Porsche 911 gets Speedster treatment

The Speedster name is a part of automotive history books. It first graced the Porsche 356 in 1950s. Over half a century later, it graces the 911. How different is the 911 Speedster from the vanilla 911?

The Speedster name is of great importance in Porsche’s history. Back in mid-20th century, Max Hoffman asked Porsche to build a relatively inexpensive 356 for the USA. His rationale was simple – an inexpensive 356 would sell well in the States. Porsche supplied the 356 Speedster, a bare-bones car that had bucket seats, a minimal folding top, and a low, raked, removable windshield. Hoffman was as right about the 356 as he was about the 300SL Gullwing. As a result of these changes, the 356 Speedster found a place in automotive history books. Porsche has brought back the Speedster moniker and stuck it to its most storied nameplate, the 911. Does the Porsche 911 Speedster do justice to the Speedster legacy?

Porsche 911 Speedster – Photo Gallery

What’s new about the Porsche 911 Speedster?

The press material for Porsche 911 Speedster heavily mentions the 911 R and 911 GT3. Of these, the 911 GT3 is the more encountered name. Suffice to say, the 911 Speedster is a 911 GT3 with 911 R influences. To that end, it has the rear spoiler and rear apron from GT3 Touring. The front apron and the engine have been taken from the GT3. The 911 R influences come in the form of carbon fibre bonnet and wings. Porsche says the bonnet on the 911 Speedster is 2kg lighter than its counterpart on GT3.

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The GT3 and 911 R continue to influence the 911 Speedster under the hood. The chassis of the Porsche 911 Speedster has been influenced by the two cars, specifically the rear-wheel steering system and dynamic engine mounts. Inside, the car features door pulls and carbon fibre bucket seats. There, those are the 911 R influences.

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What makes the Porsche 911 Speedster a Speedster is that convertible shape reminiscent of 1954’s 356 Speedster. It is a convertible, keeping in line with the car that inspires it. Instead of having a flat soft-top cover (yes, it’s a soft-top convertible), the 911 Speedster’s have double-bubble design.

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This choice of design pays homage to past 911 Speedsters which have had this feature and date back to year 1988. Porsche says this is the largest and most complex piece of carbon fibre ever used in any of its road-going cars.

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For a pure Speedster experience, the car features shortened window frames, lowered top panels, and smaller side windows. However, it is not a completely motorised unit. Only the roof cover is motorised and that too to a point where it lets you access the soft-top. You then have to pull the soft top out, straighten it, and lock it in place using holders on either of its sides that meet the windscreen.

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To remove it, you have to push a button that releases the central locking hook and either side fin of the folding roof. Once the roof is in its designated spot inside the car, the motorised cover will store it away nicely and away from elements.

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Porsche says the seat shape and recesses are inspired by 918 Spyder. No auto climate control or Porsche Communication Management system (navigation, speakers, Apple CarPlay functionality) are offered as standard on the Speedster. However, they can be optioned.

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Also, Porsche makes no mention of Android Auto in press material, even as an option. Strange, considering Porsche Design’s history of tying up with Android smartphone makers. Perhaps either of Porsche’s arms don’t talk to each other. Anyway, on to the point.

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Coming to the Porsche 911 Speedster Heritage Design Package, the car is finished in Silver colour. The front end is partially finished in White and gives you the option to turn it into your personal race car. You just have to select a number to print in that round white space in the bonnet and on the sides.

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The brake calipers on the car have been painted black with white PORSCHE logo. The car also features gold SPEEDSTER logos on the back and sides. For that matter, almost anywhere on the car you find a Speedster badge, it will likely be finished in gold.

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Inside, unlike the regular car, the Porsche 911 Speedster Heritage Design Package features dual-tone Black-on-Cognac colour scheme. Replacing the SPEEDSTER logo in the headrest of the Heritage Design Package is the Porsche crest.

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Well, there are other numerous details separating the Porsche 911 Speedster from the Heritage Design Package. Unfortunately, only 1,948 units total of both cars will be made. Trust me, no two Speedsters will be the same, either the regular one or the ones with Heritage Design Package.

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The mechanical sorcery at work in Porsche 911 Speedster is mind-numbing. While that’s typical for something called the GT3, it’s not for this car. It has a naturally aspirated, 4.0-litre flat-six engine that revs to 9,000rpm. It makes 510HP power and 470Nm torque.

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This engine is mated to a six-speed manual gearbox (enthusiasts, rejoice), the car can go from 0-100kmph in just 4.0 seconds. The engine features high-pressure fuel injectors, modified intake system, and a 10kg lightweight stainless steel sports exhaust system.

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The Porsche 911 Speedster can reach a top speed of 310kmph. Despite having a naturally-aspirated engine, the Porsche 911 Speedster meets Euro-6D emission regulations. That’s a result of using two gasoline particulate filters.

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This car has a range of driving aids to help even newbies look like pro drivers. Rear-wheel steering, Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM), Porsche Stability Management (PSM), torque vectoring, and even carbon ceramic brakes come as standard. Incidentally, this car sits 25mm lower to the ground than 911 Carrera.

Is the Porsche 911 Speedster worth consideration?

Any limited edition Porsche, including the Porsche 911 Speedster, is a desirable car. Here’s how I process it – the GT3 and the 911 R were meant for different customers. The GT3 was meant for those looking for Porsche’s absolute best when it came to building a go-fast car. The 911 R was for those looking for the purest modern Porsche. The 911 Speedster is for neither of these customers.

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The Porsche 911 Speedster is for those who want a GT3 or the 911 R without any compromises. A pure Porsche today is a compromised vehicle and so is one that’s meant for tracks but can be used on roads. Enthusiasts love both the 911 R and the GT3 but so is not the case for everyone else.

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The Porsche 911 Speedster offers a mix of 911 R and GT3 in a package that is stylish and comfortable for daily use. You still can’t carry groceries in the car but who would do that in a special-edition 911?

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The Porsche 911 Speedster exists in a place of its own. It isn’t trying to ape any past or current 911. It isn’t trying to ape the 356 Speedster but pays homage to that car. For that, the 911 Speedster may be flawed and compromised for all I care. To me, it is a Porsche 911 and that means I’d dream of one day seeing it in my dream garage.

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Only two conditions need to be met – I should be able to afford it and I should fall in love with convertibles. Trust me, living in India makes you wish it was spring all year long so that you could enjoy a convertible (there goes my third condition).

Porsche 911 Speedster – Specs at a Glance

SpecificationsPorsche 911 Speedster
PriceEuro 2,69,274 (approx Rs 2.10 crore at current exchange rate)
EngineNaturally aspirated. 4.0-litre flat-six
Power510HP
Torque470Nm
TransmissionSix-speed manual
Front SuspensionIndependent, McPherson struts with anti-roll bars
Rear SuspensionIndependent, multi-link with anti-roll bars
Front Brakes410mm carbon ceramic discs with six-piston calipers
Rear Brakes390mm carbon ceramic discs with four-piston calipers
Length4,562mm
Width1,978mm
Height1,250mm
Wheelbase2,457mm
Fuel Consumption8.7km/l
Fuel Tank Capacity64 litres

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