With a new generation of the Porsche 911 set to debut in 2020, the German brand has decided to send the generation of the sports car icon known as 991 out with a bang in the form of a limited edition, the 2019 911 Speedster, which made its debut at the 2019 New York International Auto Show.
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The term “Speedster” is one that’s unique to Porsche and has come to mean a convertible, performance-oriented version of one of its vehicles. This is the ninth Porsche model to wear the Speedster designation and the first since 2010. It’s also easy to pick out a Speedster on the street thanks to a pair of humps on the rear deck (one behind each seat) that Porsche calls “streamliners.”
Up front, the 911 Speedster looks more like a conventional 911, but there are a few differences. The windshield has been shortened, as have the side windows, which gives the car a lower-looking stance. Instead of a powered soft-top, it’s manual to further save weight. Additional weight savings come from extensive use of carbon fiber and lightweight door panels with fabric door pulls instead of handles; the car even comes standard without air conditioning to save weight (though you can add it in at no cost). The 911 Speedster weighs just 3,230 pounds — which is 114 pounds heavier than a GT3, but 77 pounds lighter than a 911 Carrera cabriolet.
Porsche will also offer a Heritage Design Package on the Speedster, which adds Platinum Satin paint, start numbers and decals to the doors, unique 20-inch wheels, black brake calipers and white paint accents. These changes are designed to emulate older Porsche racing vehicles, and buyers have the option of customizing the start number on the door.
This is a very handsome car, especially with the top down. The lower windshield and the way that the streamliners creep up to the back of the seats give it a unique silhouette among 911s. It’s a worthy carrier of the Speedster name on styling alone, but Porsche has gone further with the car to make sure that its performance matches its looks.
Under the hood, er, I mean rear engine cover, is a 4.0-liter flat-six out of the 911 GT3. That engine is good for 502 horsepower and 346 pounds-feet of torque, as well as one of the most ear-pleasing soundtracks found anywhere in the automotive world that will only be enhanced by hearing it with the top down. There will be only one transmission, a GT Sport six-speed manual (as God intended). Porsche claims a zero-to-60-mph time of 3.8 seconds and a top speed of 192 mph.
Underpinning the 911 Speedster are a slew of components from the GT3, along with a rear-axle steering system and dynamic engine mounts. Twenty-inch Satin Black center-lock wheels come standard, as does a carbon-ceramic braking system.
Speedster models are usually limited in production (the last Speedster was only 356 units in an homage to the 356, the first Porsche roadster), and the latest 911 Speedster is no exception. Only 1,948 will be produced worldwide, and there’s no word yet on how many of those models will be earmarked for the U.S. market.
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As you may have guessed from those details, the 911 Speedster will be anything but cheap. It’s priced at $275,750, including destination charges, which is quite a chunk of change even if the car is set to become an instant collectible. The 2019 911 Speedster will be available for ordering on May 7 and arrives at dealerships starting in late 2019.
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