While there have been plenty of special 911s over the years, you certainly could argue that the Speedsters have been the most special of the special. They tend to arrive only once a decade or so, and showcase the best of what Porsche has to offer. So, I hope you enjoy this one as much as we did.
A car as special as this 991 Porsche 911 Speedster needs a special place to properly evaluate it, so we headed for the sunny West Coast, where dreams come true and sports cars have room to roam. But before we get too far, let’s find out exactly why this is such a spectacular driver’s car.
Well, that’s primarily because it’s based on a Porsche GT chassis for the first time. Which means, performance is priority one, with everything else falling into place where it may.
Now that becomes obvious as soon as you hop behind the wheel. There’s a traditional 5 dial gauge cluster, with a big tach front and center. Real needles on dials seems almost quaint these days.
Likewise, the steering wheel is splendidly free of any controls, just a stitched in on-center marker. This car is all about the connection between you and the car.
And while back to basics is the theme, it’s a pure modern execution of said ethos, as air-conditioning is not standard, but it is available as a no cost option.
Carbon fiber replaces aluminum for most body panels, and the windshield has been chopped by 2-inches. Though it doesn’t look or feel like it, it just looks and feels just right.
It’s no lightweight, as it is actually about 100-lbs. heavier than a GT3. But, they certainly took strides to keep it in check, including a manually operated soft-top.
The available Heritage package is cool, and not too over the top, as long as you don’t consider having a number painted on the side of your car too much of a show off.
No matter how racy things look up top; underneath, there are of course, plenty of parts bolted to the chassis from the GT race shop.
Likewise, the engine is the GT3’s naturally-aspirated 4.0-liter flat-6 with dry sump. It has been retuned for emission purposes; but Porsche being Porsche, happened to find a couple more horsepower along the way, now at 502-horsepower and 346 lb-ft. of torque.
There’s also a new stainless steel sport exhaust system that weighs a whopping 22-lbs. less than the GT3’s. And yes, it sounds as phenomenal as you’d expect, revving to its 9,000-RPM limit. There’s an abundance of power in the 5 to 7,000 range; and it’s a pure joy keeping the engine there with the GT3’s 6-speed manual.
Gears click into place with effortless precision, and the car will do the rev matching for you if you want it to. 60 miles-per-hour arrives in 3.8-seconds.
Porsche Active Suspension Management oversees the MacPherson strut front and multi-link rear suspension; with settings for Normal and Sport. Notice there’s no comfort mode; and nothing about the full-bucket carbon-fiber seats would ever be confused as being comforting. Just another reminder that this car means business.
The suspension has been lowered by about an inch; and you can lift the front end electronically to avoid driveway scrapes of the front splitter.
While Porsche claims this is not a track car, it sure feels like it would be great on one; with standard Ceramic Composite Brakes that easily take care of insane speeds when called upon to do so. Same brakes as GT3, but unique pads to reduce the squealing you sometimes get with ceramics.
Direct steering pivots the front wheels with the slightest of inputs, while the backs get in on the action as well, with rear-axle steering. Those wheels are center-lock 20s.
All-in-all, it’s an intoxicating driving experience you’ll find nowhere else; just amazing solidity, and a true dream to interact with.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings are 14-City, 19-Highway, and 16-Combined. Which makes for a much worse than average Energy Impact Score of 20.6-barrels of annual oil use, with 9.3-tons of CO2 emissions.
In addition to the legendary driving experience, you’ll be paying for exclusivity here; just 1,948 examples to be made, starting at $275,750.
Built to celebrate 70-years of Porsche, the biggest irony of all with this latest 911 Speedster; is that while we constantly long for the pure joy of driving, and Porsche delivers it here like no one else, they do it with the use of a lot of technology. But, if this is indeed the final 991 911, it is the ultimate example of going out on top, as the Speedster makes you never want to stop driving. So, come for the exclusivity, stay for the thrill ride.
Engine: 4.0 liter
Torque: 346 lb-ft.
0-60 mph: 3.8 seconds
EPA: 14 mpg city / 19 mpg highway,
Energy Impact: 20.6 barrels of annual oil/yr
CO2 Emissions: 9.3 tons/yr