First drive: 2011 Porsche 911 Speedster: Blue Grit - VIDEO
2011 Porsche 911 Speedster
SEE ALSO: Porsche Buyers Guide
2011 Porsche 911 Speedster, A Collector's item
By Henny Hemmes
Senior European Editor
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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