Traditionally, Porsche doesn’t release the 911 Speedster variant very often. With the last Speedster debuting at the 2010 Paris Motor Show (and selling out soon thereafter), it didn’t look like the Speedster would be coming back anytime soon. But late last year, rumors of a new 911 Speedster gained ground, specifically on how it would be packaged as a tribute to the classic 550 Spyder that Porsche built from 1953 to 1957. Now, it does look like the 911 Speedster is returning and will be built based on the current generation 911 and like its most recent predecessor, it will be a limited run model that will only be delivered to 550 lucky customers.
Whether Porsche is making the right move releasing a new 911 Speedster so close to the last one has become irrelevant at this point. Technology and innovation are moving at such a brisk pace that waiting decades for the new model to arrive doesn’t make sense anymore.
Add that to the popularity of the last one, and it only makes sense that with a new-generation 911 to build on, the return of the 911 Speedster is rightfully in the cards.
Click past the jump to read more about the 2016 Porsche 911 Speedster.
Based on the last bit of information we received, the new 911 Speedster will receive a host of new features that will not only pay homage to the 550, but it will also do so while maintaining the model’s longstanding tradition of being lighter and more powerful than the standard 911.
More recent details on the car seem to suggest that the model will also receive some aesthetic and aerodynamic changes in line with the 2014 911. What that means is we can at least expect new headlamps and a more pronounced grille and front air intakes. Likewise, a slanted windshield also appears to be in the cards, as well as a new rear view mirrors, updated side skirts, and a new palette of colors for the rims.
With all the bells and whistles attached to the Porsche 911 Speedster, it suddenly becomes a compelling competitor to a supercar like the Audi R8 V8 Spyder. Granted, the limited-edition nature of the 911 Speedster makes buying it a little more complicated than you showing up at an Audi dealership and ordering an R8. But the specs are right in line to make a race between the two exotics pretty competitive. The R8’s 4.2-liter FSI V-8 engine produces a stout 430 horsepower and 318 pound-feet of torque, numbers that are right around what we expect the 911 Speedster to be capable of.
But let’s face it. In terms of sheer exclusivity, there are not a lot of cars out there that can compete with the 911 Speedster. Just look at the dramatic price difference between the two cars. The R8 V8 Spyder has a price of $128,400 for the manual version and at $137,500 for the S tronic version. Those figures are a bargain compared to the $285,000 each of the 365 units of the last rendition of the 911 Speedster.
Gallery Audi R8 Spyder
The rarity of the Porsche 911 Speedster speaks to just how exclusive it really is. Sin ce the first Speeedster arrived in the 50’s, there have only been two other times when the Speedster name was released, once from 1990-1994 and the other back in 2010 when, like we said, it sold out before it even went on sale.
So word of a new 911 Speedster arriving so close to the third incarnation is pretty big new, big enough at least to warrant a whole lot of whispers in and out of the auto industry.
Porsche 356 "Speedster"
Porsche’s first use of the "Speedster" name was done back in 1954 with the Porsche 356. The development of the 356 Speedster actually owes its existence to one Max Hoffman, who at that time was the sole importer of Porsches in the USA. Determined to build on the popularity of the 356 at that time, Hoffman convinced Porsche to build a scaled-down version of the 356 after a previous model — the America Roadster — failed to be a sales hit, in part due to its expensive price tag. Turns out, the failure of the America Roadster proved to be the opening the 356 Speedster needed to make a name for itself in the US market.
While still carrying the exterior look of the 356, the Speedster differentiated itself by essentially being a lighter version of the 356 that didn’t come with a whole lot of luxury amenities. Instead, Porsche decided to remove a whole spate of components to make the car lighter and cheaper for the market.
And so, an iconic Porsche model was born.
Decades after the original Speedster went of production in 1958, Porsche decided to bring back the name when it introduced the first official 911 Speedster at the 1987 Frankfurt Motor Show. The second incarnation of the Speedster brought Porsche tremendous success, paving the way for that generation’s crop of 911s to receive a number of Speedster variants, including the 1989 911 Carrera 3.2 Speedster and the the 1993 Porsche 964 Speedster.
The last Speedster to hit the market was based on the last generation 997, which Porsche smartly timed just before the next, and now current generation arrived.
The 2010 911 Speedster carried a host of changes that included a new aerodynamic body kit package, tinted headlights, black accents, a soft-top cover, a special front apron, specific side skirts, a distinct rear apron, and a choice of two paint options: Carrera White and Pure Blue.
The lightweight nature of the last 911 Speedster largely contributed to it producing an impressive 408 horsepower from its 3.8-liter flat-six engine. It was also mated to a seven-speed PDK transmission that sends power to the car’s rear axle that’s fitted with a standard differential lock. The sports car also featured an active suspension management and ceramic composite brakes.