Porsche keeps things au naturel with hot, new 911 GT3 RS
Porsche's 911 GT3 is an absolute modern icon, a limited-edition track-sharpened sportscar with a commitment to a raw and emotional driving experience and the throaty, shouty soundtrack of a naturally aspirated engine that doesn't waste any of its decibels by stuffing them through a turbo. Yes, if you're interested in higher performance electrics, this car will not impress you. It's the cutting-edge interpretation of an old-school experience full of sound and fury.
Such was the limitedness of the standard GT3's edition that if you managed to get yourself on the exclusive list to buy one in my town, you could've sold it for substantially more to some desperate petrolhead the very same day.
And now, just in time for the Geneva Motor Show, Porsche has announced a new, even sharper King Dingaling for the naturally aspirated branch of the 911 tree: the 911 GT3 RS. You realize what this means? This means there are now no less than 24 different models to choose from if you walk into a Porsche dealership with a hankering for a 911.
The GT3 RS is not for show ponies. Well, maybe it is; the lurid GT3 RS decals down the side of the car don't exactly shy away from attention. But luxury and decorum are dispensed with quickly inside the cabin, in favor of an interior that very much puts you in a racetrack frame of mind, wherever you happen to be driving it. Even moreso if you opt for the free Clubsport package, which fits six-point racing harnesses, a fire extinguisher and a lurid roll cage into the mix.
The engine is boosted from 500 horses in the standard GT3 to 520 – a pretty impressive figure for a 4-liter flat six that breathes without assistance. If you're prepared to deal with a pair of turbos, you can step that up to 700 horses if you go with the GT2 RS instead. Top speed is 193 mph (312 km/h), and 0-60 mph takes 3.0 seconds in the GT3 RS, a fifth of a second faster than the standard GT3 with the PDK transmission.
Ah yes, the transmission. The RS might have a somewhat analogue experience in mind when compared to the electrics, hybrids and turbos on the market, but it's not going to be analogue enough for some. There's no manual gearbox option, you're stuck with the 7-speed, dual-clutch Doppelkupplung paddle-shift auto, which is a beast of a thing that helps put power down in a far more continuous manner than a stick and a clutch ever could. It brings down sprint times and lap times substantially. It also drives purists up the wall.
Lightweighting is a serious business with hero car upgrades like this. That means carbon fiber for the front trunk lid, as well as the fenders and the rear top deck. The seats, too, are reinforced in carbon. The glass in the windows was deemed too heavy and switched for lighter stuff. The doors had a bunch of sound deadening material lifted out of them. Lightweight interior door handles were replaced with even more lightweight door opening straps. The roof is made from magnesium. The exhaust tips, titanium. The final weight: a DIN-certified unladen weight of 1,436 kg (3166 lbs).
If that's not light enough for you, and you've got US$18 grand burning a hole in your pocket, Porsche understands, and will turf the magnesium roof, the front and rear sway bars, the shift paddles and even the alcantara on the steering wheel to replace them with carbon fiber. It only saves 13 pounds (6 kg), but you'll know, every time you grab that carbon wheel, that you're one 18 grand Weissach package better than the other guy that went for the layman's standard GT3 RS.
There's also optional lightweight magnesium wheels in the same 20/21 inch sizes as the RS's standard ones for an extra US$13 grand – provided you've already stumped up for the $18 grand package above.
Lest you think Porsche neglected aerodynamics, there's a dirty big rear wing, an elongated front spoiler lip and a diffuser system that pushes and sucks the GT3 RS to the ground more than twice as hard as the regular GT3. Start lifting weights with your neck before you go testing the limits of fast cornering grip on this puppy.
United States pricing is US$187,500. Order books are open, and deliveries should start hitting dealers in the fall.