I select PDK's Manual mode and drive on the paddles without having to think about which way is up or down. Because of this, I instantly feel at one with the car. Around town, the shorter springs make the ride a lot firmer than standard, even here in Germany. They move the secondary ride to a point between the normal car's Comfort and Sport modes; I'm not convinced that this setup would be tolerable on badly maintained UK roads. That said, the car had just returned from a group test at Hockenheim with a German magazine and was still set lower and stiffer than a customer car would normally be.
Moving faster on the open road, the primary ride turns out to be just fine, and at high speeds, the SRS 420 exhibits rock-solid body control both on turn-in and through high-speed bends. It maintains that feeling of agility through tighter bends, inspiring the confidence you need to really lean on the mechanical grip and the ability to throttle steer the car once you've learned what it can do.
The other thing I took an instant liking to was the engine. As I said before, the new direct-injection engine has a spunkiness to it that was not present previously. The better breathing, more aggressive ignition advance at low rpm, and snappier e-gas throttle response provide noticeably better punch and make this conversion feel like money well spent.
At Malmsheim, I have the chance to run the car out to the redline in the intermediate gears, and I'm impressed with the way it seamlessly delivers its power ratio after ratio. It feels more aggressive and more incisive than standard when you open the taps fully, yet is just as docile as the standard car for everyday town driving.
Over the years, I've become rather blasé about some minor upgrades that simply involve air filter, exhaust, and ECU re-map, as the results are sometimes no more than 10 hp with more decibels behind my head. In this case, the extra 35 hp and 30 lb-ft of torque can really be felt, and they're delivered cleanly with a crisper throttle response.
As a modestly priced, naturally aspirated 997 conversion, SpeedArt's SRS 420 does what it says on the tin. And even if you don't want to go faster or look more extroverted, that paddle-shift steering wheel at last fulfils the inherent promise of the PDK gearbox.
Speedart SRS 420
Longitudinal rear engine, all-wheel drive
3.8-liter flat six, dohc, 24-valve. Sport air filter, equal-length headers, 200-cell metal catalysts, sport exhaust, ECU remap
Seven-speed PDK automated manual
Speedart/H&R sport springs
Wheels and Tires
SpeedArt alloys, 8.5x20 (f), 12x20(r)
Continental ContiSportContact 3, 245/35 (f), 305/30 (r)
SpeedArt SRS-II aero kit
SpeedArt paddle-shift steering wheel, brushed aluminum sill plates
Peak Power: 420 hp
Peak Torque: 325 lb-ft