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Porsche Made Some Awesome Transaxle Sports Cars

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But will it ever make a front-engined coupe again?

These days Porsche makes sports cars (like the 718 and 911) with the engine behind the cockpit, and sedans, wagons, and crossovers (like the Panamera and Cayenne) with the engine up front. But as any blue-blooded Porschephile who knows their history will tell you, there was a time when it made front-engined sports cars, too.

With their engines up front and transmissions in the back, they're fondly remembered as the "transaxle" cars. They're still some of the finest sports cars Porsche ever produced, and Zuffenhausen is looking back on their development in this latest Top 5 video.

Porsche
Porsche
Porsche
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The transaxle cars stemmed from a joint project with Volkswagen and Audi (with which Porsche would join under the same umbrella decades later), but after its partners pulled out in the midst of the OPEC oil crisis, Porsche proceeded on its own – and glad we are that it did.

Representing an entirely different approach from the rear-engined 911 (or anything else it had ever made), Porsche's transaxle lineup would give birth to models like the 928, 924, 944, and 968. They came in coupe and convertible body-styles, with four or eight cylinders, and an array of manual and automatic transmissions on the rear axle.

Porsche
Porsche
Porsche

Porsche kept making transaxle sports cars from 1976 (when the 924 was introduced) through 1995 (when the ultimate 928 was discontinued). Their place alongside the 911 was ultimately taken by the Boxster (first introduced the following year in 1996) as the company's entry-level model and by the Panamera (arriving over a decade later in 2009) as its premier grand-tourer. And by this point, of course, the company's making more crossovers like the Macan and Cayenne than it ever did transaxle or any other kind of sports car. It even recently introduced the Taycan as its first all-electric vehicle. But without the clean-sheet rethinking that gave birth to these front-engined sports cars, those game-changers might never have followed.

Porsche
Porsche
Porsche
Porsche
Porsche

Gallery

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Photos