The Porsche Vision 357 Speedster is an electric homage to the gorgeous 356

By topgear, 21 July 2023

The Porsche Vision 357 Speedster is an electric homage to the gorgeous 356

Porsche tells us the diminutive, epoch-defining 356 has “burned itself into the collective brand memory as both a convertible and a coupe”. Though, unlike that coupe – the first ever car to bear a Porsche badge – the 356 Speedster carries with it a night sky's worth of stardom and glamour.

So this new Vision 357 Speedster – which follows January 2023’s stunning Vision 357 Coupe – has perhaps one of the toughest jobs of any Porsche concept: to take one of the prettiest, most famous and beloved Porsche cars of all time and reinvent it for the electric age.

Yes, electric. The Vision 357 Speedster deviates from its coupe sibling’s old-school, fossil-fuelled horsepower derived from the magnificent 500hp Cayman GT4 RS, instead opting for something more 2023. Though no less gentle.

Because Porsche tells us the 357 Speedster uses the electric motors and battery tech from the astonishing Mission R. What Porsche doesn’t tell us is how much power this Vision Speedster carries, so the mind is immediately drawn to the R’s 1,088hp, dual-motor powertrain.

Remember, the Mission R was engineered and developed by the same team that did the record-breaking 919 Hybrid, which goes some way to explain why the new Speedster sits on a Cayman 718 GT4 Clubsport chassis. Motorsport doesn’t just course through its veins, it’s bursting out of every surface.

Though while the simple, ‘monolithic’ two-tone body bears modern affectations including the obligatory front and rear diffusers and protruding side skirts, aero-honed magnesium 20in wheels and garish graphics, the basic silhouette is a fine homage to that classic Fifties Speedster so beloved of James Dean and Janis Joplin.

Yes, there’s a tonneau cover across the passenger deck. Yes, there’s also a carbon rollover hoop and digital instrumentation in the pared back cabin – itself featuring a single CFRP seat shell, racing steering wheel and lots of carbon weave – but this is a taut, squat and agile reinterpretation that wears its history well.

Quite literally, in fact. Naturally there are graphics, including a ‘75’ (denoting Porsche’s anniversary year), along with ‘1948’ (first 356) and ‘2023’ (take a guess). In addition, ‘comic-style’ unicorns were drawn specifically by Porsche and added into the rearmost corner of the skirts, and aerodynamic cameras fitted to replace the wing mirrors.

“The Porsche Vision 357 Speedster embodies the essence of the brand,” explains Porsche’s style VP Michael Mauer.

“Driving pleasure and driving dynamics combined with an extremely purist form. As with the Mission X that we presented just a few weeks ago, this model demonstrates that even with fresh design genes, the Porsche DNA shines through.”

STORY Vijay Pattni

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