► 911 GT3 returns, with more power...
► ...and a manual gearbox!
► Greater downforce, lower suspension
One of the best driver’s cars on the planet just got faster, and even more involving – this is the new 2017 Porsche 911 991.2 GT3, revealed at the Geneva motor show.
It’s been given more power, more downforce – and a manual gearbox. Woohoo.
Where’s the extra power come from? Don’t tell me Porsche has turbocharged the GT3 too…
No turbos here. While the rest of the core 911 range gets a new, smaller but more powerful turbocharged engine family as part of 2016’s 991.2 update, the purist-friendly GT3 sticks with natural aspiration for crisper throttle response and a more flexible power curve.
Compared with the previous 991 GT3 maximum power has climbed from 468bhp to 493bhp (500hp), a sizeable margin achieved by borrowing the 4.0-litre engine from the 911 GT3 Cup car to replace the preceeding 3.8-litre engine. It's 'virtually unchanged' between road and race variants, says Porsche.
No word on whether the new motor reaches the heady 9,000rpm peak of the old, but it is described as 'extremely high revving'. And the 9k redline on the dial is certainly promising.
The 493bhp output means the GT3 still occupies a neat middle ground in the 911 power hierarchy between the 991.2 Carrera GTS and the 991.2 Turbo.
When the 991 GT3 was launched, it was twin-clutch PDK auto only – much to the dismay of DIY fans.
This time Porsche has rescinded and is offering the GT3 with a manual gearbox - but only as an option. A specially-fettled PDK remains the default choice, and it'll be interesting to see which actually proves more popular with buyers. We have a bad feeling about this...
Especially since picking the paddle option saves as much as 0.5sec to 62mph, and replaces the mechanical diff with an electronically controlled one.
To be clear: that's 0-62mph in 3.9sec for the manual and 0-62mph in 3.4sec for the PDK. Zing. The manual, however is geared to achieve 198mph flat out, while the PDK is only rated to 197mph.
Underlining its priorities, Porsche isn't actually making the manual 'box available until 2017. And that's only a 'provisional' date at this stage.
More tech details
Elsewhere, the bodyshell gets wide arches like the awd Carrera 4, but the GT3 is very much rwd – purist’s choice, remember.
It sits 'around' 25mm lower than the Carrera S, and comes with rear-wheel steering and dynamic engine mounts as standard.
Steel 380mm brake discs are standard, with 410/390mm carbon discs an option. And there's a choice of three seats, depending on how committed you are.
I want one!
Be quick. Even at £111,802, demand is likely to be extremely high.
The GT3 isn’t a limited edition like the 911R, but production capacity is thought to be restricted by availability of parts and production line demands, with an upper ceiling of a potential 3000 to 4000 units – many of which are thought to have been sold out before Porsche pulled the covers from the car at Geneva.
First UK deliveries are scheduled for 'early summer'.