Powerful, lightweight, high-revving, and packing a manual transmission – the newest 911 is a waking dream for a sports car enthusiast.
To celebrate 60 years of its beloved 911, Porsche has stuck its hottest, naturally aspirated engine into its most svelte 911 body: The 518bhp, 9,000-rpm flat-six from the 911 GT3 RS into the understated, wing-less figure of the 911 GT3 Touring. If you don’t get fussy with the order sheet, this manual-only coupe – designated S/T – is the lightest 911 in the current portfolio. Porsche will build 1,963 of them in tribute to the year the original 911 S/T was launched, each priced at £231,600.
In case you’re not up to date on your Porsche acronyms, the 911 GT3 RS is the barely street-legal one with the fancy, adjusts-on-the-fly aerodynamic bits. All of the GT3 variants are naturally aspirated; though the turbocharged 911 models make way more horsepower, the GT3 cars are generally favoured by the purists for their sharp driving dynamics and nuanced feedback.
The purists are exactly the ones Porsche has in mind with the S/T. And who but the nerdiest of Porsche nerds would know that, in 1969, “S/T” was the internal code for the racing version of the 911 S? (We, ahem, totally knew that.)
To hit its magical 1,380kg kerb weight, Porsche spared no expense. After removing the rear-wheel steering system found in other GT3-line 911s, Porsche reached for the lightest, most exotic materials handy: Magnesium for the centre-lock wheels, a carbon-ceramic compound for the brake rotors, and carbon-fibre-reinforced plastic for almost every panel ahead of the rear wheels. The rear axle’s anti-roll bar and the stiffening element on the rear axle are carbon-fibre, too. Porsche tapped its engineering department on the shoulder to request a lightweight clutch be developed specifically for this car.
Together with a single-mass flywheel and shortened gear ratios in the six-speed transmission, that clutch does more than save weight; it allows the 518bhp 4.0-litre flat-six to hit its 9,000-rpm redline even quicker than before. Porsche says the throttle “responds to input with striking urgency,” a description which suggests to us that Germans are squeamish when it comes to phrases like “pants-crapping quick” in their press materials. Top speed is 186 mph.
Inside, the changes are subtle. You’ll find no back seat, in good GT3 tradition, only a set of carbon-fibre buckets – which you can swap out for four-way adjustable chairs at the cost of zero pounds and an undisclosed number of kilos. The instrument cluster and the dash clock are accented with green. As you might guess, the S/T is way too cool for door handles; you get loops instead, as in the GT3.
Aside from the Gurney flap on the extending rear spoiler, even a keen eye would have a hard time telling an S/T apart from a GT3 Touring. The clues lie on the rear deck, where you’ll find two plaques, one celebrating the 911’s 60th, the other identifying it as a 911 S/T. If that second badge is finished in gold, the discerning owner probably wanted numbers on the side of the car, and a comfier leather interior, all of which come with the optional Heritage Design Package.
Porschephiles at this autumn’s Rennsport Reunion will be the first to see the S/T. Nobody will have the privilege of parking one in their temperature-controlled garage until spring of 2024. Naturally, each also comes with a Porsche-badged watch, logically called the Chronograph 1 – 911 S/T.
Company executives have promised that the 911 will remain combustion-powered for as long as possible; against the background of electrification, we’re sure of one thing: even if you can get it at list price, £231,600 might be the cheapest this finely-fettled Porsche will ever be as GT3 RS are already being advertised for more than twice that amount.