Porsche 928 S4
Smooth and sinister in jet black, this later evolution of Porsche’s front-engined GT has a lot going for it, says Nigel Boothman.
The 928 never fulfilled Porsche’s plan for replacing the air-cooled, rear-engined 911, but it carved its own niche as a flagship grand tourer that gave Mercedes, Jaguar and even Ferrari lots to think about. This one is a second generation, launched in 1986 with a fivelitre, 32-valve V8 and smoother styling.
It’s a deep and glossy black, benefitting from a recent professional machine polish that has removed any distinction we could find between original paint and the one or two panels apparently resprayed. The finisher strips above each door sit slightly proud – not uncommon on 928s – but otherwise there are only small scratches and a star-crack on the lower rear nearside quarter, with a tiny paint wrinkle near the offside rear light unit. The rear spoiler is unmarked, as are the 17in Cup 2 alloys from a 928 GTS, a modern but popular upgrade. They’re wrapped in 255/40 R17 Michelin Pilot Sports with almost all tread remaining. There’s a collapsible Vredestein spacesaver under the boot carpet; probably now better regarded as a period novelty than a genuine get-you-home option.
The engine bay is rather a let-down after the immaculate exterior but repainting the flakey inlet manifold would improve things a great deal, as would a bit of general detailing and touching up of surface rust on brackets and catches. Oils and coolant levels are all where they should be.
The black leather seats are piped in red and though in generally good order the driver’s right-hand side bolsters would benefit from a bit of recolouring and feeding. Carpets are smart and the myriad electric assistances all work, including a new Porsche Classic sat-nav/digital radio unit in the stereo slot, which blends well with the look of the dash and cost as much as a tatty 928 did until recently. When we drove the car there was a faulty brake light and the driver’s door card caught on the sill when the door was opened, but we are assured both issues will be remedied.
The Porsche’s big V8 started promptly and ran perfectly from cold with no howling noises from slipping belts or power steering pumps. On the road it rides more firmly than earlier 928 models but feels unflappable and utterly planted, without any thumps or rattles from the suspension. It gathers pace relentlessly rather than savagely – despite its size, the engine saves a lot of its drama for peak revs and the weighty, insulated feel of the 928 blunts the sensation of speed. The brakes do their job perfectly with no grabbing or deviation even when worked hard.
This is a very good example that’s clearly been well cared-for. There is a file of history including the original books that supports the 116k miles and the original toolkit is in the boot. There is still room for improvement here and there but even as it is, it should continue to satisfy as a capable weekend GT. And the auto box suits it.
Wheels come from a 928 GTS but look great
The engine would benefit from tidying
Aside from some bolster wear, all is fine in here