There are more than 25 variations of the Porsche 911, and there’s at least one that’s bound to tickle any sports car enthusiast’s fancy. The German manufacturer is launching yet another version, the very last one based on the 991-generation car, and it’s called the 911 Speedster. We got the opportunity to drive it on the roads of Sardinia, an island just off the Italian peninsula.
What makes the 911 Speedster so special? It’s not the most powerful nor the best-handling iteration of the legendary sports car, but it will be rare and ridiculously expensive. As a matter of fact, only 1,948 units will be built for worldwide consumption and as this is being written, they’re likely all spoken for. Maybe a couple are left.
The other aspect that makes the Speedster so appealing is what’s found in the engine compartment, as Porsche transplanted the mighty 911 GT3’s naturally aspirated, 4.0-litre flat-six. This marvel of an engine is the last non-turbo powerplant left in the 911 series, and although it lacks the 911 Turbos’ massive low-rpm torque, it’s a screamer as it produces 503 horsepower (510 PS) at a sky-high 8,400 rpm. Torque is rated at 347 pound-feet, peaking at 6,250 rpm.
This ferocious six is mated to a six-speed manual transmission in the 2019 Porsche 911 Speedster—no PDK automatic is offered here. As the engine revs past 4,000 rpm, its shriek tingles our spine and the car thrusts forward like a rocket. Porsche claims a 0 to 100 km/h time of 4.0 seconds and a top speed of 310 km/h.
Around town, this engine guzzles down as much as 18 L/100 km of super unleaded fuel. Yes, totally irrelevant info for potential buyers.
The Speedster also gets the Porsche Ceramic Composite Brake package with 410-mm discs up front and 390-mm discs at the rear, 20-inch wheels (with 245/35ZR20 front and 305/30ZR20 rear tires) as well as a suspension lowered by 25 mm with Porsche Active Suspension Management dampers. The car’s variable-assist steering is marvellous.
On the winding mountainous roads of North-eastern Sardinia, the 911 Speedster felt right at home. Carving hairpins, shooting down straightaways and passing slow-moving traffic was a piece of cake. That being said, in these conditions, it’s pretty difficult to evaluate how the car will handle itself on our own roads, but overall, the 911 has always been an excellent cross between pure sport and grand touring. And that’s one of the reasons why it remains so popular after more than 50 years on the market.
Can’t Pinch an Inch of Fat
With a curb weight of 1,465 kilograms (3,230 lbs.), the Speedster is one of the lightest in the 911 lineup—right behind the GT3/GT3 RS and Carrera T. This was achieved with extensive use of carbon fibre, pull straps instead of inside door handles and the removal of the rear seats, among other things. To save a few more grams, buyers can opt out of the sound system and air conditioning, but that’s being a little too obsessive. Actually, the rearview camera is required by law in Canada, so we can’t skip the infotainment unit anyhow.
As is the case with all previous generations, the 2019 Porsche 911 Speedster has a chopped windshield and smaller side windows. According to one company representative, the Speedster simply inherited the Porsche 718’s smaller windshield. Top up or down, this car looks fantastic.
The 911 Cabriolet has a power-folding top, but the 911 Speedster’s is lowered and raised manually. We must simply pull a switch on the centre console, which unlocks the huge tonneau cover and the top at the edge of the windshield. Opening the cover, pushing the top down and closing the cover again takes about 10 seconds and very little elbow grease is required.
The 2019 Porsche 911 Speedster has either a very big downside or an extraordinary advantage, depending on how fat our wallet is. With a base price of $312,500 before freight and delivery charges in Canada, this is the second-costliest 911 of the bunch—just behind the rip-snorting 911 GT2 RS. You can almost buy two GT3s for the same price.
For an extra $27,970, Canadian buyers can choose the Heritage Design package consisting of a GT Silver Metallic and white paint job, motorsports decals on the hood and doors with the two-digit number of our choice, silver or satin-gloss platinum alloy wheels (instead of black), black-painted brake callipers, a two-dimensional hood crest and gold lettering. The Heritage Design’s interior is dressed in two-tone leather upholstery with Cognac accenting. We’d skip this package, but it does add another layer of exclusivity and collection value.
Oh, 911 Speedster buyers also have the opportunity to purchase a colour-coordinated Porsche Design watch. It’s priced a USD$12,900, or roughly $17,000 in Canadian funds. Some people are just too wealthy.
It’s fast, it’s gorgeous, it’s crazy-expensive and it’s fairly exclusive. The 2019 Porsche 911 Speedster is an excellent way to close the 991-series chapter of this iconic sports car’s storybook, as all the new variants of the 992 car will start appearing within the next few years. Sadly, too many people will likely buy the Speedster and bubble-wrap it for the next 50 years instead of enjoying it.