All the best Porsche 911s, or at least revered ones like the Turbo, GT3 and RS, sprout big, iconic wings. So why, then, for a feature like this, is our 911’s rump smoothed over? Don’t be fooled, it deserves its place.
Porsche, after years of pushing GT3s to be faster, realised not all its customers are obsessed with the stopwatch. Some want to be more involved, less compromised, so it stole the transmission from a 911 R for the 991.2 series, then left the GT3’s unmistakable lairy bits on the shelf. It calls the result the Touring package.
Everything underneath its subtle Carrera 4S body is the same as a 991.2 GT3 – like a 368kW/460Nm 4.0-litre flat six engine – with only the visual aggression getting dialled down.
The centred tailpipes, GT3-specific front and rear bumper, centre-lock 20-inch wheels and a rear diffuser, which regains downforce, are clues it’s something special. They continue inside where the rear seats are missing, its redline is set at ‘9’ and it comes only with a six-speed manual.
The things that make the GT3 feel so race-bred are amplified by its understated package. You can’t see the 911 RSR’s direct injection system, a 13:3.1 compression ratio, titanium connecting roads and staged intake system, but insert the 911-shaped key into its slot, twist, and it shakes into life with a splutter to make you feel, for a moment, like you’re on the 24 Hours of Daytona grid.
Even with dynamic engine mounts, at low speed an interior panel rattles somewhere. Meanwhile its ride rocks and fidgets as its 245mm/305mm wide Dunlop Sportmaxx Race 2s endure city streets. The experience urges you to find tarmac more worthy of their grip.
Row into sixth gear on the move at 60km/h and it’ll lope along where other engines would be rattling and ready to drop the clutch. Booting it, however, is a paradigm-shifting experience you won’t forget.
The crescendo of acceleration and noise is so ferocious that when 7000rpm arrives, you rush for the next gear like a frightened fool. The GT3 Touring is claimed to hit 200km/h in 11.4 seconds, an experience so fast your eyes can only fix themselves on the road rushing towards you, leaving your ears to judge when 9000rpm is about to climax.
You let it sing for another 1000rpm in the next gear because you’re convinced that the engine, wailing with a hard-edged buzz at 8000rpm, is going to suck in everything around it. Including you. It’s only after the third pull that you adapt to its stratospheric peak. You’re then elated, with Lake Mountain’s road ahead, that’s the sound you’ll be hearing in-between each corner. But you’re also slightly intimidated.
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It won’t kill you, but then again it won’t work for everyone, either. At first the massive rear tyres dominate the grip balance while the car’s consumables rise to operating temperature. But once you’re squaring off corners to leave as little steering lock as possible when coming off the brakes, it’s ballistic.
Everything is created to work with you in this zone. Its beautifully weighted shift puts you at the centre of its incredible powertrain. It’s rear suspension squats proportionately to every millimetre of throttle.
The brakes have so much feedback you can feel the ABS pulse, a warning that you’re perhaps wiping too much speed. The steering is precise and you can’t tell the rear axle steering’s adding lock.
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This is what’s so rewarding about its package. The reason why Porsche continue to make amazing driver’s cars is it lets as much filter down to customers as possible. The GT3 engine comes from motorsport, while the transmission and Touring’s concept is borrowed from the ultra-rare 911R.
It’s like inheriting superhero powers that you can keep a mystery. A perfect combination.
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2018 Porsche 911 GT3 Touring
BODY: 2-door, 2-seat coupe
ENGINE: 3996cc flat-6, DOHC, 24v
BORE/STROKE: 102.0mm x 81.5mm
POWER: 368kW @ 8250rpm
TORQUE: 460Nm @ 6000rpm
TRANSMISSION: 6-speed manual
SUSPENSION: struts, coil springs, adaptive dampers, anti-roll bar (f); multi-links, adaptive dampers, anti-roll bar (r)
TRACKS: 1551/1555mm (f/r)
STEERING: electrically assisted rack-and-pinion
BRAKES: 380mm ventilated/drilled discs, 6-piston calipers (f); 380mm ventilated/drilled discs, 4-piston calipers (r)
WHEELS: 20.0 x 9.0-inch (f), 20 x 12.0-inch (r)
TYRES: Dunlop SportMaxx Race 2; 245/35 ZR20 (f), 305/30 ZR20 (r)
PRICE: $365,930 (as tested)
PROS: Pace; noise; grip; brakes; gear shift; driving position
CONS: ‘Waiting’ for the tyres; might be too subtle for some
RATING: 5 out of 5 stars