We've been waiting on the arrival of a new 911 Speedster since last year's Rennsport Reunion festival in Monterey, California, where Porsche showed the 911 Speedster as a concept. Fortunately, we didn't need to wait too long for the production version, as the chopped, lightened and pared-back Porsche debuted at the New York Auto Show.
I'm glad to report that virtually nothing has changed from the concept I saw last year to this, the production version. In keeping with the history of the Speedster nameplate (and, before that, the iconic 356 1500 America Roadster), this latest flavor of 911 is pared back about as much as a modern 911 can be.
Visually it starts with a chopped front windshield and side glass, creating a lower stance that's picked up by the hulking new rear decklid. A pair of throwback aerodynamic humps stand proud but, breaking the retro theme, that surface is made of carbon fiber. The front hood and fenders are also made of the stuff, while the front and rear fascias are cast of lightweight polyurethane.
The lightweighting continues on the inside, deleting the car's air-conditioning system -- though buyers who prefer comfort to purity can have it added back as a no-cost option. There may not be a need, however, as the car doesn't really have a roof. There is a manual fabric top, but that's likely not the kind of thing you'll want to fiddle with every day.
Brakes are lightweight carbon-ceramic and the only transmission on offer is a six-speed manual, 9 pounds lighter than Porsche's seven-speed box, 40 pounds lighter than the PDK and, in my experience, far more rewarding than either of those two. That's mated to the same 4.0-liter flat-six found in the GT3 and GT3 RS, an engine that'll happily scream up to 9,000 rpm. It has no turbos, which also saves weight from the relative lack of plumbing.
The net result is a car that weighs 3,230 pounds. Sure, that's no Miata, but it is a roughly 200-pound savings over the standard 911 coupe. That, combined with the excellent six-speed and that incredible motor, should make for one heck of a rewarding drive when it hits the road later this year. Orders open on May 7, so eager Porschephiles will want to start pestering their local dealerships now. Cost is $274,500, plus a $1,250 destination fee. As it often goes with fast cars, less is more.
2019 Porsche 911 Speedster is a 502-hp, limited-run stunnerSee all photos
Originally published April 16 at 7:45 p.m. ET.
Update, 12:51 p.m.: Adds new photos from the show floor.