Porsche goes back to sportscar roots with 911 R
The Porsche 911 R (Porsche AG)
Published Tuesday, March 1, 2016 8:42AM EST
To mark the original "R" model's upcoming 50th anniversary and to show its fans that it can still build a "pure" sportscar, Porsche has taken the wraps off a limited-edition striped back version of the iconic 911.
In recent years, Porsche has had to add turbochargers and paddle-shift gearboxes in order to keep with the times and to meet tighter environmental legislation. And in doing so it has alienated some of its most hardcore fans. Therefore the new 911R should be seen as a definite attempt to put the driver firmly front and center once more and to remind the purists that the company has been listening.
The car has a naturally aspirated 4-litre flat six-cylinder engine just like the one powering the company's most potent and aggressive 911, the GT3 RS, and that means lucky owners will get to marshal 500hp every time they bury the right foot to the floor. This will result in the lightweight car racing from 0-100 kilometres per hourin just 3.7 seconds and onto a top speed of 323 kilometres per hour.
As well as ditching the turbochargers, Porsche has also dropped its admittedly excellent PDK dual-clutch paddle-shift transmission in favor of a proper six-speed manual gearbox. The idea is that the driver is completely involved in every aspect of the car's performance, and it's for this reason that, although the new car clearly stands out visually from any other 911, it doesn't do so because of side skirts, front aprons or huge rear wings.
The changes are subtle and have been carried out to ensure that the car is the automotive definition of a wolf in sheep's clothing. Under the body are all of the underpinnings that make a 911GT3 RS so wonderful on the straight and in the corners but the only giveaway as to the car's capabilities is the twin racing stripe detail that runs from the nose to the tail.
Despite being a decidedly old-school 911, Porsche has carried over two recent technological innovations. The first is rear-wheel steering to keep that pendulous back end in check, and the second is huge carbon ceramic brakes. But considering that this new car will be limited to just 911 numbered examples worldwide even purists will be happy.