Would you buy a new back-to-basics Porsche 911?
At the start of the month, rumours of a new Porsche 911 GT car (to join the current GT3 and GT3 RS) began ringing around the grapevine, fuelled by a news story by respected automotive journalist, Andrew Frankel.
Unlike the 991 GT3 and latest Rennsport though, the new GT model would take a back-to-basics approach. Think narrow Carrera body shell, skinnier tyres and a suspension setup designed to promote driver engagement rather than maximum cornering grip.
What’s more, due to launch next year at the earliest, the new 911 GT would feature a naturally aspirated flat six based on the GT3’s engine, no aero addenda and a return for the manual gearbox on Weissach’s GT offerings.
Of course, this all sounds very familiar to my calls (made over 12 months ago now) for Porsche to produce a driver-focussed 911 inspired by the iconic 3.2 Carrera Clubsport.
If the rumours are true, I will heartily applaud Porsche. For too long, Zuffenhausen’s sports car has, thanks to the ‘marketing men’, been caught in the horsepower arms race.
Even the current foundation of the range, the 3.4-litre Porsche 991 Carrera is almost too fast and too accomplished to have fun legally on the roads. To that end, I hope the bit about the GT3’s engine isn’t true. I want a proper lightweight, low-power 911 that takes things truly back to basics.
Let’s be honest though. How many prospective new 911 buyers would choose to purchase such a simplified sports car? Talking to many neunelfer enthusiasts, they feel that the genetic makeup for new 911 buyers has comprehensively changed.
There used to be a time when new 911 owners were not just true driving enthusiasts but they were dedicated brand enthusiasts who understood what Porsche was and the importance of Ferry’s sports car vision.
Now though, Porsche 911s have never cost more. In 1965, the original 2.0-litre car hit the US market with a price tag of $6,500. In today’s money that’s just a smidge over $49,000. By comparison, a new 991 Carrera costs $84,300.
Sure, there is now more technology and safety built into the latest neunelfers but it seems that many new 911 buyers don’t purchase the car for its heritage or accomplishments. Instead, the 911 has now become a status symbol, something to aspire to and show off to your peers.
For some buyers, the more they are able to spend on their sports car the better. As one respected specialist pointed out to me, “It’s wallet waving. I just don’t understand it.”
Therefore, if Porsche was to release a bog standard 911 GT, with a price tag at the lower end of the current scale, would the people who currently order new 991s really want to buy it? Personally, I don’t think they will. There’s a reason you see more Carrera Ss than standard Carreras, after all.
Of course, Porsche could (and probably will) make sure that the 991 GT’s price tag will be higher than a 991 Carrera. Paying more and getting less is something they have excelled at for the last few decades; the days of the 3.2 Clubsport costing less than the 3.2 Carrera are long gone.
In that case, while the credit card-eating appetite of some may be satiated, the true enthusiasts (another demographic that this car will surely be marketed at) could be disgruntled to get less technology than the upcoming 991.2 Carrera despite forking out for an inflated list price. I certainly would be.
So that leaves us back at the main issue. Would you buy a back-to-basics new Porsche 911? If the price is right, I’d be sorely tempted but I’m not going to single-handedly make the concept succeed. That is down to all of you…
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