OFFICIAL: 2016 Porsche 991 R unveiled ahead of Geneva

Driving enthusiasts rejoice! The manual performance Porsche 911 lives on and it’s officially here in time for the 2016 Geneva Motor Show in the shape of the much-anticipated Porsche 991 R, a lightweight homage to its famous Sixties namesake.

Yes, you read that right. The new 2016 Porsche 911 R features a clutch and manual gearbox with six (rather than the 991 generation’s standard seven) forward ratios.

With Porsche keen to stress the new transmission’s “short gearshift travel” and a host of other attributes, the ‘R’ is sure to provide the most analogue driving experience since the demise of manual, Mezger-engined 997 GT3s.

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Contrary to the initial rumours, the manual gearbox in the Porsche 991 R is not mated to the current GT3’s high-revving, 3.8-litre flat six. However, before you shed a tear, worry not for, instead, the 911 R is bestowed with the full-fat 4.0-litre engine from the 991 GT3 RS, complete with 500hp and 8,800rpm redline.

This brings it inline with the original 911R, which was the most powerful Porsche 911 ever built upon its release in 1967. The new neunelfer’s synergy with its leichtbau ancestor also sees a continuation of the lightweight philosophy that defined the early car.

Although based inside the wider, first generation 991 GT3 bodyshell, the 2016 Porsche 911 R is the lightest 991 ever built, hitting the scales at 1,370kg, 10kg lighter than a standard 991.1 Carrera and a full 50kg less than the latest Rennsport.

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This allows the Porsche 991 R to sprint from 0-62mph (0-100kph) in 3.8 seconds, 0.1 seconds faster than the 997 GT3 RS 4.0. However, the revived ‘R’ is not about its pure performance figures.

Instead, as all the rumours suggested, the 2016 911 R is tuned to thrill out on the open road rather than extract the maximum lap time out on the track. To that end, Porsche has broken with tradition an not provided a Nürburgring Nordschleife time (though we’re sure the first owners will rectify that).

Porsche has given the rear-wheel drive neunelfer a mechanical limited-slip differential, combined with Porsche Torque Vectoring, to ensure excellent traction through the 305-section rear tyres (the fronts measure up at 245, both on 20-inch diameter centre-lock wheels).

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Interestingly though, contrary to it’s lightweight mantra, the 991 R retains the rear-wheel steering system seen on the 991.1 GT3 and GT3 RS. Porsche claims this is to provide the idiosyncratic blend of agility and stability that the electro-mechanical system has become known for.

Unlike previous cars from Porsche’s motorsport department, the 991 R does away with any fixed rear-end aerodynamics, shunning a rear wing in favour for a Carrera-style moveable decklid, the grill of which uses a mesh covering, evoking the iconic R-badged original.

The front and rear ends are almost directly carried over from the Porsche 991.1 GT3 (albeit with a revised lip spoiler at the front) while the R gets a bespoke set of striped decals – available in either red or green – designed to mimic the 24-hour world record-breaking 911Rs used in 1967.

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Inside, on top of the carbon-clad gear lever and clutch pedal, the highlights are the 918-style carbon bucket seats. In a further nod to the short-wheelbase neunelfer upon which the 991 R takes its inspiration, the seats are finished in brown leather with ‘Pepita’ houndstooth fabric centres.

The Porsche 991 R also gets it’s own 360mm version of the Sport GT steering wheel, complete with black rather than silver trim pieces, while the rear seats have been deleted (as can the PCM and air conditioning units).

Only 991 examples of the 2016 Porsche 911 R will be built with word on the grapevine suggesting that all of them are already sold out (many to 918 Spyder owners). However, should you be lucky enough to source one through your local OPC, the UK list price is £136,901.

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