Porsche returns next year with a new 2017 Porsche 911 R, inspired by the 1967 Porsche racecar. What is most anticipated on this car is the availability of a stick shift. Apart from the lack thereof on the current Porsche 911 GT3, there was almost no critical recipience on that luxury sports vehicle. Agreed, the GT3’s automatic transmission drives like an absolute charm, but a car with these amounts of horsepower and throttle just needs a manual stick shift. While Porsche has made clear that the manual shifting will not return on the GT3 they try to make amends to the public by offering it with the 2017 Porsche 911 R.
Now this car is not only worth getting excited over because of the presence of a manual shift. The German-based car manufacturer Porsche never delivers half a job on their vehicles. In the segment of upper medium priced luxury cars, Porsche is the unequivocal reigning participant. The remarkable Porsche appearance with the oval-shaped, slightly raised headlights and steep, round nose, results in an easily recognizable vehicle, even for the people who know next to nothing about cars. On top of that, this striking design is aesthetically very attractive and luxurious. For many Europeans a Porsche car is the embodiment of luxury and status, although still accessible for the slightly luckier ones.
We can be very short on the appearance of this car. It looks exactly the same as the aforementioned Porsche 911 GT3. Only the engine lid stands out by the absence of a wing and the presence of a retractable spoiler and conventional grille, as seen before on the Carrera models. Furthermore, there’s a tiny difference in the front spoiler air vents, but that is hardly visible.
What is interesting about the exterior is that the front and rear hoods and the fenders are made from carbon-fiber, while the roof is made from magnesium. These materials are also found on the Porsche GTS3 RS. The funny thing is that the 911 R is 50 kg (110 lbs) lighter than the 911 GT3 RS at 1,370 kg (3,020 lbs). This makes the 911 R the lightest road-legal Porsche 911 to be on sale for the public.
The 911 R comes standard with either a red or green racing stripe on the front hood, just like the 1967 911 R. These stripes can be taken off as an option, for a more standard car appearance. The “Porsche” logo right above the sideskirts are also standard and can not be deleted.
Now over to the interior. Not many surprises here, expect some übercomfortable full bucket seats with carbon fiber backrests and sleek interior appearance. The rear seats have been removed, just like the radio unit and the air conditioning, all to save weight. No, this is not a car you would drive your kids to school with, but then again a 911 has never been that. Airconditioning and radio are on the options list, however, for those of you who can’t go without.
The steering wheel is completely black, and this is a feature found only in the 2017 Porsche 911 R. The infotainment system has been revised and is now a pop-up style screen. The instrument cluster has also been revised, again to save weight and space.
Now on to the best part of this car, the engine. A 4.0 liter flat-six engine will be found here, just like in the GTR3 RS. It can make 500 horsepower, delivered by a manual shifting system and reaches 60 mph (100 kph) in a mere 3.7 seconds. True, this is 0.6 seconds slower than the automatic GT3, but then again, the return is that you get a manual gearbox. Top speed is at 200 mph (321 kph)! Due to the lesser weight, that’s five miles per hour more than the GT3 RS. No PDK automatic transmission will be available on the 911 R.
The chassis and suspension are also borrowed from the 911 GT3. A little tuning was necessary, since the GT3’s giant wing is absent. Furthermore there’s the standard rear-axle steering that gives the 2017 Porsche 911 R7 an immediate turn-in feature, precise handling and a high level of stability, while the differential builds up maximum traction for the best driving experience.
The Porsche Stability Management (PSM) system has also been borrowed from the GT3 and adapted to fit the 911 R. There a specially designed double-declutch function for spot-on gearshifts when shifting back. There’s the single-mass flywheel to choose as an option. Porsche also offers an optional lift system that needs only a push of a button to raise the front axle by about 30 millimetres (around 1.2 inches) for ground clearance.
Braking power comes in the shape of the standard Porsche Ceramic Composite Brake (PCCB) system. This includes 16.1 inch (410 mm) front and 15.3 inch (390mm) rear braking discs. The brakes hide behind 20-inch lightweight wheels in a matte aluminum look and encased in high-performance tires.
Price and sale date
The 911 R will not be released in masses. Only 991 units will be produced, with a large part already sold in pre-sale. European prices start at €189,544 for a standard 2017 Porsche 911 R. The manual gearbox increases the price compared to the automatic GT3 RS, which starts at €181,690. North-American prices are estimated at $183,500. Expect the cars to roll of the band somewhere this summer.