This is the new Porsche 911 Speedster. Looks awesome, doesn’t it?
It’s been a long time coming, too. Not only because Porsche spent an age releasing teaser images in the run up to the Speedster’s unveiling at the recent New York Auto Show. But also because it’s one final, glorious hurrah for the 991-generation 911. Even though the new 992-gen 911 is in showrooms. Work that one out…
Anyway, a bit of history. The first Porsche Speedster, the 356 Speedster, was launched all the way back in 1954 as a cheaper, stripped-down, low-cost model intended to appeal to America’s growing band amateur racing drivers. Subsequent 911- and Boxster-based Speedsters have stayed true to the stripped-down, racy ethos. Even if the low-cost bit was thrown off the top of a very high cliff.
This new 911 Speedster is the raciest yet, being based on the epically epic 911 GT3. Which means that it’s powered by a 4.0-litre, flat-six motor that revs to a searing 9,000rpm. It sounds amazing enough in the roofed GT3. In the roofless Speedster, it’ll be transcendent.
The engine is a bit more powerful, too, an extra 10bhp being liberated thanks to individual throttle bodies and a new, lighter exhaust system. So it now puts out 503bhp.
Despite the use of extra carbonfibre components, the Speedster will probably weigh slightly more than the GT3. But the extra power should mean performance is about the same – the GT3 dispatches 0-62mph in 3.4secs and tops out at 198mph.
Obviously, the Speedster is marked out by the humped rear deck, which lifts up for the roof to unfurl – it’s a part-electric, part-manual job. In place, the roof doesn’t look as tent-like as that on previous Speedsters, but elegant it is not. Not that any owners will ever use it, anyway.
Chassis hardware is carried over from the GT3, as well – four-wheel-steering, torque vectoring and so on. The Speedster is only available with a manual gearbox, much to the delight of enthusiasts who bemoaned the paddle-shifter in the GT3 RS.
Which leaves the – not so – small matter of price. The 911 Speedster will set you back £211,599. A full 100 grand more than the 911 GT3. Ouch.
And there are still options that will take the price even higher, like the £15,302 Heritage Design pack, or a £9,900 watch.
Just 1,948 911 Speedsters will be built – to mark the year Porsche built its first car – ensuring demand will massively outstrip supply. That would usually mean “flippers” will be turning them round with gigantic premiums slapped on, but Porsche recently said it will take action to stop that happening. It’ll be interesting to see how effective that action is.
By Graham King