspension or more braking power.
*re-posted with Stig's permission from his entry entitled "Porsche 968 (1992-1995)."