PORSCHE has caved into widespread criticism by re-introducing the manual gearbox to its racecar-bred 911 GT3.
As part of the 991.2 overhaul, the high-performance two-seater flagship also scores an all-new and naturally aspirated 368kW 4.0-litre flat six-cylinder engine.
Replacing the old 350kW/400Nm 3.8-litre unit, it can rev out to a stratospheric 9000rpm, and is “virtually unchanged from the thoroughbred 911 GT3 Cup racing car competing in the 2017 Porsche Carrera Cup Australia championship”, according to Porsche.
The new powerplant includes a stiffer crank, lower-friction cylinder liners, and upgrades to the valve train. Since the lightest version tips the scales at just 1430kg, the ensuing power-to-weight ratio is a staggering 257kW per tonne.
Result? At 3.9 seconds, the no-cost option six-speed manual is half a second slower to 100km/h compared to the standard seven-speed dual-clutch PDK’s whiplash-like 3.4s outcome, but changing your own gears does net you a 2km/h higher top speed at 320km/h.
Said to be honed in motor racing, the GT3’s other changes for 2017 include what Porsche calls a redesigned chassis, which sits some 25mm lower to the ground compared to the bread-and-butter 911 Carrera S.
It features active four-wheel steering that can provide either enhanced high-speed stability or tighter manoeuvrability where required, as well as dynamic engine mounts and a trick new rear differential lock.
Visually, look for a redesigned carbon rear spoiler, a fresh ground-effect front-end aero aid, and revised rear diffuser with different outlets for that howling exhaust note.
Meanwhile the 918 Spyder donates its unique 360mm steering wheel for that extra special tactile experience, bespoke Porsche Sports Seats Plus with extra bolstering and adjustability, and an up-to-the-minute multimedia system featuring all the usual Wi-Fi hotspot and telecommunications stuff found in other luxury vehicles, as well as a new Track Precision app that enables the GT3 pilot to display, record and analyse driving data in insufferable detail.
Yet all this pales into insignificance for true Porsche purists who have been denied a manual gearbox since the previous 991-generation GT3 lobbed in four years ago. The gear lever and clutch live on!
The first lot of cars should lob into Australia by the final quarter of this year, kicking off from a cool $327,100 (plus on-road costs).
View our full coverage of the Geneva Motor Show 2017.