The Speedster returns after seven years!

Introduced in 2011, the 991-generation Porsche 911 is slowly moving closer to retirement. The 991.2 facelift is already three years old, and the next-generation 911 was spotted testing on public roads in many versions, so the 992 will probably go into the history books in 2019. But Porsche is not yet done with the current model. Recent spy shots suggest that the final batch of sports cars will include a Speedster model.

The convertible was caught testing in Southern Europe alongside a few 911 GT3s and word has it that an official debut is planned at the 2018 Goodwood Festival of Speed in July. Rumors also claim that power will be provided by the same 4.0-liter flat-six engine in the 911 GT3 so it will be among the most powerful variants of the outgoing 991. Production will be limited to a few hundred cars. The 911 Speedster returns to the market after a seven-year hiatus. The previous Speedster, based on the 997-generation 911, was launched in 2011.

Updated 06/29/2018: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming Porsche 911 Speedster out for a new testing session around Nürburgring, and this time wearing absolutely no camouflage.

Continue reading to learn more about the Porsche 911 Speedster.

Spy Shots

June 29, 2018 - Porsche 911 Speedster caught testing at Nürburgring

2020 Porsche 911 Speedster
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2020 Porsche 911 Speedster
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May 18, 2018 - Porsche 911 Speedster caught testing in the Spanish Mountains

2020 Porsche 911 Speedster Exterior Spyshots
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2020 Porsche 911 Speedster Exterior Spyshots
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Porsche 911 Speedster History

2016 Porsche 911 Speedster High Resolution Exterior
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Although it evolved into a special-edition model of the Porsche 911, the Speedster name is actually older than the nameplate itself

Although it evolved into a special-edition model of the Porsche 911, the Speedster name is actually older than the nameplate itself, having been introduced in 1954 as a new body style for the 356. Launched in 1949, the Porsche 356 received a Speedster version in late 1954. Although it was similar to the convertible, the Speedster was aimed at customers who wanted a race-inspired drop-top and featured a lower, raked windshield that could be removed for weekend racing, a minimal folding top, and bucket seats. The Speedster became an instant hit in the U.S. and remained in production until 1958, when it was replaced with a more conventional roadster model.

The Speedster name was first used on the 911 in 1989 when it became a special-edition model of the 930-generation sports car. Although it shared styling features with the 911 convertible, it had only two seats and a custom cover for the soft-top compartment that had two flying buttresses. The 930 Speedster was launched right before Porsche introduced the then-new 964 generation. The latter gained a Speedster version in 1994. Available in both standard and lightweight, Clubsport trim, the 964 Speedster was designed to be a more focused driver’s car and lacked most of the comfort features of the Cabriolet model. Only 936 units were built in two years of production, 20 of which were fitted with the Turbo body by Porsche Exclusive.

2010 Porsche 911 Speedster High Resolution Exterior
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Porsche launched a limited-edition run for the 997-generation 911 in 2011

Porsche skipped the Speedster body style for the 993-generation 911, but its Exclusive division built two on special request. The first one was assembled for Ferdinand Alexander Porsche’s 60th birthday in 1995, while the second one was delivered to Jerry Seinfeld in 1998. The 993 Speedster is arguably the rarest of its kind.

The nameplate remained dormant again until 2011, when Porsche launched a limited-edition run for the 997-generation 911. Built in only 356 units as a tribute to the original Speedster, the 997 version was powered by the same engine of the Carrera GTS and was offered in only two colors, Pure Blue and Carrara White. The Speedster’s windscreen was 70 mm (2.75 inches) shorter than the standard Cabriolet model.

Porsche 911 Speedster Exterior

- * 911 GT3-inspired bumpers
- * Unique deck lid design
- * Flying buttresses
- * Bespoke wheels?
- * Lowered ride height
- * Shorter windshield

2020 Porsche 911 Speedster Exterior Spyshots
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Although it has a soft-top, most styling features are borrowed from the more hardcore 911 GT3

A quick glance at this prototype is enough to notice that it’s not a regular 911 Cabriolet model. Although it has a soft-top, most styling features are borrowed from the more hardcore 911 GT3, which is available in coupe format only. The bumper seems to be identical to the GT3 model, with large vents onto the sides and a wide intake in the middle, flanked by two additional openings. The splitter also seems to be similar but larger than the regular 911.

The rear fenders are also wider than usual, while the rear bumper features a center-mounted exhaust with two pipes, just like the GT3. The tailpipes are smaller on the prototype, but this could change on the production model. The engine lid features a unique, somewhat awkward spoiler. It seems a bit too large for the car, but maybe it’s still under development.

Unfortunately, the soft-top is in place so we can’t see the Speedster-specific cover, but the shape of the deck lid suggests that this prototype is indeed a two-seater. The deck lid is also different and lacks the engine grille seen on the Cabriolet. More importantly, the drop-top sits closer to the ground, which suggests that it uses a stiffer, sportier suspension setup.

Porsche 911 Speedster Interior

- * Sportier trim
- * Sports seats standard
- * Bucket seats optional
- * GT Sport steering wheel
- * Door fabric loops

2017 Porsche 911 High Resolution Interior
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Expect the interior layout to be a tad sportier than the base 911 Carrera

The interior of the Speedster is still a mystery as of this writing and we don’t have spy shots of the sports car’s cabin. Granted, it will have the same design and features as any 991-generation 911 out there, but it remains to be seen whether it will boast a standard layout or a configuration based on the 911 GT3. With the exterior based on the latter, the interior could get similar features too. Or it could be a hybrid between the standard 911 and the GT3.

