It's fair to say Porsche has been building up to the new 911 Speedster for a while. We were treated to the first concept car last summer at Goodwood, followed by a 'second study' at the Paris show in October. Naturally the show car pretence was all just about window dressing; Stuttgart had decided that the model would be the last hurrah of the 991 aeons ago. And what a way for the generation to exit stage right.
Being a Speedster obviously makes it special right out of the gate. It's been almost ten years since Porsche attached the name to a 911, and back then it was grafted to the outgoing 997 in a limited 356-unit run. But that car made do with the then Carrera GTS engine; this time around - and for the first time ever - Porsche Motorsport has been charged with development duties, which means that (as expected) the car inherits the same naturally-aspirated 4.0-litre flat-six that helped make the 991 variant of GT3 one of the finest sports cars ever made.
In the Speedster it develops 502hp and 346lb ft, and is reportedly the recipient of individual throttle bodies, much as you'd find in the GT3 R race car. The result is an even faster throttle response - and presumably bragging rights for buyers of the convertible. They will be far more numerous than the owners of the 997 version - Porsche will build 1948 units globally - but each can expect to pay an extravagant premium when the car is made available for ordering on May 7th.
The prospect does seem a compelling one, though. Not only is greater exposure to that 9,000rpm-capable engine guaranteed by design, it may yet turn out to be the final resting place for the atmospheric 4.0-litre flat-six. Fittingly - and as it suggested it would - the Speedster is offered exclusively with the GT Sport six-speed manual gearbox, which still permits 0-60mph in 3.8 seconds and a top speed of 192mph.
Elsewhere the new model follows the template established by the concept cars. It simply wouldn't be a 911 Speedster without the low-cut front windshield and side windows, and the fabric hood is manually operated (though not the latch). The justification for that of course is low weight - and that theme continues inside where you get lightweight door panels with storage nets and door pulls. Opt to have the standard leather interior augmented by red stitching and the latter will come in red, too. Expect the splattering of carbon fibre trim in the cabin to be liberal.
This extends into the exterior bodywork, where the front luggage compartment lid, front bumpers and the rear deck are all made from composite. Ceramic brakes (PCCB) are standard, too - though not air conditioning, unless you plump for the no-cost option tick. All this means that the Speedster tips the scale at 1,465kg - and while Porsche doesn't qualify the precise nature of that number, we'd expect it to equate to a significant saving over the standard 991 convertible.
Not that the Speedster is likely to have much problem in containing its mass anyway. Underneath the model gets a chassis directly derived from the GT3, which means it shares the same rear-axle steering system and dynamic engine mounts along with 20-inch centre lock wheels. The latter come in Satin Black and are shod in what Porsche likes to call its Ultra High Performance tyre. Oh and you get a watch with it, too: the Porsche Design 911 Speedster Chronograph, to be precise. A kicker, if one were needed, for what is likely to be one of the most sought after cars of this or any other generation. Expect deliveries of the £275,750 (£211,000) run-out model to begin before the end of the year.