So many Porsches, so little time. Reports came in just yesterday that Stuttgart was planning an ultra-hardcore GT3 RS as well, but the German automaker has now announced an altogether different variant of its iconic sports car: the 911 Carrera GTS, which will make its official debut at the fast-approaching Paris Motor Show.
Recalling the original 356 and the three successive Speedsters to come since, the new 911 Speedster cuts a classic (if a bit awkward) hunchback profile and 60mm lower windshield. The wide-body stance is the same found on the Carrera 4 and the aforementioned GTS, with which it also shares (along with the similarly retro 911 Sport Classic) its 408-horsepower flat-six engine, driving the rear wheels through the company's PDK dual-clutch gearbox.
Created by the Porsche Exclusive department, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, the 911 Speedster honors the 1950's classic from which it draws its inspiration, with only 356 examples on offer. The unique shade of French racing blue comes standard, and continues on the rather, um... interesting two-seat interior, with Carrera White available at no extra charge.
Full details can be found in the press release after the jump, along with an initial batch of high-resolution images in the gallery below. We'll get a closer look next week in Paris, but with such limited production, we wouldn't be getting our hopes up about U.S. availability.
UPDATE: HD video added after the jump.
THE 356 LEGEND CONTINUES: THE NEW PORSCHE 911 SPEEDSTER
- Open-roof, two-seater 911 recreates the spirit of the classic Porsche 356 Speedster
- Designed by Porsche Exclusive department and limited to just 356 examples worldwide
- 408 hp flat-six engine drives the rear wheels through seven-speed PDK transmission
- Debut at Paris Salon October 2 – 17: on sale in January 2011 priced from £144,100
Designed and conceived by the Porsche Exclusive department in Stuttgart, the two-seater 911 Speedster is significantly different from the other members of the 911 family. Every Porsche Speedster was traditionally distinguished by its shortened windscreen and sleek tail, and the new 911 likewise features a 60mm lowered and raked windscreen and the characteristic 'double-bubble' hardcover for the manual soft top.
The striking profile of the new 911 Speedster is further defined by the use of the Carrera 4 body, the 44 millimetre wider rear stance of which additionally gives powerful visual emphasis to the rear wheel-drive configuration of the car.
Just as the style of the new 911 Speedster features contemporary re-interpretations of classic Porsche Speedster iconography, the characteristic rear-engined chassis features the best from the current 911 generation. The 3.8-litre flat six has been tuned to deliver 408 hp (300 kW), 23 hp more than in the 911 Carrera S. With average fuel consumption of 27.43 mpg (10.3 litres/100 km) (NEDC), the new Speedster uses no more fuel than the standard 911 Carrera S Cabriolet – a consequence of Porsche Intelligent Performance2.
The 911 Speedster features as standard a seven-speed Porsche Doppelkupplungsgetriebe (PDK) gearbox which transmits power via a limited slip differential to the rear axle, which lends further finesse to the chassis dynamics. Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) and Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes (PCCB) are also standard. Added to this is exemplary protection for the driver and passenger, with the safety roll-over protection system, which is standard in all open-top Porsche cars, being specifically tailored for the unique Speedster design.
The conception of the current Speedster comes from Porsche Exclusive – the department of Porsche that specialises in individualisation of Porsche cars and low volume production. The 911 Speedster heralds the 25th anniversary of Porsche Exclusive which will be celebrated in 2011, and further demonstrates the competence of the in-house technical experts after the recent success of the 911 Sport Classic.
The 911 Speedster has a generous level of equipment as standard and, as is to be expected from the artisans at Porsche Exclusive, its appeal also comes from the meticulously hand-finished interior in black smooth-finish leather with numerous exterior colour painted details – each one bespoke to the Speedster. These include decorative designs with black and white patterns reminiscent of a chequered flag on the centre sections of the sports seats, and leather side bolsters in the exterior colour.
The sporting flavour is enhanced further by the 'Pure Blue' exterior colour that has been developed exclusively for the Speedster, and which provides an intriguing contrast with the tinted front lights, black headlight surrounds, black windscreen border and other black decorative designs. It also features a bespoke front spoiler, specific side-skirts and a distinct rear apron. Porsche fans will also note the colour-coordinated black stone guard ahead of the rear wheels, reminiscent of prior editions of the 911. Upon request, the Speedster is available in Carrara White, at no extra cost.
The new Porsche 911 Speedster will have its global debut at the Paris Salon on October 2 and goes on sale in the UK in January 2011, priced from £144,100.
Fitted to every 911 Speedster is a Porsche Vehicle Tracking System (VTS), a sophisticated vehicle security package approved to Thatcham Category 5 standard, and customers will also be able to explore the potential of their new car by participating in a complimentary course at the Porsche Experience Centre, Silverstone.
The Porsche Speedster legend 1
In 1953, the Speedster series was launched with a pure sports car based on the Porsche 356, which had two sports bucket seats, doors with slide-in plastic side windows, and a shortened, elegantly curved windscreen. 1,234 examples were built.
By the time the 356 A was introduced in 1955, the Speedster reputation was firmly established and 2,910 examples were produced.
In 1989, the Speedster celebrated its revival with an edition based on the 911 Carrera 3.2, this time with an added feature; for the first time, the hood compartment lid had the characteristic 'double bubble' styling. Initially, a limited run of 171 were produced, but a wide-bodied 'Turbolook' version introduced shortly afterwards was sold to 2,103 customers.
In 1992/1993, the next evolutionary stage of the 911 Carrera – the Type 964 – ushered in a further Speedster edition, of which 930 examples were built. A further 15 widebodied 'Turbolook' versions were specially commissioned by customers.
Most recently, two examples of the Type 993 911 Speedster have been built to special order.
Performance Data 2
Power 3.8-litre flat six 408hp
0-62mph 4.6 secs
Top speed 189.5mph
Combined mpg 27.43 mpg
CO2 242 g/km
7-speed PDK gearbox