Turbocharging, dual-clutch gearboxes; is nothing sacred in Zuffenhausen anymore? Porsche appears to have heard those collective complaints, and picked Geneva as the place to launch the enthusiast-pleasing 911 R. Ned Jasper gives you the details.
Fancy a GT3 RS with less shouty bits and a manual gearbox? Step this way; it’s the 911 R. When Porsche announced there wasn’t going to be a manual GT3 RS, the purists among us got quite annoyed. Then when they changed the majority of their range to forced induction, this did little more than exacerbate things. Now Porsche has come to its senses, and created a car that is focused purely on driving enjoyment, rather than the optimum amount of aero or emissions.
Externally the 911 R is very much the same as the GT3 RS, albeit, without the gigantic rear wing. In its place, you’ll find a ‘normal’ retractable spoiler. More importantly, there’s a distinctive pair of red stripes. Whilst the omission of the wing and the supplement of stripes may not be to everyone’s tastes, it remains a firmly good-looking car.
Despite the GT3 RS’s stripped out race-prepped cabin, the R actually weighs in at a substantial 50 kg less. That’s thanks to the carbon-fibre construction and plastic windows. Like with all lightweight, battle-hardened Porsches, you’ll also find a chasm where the radio and A/C should be (although they are an option) and, of course, ribbon door handles. Every little helps, I suppose.
On the inside the cabin certainly looks the part. You get a GT sports steering wheel, a pair of fabulous retro-looking bucket racing seats embossed with the 911R logo and, more importantly, a manual gearbox!
Mated to that 6-speed unit you’ll find the thumping great heart of the 4.0-litre boxer engine. It pumps out 493 bhp at over 8000 rpm! It also brings with it a huge slug of torque – 339 lb-ft to be exact. All that means that the 911 R will accelerate from 0-62 mph in just 3.7 seconds. Better still, thanks to its wingless slippery body, the R will keep on pulling to 201 MPH!! It’s not quite as fuel-efficient as its forced induction counterparts (just 21.2 mpg) but at 8000 rpm who cares?
As well as the 911 R’s awesome engine, Porsche have given it a mechanical limited-slip differential, carbon ceramic brakes as standard, specific rear wheel steering, and extra sticky tyres wrapped around lightweight aluminium wheels All of this is in an attempt to make the 911 R steer just as well as it goes. Better still, should you want a more immediate throttle response you can opt for a single-mass flywheel. The options list also includes a system which raises the front by 30 mm to help you get over speed bumps, A/C, and a stereo system, though with 8000 rpm to play with, why you would want the latter is beyond me.