The Porsche 911 S/T Is So Good It’ll Make You Mad
– Napa, California
On paper it comes off as a cynical cash grab, a way for Porsche to keep adding to the two dozen 911 variants it currently sells. It looks like a GT3 Touring with GT3 RS doors and 15 more horsepower. To get it, you have to pay at least $110,000 more than a GT3 Touring, and that’s with no options. Don’t judge it by the paper. In practice, this isn’t only the best road-going 911 of the 992 generation. The 911 S/T might be the best road-focused performance car for sale today.
The S/T isn’t about one big development, but a bunch of small details. The steering ratio has been changed and the rear-axle steering removed. The final drive is 8% shorter, making the gears even closer together. The shift lever is 10 millimeters shorter. The flywheel weighs half as much, removing 23 pounds from the car. The unique magnesium wheels get rid of another 22 pounds of unsprung weight.
|2024 Porsche 911 S/T
|518 Horsepower / 342 Pound-Feet
|$290,000 + $1,650 Destination
The suspension is totally retuned. The drive mode dial has been removed from the wheel, and the range of options has been pared down to turning on autoblip for the gearbox, traction, and stability control settings, and one additional suspension mode. It’s also the lightest current 911 at 3,042 pounds, 21 pounds heavier than the 2016 911R, Porsche’s last special model to follow this ethos.
Even the carpets are lighter. That might not seem worth noting, because you probably thought carpet is carpet and this is an excuse to charge more money. But the carpet can act as an insulator, keeping road and mechanical noise out and Taylor Swift or REO Speedwagon in. Here, it lets every single mechanical sound invade the cabin.
It gets me at start-up. Even idling, the S/T feels alive, special. The whole car vibrates with a turn of the key. A tap of the throttle sends revs skyrocketing. It’s buzzing and whirring, gears lashing. A press of the clutch changes the sounds, briefly insulating the cockpit from the drivetrain.
The 911 S/T might be the best road-focused performance car for sale today.
On damp roads outside of Napa, California, the S/T keeps getting better. My first few miles are spent figuring everything out, how much to blip the throttle during a shift, how it reacts to power down, what the revised steering needs versus a GT3, and any differences in the braking. The brakes are straight off the GT3, so they have a fantastic progressive feel and aren’t grabby. The retuned parts are are better. Holger Bartels, the S/T’s chief engineer, worked for more than a year to get the suspension tuning right. The S/T also wasn’t tuned on the Nurburgring or Germany’s smooth roads, it was validated on the rougher pavement of Southern Italy. The entire package is something else.
This car expects precision from the driver and it will deliver the same in return. And while the sounds are more raw and the drivetrain more visceral than that of the GT3, the ride quality is improved. The one possible drawback of the latest GT3 is how stiff the suspension is, with every expansion joint or pothole hurtling up my spine. The S/T suffers no such issues, with a retuned suspension focused on the road, not the track.
And what a drivetrain. This is the dry-sumped 4.0 liter flat-six from the GT3 RS, so it has 518 horsepower and 343 pound-feet of torque and revs to 9,000 rpm. That’s linked to the GT3’s six-speed manual, but with a reduced final drive, a shorter shift lever, and a lightweight clutch and single mass flywheel. All that means it revs freer. I have to recalibrate how I actually shift gears. The drivetrain is so light that any delay between pushing the clutch and getting to the next gear means a drop to near idle. On downshifts, a tiny tap of the gas equates to a crazy jump in revs.
I run it to nine grand over and over, snick-snicking it into the next gear. And because the gearing is shorter, I’m not constantly on the verge of going to jail each time I run to redline. What a delightful concept.
The road-focused ride tuning and steering is better than any other 911. It’s some of the most accurate, feelsome steering out there, with a pointy front end that’s ready to dart to any apex on a moment’s notice. The gearbox is also fantastic to the point that I’m shifting just to shift. While it has auto rev match, it’s best to leave it off to get used to how much throttle it needs to slide effortlessly into the next gear, either during a downshift or a slow upshift. It makes the car even more satisfying.
On these roads of varying quality, the suspension shines. I can’t confuse it with a Rolls Royce and it’s still firm, but it’s well-controlled and damped, never out of place. Compared directly with a GT3 Touring, which Porsche let me drive back-to-back with the S/T, it feels like an entirely different car, one that has a singular road focus rather than having to straddle the line between road and track.
Where the Touring felt unnecessarily harsh, the S/T felt controlled and at home. Over large bumps on corner entry that’d unsettle the Touring, the S/T soaked them up. There’s also the gearbox comparison. While the GT3’s trans has never been accused of being bad, the S/T’s is better, so long as you shift quickly.
The road-focused ride tuning and steering is better than any other 911.
I love that the S/T doesn’t have drive modes that change throttle response, steering feel, or really anything else. You can stiffen the suspension or adjust the traction control and stability control. That’s really it. The factory tuned it a certain way and they don’t give you a chance to change it. They give you a chance to enjoy it.
It is simply a more accomplished road car than a GT3. At a pace that I’d deem moderate, the S/T engages unlike any other 911 of this generation. Even sitting still at a stop light and listening to the cacophony of mechanical noise is entertaining. It’s essentially without fault. That’s when I got mad.
We are, without a doubt, in a period of peak Porsche saturation. Cars and coffee gatherings are overtaken by 911s, track days are full of every flavor of P Car, and every new sports car from the brand receives a rave review and sells out nearly instantly for far over list price. The brand that was once thought of as the outlaw manufacturer is decidedly mainstream. Buying a 911 is no longer a statement as much as it is following the crowd.
For once, the crowd is right. You could pick another car, one of the gazillion on the market that claim to be 911 competitors. While the car you purchased might have more power, storage, cylinders, or comfort, it will be worse at being a sports car. That’s what makes me mad.
Porsche has an undoubtedly talented team uniquely qualified to build cars like the S/T. Thing is, other manufacturers like Lotus, Ferrari, and Lamborghini, and even more mainstream ones like Honda, Toyota, and Mazda, could build a sports car this raw, this engaging. They’ve done it in the past. For various reasons, they choose not to now. The S/T is alone on top of the sports car pyramid.
There will be 1,963 S/Ts globally, and while Porsche won’t officially say they’re sold out, they pretty much have to be. It starts at $291,000, and buyers must lease the car for a year to prevent flippers seeking an easy profit. That’s nearly $110,000 more than a GT3 and $50,000 more than a GT3 RS. It’s also $105,000 more than the 911 R’s MSRP. When that car debuted, it sold for multiples more than its MSRP, with some listings touching seven figures. I expect the same here, once that lease period ends.
And with regulations tightening emissions standards, cyber security, and even things like road noise from tires in the next few years, we’re at a point where cars like this won’t be able to exist. For now, I’m thankful this one does. If you’re lucky enough to buy one, don’t let it sit. Drive it till it melts into the Earth. You won’t regret it.
The Versatile Porsche 911
The Porsche 911 S/T is a new special edition 911 that has the same engine as the GT3 RS but without the track-focused bodywork. It is also the lightest of any 992 to date.
The Porsche 911 S/T is one of the rarest 992 models, which makes it so pricey. Porsche only plans to build 1,963 units of the 911 S/T worldwide.
The Porsche 911 GT3 RS and S/T have the same 4.0-liter flat-six engine with 518 horsepower, but the 911 S/T forgoes the track-focused bodywork for a sleeker appearance and a lighter curb weight.
|2024 Porsche 911 S/T
|518 Horsepower / 342 Pound-Feet
|Speed 0-60 MPH
|186 Miles Per Hour
|$290,000 + $1,650 Destination