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Porsche 991

What Is The New 911 Speedster Like To Drive On The Road?

A few years ago, we discussed the idea of a GT3 Cabriolet (below). Some of us thought it was a great idea, and others not so much. It took almost five years, but Porsche finally built something that is basically the 991 GT3 Cabriolet that we asked for, but better. Consider the 991.2 Speedster a send off for the chassis. This is among the last cars to be produced on this chassis that was introduced in 2012, and in my opinion that very few asked for, possibly the best of the breed. Porsche perfected the closed-roof GT3 concept with the GT3 Touring. Cut the roof off, strip the body of some extra weight, and slam a shortened windshield on there for good measure, and you’ve got the Speedster.

17 Year Old Kid Designs The GT3 Cabriolet Porsche Really Needs To Build

It still has GT3 suspension bits and that mega 500 horsepower naturally aspirated flat six at the back, only now it has a fiddly manually-operated drop top similar to that found in the 981 Boxster Spyder. Don’t worry about the Speedster’s top, however, it’ll usually be stowed away. The Speedster is meant to be driven with the top down.

Porsche had considered selling this car with no roof at all. While that would have been incredibly ballsy, and would have dropped the car’s mass by a not-insignificant amount, it feels right to have a manual roof to continue the Speedster’s lineage as a pure track-capable road car that can be driven across the country. Lets be honest, if you had purchased a 356 from Hoffman in the 1950s, you would have wanted a roof for your 3500 mile drive home to Southern California, right?

Now, Henry Catchpole has driven every iteration of Porsche GT since the 991 series was unveiled (while I myself have not yet driven the GT2 RS). That makes him perfectly qualified to discuss the merits of the Speedster as a package. In the video below for Carfection, Catchpole will touch on just about everything you’d need to know about the Speedster’s ability to perform. Considering it came from the GT car department, it was bound to be good, but how good?

Don’t bother putting the top up. Get in. Push the Sport Exhaust button. Slam the manual gear lever into 1st. Never look back.


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Inconspicuous Dragster: The New Carrera 4S Can Run with Hypercars

It’s often said that Porsche horsepower is a little more potent than other marques’ horsepower. Perhaps having the motor so close to the driven wheels minimizes drivetrain losses, or maybe there’s simply a bit of magic at work between the broad haunches of a Porsche. In any event, it’s not unusual to see a fairly standard 911 hanging with cars which should be out of its league. Such is the case with the 991 C4S.

In terms of price and power, the Porsche is totally outclassed. The 450 horsepower its 3.0-liter flat-six is nothing to sniff at, but when in the company of an Audi R8 Performance, a Nismo GT-R, and a BMW M850i—with 620 horsepower, 600 horsepower, and 520 horsepower, respectively—it seems it’d be hopeless in a drag race. All four cars drive every one of their wheels, and all enjoy the rapid gearshifts offered by modern, paddle-shifted automatics. By minimizing the number of variables present, this test promises to be an intriguing demonstration of power and traction.

Interspersed between boyish enthusiasm and Muttley-esque snickering, we see some moments of brilliance from the underdog. The Porsche is easily the lightest car in the bunch at just a tick over 3,200 pounds. Compared to the others, it’s a featherweight; nearly 1,300 pounds lighter than the portly BMW. The Porsche’s light weight, coupled with its stellar traction, makes it the quickest off the line, only to be reigned in by the heavier, punchier cars towards the end of the quarter-mile drag.

The GT-R, which sports another 150 horsepower but weights ~700 pounds more, just pips it before the line by a mere tenth of a second. Considering the Porsche costs a little more than half as the Audi and Nissan which just outgunned it, it wasn’t too bad a loss.

Though not the swiftest, it is the sexiest of the angular, wing-studded bunch

The results of the rolling race were too predictable, with the more powerful machinery streaking away, but if there’s a consolation prize, the Porsche is the quickest to stop. Give them a race track with corners, and the results might further favor the 911. In terms of real world performance, the Porsche can hang with, and occasionally outperform the supercars. Not too shabby.


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Mark Webber Scares Tennis Pro in a Carrera 4S Cabriolet

In addition to being Porsche’s most famous brand ambassador, Mark Webber is a genuinely warm-hearted bloke. Never staid, tight-lipped, or solemn, the affable Aussie has natural charm that is only bettered by his superhuman driving ability. Those two qualities come in quite handy when guiding a tennis star around a testing circuit in a very quick 911.

As part of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix supporting program, Webber gave Elina Svitolina a few lessons in the prize for this year’s WTA tournament’s main prize: a 991 Carrera 4S Cabriolet. With Porsche’s Development Center Weissach as the playground, these two could enjoy the dynamics of the renowned chassis and ferocious acceleration of the 3.8-liter turbo motor, which propelled them to 62 in just 3.8 seconds.

Svitolina discovering her natural driving ability.

The mere mention of Webber’s gets fans excited, but seeing him test the limits of this car with a (likely) uninitiated passenger sitting alongside is quality amusement. The man who’s been at the top for so long never seems to lose his passion for racing, he always wears a smile, and he never fails to entertain.

Webber and Svitolina share a laugh before another hot lap.

What I wouldn’t give to have Mark Webber as a personal driving instructor for the day. That’s a very cool opportunity.


