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By Mark Kleis

When looking at Porsche's all-new 911 Speedster, there is no mistaking this loud drop-top for any run-of-the-mill Carrera - this Porsche receives a thorough and distinctive reworking throughout.

Porsche often receives both praise and criticism for its almost indiscernible evolutionary changes to the 911, but with the 2011 911 Speedster, there is plenty of change to be had. The latest Speedster will mark the fourth generation of the historic model, with roots dating back to the 1948 Porsche 356, and production of the 356 Speedster in 1953. To pay homage to the rich history behind the Speedster, Porsche says they will produce just 356 examples of the 2011 Speedster.

Bold new style

Naysayers need bite their tongues when it comes to the 2011 Speedster, as this 911 features an ample supply of significant changes. For starters, take note of the 60 millimeter lower and more raked windscreen, the flat contour of the manual hood, 44 millimeter wider rear-end and the characteristic Speedster-esque double-bubble hardcover for the soft top.

Continuing the extensive list of changes are black-tinted headlights, black headlight rings, a black windshield surround and other blackout cosmetic changes. There is also a unique and sporty front fascia, Speedster-specific sideskirts and a unique rear fascia.

All of this noteworthy changes help to redefine the striking profile of the new 911 Speedster - but we're not done yet.

Inside, the Speedster features decorative designs with checkerboard patterns in the seat center section of the adaptive sports seats reminiscent of a checkered flag, as well as the leather side bolsters in the exterior color. Speaking of exterior color, the 2011 911 Speedster comes standard in an exclusive "Pure Blue" color, which can be nixed for a more pedestrian Carrara White for those looking to be a little less noticeable on the road.

Motivation comes in the form of classic rear-wheel drive, thanks to a 408 horsepower 3.8-liter flat six - 23 more than the Carrera S. The seven-speed Porsche Doppelkupplungsgetriebe (PDK) is in charge of transmitting power to the rear axle fitted with a standard differential lock.

For the Speedster, Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) and Porsche Ceramic Composite Brake (PCCB) are standard. Specifically for the speedster, Porsche engineers also further improved the rollover protection system which is standard in all open-top Porsche cars.

Full details and live photos of the car will follow from the Paris Auto Show, for now, rest easy knowing that this exciting new drop-top will only run you just north of $200,000.



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