2019 Porsche 911 Speedster First Drive: Less and More

Let’s start with the frame. Zuffenhausen has kept plenty busy pumping out versions of its new 992-chassis 911. In fact, we’ve reviewed a couple trims already: the Carrera S and 4S, as well as the drop-top versions Porsche calls cabriolet. The Speedster isn’t that. It’s built on the outgoing 991 chassis. It’s a swan song, if you will, for the last 911 platform to not have color screens for an instrument panel or hybrid-friendly systems, like an electric brake booster, installed. 
More specifically, the Speedster starts life as a 991.2 Carrera 4 Cabriolet body-in-white, which is the modern-day bare frame. Porsche then modifies the windshield frame by lopping off nearly two-inches of it, modifies the rear for a proper nod to the 356 shape and starts replacing a bunch of metal with carbon fiber. Indeed, the rear tonneau cover, front trunk and front fenders are carbon as are a bunch of other bits throughout. 
The underpinning holding all that carbon also allows Porsche to simply bolt-on a bunch of GT car parts. Considering that, Porsche decided to make this the first 911 Speedster in its over 30-year history with a GT powertrain and installed the 4.0-liter, naturally aspirated GT3 Touring engine, but not before replacing 2901 psi direct fuel injectors with 3626 psi units, adding individual throttle bodies for each of the six-cylinders and swapping one exhaust for another that weighs 22 fewer pounds.
The reason for the changes is partially necessity as new stringent European emissions standards require very complete and clean combustion, which the first two changes help. But it doesn’t hurt that those same changes also increase power throughout the rev range, including at the peak, as the Speedsters motor makes 502 hp at 8,400 rpm and 346 lb-ft of torque at 6,250, an increase over the GT3 of 9 hp and 7 lb-ft of torque, respectively. I like numbers in general; I like those numbers a lot. And while impressive, I must admit I like the GT3 RS numbers even more, 513 hp at 8,250 rpm and 347 lb-ft at 6,000, but apparently those same euro emissions kept Porsche from a direct swap. Additionally, the side air intakes in the GT3 RS’s body play a necessary role to get the engine enough air.