Courtesy of Artcurial
Already a collector’s item before it was launched, the Porsche 911 R was the marque’s gift to driving enthusiasts, an ultimate 911 with extraordinary performance that could be exploited on the road. It was an immediate hit, and the small number of examples to appear on the market saw their prices increase considerably, reflecting the popularity of this 911 generation that has continued to this day. It is the second time in the model’s history that the 911 has sported an R. The first was in 1967, in a version of the 911 built for homologation in GT racing and rallying. Its descendant has employed the same pattern and weighs 50 kg less than the GT3 and GT3 RS models it is derived from. The present owner collected his new 911 R directly from the Stuttgart factory. Our car is presented in its traditional white livery embellished with red stripes and Porsche stripes on either side. The car’s sole owner, a great Porsche enthusiast, was won over immediately by the dynamic qualities of the car. Designed and intended to be the ultimate driver’s 911, the R is more than a GT3 with a manual gearbox. It is a clever fusion of GT3 RS performance, thanks to its 500-hp 4-liter engine, with the pure styling of the original 911 model, devoid of any aerodynamic extras. This lightweight machine has carbon wings and front bonnet, magnesium roof and polycarbonate rear windows, and is capable of over 320 km/h, covering 0 to 100 in 3.8 seconds. A strict 2-seater, the cockpit houses two superb carbon bucket seats, taken from the 919 Spyder. Having covered just over 7,600 km, our Porsche 911 R has remained in its original configuration with carbon-ceramic brakes and wheels fitted with Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires and the optional single-mass flywheel and lift system. In perfect condition cosmetically, the car has also been regularly maintained, serviced from new by Porsche Strasbourg, and will be given its recommended service before sale.

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:2016 Porsche 911 R
Years Produced:2016
Number Produced:991 worldwide (283 for the U.S. market)
SCM Valuation:$310,500
Tune Up Cost:$1,500
Chassis Number Location:Bottom of windshield driver’s side; B-pillar driver’s side
Engine Number Location:Totally buried under lots of engine pieces
Club Info:Porsche Club of America
Alternatives:2015–20 Ferrari 488 GTB, 2014–present Mercedes-AMG GT, 2014–present Lamborghini Huracán
Investment Grade:B

This car, Lot 220, sold for $380,525 (€345,680), including buyer’s premium, at Artcurial’s Paris sale on March 18, 2022.

The 911 R was developed to an unusual spec — to be an excellent road car with top performance and handling, but not a track warrior. In contrast, Porsche’s high-performance GT3 RS and GT2 RS served double duty, built for street and track. To signify this car’s qualities, Porsche chose the 911 R appellation, referring back to the 1968 911 R.

R for road, not for race

Your author owned 1968 911 R chassis number 15 for 10 years, and it’s actually a different idiom. The 911 R of old is a race car that is streetable, like the 1974 Carrera RS 3.0 and 1984 SC/RS. The 2016 911 R is perhaps more like the 1973 Carrera RS 2.7. Although homologated for Group 3 races and rallies, the 1973 Carrera RS was primarily an excellent road car, powerful enough for the era, light, responsive and predictable. That’s what Porsche GT cars development boss Andreas Preuninger had in mind when his engineers designed the 2016 911 R. The RS label, while appropriate for this car, was reserved for the dual-purpose street/track 911s.

Preuninger conducted an interview at the 911 R’s launch in which he detailed the design specification. (You can find it by searching YouTube and it is worth watching.) In it, he explained that the 911 R was “a new breed of GT — a true authentic driver’s car. It’s not a race car, not a track tool like we normally offer. It’s the same technology but more of a pure driver’s car to have fun on the road. It’s an emotional car.”

An appealing specification

The new 911 R was stealthy, appearing quite similar to other 911s. The body was based on the GT3 but had a smaller front fascia and no fixed rear wing. Instead, a retractable tail with a newly designed ribbed diffuser under the engine created the downforce required to keep the car balanced and planted.

It was also lightweight. The hood, front fenders and rear tail were made of carbon fiber. In European spec, the three rear windows were plastic (but glass for North America). All cars got a magnesium roof panel and titanium exhaust system. Some typically standard items like rear seats, A/C and radio were eliminated or made optional, with variances by market. In the U.S., A/C and the heavier dual-mass flywheel were standard. Preuninger reported that the R in Euro trim shaved 154 pounds off the GT3 at 2,756 pounds dry and 3,021 pounds with fluids. The U.S. model only dropped 113 pounds.

The gearbox was a unique 6-speed manual, versus the GT3 RS’s admittedly faster PDK, with a limited-slip differential. That manual box was a big sales attraction at the time. Porschephiles were not certain that future 500-plus-horsepower 911s would have a stick (a fear that was later unfounded). Most Rs came with single-mass flywheels, although this was optional in the U.S. Preuninger, and many enthusiasts, preferred its racy characteristics: faster-climbing revs and chatter in neutral.

Twenty-inch center-lock wheels were nine inches wide with Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 245/35s in front, and 12 inches with 305/30s in back. Brakes were yellow Porsche carbon-ceramics with six-piston front calipers and four-piston rears. Porsche added active suspension and rear-wheel steering, which Preuninger defended as substantially aiding drivability. Although electronic driver’s aids are sometimes derided by 911 enthusiasts, Preuninger’s comment was that the R “felt like a truck without the rear-axle steering.”

No question, the 911 R was fast. The R shared the formidable engine from the 2016 GT3 RS — 4.0 liters, 500 hp, and 339 lb-ft. In U.S. trim, that generated 0–60 mph times of 3.4 seconds, with 0–100 mph in 7.4 seconds, and a top speed of over 200 mph. The 911 R pulled 1.11 g in a Car and Driver test.

Options create value

Porsche offered two standard colors, white (about 515 cars) and GT Silver (about 260 cars) with red or green vinyl stripes. About 215 cars worldwide were special order or paint-to-sample, and about 33% of those came to North America. Those cars used 47 different colors, most of them from the 1960s–70s, and today, they warrant a 30%–50% premium. Even standard GT Silver sometimes gets a premium. Options are important to R values in the U.S., led by the single-mass flywheel ($3,650 when new), front lift ($3,490), 23.9-gallon fuel tank ($1,940), and LED dynamic lighting system ($3,395).

The 911R’s MSRP was $174,800, with delivered prices easily topping $200k. As Rs were being delivered, they resold at large premiums in 2017 and into 2018 — regularly reaching $500k and even $700k occasionally. Then they swooned, dropping as low as $237,000 in 2019 and early 2020. Things turned around again however, as next-gen buyers saw the car to be the fine driver’s car Porsche intended.

Owners’ word-of-mouth certainly helped pump the market and position the R above the next stick-shift enthusiast-oriented Porsche, the 2018 GT3 Touring. By 2021, 911Rs were in the $400k range again.

Fair both ways

The Artcurial 911 R was a good example but showed 7,700 km, or about 4,800 miles — too high for a top price. It also looked plain Jane in a white/red/black scheme but did have the desirable single-mass flywheel and front lift. At $384,000, it was almost identical to a recent online sale of a similar-mileage car. We’ll have to call it a fair deal for both parties. ♦

(Introductory description courtesy of Artcurial.)

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