911 R: The Porsche Driving Experience, Distilled
Is the Porsche 911 R as powerful, expensive, or rare as a Lamborghini Centenario? Hell no. But good god does it look like a blast to drive. But like the Centenario, it too has been sold out before it was even able to reach the dealership.
Making a recent debut at the 2016 Geneva International Motor Show, the 2016 Porsche 911 R takes strong influence from the 1967 race car bearing the same name, and cross-pollinates it with GT3 ingenuity and Carrera keepsakes. Offered only for a short period of time as a limited production run, the 911 R features what Porsche calls “a systematic lightweight construction, a high level of performance, and an unfiltered driving experience.” Limited to just 991 units globally, this spritely little lady killer is the lightest version of the 911.
On the propulsion side, lucky buyers will get a 4.0 liter flat-six motor out of the 911 GT3 RS, complete with 500 horsepower, an 8,250 RPM redline, 338 pound-feet of torque, and a zero to 60 time of just 3.7 seconds. Top speeds of 200 miles per hour are achievable, and being a proper race car, it will only be offered with a six-speed manual gearbox, which has been specially calibrated to offer shorter, performance focused gear throws.
“The 911 R was designed with corners in mind,” Porsche tells us. Judging by the use of a specially tuned rear-axle steering system,we’re not going to argue that. While the mechanical rear differential ensures ideal traction in any circumstance, a Porsche Ceramic Composite Brake (PCCB) system clinches hard with 16.1 inch front and 15.4 inch rear rotors giving the goods behind those massive yellow calipers. Utilizing ultra-high performance rubber in 245 mm widths up front and 305 mm at the rear generate more grip, and they all come mounted on forged, 20-inch staggered matte aluminum wheels.
Porsche’s infamous stability management setup has been recalibrated just for the 911 R by its motorsport department as well, and once equipped with a button activated rev-match function, buyers can take turns even faster. Optional add-ons include a single-mass flywheel for better engine control and snappier shifts, along with a lift system, which offers an additional 1.2 inches of clearance at the push of a button.
Forever looking to shed a few pounds, the front luggage compartment lid and fenders are made out of carbon fiber, the roof is a magnesium composite, and both interior insulation and rear seats are missing entirely. But sometimes creature comforts must be adhered to, and even though the 911 R comes standard without an air conditioning or audio system, they can both be added back onto the vehicle at no extra charge.
At first glance, the body resembles that of a 911 Carrera, but a closer look reveals a 911 GT3 front fascia along with rear body lines. Since proper road use remains a primary focus here, the R does not come equipped with the fixed rear wing found on the 911 GT3 or RS model, and instead utilizes an automatically deployed rear spoiler. It also has a unique rear diffuser, which has been carefully designed to offer additional downforce at high speeds, making it exclusive to this vehicle alone.
Much like how it has swiped both the front and rear fascia from the 911 GT3, so too has the R pilfered in the sport exhaust department, as the same titanium unit gets recycled. But it’s not all blatant thievery; a one-off lower lip sits out front, and optional Porsche logos and color stripes in either red or green are available for those who truly want to honor the R’s legendary ancestor.
The 911 R also comes equipped with carbon fiber bucket seats that are upholstered in a houndstooth design, a nod to the original 911 of the 1960s. There’s also an exclusive 14.1 inch 911 R GT Sport steering wheel, a shortened, R-specific gear lever, carbon fiber interior trim strips, and an embedded aluminum 911 R sill plate on the passenger side. True to style, the R also features GT exclusive interior door handle loops, which replace the conventional levers in order to make you that much more of a boss.
Even though the starting price is sizable at $184,900, that’s really not all that much considering what you get and how extremely rare this car is. Plus, if you think of all the attention this machine will undoubtedly get, you’ll see why Dave Chappelle made that infamous joke about women and Porsches.