The Auto Channel
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
Official Website of the New Car Buyer

First drive: 2011 Porsche 911 Speedster: Blue Grit - VIDEO ENHANCED


2011 Porsche 911 Speedster (select to view enlarged photo)
2011 Porsche 911 Speedster

SEE ALSO: Porsche Buyers Guide

2011 Porsche 911 Speedster, A Collector's item

PHOTO

By Henny Hemmes
Senior European Editor
Amsterdam Bureau
The Auto Channel

PALM SPRINGS - November 29, 2010: At the LA Auto Show, three new Porsche's were unveiled. For the 911 Carrera GTS and the 911 Speedster it was their North American premiere, while the Cayman R made its worldwide debut. Click for Complete Story and Video

The 62 year old German sports car manufacturer celebrates the 60th anniversary of its presence in the US market, while another anniversary is in the pipeline. Although 2011 will mark the 25th anniversary of Porsche's Exclusive division, it does not mean that the division that customizes and also builds exclusive models had to wait until the New Year, to come up with the new 911 Speedster.


2011 Porsche 911 Speedster (select to view enlarged photo)

The first Speedster was built in 1953 and was meant to compete with the British roadsters that were popular in that era. The 911 Speedster arrived in 1988 and the next version hit the road in 1992.
2011 Porsche 911 Speedster (select to view enlarged photo)

After an absence of a Speedster for more than 10 years, the fourth generation, internally known as 997, is now ready to arrive at Porsche dealers early 2011. But beware; the new Speedster will not be on their lots for long, since Porsche will build only 356 units, of which 100 will be shipped to the US. It means that interested customers will have speed up if they consider placing an order. And be prepared to pay the exclusive price of $ 204,000, which is about 100,000 dollars more than the technically identical GTS.
Click PLAY to watch the Speedster promo video

Pure Blue

2011 Porsche 911 Speedster (select to view enlarged photo)

The new 911 Speedster did not make it in time to Palm Springs for the small group of media that was scheduled to drive it before the LA Auto Show.
2011 Porsche 911 Speedster (select to view enlarged photo)

But I was lucky enough to be in the wave right after the show and could drive the car a day after the GTS event.

The Pure Blue Speedster is a convertible like no other and seems to beg for attention with its black iconic style Fuchs-wheels, the low windshield and the double bubble at the deck lid.


2011 Porsche 911 Speedster (select to view enlarged photo)



2011 Porsche 911 Speedster (select to view enlarged photo)

The Pure Blue color is exclusive for the Speedster, just like other details such as the hand stitched leather on the steering wheel. The parts of the leather seats that touch the body have black and blue squares and there are other details in blue. On the dashboard in front of the passenger we notice is a small plate with the number of the limited edition. That in our test car read 000/356.

Indeed the first one ever built and one that will not be sold, but remain with Porsche. The difference between a speedster and a roadster is the chapped windshield, in the case of the Speedster some 2.5 inches compared to the standard Cabrio.

2011 Porsche 911 Speedster (select to view enlarged photo)

This also asked for a new roof that in this case is 2 inches lower. The roof is manually operated and it costs a couple of minutes to fold it under the double bubble deck lid, which did not fully close though of my test car. But this being number zero of the small production run, there was no reason for being upset, since Exclusive will solve the problem. This said, it is quite an accomplishment to develop such a roof for a limited production car.


2011 Porsche 911 Speedster (select to view enlarged photo)


2011 Porsche 911 Speedster (select to view enlarged photo)

Since there are no electric motors to operate the roof, and in combination with lightweight aluminum alloy doors plus the ceramic brakes, the Speedster’s weight could be kept down to 1540 kg, or 3395 lbs. The only disadvantage is that the deck lid is pretty high which hinders the view to the rear to some extent. But, as usual, when you are used to the car, parking rearwards along the curb will be no problem. With its wide shoulders, the Speedster looks really bold, but also a bit out of proportion with the more elegant front part.


2011 Porsche 911 Speedster (select to view enlarged photo)

Roaring

Behind the wheel of the blue eye catcher, you hear its 408 hp strong 3.8 liter boxer engine roaring in the open air when you accelerate. Buyers can choose between the stick shift or semi-automatic 7-speed PDK double clutch transmission. The Speedster also has the sports exhaust, PCCB carbon ceramic brakes and PASM suspension. Acceleration from 0-62 mph should take just 4.4 seconds, but I did not test that yet. Nor did I dare to take the car up to its top speed of 189 mph, since a stay in jail is not attractive to me.


2011 Porsche 911 Speedster (select to view enlarged photo)

Even with the low windshield, the wind is not blowing through you hair. The sport seats provide a lot of support in the corners. There are no seats in the back, but two luggage ‘holes’, while of course there is also room under the bonnet up front.

Driving provides the same feel as the GTS, but it is all about appearance and sound in this Speedster, Or: to hear the sound that leaves the exhausts and to be seen in the Pure Blue Porsche.

Buyers do not need to take into account some strong depreciation of the value of the exclusive 911. With a limited edition like this, the fabulous looking 911 Speedster will soon be a true collector’s car.