Rawer, more engaging engine/gearbox combo meets less boisterous, distracted chassis. Noise isn’t bad either
We haven’t tested it in the UK yet. Oh, and the puddle lights are horrid
What is it?
Porsche’s 60th birthday present to history’s most enduring sports car. The elevator pitch would read something like this: a GT3 Touring manual with GT3 RS power and lightweighting. But don’t dare underestimate this car as some sort of parts-bin stew. This is one of the all-time great 911s.
Are we really going to boil this down to soulless numbers? Fine: 518bhp from the 4.0-litre flat six gets you from 0-62mph in 3.7 seconds so long as your rear-drive launch and first-to-second shift are clean. It’s rich in traction, and Porsche’s acceleration claims are often conservative, so you should match that unless you’ve got butter fingers and ham fists. The S/T doesn’t stop accelerating until it clears 200mph.
Now we’re talking. Thanks to a cocktail of weight-saving - much of which is hidden from view - the S/T weighs in at 1,380kg, an impressive 40kg less than a GT3 Touring with a manual gearbox and optional ceramic brakes which feature as standard here.
Let’s rattle off where exactly those kilos have been shed, because it discloses clues to why this is such a special bit of kit.
To give a more ‘organic’ seat of the pants feel, rear-wheel-steering has been binned. This sheds 6.5kg from the rear axle, but also allows fitment of a lithium-ion battery, shaving off 3.5kg.
The wheels are magnesium, saving 10.6kg versus the GT3’s forged rims. The carbon doors come from the GT3 RS, and require bespoke front wings with the huge wheelarch cutout but no extractor vent up top. There’s another 2kg gone. Carbon underbody stiffening and lighter carpets keep driving the kerbweight down.
Then we get to the really juicy bits. The S/T’s clutch is half the weight of the GT3 Touring’s at just 10.2kg. The addition of a lighter flywheel means revvier throttle response to go with your racy clutch and short throw gearbox. And to complete the effect, the final drive ratio is eight per cent shorter. Porsches often cop flack for having the gearing of an intercity train and an ability to tackle pretty much any road in second gear alone. The S/T’s about to address those criticisms with a powertrain that’s fizzier, angrier and more energetic than a 911 GT3. Crikey.
Welcome to the most expensive Porsche 992. The base price is a heady £231,600. Throw a livery or some retro paint on top and you can cruise past a quarter of a million quid.
Porsche says it will limit the birthday bash to 1,963 units, in homage to the year of the 911’s birth six decades ago. More S/Ts are being built than Sport Classics (1,250 of those) but it’s rarer than the Dakar (2,500 of ‘em). As per usual, if you’re only just finding out about it now, you are going to have to pay over the odds. About double ought to do it.
What's the verdict?
It’s no surprise that we like the S/T: it’s a lighter, more powerful GT3 Touring and that’s about as good as ‘mainstream’ sports cars get. But this is something even more special. A 911 joining that sumptuous 9,000rpm engine to brisker gearing, a short-throw manual gearbox, three pedals and a chassis that seems to get along famously with dodgy roads.
Perhaps the S/T’s only weakness is the very fact that it’s a limited edition collectors’ item. That might encourage some to buy one and squirrel it away, hoping its values soar, scarcely driving it in the process. Criminal. This isn’t a 911 to be admired from afar – it’s one that deserves, and rewards, driving its lightweight magnesium wheels off.
Porsche’s own engineers glow with passion when asked about developing the S/T. It’s interesting how they hark back to the 991-gen 911 R and point out it was a bit of a rush job, developed in around 13 months. The S/T is more thorough, more ruthless with its diet, and is more complete in their eyes.
Some will complain it’s too big, or too luxurious, or too expensive. There will always be naysayers. The 911 has dealt with plenty over its six decades and counting. But when the big book of best 911s is being written, this one deserves to be right up there with the 997 4.0 as one of the greatest of all time.