When Porsche's latest GT3 RS landed, the world's motoring press were blown away by its scalpel-sharp handling and breathtaking acceleration. But there's something different about this generation of RS with its double clutch gearbox, something that Porsche has tried to rectify with the manual-only 911 R just launched in Geneva. The R is powered by the same 4.0-liter flat six as the RS, but sheds the big wings and 50 kg (110 lb) for the ultimate stripped out driving experience.
Central to the 911 R experience is Porsche's 4.0-liter flat six, which is putting out the same 373 kW (500 hp) at 8,250 rpm as the GT3 RS. The car has the same 458 Nm as the RS as well, but there's one key difference between the two cars: whereas the the RS sends its power to its 305 mm rear tires through a double clutch paddleshift gearbox, the new 911 R channels its grunt through a manual gearbox. What's more, Porsche seems to have taken the criticism about how loooooooong the gearing is on its manual cars to heart, emphasizing that its latest car has short, performance oriented gear ratios.
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Swapping the quick-shifting PDK gearbox for a manual has impacted the car's sprint times, with the car's 3.7 second 0-100 km/h time stopping the clock 0.6 seconds slower than the regular RS. That's not to say the R is slow, because its 322 km/h (200 mph) top speed puts it well into supercar territory – and we're not sure the people who are buying cars like the this are worried about out-and-out speed.
After all, Porsche has designed this car to be a stripped back corner carver, not a traffic light dragster.
With that in mind, the car is fitted out with a mechanical locking rear differential and rear-axle steering, while carbon ceramic brakes measuring up at 16.1 inches (40.89 cm) at the front and 15.4 inches (39.11 cm) at the rear. The big brakes are hiding behind gorgeous center locking 20-inch wheels, with the same dished rears we loved on the GT3.
All of the magnesium body panels from the GT3 RS have been carried over, but instead of using that dining-table rear spoiler there's a smaller, electrically deployed one to provide downforce in tandem with a unique underbody diffuser and front spoiler lip.
On the inside, there's less insulation and no rear seats in an attempt to cut down on weight, and there's no air conditioning or audio system unless the owner chooses to tick a no-cost option on the order form. There's also unique carbon fiber bucket seats with a throwback houndstooth trim, and Porsche has even gone to the effort of giving the car a specific steering wheel.
As is often the case with lightweight specials, you're going to pay a premium for your stripped out 911. After all, less is more, right? Pricing starts at US$184,900 and just 991 of these specials will be made.
Stay tuned for more from the floor of the Geneva Motor Show.