Porsche has given its lightweight 911 an automatic gearbox and clever, four-wheel steering
This 911 looks awesome!
That's because it's the lightweight version of the 911 sports car, dubbed the GT3, so Porsche has ensured that it looks the part.
Note the accentuated louvres in the front and rear bumpers, centrally mounted twin-exhaust pipes and flamboyant rear spoiler.
The rear track of the GT3 is 44mm wider than in the standard version, reflecting a similar philosophy to that adopted in the Carrera 4. Plus, the chassis has been lowered by 30mm.
You mean the GT3 is a four-wheel drive?
No, it has simply been given the same looks as the Carrera 4. It's a traditional rear-wheel drive 911 aimed at driving enthusiasts.
The 3.8-litre flat-six engine in the GT3 is based on the Carrera S, but has modified internal bits to help boost power from 400hp to 475. With the use of lightweight materials, the engine itself is said to be 25kg lighter than in the previous 997-based GT3. Porsche says the normally aspirated motor can rev to 9,000rpm to emit what has been described as a "fabulous noise" _ thanks, in part, to a tuned exhaust system.
These enhancements make the GT3 faster than ever, with a sprint time of 3.5sec from 0-100kph and a top speed of 315kph.
The acceleration time is a tenth of a second better than today's 997-based Turbo and the top speed is higher by 3kph.
But the GT3 isn't the fastest 911 made to date; that record is still held by the Turbo S (also based on the 997) which can accelerate from 0-100kph in 3.3sec.
Awesome! But there's no automatic yet, right?
An automatic gearbox called the PDK is now standard issue; the manual ’box has been buried.
Wrong, mate. For the first time ever, the GT3 comes with a seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic called PDK in Porsche-speak. Previously, Porsche has been reluctant to offer anything other than a manual gearbox, reasoning that the GT3 is only driven by purists. Weissach has bowed to customer demand, apparently, and isn't offering the traditional three-pedal set-up any more, only the PDK.
Also available for the first time is rear-wheel steering, to make handling more precise. Like in some top-end BMWs, the rear wheels turn in the opposite direction to the front ones to help "tighten" the curve.
Torque-vectoring control, that is, splitting necessary drive between the rear wheels depending on driving conditions is standard, while carbon-ceramic brakes are optional.
It appears that the GT3, due to be delivered to the first Thai customers in November and expected to cost at least 17 million baht, has become easier to drive than ever.
Great. What's going to happen with the next Turbo?
If everything goes as planned at Porsche HQ, the 991-based Turbo should roll out later this year. Now that the firm has raised the bar with the GT3, it's imperative that the new Turbo be quicker.
There's a likelihood that the new Turbo could be tuned up to make it as fast and powerful as the current Turbo S _ which would mean an output of 530hp and 3.3sec sprint time.
Of course, four-wheel-drive will be standard, as per usual, due to a customer base with more "restrained" hands. Oh, and we hear that the new Turbo will see the ditching of the manual gearbox for good.
The GT3 can manage up to 9,000rpm.
About the author
- Writer: Richard Leu
Position: Motoring news Editor