THE 911R IS ABOUT HOW IT FEELS TO DRIVE A 911. OR, IF YOU’RE FEELING UNCHARITABLE, HOW IT USED TO FEEL
The greatest 911
Built: 2016 I Engine: 3996cc lat-six, 493bhp I Top speed: 200mph
At a basic level, it’s a GT3 RS with a manual ’box and no spoilers. But the 911R sums up everything we love about the 911 and Porsche. It’s usable, pliable and, though everything Porsche did to create it also made it faster, that was almost a peripheral beneit. The 911R is all about how it feels to drive a 911. Or, if you’re feeling uncharitable, how it used to feel to drive a 911.
The R is built around a GT3 shell rather than the wide-boy RS version, but does get the RS double-bubble magnesium roof, carbon bonnet and a pair of carbon front wings. There are polycarbonate rear and side windows, no back seats, but no roll cage option either. At 1370kg, the result is the lightest 991 911 ever.
Predictably then, with the RS’s 493bhp lat-six stued up its jacksie, it’s shockingly urgent, though slicing through the manual transmission’s six gears by hand makes it slower against the clock. Who cares about that, or the fact that the spoiler-free tail feels less tied down? That you can feel it squirm is vindication in itself.
Not everyone will agree with us placing the R at the head of our greatest Porsches list. Not Porsche’s hardcore racing fans. Not the air-cooled-or-bust crowd. And deinitely not the mugs who were persuaded to part with up to $1m for almost-new 911Rs after prices went stratospheric and are now sitting on a car worth around half that – though still twice the list price back in 2016.
Perhaps the name is slightly disingenuous, too. The original 911R from 1967 (p84) existed only to go racing. This one will be lucky if it escapes its climate-controlled carcoon for fear of eroding its value. But even two years on this 911R (and the similar-in-ethos GT3 Touring it inspired – p84) feels like a pivotal car, one we needed to remind ourselves that the experience of a journey is more important than how fast and e¥iciently we complete it. Let’s grab onto that while we’ve still got a wheel to hold.