Either way, expect it to be a tad sportier than the base 911 Carrera. I’m thinking that the limited-edition Carrera T is a good start here, as the coupe was fitted of race-inspired features. The Sport Seats Plus package was standard, adding sportier, four-way adjustable seats with integrated headrests and contrast stitching. The full bucket seats were optional in the Carrera T and would be a cool option in the Speedster too.

Porsche could take things up a notch with some weight-saving measures

Porsche could take thing up a notch with some weight-saving measures by replacing the standard door handles with fabric loops and using thinner sound insulation under the skin. Other upgrades over the regular Carrera could include a GT Sport steering wheel with leather trim and a switch for driving mode selection, as well as a shorter gear lever with embossed shift pattern in red.

Tech-wise, the standard equipment list could include the Porsche Communication Management (PCM) system with online navigation and real-time traffic information, the Connect Plus module, and the Track Precision app. The latter enables 911 GT3 drivers to display, record and analyse detailed driving data on their smartphones.

Porsche 911 Speedster Performance

- * GTS or GT3 drivetrain
- * Up to 500 horsepower
- * Both manual and PDK transmissions
- * 0 to 60 mph in less than four seconds
- * Rear-axle steering?

2020 Porsche 911 Speedster Exterior Spyshots
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Granted, the Speedster won't be as quick since it will be heavier and will lack the aerodynamics, but it should get there in 3.5 clicks

The previous Speedster used the same engine as the Carrera GTS, so it’s safe to assume that Porsche would take the same route with the new model. If this happens, the Speedster will hit the streets with a 3.0-liter flat-six unit rated at 450 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque. Paired to a seven-speed PDK transmission, the engine should enable the Speedster to hit 60 mph in around 3.7 seconds. Should Porsche also offer a manual, it will get to the same benchmark in around four clicks.

On the other hand, rumor has it that Porsche might want to use the 4.0-liter flat-six from the 911 GT3. Also shared with the GT3 Cup race car, the naturally aspirated engine cranks out 500 horsepower and 339 pound-feet of torque. When combined with the PDK transmission, the engine pushes the 911 GT3 from 0 to 60 mph in 3.2 seconds. Granted, the Speedster won’t be as quick since it will be heavier and will lack the aerodynamics, but it should get there in 3.5 clicks. The manual model will be slower, but it should still hit the benchmark in less than four seconds.

The active rear-axle steering system could be offered as an option. By steering either in the opposite or the same direction as the front wheels depending on speed, it improves the vehicle’s agility and stability.

Porsche 911 Speedster Pricing

2020 Porsche 911 Speedster Exterior Spyshots
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Pricing depends a lot on what engine it will use, but it’s safe to assume that the Speedster will cost more than the Carrera GTS, which retails from $120,700. However, due to the fact that it will be built in very limited quantities, the Speedster could cost more than the 911 GT3, especially if it gets the 4.0-liter flat-six engine. The GT3 starts from $143,600, so the Speedster could fetch around $150,000 before options. Speaking of limited production, the run is rumored to include 1,948 units to celebrate 70 years since Porsche started making road cars. Although it was established in 1931, Porsche didn’t start making road-legal cars until 1948, when it introduced the 356.

Porsche 911 Speedster Competition

Mercedes-AMG GT Roadster

2018 Mercedes-AMG GT Roadster Exterior High Resolution
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The AMG GT Roadster might not be a traditional speedster, but it’s a fast convertible with a two-seat layout. Launched for the 2018 model year, the AMG GT is also different when it comes to engine layout too. Unlike the 911, which is a rear-engined car, the AMG GT has its engine in front of the driver. Also, while the Speedster will use a naturally aspirated mill, the AMG GT gets its juice from a twin-turbocharged unit. The 4.0-liter V-8 engine generates 469 horsepower and 465 pound-feet in the base model, but the output increases to 515 horses and 494 pound-feet in the AMG GT S model. The sprint to 60 mph takes 3.9 and 3.7 seconds, respectively, so the AMG GT is fast enough for the Speedster, no matter what engine we will find in the latter. Top speed is impressive too at 188 and 192 mph, respectively. While the Speedster won’t deliver more than 500 horsepower, the Merc gets more than that in AMG GT C trim, which comes with a whopping 550 horsepower and 502 pound-feet on tap. The GT C is obviously the quickest of the bunch, needing only 3.6 clicks to hit 60 mph, while top speed increases to 196 mph. Pricing starts from $124,400 for the base model and from $157,000 for the range-topping AMG GT C version.

Read our full review of the 2018 Mercedes-AMG GT Roadster.

Conclusion

2020 Porsche 911 Speedster Exterior Spyshots
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There’s still a lot of mystery around this20 prototype, but I’m pretty sure it’s a new Speedster model. The current lineup already includes every trim Porsche has offered so far, and the Speedster is the only one that’s missing. I’m tempted to say that the 911 lineup already includes too many models, but a brand-new Speedster after seven years is a good addition. And a great send-off model for the 991-generation 911. A 911 GT3 engine under the hood will only make things that much better.

  • Leave it
    • Limited production run
    • Expensive

References

Meet the Porsche Speedster Concept, A 500-Horsepower Six-Speed Monster Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2018 Porsche 911 Speedster concept.

2020 Porsche 911 Exterior Spyshots
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Read our full speculative review on the 2019 Porsche 911.

1955 - 1958 Porsche 356a Speedster
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Read our full review of the 1955-1958 Porsche 356a Speedster

1989 Porsche 911 Speedster High Resolution Exterior
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1989 Porsche 911 Speedster

Read our full review of the 1989 Porsche 911 Speedster

1994 Porsche 964 Speedster High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 1994 Porsche 964 Speedster.

2010 Porsche 911 Speedster High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review of the 2010 Porsche 911 Speedster

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Updated History

Updated 05/18/2018: The upcoming Porsche 911 Speedster was caught testing in the Spanish Mountains.

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