In recent years, many enthusiasts have lamented cars becoming more automated and removing the driver from the experience of driving. Although this seems to be what many folks want, those of us who actually enjoy driving yearn for a more visceral experience as even enthusiast holdouts like Ferrari, BMW, and Porsche increasingly automate their cars. But Michael Steiner, Porsche's head of research and development, told Autocar that Porsche sees the "potential for more purist versions of sports cars."
Last year's Porsche 911 R was exactly this sort of pure sports car for the enthusiast driver. Unlike the 911 GT3, which was designed for maximum track performance, the 911 R sacrificed a little outright speed in the name of driving enjoyment. Porsche's PDK transmission allows for faster lap times, but the 911 R featured a manual transmission, allowing the driver who prefers to choose their own gears to do so.
Unfortunately, production was limited to just 991 units, which we were none too happy about. But Porsche seems to have heard the cries of the enthusiast community. "What we learned is that there are more and more customers who enjoy pure, fun-to-drive sports cars," Steiner told Autocar. "Porsche always has some limited as well as unlimited sports cars. For pure sports cars, there’s no need for limitation."
Steiner declined to comment on exactly what form these purist versions will take in the future. Autocar suspects that with the next generation of the 911 at least two years away, we may see a purist version of the current 911. That said, the lineup clearly has room for other such models; it would be great, for example, if Porsche offered an enthusiast-oriented 718 Boxster or Cayman for the driver who wants more power and performance than these other choices, but doesn't have the budget for a 911.
Only time will tell what Porsche has up its sleeve for future purist models. But the fact that Porsche recognizes the demand for such models and intends to fulfill it is good news for enthusiasts.