Purists went ballistic when Porsche announced it would not be selling the 911 GT3 nor the 911 GT3 RS with a manual transmission option. Porsche rightly argued that the new dual-clutch PDK transmission was faster and more advanced, which it was, but luddites still craved the engagement of a gated shifter and a third pedal.
The 911 R is for the luddites. Created by the same team behind Porsche’s GT cars, the 911 R prioritizes driver involvement over outright pace, but that’s not to say it isn’t fast or low tech. Let’s take a closer look.
5. It’s not the first 911 R.
The 911 R name was first used all the way back in 1967 for a homologation special racing variant of the 911. Powered by the same flat-six from the 906 endurance racer, it was a stripped out GT car that saw competition in endurance events and long distance rallies. Only 20 examples were ever built, but it ended up being the progenitor for future RS 911s. The 2016 911 R wears a paint job inspired by its ancestor from the ‘60s.
4. It uses the same flat-six from the 911 GT3 RS.
Big normally aspirated engines are a rarity in the 911 range. Every 911 is turbocharged, save for the cars in the GT range and now also the 911 R. The 4.0-liter flat six produces 500 hp at a stratospheric 8,250 rpm and 338 lb-ft of torque at 6,250 rpm — numbers identical to the GT3 RS.
3. But, it’s faster in a straight line than the GT3 RS.
The 911 R’s sleeker profile and lack of downforce-producing wings and spoilers mean it pokes a much cleaner hole in the air, giving it an RS-beating top speed of 200 mph. Its 0-60 time of 3.7 seconds is slower that the RS, but that’s mainly due to narrower rubber, which makes the R easier to slide around. It’s that kind of car.
2. It’s the lightest 911 in the Porsche lineup.
Unless you tick the right boxes on the order form, Porsche will deliver your 911 without an audio system or an air conditioner, both of which are no cost options. If you’re hardcore enough to do without, you’ll end up with a car weighing just 3021 pounds — 110 pounds lighter than the GT3 RS. The carbon fiber hood and front fenders and magnesium roof also contribute to the reduced weight.
1. If you want one, you’re already too late.
With only 991 examples slated for production, every 2016 911 R was spoken for before it was even announced. Even if you manage to find one at a dealership or on the second-hand market, don’t be surprised to see it going for well over its $184,900 asking price.