Porsche 911 R - Geneva 2016

"A wolf in sheep's clothing - the new Porsche 911 R" - so opens the official press release on perhaps the most exciting 911 variant in a long, long time. Who, exactly, are they trying to kid? This is, after all, a 911 with the more aggressive GT3 front bumper, a slammed ride height, central exhausts, the dimpled magnesium roof from the RS. And some bright red stripes running from bumper to bum. Nobody is going to mistake it for a vanilla Carrera 2.

Those seats and a manual? Yes!
Those seats and a manual? Yes!
The way it looks is perhaps the least exciting thing though. And if this is the response to all the carping about lack of manual gearboxes and the rest in the current GT3 range it looks like all that moaning was well worth it.

In short we have 1) the most exciting modern 911 engine in the shape of the normally-aspirated 500hp 4.0-litre GT3 RS motor 2) a manual gearbox and 3) the slimmest kerbweight of any 991 variant in the range, RS included. What more do you really need to know than that?

Possibly 'when can I have one?' to which the answer may be the only frustration. More on that shortly.

Built alongside the GT3 and GT3 RS in Porsche's GT department, the R revives a precious 911 nomenclature from 1967. As those well-versed in 911 history will know, the R is one of the most coveted of all historic Porsches with just 20 sold to private owners back in the day in addition to a handful of factory prototypes. Basically a 911 S with as much weight stripped out of it as possible, the R used aluminium and fibreglass panels, the absolute minimum of instrumentation, thinner gauge metal and glass than standard and topped it off with a race-spec engine revving to 8,000rpm. As a road racer it was an absolute weapon, its philosophy, rarity and racing provenance making it the reference point for many a resto-mod or backdated 911.

What's a fast 911 without silly stickers?
What's a fast 911 without silly stickers?
In that sense the new 911 R isn't an entirely honest evocation of the original's philosophy. If we're being really fussy it'd have the slightly revvier 3.8-litre GT3 motor and run a lightened Carrera shell. And they wouldn't be making as many as they are. Which is about as convincing as any attempt to be objective and critical about this car will be.

Now, where were we?

Demanding 8,250rpm before it'll give you the full 500hp, and 6,250rpm for its 339lb ft of torque, anyone coming from a newly turbocharged Carrera will probably wonder what all the fuss is about. Good. This assumes they'd even drive a car with three pedals and a gearstick in the first place. For the number crunchers it'll do 0-62 in 3.8 seconds (so is only a tenth quicker off the line than a PDK Carrera S) and it tops out at a more impressive 201mph.

PCCB brakes are standard, there's a mechanical locking differential out back, centre-lock wheels, a titanium exhaust and the option of a lightweight single-mass flywheel for super snappy response and, we'd hope, a properly lumpy, chuntery idle like all 'proper' 911s. If your footwork isn't quite quick enough to make it sing properly there's an auto blipping button to spare your blushes. Although it lacks fixed GT3-style aero it keeps the Carrera's retractable rear wing and has a dedicated diffuser to help maintain high-speed stability. The only possibly contentious feature is the four-wheel steering, as featured on GT3 and RS and optionally on Carrera models. Sure, it has tangible benefits in terms of agility. But also dials out some of that trademark 911 handling balance you suspect R customers might have traded for a couple of tenths for.

So how far above £130K will these sell for?
So how far above £130K will these sell for?
We really are splitting hairs now though. Most impressive is the weight saving, the 1,370kg kerbweight 60kg less than the most bare bones manual Carrera 2 you could buy and 50kg less than the RS. Ditching PDK loses 20kg from the rear alone, arguably making this a better balanced car than either GT3 or RS. It has the latter's scalloped magnesium roof and carbon front bootlid, this material also used for the front wings. Rear and side windows are made of plastic, sound insulation has been reduced, there's no rear bench and the standard seats are lightweight fixed carbon items. Air-con and stereo need to be optioned back in if you want them; frankly an RS motor howling to 8,000rpm plus through a titanium exhaust should satisfy your in-car entertainment needs but each to their own.

Price and availability? Brace yourself... Just 991 Rs will be built and the German market price is confirmed as 189,544 euros. That makes it the most expensive normally aspirated 911 you can buy, nearly 9,000 euros more than the RS with only the 202,872 euros Turbo S costing more. In the UK the RS is priced at £131,296 so extrapolate away from that while bearing in mind cost is probably the least of the problems if you want one.






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Comments (136) Join the discussion on the forum

  • WCZ 29 Feb 2016

    nice, expected to be around £300k though?

  • a6khu 29 Feb 2016

    All sold apparently...would have been nice if more people could enjoy the cars rather than sticking them in their collection, as is the way with most of these Motorsport products

  • Icehanger 29 Feb 2016

    WCZ said:
    nice, expected to be around £300k though?
    238K apparently....Neighbour apparently has his name down on one!!eek

  • graeme4130 29 Feb 2016

    Clever marketing by Porsche seeing as they're all sold out
    It's kinda like 'here's what you could've bought' if you were a better customer
    I'm sure a few dealers will have 'cancelled orders' up for sale at 180% the sticker price sometime soon like the Gt3RS and GT4 cars

  • LaurasOtherHalf 29 Feb 2016

    So when Porsche said the auto was necessary on the new GT3 as the engine was just too quick for the Spanish gearbox?

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