What is it?
Essentially it’s a very limited run swansong for the 991 generation Porsche 911. A sort of ‘greatest hits’ version, it pulls together some of the tastiest components from the some of the already excellent GT models and packages them up in one send-off special that’s topped off with some wind-in-the-hair thrills that only versions wearing the Speedster badge can deliver.
We’ve already had a spin in the Speedster earlier this year, but that was in a sunny setting that played to its drop top strengths. And very good it was too. Five star good in fact. However, now we’ve had a chance to drive one on UK soil. In November. In the wintry north east of England. So how does it stack up in these rather more challenging conditions?
Before we find out, it’s probably worth a little recap as to what exactly goes into making the Speedster. First off it’s the fourth model, and the third 911, to wear this badge, which debuted on a pared-back, cut-price 356 in 1954. And at a snifter under £212,000 it’s also the most expensive, by some margin. Yet it’s also arguably the most special.
While the previous 911 Speedsters (G-Series, 964 and 997) have been little more than slightly fettled Carrera models with cut-down windscreens and bubble covers for the hood and rear seats, the latest version takes the GT3 as its base. In fact, it’s even more special than that; its body effectively melds Carrera 4S Cabriolet and GT3, while the front wings and bonnet are carbon fibre items from the 911R. The same lightweight material is used for the bespoke hood cover, which sits behind the front seats. At the rear is GT3 bumper, while at the other end the lower spoiler and air intakes are bespoke to the Speedster.
Mechanically it’s largely GT3, with effectively the same naturally aspirated 4.0-litre flat-six hanging out over the rear axle. Petrol particulate filters help it hit the latest emissions regulations, while some subtle massaging has helped release an extra 10bhp, taking the total output to 503bhp and helping to offset the Speedster’s fractionally higher kerbweight. Happily the only transmission option is a six-speed manual (thank you again, 911R), which drives the rear wheels.
The suspension has been left largely alone, although, because this is a car aimed at the road as much as the track, the damper rates have been softened a little. Standard fit is the excellent four-wheel steering system and the carbon ceramic brakes. Very nice.