While only fractionally better than its predecessor, the new GT3 is one of the finest sportscars Porsche has ever made, designed to deliver on both road and track. While it’s certainly expensive, you’d struggle to find a better-handling car regardless of budget.
TELL ME ABOUT THIS CAR
Porsche’s GT cars have long been the company’s crown jewels, built by the same motorsport division that assembles the firm’s race cars. The new GT3 sticks with the recipe that has earned its predecessors a cult following: a race-derived chassis and powertrain that’s been made civilized enough for road use.
It gets a new 4.0-litre flat-six engine that produces 368kW without turbocharging, revving out to a dizzying 9000rpm, while also offering a broader torque spread than the previous GT3’s 3.8-litre unit. There’s also the option of a six-speed manual gearbox alongside the standard PDK double-clutch gearbox, enthusiast customers demanding that Porsche bring the clutch pedal back.
While designed for hard use on track, the GT3 also copes impressively well with road use, with revised dampers giving a more compliant ride than its predecessor and composed cruising manners for something so hardcore. Despite costing $327,100 it’s not the most expensive car in the current 911 range, but it’s certainly the most exciting to drive.
- The engine remains a masterpiece – the highest-revving sportscar engine in current production. While it can’t match the outright performance of some turbocharged rivals, it delivers instantaneous response and sounds amazing.
- Both gearboxes are superb – the PDK shifting gears pretty much as rapidly as you can frame the thought (and doing a good impression of a conventional auto when left to its own devices) and the manual boasting one of the sweetest shift-actions we can remember. Porsche reckons most buyers will stick with the double-clutch, but the DIY option is an equally valid choice.
- Although the styling looks very similar to the last GT3 this one has been given a major aerodynamic makeover; we’re told that peak downforce has increased by 20 percent to 155kg – pushing the car into the ground at speed.
- Although happiest when being pushed hard, the GT3 is an impressively accomplished cruiser, with new Bilstein dampers delivering a surprisingly comfortable ride on broken tarmac.
- Australian spec cars will be fully loaded as standard, the only real option being whether or not to add Porsche’s carbon ceramic braking system. It’s worth considering for regular track use, but it’s probably overkill on road.
- Changes to the cabin have been minimal, although the arrival of Porsche’s new touchscreen interface – complete with performance-measuring apps – is a welcome improvement. The GT3 also has the same steering wheel as the 918 Spider hypercar.
- Many manufacturers boast of motorsport technology, but the GT3 really delivers it – its engine is practically identical to that fitted to the GT3 Cup race car, and features a new track-grade dry sump oil system designed for the toughest use.
- The GT3 is impressively refined compared to its predecessors, but it’s definitely not as plush as rivals including Porsche’s own 911 Turbo S. It’s not as fast in a straight line, either.
- Lacking the “plus two” rear seats of the standard 911 limits the GT3’s practicality, although it does increase space for bags.
- The flat-six engine loves to work hard and responds enthusiastically to being revved hard, but the GT3 has noticeably less torque than most of its obvious rivals.
- The rear wing adds downforce but really gets in the way of the view through the back window; you could have a police cruiser sitting behind and not realise it.
- Porsche deliberately mismatches supply to the huge demand for its GT cars so many potential buyers are likely to be disappointed.
- Colour choice is limited and there are far less customization options than are normally offered with cars at this price level. The GT3 is all about driving.
ANY RIVALS I SHOULD CONSIDER?
Two stand out – the AMG GT R and the Nissan GT-R, both of which had their chassis development work done at the same place as the 911 – the Nurburgring Nordschliefe in Germany.
Model: Porsche 911 GT3 (991.2)
Engine: 3966cc flat 6, dohc, 24v
Max power: 368kW @ 8250rpm
Max torque: 460Nm @ 6000rpm
Transmission: 7-speed twin-clutch/ 6-speed manual
Weight: 1430kg (PDK)
0-100km/h: 3.4-sec (PDK)
Economy: 12.4L/100km (EUDC)
On sale: Q3 2017