Purists lost their collective cool when the 991.2 generation of the Porsche 911 completely ditched its naturally-aspirated roots to go all turbo for the regular range. That meant that every single 911 bar the GT cars would be turbocharged. Confusing and chaotic they claimed.
Said purists were also displeased; to put it mildly, when the 911 went from air-cooled to water-cooled. Let’s not even mar our internet search history with the comments that followed Zuffenhausen’s introduction of a SUV. Kids are regular visitors to this site.
However, much like the latter couple of examples, everyone got over it and got on with buying Porsches anyways because how else can you flex at local car gatherings.
Porsche however aren’t savages and as a swansong for the 991.2 generation of 911, they resorted to a naturally-aspirated screamer as a fitting farewell in the sleek shape of the Speedster bodystyle. Here’s 10 things we picked up from a quick glance of the car during a preview here.
1. Although there’ve been many Speedsters, the 991.2 Speedster can still claim a first; the first time Porsche’s fabled GT division has taken the reigns of the carriage to transform it into a racing chariot befitting of a road warrior. “No fluff but plenty of huff” seems to have been the briefing from Andreas Preuninger, head of GT cars. That’s no bad build ethos. As such, you’ll find the 991.2 911 GT3’s shell underpinning the Speedster’s bodywork; marking the first time a GT chassis underpins the Speedster as well.
2. Porsche didn’t stop with just the GT3 underpinnings, they knew that would be too much of a tease. So, they threw in the same 4.0-litre naturally-aspirated flat-six from the GT4. They also sprinkled some pixie dust on it too that sees power climb by 10hp to 503bhp. Fuel injectors pumping at 25 per cent higher pressure, new individual throttle bodies and a raised 9,000rpm redline contribute to that. That stratospheric redline is higher than the 911 R. The best part? Only a six-speed manual is available although there’s rev-matching for those with two right feet.
3. By no means however would it be tossing a “GT3 Convertible” truckers hat on the Speedster and calling it a day. That’s a huge injustice to the GT division and the work it did. A fedora is a better fit. While developed by the motorsports men, the Speedster’s emphasis was for road use and not explicitly to be flogged on a circuit; at least that wasn’t the intention. Most of the suspension is carried over lock, stock and barrel but the dampers were softened while the rear-wheel steering tweaked for polished road manners.
4. While its GT3 bones under the acreage of carbon fibre, the skin’s a mix of the Carrera 4S body-in-white’s derriere with the GT3 front end. The front fenders and hood are from the pure 911 R while the rear apron is from the GT3 Touring. Speedsters are set apart from the garden variety convertibles and targas by virtue of its classic stooped windshield. This one didn’t miss the boat with a windshield frame two-inches shorter. Chopping off those couple of inches cost Porsche a couple of million or more in retooling.
5. There’s acreage of carbon fibre on the Speedster. The front fenders, hood, frunk lid and that gigantic clamshell are all carbon fibre. In fact, the clamshell is the largest and most complex component Porsche has ever manufactured for a road car; that and the windshield alone should justify the cost.
6. Porsche very nearly went balls-to-the-wall with the Speedster by scrapping the idea of a roof altogether. However, seeing that rich people that buy Porsches don’t only live in southern California; where it never rains, they relented and had a soft-top put in. Not having a roof would’ve allowed designers to position the streamlined buttresses behind the seats to sit lower for a sleeker profile. The top only weighs 10kg and can be fitted in about 20-seconds. Our only gripe with the top is that when its wings are clipped in place behind the windows, the Speedster badges are obscured.
7. Speaking of those badges, they do look pretty special in gold detailing. It’s all part of the Heritage Design Package comprising the gorgeous cognac leather full buckets, the aforementioned gold detailing for the badging and the historic Porsche crests on the frunk that’s a sticker in the name of weight-saving. Oh, and those tacky 1950s-inspired racing decals; we’re not fans of that. If you opt for the package, the car can only be had in GT Silver in accordance with the classic 356 Speedster. An emblem between the seats carries the serial number of the car.
8. If you’re thinking as to why those seats look familiar, they’re from the 918 Spyder. Always nice to have a halo car’s touch. The steering’s devoid of buttons to stay focused and pure.
9. You probably didn’t notice the brakes behind those centre-lock wheels since they’re just plain gloss black. You’d be mistaken to think Porsche cheaped out on them because the stoppers are Porsche Ceramic Composite Brake (PCCB). However, instead of the usual yellow Porsche painted it black just for the Speedster; another first.
10. Porsche will be making 1,948 units of the Speedster, which doesn’t lean on the side of rare in terms of limited production special but that’s to commemorate the year Porsche first started building cars; 1948.