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Porsche Debuts Production-Ready 911 Speedster At New York Auto Show

We knew it was coming, we knew it would be limited, and we knew what it would look like, but it’s still a joy to see the 991.2-generation Speedster finally in production-ready trim. Only 1948 examples of this open-top 911 will be built, and it’s likely that its most of the way to being sold out by now, if it isn’t already. What you’re looking at here is basically a two-seat convertible version of Porsche’s successful GT3 model. It’ll have the same 502 horsepower 4-liter flat six that revs to 9,000 rpm, and it’ll be shifted exclusively through the glorious 6-speed manual gearbox found in the GT3 Touring and 911R. It even has the same chassis components and specially calibrated rear-wheel steering. The major difference between the 911 Speedster and the GT3? Well, aside from the fact that it doesn’t have a roof, the Speedster features individual throttle bodies!

0 to 60 miles per hour happens in just 3.8 seconds, and the top track speed is 192 miles per hour. The 2019 911 Speedster is planned to be available for order on May 7, 2019 and is expected to reach U.S. dealers in late 2019. Word has it that the Speedster will set you back a whopping $274,500. It is likely that this will be the final iteration of the 991.2-generation chassis as Porsche production makes way for the new 992.

The Speedster will feature the lower and more rakish windshield and speedster humps we’ve become accustomed to through the original 356 speedster, 1989 911 Speedster, 964 Speedster, and 997 Speedster. It’s an evocative shape that brings the old world to mind immediately. The lightweight manually operated convertible top will likely spend most of its time stowed under the rear lid, but will help keep the car’s iconic hunchback look.

Porsche makes extensive use of carbon in the construction of the Speedster to keep it as light as possible. With the front and rear lids, and front fenders made of carbon, as well as standard PCCB carbon rotors shed quite a few pounds. The lightweight poly bumpers help as well. Air conditioning is omitted as standard, but can be optioned back in for no cost (though I’ll take a stand right now and say you’re a coward if you option A/C. Don’t be a coward.). The 2019 Speedster weighs just 3230 pounds, which is just 209 pounds more than the much vaunted king of lightweight 991s, the 911R.

If you’re so inclined, you can also order a matching watch with your Speedster. The Porsche Design 911 Speedster Chronograph is a Flyback with Werk 01.22 movement developed in-house by Porsche Design. The Speedster Chronograph features a carbon fiber dial, a rotor modeled on the Speedster’s center lock wheels. The black strap and red stitching are taken directly from Porsche’s interior crafters.

Exclusively for owners, Porsche Design has created a 911 Speedster Chronograph timepiece. The high-performance Flyback-Chronograph with Werk 01.200 movement developed in-house features Speedster specific design elements such as a carbon fiber dial, and a rotor modeled after the Speedster center lock wheel in both design and color. Genuine Porsche interior leather and thread are also used for the perforated black leather strap with red stitching. Pricing for the watch was not mentioned, but Porsche Design Chronographs start in the $6,000 range.

My takeaway? By limiting this to just 1948 examples, investment speculators have already put in their orders and we’ll see fools parting with half a million dollars to buy these on the second hand market. They’ll all be optioned with air conditioning, and hardly any of them will be driven. Additionally, the concept looked much better with proper throwback cues. I wish they’d offer the wheels and mirrors as an option, at least.


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24 Variations on a Theme: Picking the Right 911 Derivative

Ford currently produces eleven Mustang derivatives, and Chevrolet makes eight Corvette variants(both of these figures include the coupe and convertible variations of the same trim separately). That’s a lot of choices from a nation known for customizing and individualization. Where variations on a theme are concerned, the Americans cannot be considered in the same breath as Porsche. There are twenty four 911 derivatives currently on sale, and the range of choices is staggering. Two-wheel drive or four? Hardtop, full convertible, or Targa? Even power output nearly doubles from the least to most powerful model in the lineup. Thankfully, Porsche understands that the full 911 lineup can be confusing, and sums it up neatly in under five minutes.

For buyers, some choices are driven by budget. Not every prospective Porsche buyer can put $293k on the masthead for a GT2 RS, nor should they. As the video shows, not every Porsche model is made for the same purpose. A buyer looking for a usable, everyday sports car should probably stay away from the GT range’s glorious odes to speed at all costs. At the same time, buyers who spend every possible moment at the track will not be as well served by a Carrera S as one of the more focused 911 variants.

Picking a 911

Let’s run through the 991.2 decision making process. For the purpose of this exercise, let’s call our hypothetical buyer Andrew. For the sake of not making up a purely theoretical person with absurd needs that cause them to daily drive a GT3 RS in Saskatchewan, I’m going to base this person on my dad. He has has been considering buying a 911 or a Cayman for some time, and his current daily driver is a Golf GTI Autobahn.

Andrew lives in the Northeast, and has an uncanny ability to find studded snow tires in sizes heretofore unknown to mere mortals. He has also been known to have winter and summer brake setups to work around winter wheel clearance issues. To my knowledge he’s never owned a car or truck with four-wheel drive, despite living deep in the land of ice and snow. He’s not a big fan of convertibles.

He has also been racing motorcycles for more than thirty years, and when he goes to a track, he prefers two wheels to four. His preference is for simplicity and usability. He’s a long time hot-hatch fan because of the high smiles-per-dollar ratio, and (until recently) the segment’s lack of driver aids. Ultimate output is not important, but grip and driver-involvement are.

So, in this case we can pretty safely remove the all-wheel drive variants, bringing the total number of choices from 24 to 12. Given his preference for spending track time on two wheels, the GT models can be ruled out as well, removing another three choices. Of the remaining eleven 911s, five are convertibles and can be eliminated. This leaves the Carrera, Carrera S, Carrera T, and Carrera GTS. Based on his disdain for complexity, and attitude of driver involvement before other concerns, the Carrera T then becomes the most logical choice.


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