Porsche has celebrated the 911’s 60th birthday with a ‘purist’ special that weighs just 1380kg and pairs a short-range manual shifter with the 518bhp flat six from the Porsche 911 GT3 RS.
Effectively a Porsche 911 GT3 Touring with GT3 RS underpinnings, the new 911 S/T has been conceived as a tribute to the racing version of the 1969 911 S, and above all aims to promote “sheer driving enjoyment”.
With the GT3 RS available only with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, the 518bhp and 343lb ft 911 S/T becomes the most powerful car Porsche has yet equipped with a manual gearbox.
This six-speed manual has shorter ratios than that in the Porsche 911 GT3 and is engaged via a bespoke lightweight clutch – the single-mass flywheel is by itself said to shave 10.5kg.
This “noticeably improves” the responsiveness of the naturally aspirated boxer engine, which “now builds revs with especially bracing speed and directness”, said Porsche.
Stringent weight-shaving measures – including the omission of rear-steering and the extensive use of lightweight materials such as CFRP – mean it is also the lightest of the current-generation 911s. At just 1380kg, the 911 S/T is 45kg lighter than a Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS and 70kg lighter than the 911 GT3 RS, despite its more overt road-going focus.
Lightweight glass magnesium wheels also help to save weight, as does a lithium ion starter battery.
The 911 S/T sprints to 62mph in 3.7sec – down 0.5sec on the GT3 RS – and all the way to 186mph. Doing without the GT3 RS’s massive swan-neck rear wing is the main cause of the sprint time loss and is to keep the S/T as a true successor to the 911 S racer, which was released in 1969.
But not all modern touches have been binned, with the S/T getting an extending spoiler with a Gurney flap for added downforce, and sizeable air vents dominate the front end.
Also added is a lightweight sports exhaust system that adds “a compelling soundscape”. And, unlike with the 911 GT3 RS, the focus of the 911 S/T has been not on track use but on usability and the driving experience on public roads.
The influence of the RS is clear inside, where the 911 S/T’s lightweight billing extends to reduced insulation, lightweight glass and a full CFRP roll-cage, but niceties such as the retro-designed leather-cloth seats and perforated microfibre headliner hint at its less hardcore billing.
An original 911 badge features on the front, the steering wheel, the wheels and the headrests - and the 911 S/T badge at the back is finished in gold.
To mark its place in 911 history, the German car maker has limited production to 1963 examples – a nod to the year when the first Porsche 911 was born. Pricing starts from €292,187 (£250,400).
A special Heritage Design Package (€17,505) is also offered, adding the same livery and special blue metallic paint as on the 1960s 911 S racer.
This latest special joins a host of other birthday presents the car maker has gifted itself this year, as it also celebrates 75 since its first sports car: the 356.