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Road tests

New Porsche 911 S/T 2024 review: one of the best sports cars ever built

Porsche’s last hurrah for the 992.1 generation 911 is an epic driving machine with just the right dose of luxury

Overall Auto Express Rating

5.0 out of 5

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Verdict

For the lucky individuals able to get their hands on one, this really is the ultimate expression of the outgoing 992.1-generation Porsche 911. The engine, chassis and suspension are sublime, while the exquisite cabin somehow manages to brilliantly juxtapose the raw and engaging driving experience. If you can afford it, and get your name on the list, you’ll have bagged yourself one of the best sports cars ever built.

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The updated, hybrid-powered, 992.2-generation Porsche 911 was revealed last month. But as a final hurrah for the pre-facelift model, the maker has treated us to what many might describe as the venerable sports car’s ultimate iteration: the limited-run Porsche 911 S/T.

It is, essentially, a 911 GT3 RS without the garish aero and massive wing, with the slick PDK gearbox swapped out for an analogue six-speed manual. If ever there was a thoroughbred distillation of the 911 concept, aimed solely at those who love driving, then this is surely it.

The spec sheet certainly cements that notion. The body is based on a GT3 Touring, but swaps out a number of panels – like the bonnet and roof – for lighter, carbon-fibre reinforced plastic replacements. The flush-fitting exterior door handles from other 911s have been swapped for conventional items, as found on the aforementioned RS.

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The lightweight theme continues with the staggered (20-inch front and 21-inch rear) centre-locked magnesium wheels and carbon ceramic brakes, plus lighter glass and reduced sound deadening. Porsche claims the S/T tips the scales at 1,380kg – 40kg less than a Touring.

Under the CFRP body and new mesh engine cover, you’ll find the uprated 518bhp naturally-aspirated 4.0-litre flat-six from the GT3 RS, linked (as mentioned) to a super-tight six-speed manual gearbox. That transmission has been tuned specifically for the S/T, featuring shorter ratios and a lightweight clutch.

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The car also gets a bespoke suspension set-up, tuned specifically for road use rather than the track-focused set-up you’d find on the GT3 RS. There’s no rear-wheel steering, either – further reinforcing this car’s ability to offer a pure, unadulterated driving experience.

In typical Porsche GT-department style, however, that hasn’t made the S/T fidgety or bone-breaking over your average British B-road. It’s firm, but the level of control offered by the springs and dampers allows you to quickly develop a confidence that only encourages you to push on and explore the car’s limits.

There’s little discernible difference between the normal and sport chassis settings – configurable via the central screen rather than with the steering wheel-mounted mode switch you’d find on other 911s. You can choose to activate the sports exhaust and the auto rev-match settings separately, the latter adding a little bit of theatre as you change down for a fast-approaching bend.

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But this is not, at least initially, a particularly easy car to drive smoothly. The control weights – the pedals, steering, and the precise short-shift manual box – are heavy, meaning this is a car that rewards a bit of patience. But piece together a series of quick corners with the engine screaming to its 9,000rpm red line and there’s little else like it.

The brakes, while a little sharp and snappy to begin with, never fade. It’s another area – along with the unrelenting grip from the wide-section Michelin tyres – that elevates that feeling of supreme poise; few cars manage to simultaneously flatter and challenge the driver like the S/T does.

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This is a truly rapid car, albeit one that trades some of the outright speed of the PDK-equipped GT3 RS for the added engagement that each of the added analogue elements seem to contribute to. It’s a raw, undiluted driving experience, only emphasised by the sound of small stones hitting the inside of the rear wheelarches while the car’s mechanicals whirr away in the background. It’s the result of all that removed sound deadening plus the lighter, thinner glasshouse, and it adds (rather spectacularly at times) to this 911’s immense sense of occasion.

But that stipped back driving experience is in stark contrast to the lavishly-specified cabin. This is no pared-back race-car; the dashboard is trimmed in beautiful leather, while all the buttons and switches operate with delightful tactility – just as they do in any modern Porsche. The fixed-back carbon fibre bucket seats might feel a bit ergonomically challenged at first, but once you settle in, the entire car just envelopes you.

We can well imagine the 911 S/T being an amenable cross-country road-trip companion, in fact. Sure, it’s not as cushioned or refined as a 911 Turbo, but it’s compliant and settled at 70-80mph in a way you might not expect. If you can squeeze your soft bags past the optional £3,707 carbon fibre roll cage, it could even be considered pretty practical.

It’s a shame, then, that all 1,963 examples of the Porsche 911 S/T are spoken for. Though in true Porsche GT fashion, that was probably the case long before the car was even announced…

Model:Porsche 911 S/T
Price:£231,600
Engine:4.0-litre 6cyl petrol
Power/torque:518bhp/465Nm
Transmission:Six-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
0-62mph:3.7 seconds
Top speed:186mph
Economy/CO2:20.5mpg/313g/km
Size (L/W/H):4,573/1,852/1,279mm
On sale:Sold out
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Deputy editor

Richard has been part of the team for over a decade. During this time he has covered a huge amount of news and reviews for Auto Express, as well as being the face of Carbuyer and DrivingElectric on Youtube. In his current role as deputy editor, he is now responsible for keeping our content flowing and managing our team of talented writers.

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