Porsche 911 GT3 (2009) review

Published:23 April 2009

Porsche 911 GT3 (2009) CAR review
  • At a glance
  • 5 out of 5
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  • 5 out of 5

By Ben Barry

Contributing editor, sideways merchant, tyre disintegrator

By Ben Barry

Contributing editor, sideways merchant, tyre disintegrator

Click here to watch the video

Back in our January 2007 issue, CAR Magazine named the then-current 911 GT3 as the best Porsche ever. So you could say its updated successor has quite some act to follow. Priced at £81,914 (up from its predecessor’s £79,540), it goes on UK sale in autumn 2009.

This new Porsche 911 GT3 looks like the old GT3 to me

Yes, it’s another evolutionary crawl from VW Beetle towards supercar for Porsche, but the details are there for us anoraks to relish. The wheels (still 19s wrapped in the familiarly hopeless-in-the-wet Michelin Pilot Sport Cups) are replaced by more fiddly, less substantial looking lightweight items with a race-style centre cap. There are also fresh LED lights, subtly reprofiled bumpers, a new front splitter, and new cooling vents at the top of the front and rear bumpers.

And let’s not forget that distinctive new rear wing...

Indeed, what a whopper! Its end plates, too, give a clue to the fettling that’s gone on beneath the skin – 3.8, they say. So the naturally aspirated flat six has grown from 3.6 to 3.8 litres. That 200cc extra capacity, plus Variocam technology acting on both intake and exhaust cams (it’s similar to BMW’s double VANOS system, where before only the intake cam was automatically tweaked as revs changed) allows power to edge up from 409 to 429bhp, while there’s more torque on tap – up to 317lb ft from the old car’s 289lb ft.

>> Click 'Next' below to find out how the new Porsche 911 GT3 feels on the road 

Click here to watch the video

So does it feel faster?

No, the extra power wasn’t particularly apparent (Porsche’s own figures show the 62mph dash is just two tenths quicker at 4.1sec, while top speed rises by 2mph to 194mph), but it’s worth noting that our last drive in a GT3 was a year ago, so a direct comparison wasn’t possible. However, what was immediately noticeable was the richer, deeper bellow from the flat-six under acceleration.

And this is still a brilliant powerplant – sonorous and flexible with a raucous redline crescendo that you can barely believe winds out for as long as it does. A turbo engine can never be this engaging.

Improvements in mpg and C02 aren’t quite as impressive as the blinder Porsche pulled with the regular 911, although C02 does fall from 307g/km to 298g/km, while mpg is a barely notable 22.4mpg – up from 22.1mpg. And, no, the PDK double-clutch transmission won’t be offered to help slash emissions.

Does it feel the same to drive?

Pretty much, but the changes we’ve previously noted on new 911 Carreras – most notably a front end that’s less inclined to skip over perfections – are equally notable here. So, the front just feels a little calmer, less darty and a little more consistent.

The steering – always a 911 strength – is slightly more isolated too. The old car felt absolutely hard-wired to the tarmac. And that was great, but a side effect – together with that darty nose – was a tendency to sniff out surface imperfections and move around if you didn’t hold on tight. The new GT3’s steering is still light and communicative, but it feels a little more linear and more consistently progressive in its movements.

Verdict

Okay, so the improvements are barely noticeable to the average Joe, but the GT3 is a real enthusiast’s car, and you real enthusiasts out there will find everything you’ve always loved about the GT3 to be present and correct, while benefiting from the kind of delicate finessing that Porsche has made its own.

The last GT3 was the best 911 ever. The new car is better still.

>> Click 'Add your comment' below and let us know what you think of the new Porsche 911 GT3. Do you agree that it's the best Porsche ever?     

Specs

Price when new: £81,914
On sale in the UK: Now
Engine: 3797cc 24v flat six, 429bhp @ 7600rpm, 317lb ft @ 6250rpm
Transmission: Six-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Performance: 4.1sec 0-62mph, 194mph, 22.4mpg, 298g/km CO2
Weight / material: 1395kg/steel
Dimensions (length/width/height in mm): 4460/1808/1280mm

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  • Porsche 911 GT3 (2009) CAR review
  • Porsche 911 GT3 (2009) CAR review
  • Porsche 911 GT3 (2009) CAR review
  • Porsche 911 GT3 (2009) CAR review
  • Porsche 911 GT3 (2009) CAR review

By Ben Barry

Contributing editor, sideways merchant, tyre disintegrator

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