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New York show: Porsche's 991-series 911 Speedster

Purists to revel in lightweight GT3-based two-seat roadster due here late this year

17 Apr 2019

PORSCHE has unveiled the production version of its highly anticipated swansong for the current 991-series 911 sportscar – the limited-edition Speedster – at the New York auto show this week ahead of Australian orders opening up early next month and first deliveries arriving later in the year.

 

Local pricing and specifications are being kept under wraps until the order books open for the new 911 Speedster, which will be limited to 1948 units worldwide – a number denoting the year that Porsche received the operating licence for its first vehicle, the 356/1 prototype.

 

The ninth model to bear the Speedster moniker over the years – the previous one being the 997-series 911 in 2010 – this latest version of the classic two-seater roadster might channel Ferdinand Porsche’s revered ‘Number 1’ but draws heavily from the GT3 and GT3 RS track weapons, including its specially enhanced 4.0-litre naturally aspirated flat-six engine.

 

Power and torque output remains at 374kW and 470Nm respectively, however “a highly emotional, racing-inspired soundtrack” – more so than the GT3’s – is promised, thanks to individual throttle bodies that make response through the loud pedal “even sharper” and a unique exhaust system.

 

Driving the rear wheels exclusively through a GT Sport six-speed manual transmission, the Speedster can reach 60mph (96.5km/h) in a claimed 3.8 seconds, on its way to a top speed of 192mph (309km/h).

 

The first Speedster developed by the Porsche Motorsport division, the 991-series version holds true to the genre with its low-cut front windscreen and side windows, manually operated lightweight fabric drop-top roof and pair of carbon-fibre ‘streamliners’ on the rear decklid.

 

This dedication to light weight – which sees the Speedster tip the scales at only 1465kg – is also apparent in the door panel construction and the use of only basic storage nets and door pulls, while a carbon-fibre composite material replaces sheetmetal in areas such as the front luggage compartment lid, front fenders and rear decklid.

 

The front and rear fascia are also made out of lightweight polyurethane, while Porsche’s ceramic composite brakes are fitted standard, saving about 50 per cent compared to the regular grey cast-iron rotors.

 

The only automation allowed on the roof configuration is with the locking mechanism, and air-conditioning is, as you might now have realised, another listed option – though a no-cost one.

 

The six-speed manual gearbox also realises a weight saving of about 4kg compared to the seven-speed manual used in other 911 Carrera models, or almost 18kg compared to a PDK dual-clutch automatic.

 

The interior is fitted standard with black leather upholstery, with buyers given the option of adding contrasting red stitching on the dashboard, ‘Speedster’ branding in the headrests, a red finish on the door pulls and a red 12 o’clock centre marker on the GT Sport steering wheel.

 

Swathes of carbon-fibre trim are also applied to the cabin, extending to the gearshift knob as well as the door sill guards that also carry the ‘Speedster’ mark.

 

As per the powertrain and driveline, the Speedster’s chassis is derived from the 911 GT3 models, with Porsche saying that the specifically calibrated rear axle steering system and dynamic engine mounts “deliver a maximum amount of precision, stability and driving pleasure”.

 

The standard wheels are black-painted 20-inch centre-lock rims.

 

US orders open on May 7, and first deliveries are anticipated Stateside late in the year, with Australia expected to follow suit. The previous 997-series Speedster was priced from $519,800, plus on-road costs.

 

Buyers will also receive a 911 Speedster Chronograph watch created in-house by Porsche Design.

 

The production version of the Speedster unveiled this week follows two concepts shown last year, the first in June as Porsche marked the 70th anniversary of the 356/1 at its Zuffenhausen headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany, and the second in October at the Paris motor show with only minor modifications.


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