First Drive: 2012 Porsche 911 Speedster porsche luxury cars first drives
2012 Porsche 911 Speedster. Click image to enlarge

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Review and photos by Peter Bleakney

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2012 Porsche 911 Speedster

Palm Springs, California – Lest you feel the urge to sprint down to your local Porsche store with wads of cash in hand before finishing this story, perhaps the most important information I can relay on the $245,900 2012 911 Speedster is that all six examples allocated to the Great White North have been sold.

The other important fact, at least to me, is that I drove the very first example of this ultra-rare car (serial number 0000) without cracking it up, thus avoiding a life of servitude at the Porsche Museum cafeteria.

Porsche is building just 356 2012 Speedsters – a number that pays homage to the original Porsche 356 sports car on which the first 1953 Speedster was based. There have been two subsequent specialty two-seat drop-top Porsches carrying the Speedster name – one in 1988 and a 1993-1994 model.

First Drive: 2012 Porsche 911 Speedster porsche luxury cars first drives
First Drive: 2012 Porsche 911 Speedster porsche luxury cars first drives
First Drive: 2012 Porsche 911 Speedster porsche luxury cars first drives
First Drive: 2012 Porsche 911 Speedster porsche luxury cars first drives
First Drive: 2012 Porsche 911 Speedster porsche luxury cars first drives
2012 Porsche 911 Speedster. Click image to enlarge

This new Speedster was developed by Porsche Exclusive, a division devoted to the individual customization of Porsche production cars along with the creation of limited-run models. They are also responsible for the 2011 911 Sport Classic, 500 of which were built with none coming to North America. Porsche Exclusive celebrates its 25th anniversary this year.

As with its recent predecessors, this latest Speedster is rear-wheel-drive, sports a shorter, more steeply raked windshield, seats only two, gets a double-bubble deck over its hindquarters and packs the most powerful Carrera engine. In this case it is the 408-hp naturally-aspirated direct-injection 3.8-litre flat-six found in the 2012 911 GTS.
Your cool quarter-million also begets a manual fabric top, a unique front apron, Fuch-style wheels, specific side skirts and a distinct rear apron.

Naturally, the Speedster comes with all the toys – 7-speed PDK transmission, adaptive dampers, Sport Chrono, sport exhaust, differential lock and carbon-ceramic brakes. The interior is a lovely handcrafted leather affair with stitching and accents that match the Speedster-specific Pure Blue paint. Especially cool is the check pattern on the seat cushions. It certainly does feel special in there.
The Speedster is… I mean, was also available in Carrera White.

On the road, it feels no different than the regular 2012 911 GTS Cabriolet on which it is based. That is to say, mechanically alive, reasonably comfortable, luxurious, and with a little prodding, capable of delivering a serious kick in the schnitzel. The exhaust note has a lovely feral rasp that only a Porsche flat-six can deliver. As with all topless 911s, there are a few more structural quivers than in the coupes, but this is hardly a deal breaker.

During my brief drive around sun-baked Palm Springs, this as-yet unseen Speedster drew plenty of stares, which of course is what one wants when spending mega dough on a bespoke Porsche that really has no performance advantage over its lesser brethren.

Is it worth 110 grand more than the 911 GTS Cabriolet? Will it be an investment? Will the front trunk hold a set of golf clubs? A lobster trap? Is that Quasimoto hump iconic or ugly? The answers will come to you in time, Grasshoppers…




About Peter

Peter Bleakney is a Toronto-based automotive journalist. He is also a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC).