Porsche sends off the 991.2 with this GT3-powered 911 Speedster
The 2019 Porsche 911 Speedster was revealed to the North American public for the first time at the New York International Auto Show. The latest 911 Speedster, first revealed as a concept to celebrate Porsche’s 70th anniversary last year, continues a tradition that dates back to the 1950s. A variant of the roadster, a speedster typically has a cut-down windshield and side glass and other aerodynamic features, like the 911 Speedster’s carbon-fiber rear deck fairings behind the seats.
As the cherry on top of the 991.2 generation of the 911, just 1,948 Speedsters will be made, a tribute to the year of Porsche’s founding. And it’s not just an appearance or trim package. The 911 Speedster shares its 502 horsepower 4.0-liter flat-six engine with Porsche’s high-performance 911 GT3 and 911 GT3 RS models, along with a chassis derived from those cars, including four-wheel steering and dynamic engine mounts. Top speed is 192 mph and it can reach 60 mph in 3.8 seconds from a standing start.
Intended as a purist’s sports car, the 911 Speedster will only be offered with a clutch and a six-speed manual transmission. It has racing-inspired 20-inch center-lock wheels, plus reduced weight components abound, including a manual soft top and lightweight door panels with fabric storage nets and door pulls. The trunk lid, front fenders, and rear decklid are all constructed from carbon fiber, and polyurethane front and rear fascias also save weight.
Ceramic composite brakes weigh about half of what cast iron rotors weigh, and the decision to go with a stick shift may be because the six-speed weighs nine pounds less than Porsche’s seven-speed manual and 50 pounds less than a dual-clutch PDK transmission. To further save weight, the 911 Speedster comes standard without air conditioning, though it is available at no additional charge. All told, the Speedster weighs 3,230 pounds, compared to 3,116 pounds for the 911 GT3, 3,153 for the base 911 coupe, and 3,307 for the base 911 roadster.
Interior trim, including the shift knob and door sills with the Speedster logo, is covered in carbon fiber. Leather upholstery is standard equipment, with an optional appearance package that adds contrasting red stitching, red door pulls, and Speedster logos embroidered on the seat headrests. A 70th anniversary plaque sits between the seat backs.
This is the eighth Porsche to carry the Speedster designation, plus the original “speedster,” the 1952 356 1500 America Roadster that set the pattern with a lowered windshield, removable side curtain windows, and a lightweight aluminum body. The first 911 Speedster arrived in 1988, with just 356 made, and the most recent edition was the 997-generation-based 2010 model.
To commemorate the latest 911 Speedster, Porsche Design came up with a matching wristwatch, the 911 Speedster Chronograph, available exclusively to 911 Speedster owners. The watch has elements inspired by the car, including a carbon-fiber dial face, a rotor shaped like the Speedster’s center-lock wheels, and a perforated leather strap made with the same leather and red thread used on the 911 Speedster’s interior.
Orders for the new Speedster open up next month, with deliveries planned to begin late this year and a price tag of $275,750 including destination. The watch will likely be a bit pricier than a Timex or Casio.