With the new generation Porsche 911 - the biggest step forward for Porsche's iconoclastic rear-engine’d sports car lineup since the switch to water cooling in the 1990s - comes the inevitable parade of even higher-performing 911 variants, namely, the GT3. For those who like the feel of naturally aspirated horsepower and who put hardcore, track-ready features above luxury bullet points, Porsche has you covered with the new GT3. This year, it’s been given a complete redesign on the new platform (991 chassis). This is the ultimate "purist's 911".
The wheelmen at Autoblog had a chance to put the new GT3 through heavy performance testing, including hot laps at the track and some time spent in triple-digit speeds on Germany's Autobahn. Those speeds come easily thanks to the 3.8-liter, 475-horsepower, 325-lb-ft.-torque flat-six, which shares a displacement but virtually no parts with the mill used in the Carerra S.
On the Nurburgring North Loop, Porsche engineers turned in a time of 7 minutes, 25 seconds, putting the GT3 in rare air even among six-figure sports cars with a significant power advantage. For that you can thank a ton of grip, coming by way of 20-inch forged aluminum wheels 9 inches wide up front and 12 inches wide in the rear, plus the first-ever production application of Porsche's active rear-wheel steering system.
2014 Porsche 911 GT3 By the Numbers
Base Price: $130,400 + $950 destination
Availability: Late 2013
Engine: 3.8-liter naturally aspirated direct-injection flat-six
Power Output: 475 horsepower, 325 lb-ft. torque
Transmission: 7-speed PDK sequential auto/manual
Layout: Rear engine, RWD
0-60 mph: 3.3 seconds
Top Speed: 195 mph
Curb Weight: 3,153 lbs.
Cargo Capacity: 4.4 cu.ft.
If there's anything missing in the new GT3, it's a traditional three-pedal manual transmission, but Porsche engineers say they are much more concerned with speed. The revised 7-speed PDK handles shifting duties in less than 100 milliseconds, and even features a mode where the driver can de-couple the engine by pulling both paddle shifters toward him. "Ideal" from a performance standpoint as it may be, the exclusive PDK, along with a minor bump in curb weight with the 991-gen model, are minor downsides to a car that is already running around the 'Ring in our dreams.
The 2014 Porsche 911 GT3 will be available right at the end of 2013, priced from $130,400 plus $950 in destination charges. If 475 horses won't quite do it for you, the 911 Turbo and even-more-extreme 911 GT2 are not far behind.