A limited-edition tribute to one of the most iconic models ever produced by the German automaker, the 2011 Porsche 911 Speedster makes its public debut in Paris. This high-velocity homage to the original 1953 356 Speedster was created by the Porsche Exclusive operation to help celebrate its own 25th Anniversary. Far from that minimalist exercise, this latest incarnation shares a good bit of its mechanical pedigree with the recently announced 911 Carrera GTS model that also will be on display in the City of Lights.

Like the 911 Carrera GTS, the 2011 Porsche 911 Speedster is a rear-engine/rear-drive model based on the drop-top version of the Carrera4 "widebody" shell. It also gets the same upgraded version of the 3.8-litre flat six which has been revised/retuned to deliver 408 horsepower -- 23 more than the standard Carrera S Cabriolet -- but still delivers the same fuel economy -- and take the car from 0-60 mph in 4.2 seconds and on to a top end of 190 mph when fitted with the optional Sport Chrono Plus package. Other mechanical highlights include a standard seven-speed Porsche "Doppelkupplungsgetriebe" (PDK) gearbox, limited slip differential, Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) and Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes (PCCB) plus the automaker's safety roll-over protection system that has been specifically tweaked for the Speedster.

A new take on the heritage look

To ensure an extra measure of visual impact, the 2011 Porsche 911 Speedster complements its signature "Pure Blue" exterior with unique body and trim bits. Like previous Speedsters, the latest version has a more sharply raked windshield that's also lowered 2.4 inches as well as a traditional "double bubble" hardcover for its manual soft top. Other highlights include a bespoke front spoiler/side sills/rear apron set off by tinted front lights and an array of blackout accents. Porsche says it also will offer the car in Carrera White as a no-cost option. Inside, the well-appointed Speedster boasts a hand-finished Porsche Exclusive cabin treatment that matches black smooth-finish leather with a host of distinctive accent elements color matched to the exterior paint including special decorative seat inserts meant to recall a checkered flag.

This is the fourth series-build model to officially wear the Speedster appellation, with the original 356 version followed by a 911-based Gen II model in 1989 and a Gen III variant spun from the then-new "993" iteration in 1992-93. Porsche plans to limit total production of this 2011 911 Speedster to just 356 units worldwide, with about 100 due to turn up here. Pricing will start at $204,950 when sales begin early next year.

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