2023 Porsche 911 Sport Classic: This Throwback Lives up to Its Name

2023 Porsche 911 Sport Classic article highlights:

  • The 2023 Porsche 911 Sport Classic combines modern-made vintage design cues with manual rear-wheel-drive Turbo performance
  • It’s not as hardcore as the first 911 Sport Classic, but it’s still a fun, comfortable sports car that pays homage to past Turbos
  • It starts at $272,300 and Porsche is only making 1250 examples for the whole world

Heritage weighs heavy in the sports car world, especially for the Porsche 911. To the cynical, it might seem like just a millstone or a resource to tap. But the brand’s dedication and celebration of its history don’t stop at simple graphics packages. Hence why die-hard fans line up in droves when Porsche’s next retro mix drops. And though it can’t fully shed its modern roots, the 2023 Porsche 911 Sport Classic nails the vintage tones just right.

The 2023 Porsche 911 Sport Classic is a rolling greatest-hits album with RWD Turbo power and a mandatory manual

2023 Porsche 911 Sport Classic
Engine3.7-liter twin-turbocharged flat-six
Horsepower543 hp
Torque442 lb-ft
TransmissionSeven-speed manual
Curb weight3468 lbs
0-60 mph time3.9 seconds

Much like nu-disco doesn’t just draw from 1970s beats, the 2023 Porsche 911 Sport Classic is more than a 1970s 911 Carrera reference. Sure, the ducktail spoiler, Fuchs-style center-lock wheels, and double-bubble roof are iconic 1973 Carrera 2.7 RS trademarks. But this isn’t the first limited-edition 911 to wear them: the original 997-gen Sport Classic did, too. However, that car never came to the U.S. And if the 997 model was a greatest-hits album, the 2023 one is that album remastered.

Firstly, the 2023 911 Sport Classic’s hood, roof, and spoiler are made of carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic. Secondly, while the 997 car had standard carbon-ceramic brakes, the 2023 one has active anti-roll bars, rear-wheel steering, and adaptive sports suspension. Furthermore, its limited-slip differential has active torque vectoring. Also, while the 997 Porsche 911 Sport Classic had woven-leather seat inserts, the 2023 model has houndstooth inserts and OG 911-style greenlit gauges.

The 2023 Porsche 911 Sport Classic’s biggest throwback element, though, is also its most modern. Like the 997 model, the 2023 model is manual-only. But unlike the 997 Sport Classic, the 2023 version has a turbocharged engine—the same engine that’s in the current 911 Turbo. And that makes it more special than either car. For one, unlike every 911 Turbo since the 993, the 2023 911 Sport Classic doesn’t have AWD: this is RWD-only. In addition, it’s the first 911 Turbo since the 997 to come with a stick.

Admittedly, using a manual meant Porsche had to de-tune the current Turbo’s engine for 911 Sport Classic duty by 29 horsepower and 111 lb-ft of torque. But that also came with a design benefit. Because the Sport Classic doesn’t need the Turbo’s side air intakes, Porsche gave it a bespoke rear bumper. That’s a big deal for a limited-edition car that also makes it look more vintage, MotorTrend notes. And even with the power ‘decrease,’ the remastered Sport Classic is still the most powerful stick-shift 911 available today.

This stick-shift RWD 911 Turbo is a retro mashup waiting to become a classic

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While remastering a classic is rarely easy, one of the hardest parts is avoiding over-correction. Sure, modern technology can restore faded chords and quiet notes, but it can also smooth out so much of the original’s crackle and fuzz. Those might be ‘imperfections,’ but they’re also what makes it authentic. And that’s the line the 2023 Porsche 911 Sport Classic tiptoes around.

On one hand, if you’re expecting a 997 Sport Classic or 911 R redux, you might be slightly disappointed, MT says. The 2023 Sport Classic isn’t as hardcore and doesn’t deliver the same sharp naturally-aspirated shriek. And while its seven-speed manual is fantastic fun, the GT3’s six-speed stick is more sublime, MT reports. Plus, the 2023 911 Sport Classic is roughly two inches wider than the 997 version, The Drive notes.

However, as wild as the OG 930 911 Turbo was, it was designed as a sharp, high-speed luxury sports car, not a racer. And it’s the same story with the 2023 Porsche 911 Sport Classic. It’s not a direct callback to the 2.7 RS, but to Turbos past. And once you get that in your head, it’s easy to appreciate this car’s strengths.

Firstly, even without AWD, it’s “sure-footed, tight,” and confidence-inspiring no matter the road, The Drive says. It rides comfortably if firmly on its Turbo S-spec adaptive sport shocks, too. The excellent interior helps with that as well. Plus, the steering is sharp, communicative, and just delightful. Also, there’s just enough turbo lag to make driving the 2023 911 Sport Classic entertaining. And you know what else is entertaining? Having a manual to row.

The 2023 Porsche 911 Sport Classic, then, isn’t a perfect replica of the cars whose looks it references. But it does bring those vintage vibes back with 21st-century flair, like how computers can recreate old-school synthesizer sounds. And that means this greatest-hits album might become a hit in its own right.

How much does a 2023 Porsche 911 Sport Classic cost?

The cognac-brown-leather-and-black-and-white-houndstooth-cloth front seats and bronw-and-black-leather dashboard of a 2023 Porsche 911 Sport Classic
2023 Porsche 911 Sport Classic front interior | Porsche

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Besides style and substance, scarcity also helps cars gain ‘future classic’ status. And the 2023 Porsche 911 Sport Classic certainly won’t be common. Porsche is only making 1250 examples, though at least this time, some are coming to the U.S.

If you want one, though, you’ll have to pony up at least $272,300. For comparison, a regular 2023 911 Turbo S starts at $216,100. However, even at that price, the 2023 Sport Classic costs less than the average 911 R and 997 Sport Classic these days. And for the less well-heeled, Porsche is offering the houndstooth interior as an optional Heritage Design Package Classic.

Given its low production volume, asking if the 2023 911 Sport Classic is worth its price tag is arguably pointless. But one thing’s for sure: this modern throwback is serious about celebrating with the fans.

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