Humpback Wail : Porsche 911 (997) Speedster Driven [review]

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The 997 Speedster is a gorgeous specimen of Porsche Exclusive's small volume goodness

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Limited to just 356 units (this car pays homage to the first model to bear the 'Speedster' name, the 356 Speedster from 1953), the wailing you often hear isn't from the car, but from folks who didn't manage to get their hands on this latest iteration (or any of the previous two generations, for that matter).

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Like the Sport Classic coupe, the Speedster special edition features not just special trim and equipment, but also bespoke bodywork that we feel sets them apart from bolt-on special editions.

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Bear in mind, of course, the Speedster and Sport Classic were created to celebrate Porsche Exclusive's 25th Anniversary in 2011. Mind you, this isn't the first iteration of the 911 Speedster – it's the first by Porsche Exclusive – because the G-model and 964 had Speedster variants from the factory. Like the earlier namesakes, the 997 Speedster will seat two only, instead of the four the normal 911 Cabriolet will carry.

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You wouldn't drive it any other way but with the top-down, so the distinctive double bubble tonneau cover 'humps' are clearly visible to both bystanders and driver (if you angle the rear-mirror just right!). The other visual cues include Fuchs-look footwear in black with a polished lip, as well as front and rear aprons.

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The hand-finished cabin boasts tasteful 'Pure Blue' highlights to match the bespoke body-colour (Carrera White was the only other optional colour), which includes the outer edge of the leather sport seats, dash and door trim panels and an interesting checkerboard pattern insert in the seat centre.

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Moreover, the car was optioned up the wazoo, and enjoys the wide-body and Power Kit from the 997.2 GTS to boost the rear-driven car's 3.8-litre's performance. Even with the manual top up, it cuts an unmistakeable silhouette, because of its 60mm lower, raked windscreen and ‘flat-top’ roof profile.

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The howl from the nat-asp flat6 as you're tearing up and down the country roads is a rousing throwback to pre-everything-turbo days, where you had to work body and mind with the car to make brisk progress. Compared to the modern cars, the soundtrack is raw and the drive visceral, with the entire motoring experience transmitted to the driver in vivid clarity, without the woolly, numbed-down responses so common in new cars.

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To properly appreciate the point of the Speedster, you'll need to be enjoying sunny, low-20+ºC weather and nicely winding country roads. This is because it's not only about the car's hard performance credentials, but more about the entire motoring experience and an appreciation of Porsche Exclusive's fabulous handiwork. Spotting a Speedster in the wild is a moment to remember – even more so is driving one as we did – because you can't help but appreciate the styling details that are so harmoniously blended together to create rolling automotive art.

STORY David Khoo PHOTOS PORSCHE

Porsche 911 Speedster (type 997)
Engine: 3800cc, flat6, nat-asp
Power/rpm: 402bhp/7300rpm
Torque/rpm: 420Nm/4200rpm
Transmission: 7spd PDK dual-clutch
0-100km/h: 4.4secs
Top speed: 305km/h
Fuel consumption: 
10.3l/100km
CO2: 242g/km

David Khoo
Author: David Khoo
David is a big petrolhead who has been dabbling in the car trade since 2001 and currently oversees Top Gear Singapore. His stories often take an eclectic slant from the predictable, and he's able to craft a compelling read that lets you see the cars (often old!) in a new light.

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