Porsche 911 is an iconic sportscar. Despite the never ending jokes about how it evolved from the Volkswagen Beatle, 911 got better and better through the years. However, modern reincarnations of this legendary car are so fast and so capable, purists often criticize it for being too good and too much concerned about lap times, acceleration, perfect cornering speed and so on. Porsche listened to them and now introduced the new 2016 Porsche 911 R, which is said to be the purest modern day 911.
It is hard to judge its purity, although design does look very classic and elegant. But we do know for a fact that 911 R is the lightest currently available 911 with a curb weight of just 1,370 kilograms. Although ‘R’ in the name stands for ‘Racing’, it is only the tribute to the original 911 R, which participated in rallies and other races.
The new 911 R is purely a road car, unlike its track-focused brothers 911 GT3 and 911 GT3 RS. It is meant to be an engaging and fun to drive on the road, not being too concerned with performance figures, lap times, cornering capabilities and so on. However, because of its amazing race-bred powertrain and extremely light weight, 911 R is still going to be very fast.
The new Porsche 911 R is powered by a four-litter flat-six engine familiar from the 911 GT3 RS, delivering 500 hp at 8,250 rpm. Engine is mated to a six speed gearbox. Surely, Porsche PDK gearboxes are much faster, but 911 R is meant to be engaging, which is why it needs a manual gearbox. It also helped to save a fair bit of weight. 911 R reaches 100 km/h in less than 4 seconds and can go as fast as 321 km/h (the magic supercar goal of 200 mph).
As its track-focused brothers, this sportscar has standard rear-axle steering, which was specially tuned to fit cars character. Together with mechanical rear differential lock and standard Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes it ensures that car is stable and fast on a twisty road, which is further enhanced by massive tires.
Weight savings are also quite extreme. Porsche 911 GT3 RS is already considered to be a light car, but 911 R takes it even further. Its roof is made of magnesium, front luggage compartment lid and the front fenders – carbon fibre. It also has less sound insulation, no rear seats, air conditioning or a radio.
From the outside 911 R looks more like the 911 Carrera than the GT3. It has very simple and elegant lines and no fixed rear spoiler. Instead, the necessary downforce is provided by an automatically deployed rear spoiler and a rear underbody diffuser. Owners can order their car with Porsche logos on the side of the vehicle and colour stripes in red or green running over the centre of the car, which showcases the connection to the past 911 R.
Inside there are full bucket seats with carbon fibre backrests, lots of leather and old-school tweed fabric, reminding of classic 911s. The conventional handles are replaced with door opening loops.
Car journalists are already very excited about how pure 911 R should be. However, not everyone will be able to buy one of them, since Porsche is going to sell only 991 units worldwide. For most of 911 enthusiasts it will remain a dream, but it is good to know that Porsche is listening to what people are saying and what they want 911 to be.