The 997 Turbo convertible is perhaps the most extroverted 911 currently available, wearing a deep nasal air dam that eats roads for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even dessert. One can wonder if it needs more refinement, performance and ultimately; speed. TechArt, the German tuner from Leonberg, thinks it does and showed us their idea of the 997 Turbo convertible, with 660hp a roofless racing machine.
During an extensive road test we experienced the TechArt GTstreet R – one of the latest members of the TechArt family – implemented on a Carrara White 911 Turbo Cabriolet. But let’s start with a closer look at the exterior and interior changes.
The design of the car body – some may call overkill – has a wind tunnel tested aero kit including aerodynamically shaped bonnet, headlight trims, mirror trims and striking sill panels. A closer look at the improved front spoiler and rear wing reveal some new carbon air ducts optimising the engine ventilation. The package is rounded off with a different rear apron with carbon fibre diffuser and air ducts redirecting air to the intercooler.
The model is outfitted with the LED day driving light system and nose lift system. The illumination system is a combination between day driving lighting, side lighting, parking lighting and indicator lights in one unit. The main advantage is that the lights will automatically adjust depending on the day light setting selected. The lights are dimmed when you make a turn.
The GTstreet R – used in this road test – is outfitted with Formula III forged light metal wheels made out of one component. The front wheels are 8.5Jx20 in size and combined with Michelin Pilot Sport Cup Plus tyres in dimensions 245/30 ZR 20. The back got 12Jx20 with 325/25 ZR 20.
To ensure your precious new front spoiler will stay clear of any obstacle a nose lift system is fitted that can raise the vehicle by up to 60mm on its front axle at speeds of up to 60km/h. A small button is added to the headliner giving you access to the system. In under four seconds the front of the car is clear of any obstacles on the road.
The standard Porsche interior creates a mix between luxury-car aesthetics and a racing machine. TechArt adds another chapter to the interior with their list of exclusive parts. The saddlers department offers the option to include a custom-made interior. There is a choice of leather fittings and stitching in a large amount of colour combinations. Any personal request can be added to the interior. To finalize the interior a three-spoke sport steering wheel, sport pedals and shift knob are all harmonized with the interior design and the exterior color.
The experience starts after you have entered the interior and slipped into the body-contoured sports seats, which definitely need some kind of airco system keeping your lower back cool and fresh. After an intensive but short drive our backs were glued to the leather seats. With the top closed the cabin feels small and restricted. However, it is still reasonably quiet — not sedan-silent, though close enough.
After opening the electronically controlled roof – possible with the car moving at up to 30 miles an hour – everything changes drastically. All the sound you would expect from the convertible is converted into an bass-baritone grumbling coming from the rear. The GT-type engine growl is replaced with just one touch of a button labelled Sport. Suddenly a calm and civilized road car transforms itself into a racing beast screaming for asphalt. In the lower gears the noise of the turbos sucking in fresh air sounds very much like a fighter jet making it’s way over the runway right before lifting off. At higher speeds the sound of the engine and the TechArt exhaust takes over and you are treated to a beautiful sound that the normal 911 Turbo convertible lacks.
The refined performance kit improves the engine sound, but merely the performance of the 3.6 litre flat six with 95kW (130hp) up to 485kW (660bhp) and 160Nm of torque. The maximum torque of 860Nm is developed at 4,600rpm. The GTstreet R with Tiptronic S accelerates from 0 to 100km/h in just 3.4 seconds and with the manual transmission – shown here – it only takes a tenth of a second longer. The top speed tops out at 345km/h.
New turbochargers, large carbon fibre inlet pipes, special intercoolers, a sports exhaust system combined with high performance manifolds and an improved sports air filter are the main reason behind the performance increase. Even with the increase Porsche’s computerized stability and traction controls are still invisibly managing and modulating things. They are available when needed, but acting more subtly. To improve the driving characteristics TechArt adapted the front and back axels with a VarioPlus coil-over suspension. It’s clear that the suspension on rough roads and bad surfaces is less forgiving but on most of the smooth roads in southern Germany it does the car a lot of justice.
The all-wheel drive train manages the added power without any obstructions. To really explore the potential of the TechArt GTstreet R, the car needs to be driven on a track. The recent win in the Cabrio class at the 16th sport auto Tuner Grand Prix illustrates the potential of the GTstreet R but also raises the biggest question we have with the TechArt GTstreet R: does it make sense to buy a street-legal convertible racer? On public roads the 997 Turbo Convertible is a great car and doesn’t necessarily require all the extra horses. On a track the convertible is not the best option, so in a way the TechArt GTstreet R convertible is stuck between two worlds.
Another issue is the price; with a total package price of 70.000 Euro for the 997 Turbo convertible based TechArt GTstreet R package, the car can be found in a price range with a lot of other extreme and exotics cars on offer. However if you are looking for something very extreme and exclusive and already have a 997 Turbo Convertible in your garage this is a great package to transform it into the most extreme and fastest Porsche in the neighbourhood.