There had never been anything like the 959 – a Sports Car suitable for everyday driving with a price tag of 420,000 German marks, a top speed of 315 km/h (196 mph) and full of innovative technology. The roof, the wings and the rear area of the body were made of Kevlar, the front apron was polyurethane and the bonnet and doors were made of aluminium.Top technology hidden under the skin of the 959. The all-wheel drive could not be switched off, but the amount of torque delivered to the front and rear axles was varied depending on the driving programme selected. The driver could select one of four programmes depending on road surface conditions: dry, wet, ice and traction (the latter setting was intended for use if the vehicle became stuck while driving off road).
Other technology highlights included three possible settings for the shock absorbers and automatic, speed-dependent damper correction. A levelling system made it possible to raise the body of the 959 on uneven field tracks and to lower it for motorways. And to ensure that a 959 driving at full speed could be braked safely, a special anti-lock brake system was on board which controlled each wheel individually.
But it was worth the wait, because the 959 was a sensation. Technically, it was a race car, "but the result of our efforts was a car that offered a high level of safety along with all the comfort, smooth running and interior noise that we expect from a road vehicle," said Helmuth Bott, who was director of development at the time, with pride.The first step on the accelerator pedal was all it took to put an ear-to-ear smile on the face of any 959 driver. Two turbochargers and charge-air cooling gave the rear-mounted, six-cylinder, 2,848 cc engine with water-cooled cylinder heads 450 hp, which catapulted the car forward with incredible intensity. “You hit 100 km/h after just 3.7 seconds”, noted the trade journal auto motor und sport in its assessment, putting the 959 in a class of its own.However, only a few people were able to enjoy its qualities: in 1987, 113 cars were delivered, followed by another 179 in 1988. The sports package offered was very rarely ordered, almost everyone wanted to enjoy driving their 959 every day.
|Output:||Flat-six, water-cooled cylinder heads, with two overhead camshafts per side, four valves per cylinder, two exhaust turbochargers with charge-air cooling|
|Power:||450 HP (330 kW) at 6,500 rpm|
|Fuel system:||Bosch Motronic with pressure sensor, fuel tank capacity of 85 litres|
|Chassis:||Plastic and alloy integral body-frame, front and rear independent suspension on double wishbones, coil springs, variable telescopic dampers and anti-roll bars|
|Dimensions and weight:||Wheelbase: 2,272 mm
Length: 4,260 mm
Width: 1,840 mm
Height: 1,280 mm
Weight: 1,450 kg
|Performance:||315 km/h (196 mph)|