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First drive: Porsche 911 GT3 RS. Image by Porsche.

First drive: Porsche 911 GT3 RS
Latest Porsche 911 GT3 RS shaves weight and adds even higher levels of performance.

 



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Porsche 911 GT3 RS

5 5 5 5 5


Test Car Specifications

Model tested: Porsche 911 GT3 RS
Price: 141,346
Engine: 4.0-litre six-cylinder petrol
Transmission: seven-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive
Body style: two-seat coupe
Combined economy: 22.0mpg
Top speed: 193mph
0-62mph: 3.2 seconds
Power: 520hp at 8,250rpm
Torque: 470Nm at 6,000rpm

What's this?

Porsche has given its sensational GT3 RS a substantial re-working to bring it into the 991-gen 2 era, and it makes for an incredible package. For starters, the unapologetic, track-focused styling is tweaked to improve airflow and generate even more downforce at higher speeds. One of the easy spots that differentiate this new car from the 2015-spec GT3 RS are the NACA ducts on the bonnet. These channel cooler air downwards through the car's front structure to help manage the temperatures of the brake callipers and discs.

Beneath the vibrant colour palette available, the main body shell is taken from the wider 911 Turbo with a roof section finished in magnesium, which, at its thinnest point, measures just 1.1mm thick. As well as that are carbon fibre front wings that wear signature louvres on top of the wheelarch. The bonnet also gets carbon fibre construction, as does the rear wing, while the front and rear bumpers are made from polyurethane. Porsche now uses Gorilla Glass for the rear and rear side windows to save more weight, and the good news for US customers is that this is homologated Stateside - unlike the use of polycarbonate in previous models.

Filling the flared arches are 20-inch wheels up front and 21-inch rims at the rear, which come shod with 265/35 ZR 20 and whopping 325/30 ZR 21 tyres respectively. As standard the RS gets 380mm composite brake discs with beefy six-piston callipers up front and four-pots on the rear. Optionally, the Porsche Ceramic Composite Brake (PCCB) setup is available and uses 410mm discs at the front and 390mm on the rear with yellow-painted callipers.

The stripped out cabin is impeccably finished with Alcantara on most of the surfaces you can touch, and flashes of high-gloss carbon fibre on others. Buyers can tick the no-cost Clubsport package option box to add a roll cage, manual fire extinguisher, six-point harness and battery isolation preparation.

But, if the already light GT3 RS isn't extreme enough, there's always the Weissach Package. Porsche expects uptake to be high for this, and it makes the track-ready Porsche even better. The magnesium roof is replaced with a carbon fibre item that is - amazingly - lighter again. A clear-coat finish to the carbon bonnet helps to shave more weight. Magnesium wheels, a titanium roll cage, CFRP gearshift paddles on the steering wheel and even the removal of carpet from under the seats all combine to drop a further 30 kilograms from the car's kerb weight.

How does it drive?

Simply put, the 911 GT3 RS is staggeringly fast. The 4.0-litre flat-six engine has come in for considerable update, much of it directly from the world of motorsport. Power is up by 20hp to 520hp, and torque output also sees a slight gain to 470Nm. It's the way that the engine delivers that power that is so impressive and addictive. The engine note inside the cabin sounds like nothing else, and beyond 6,500rpm it screams. Choose any of the lower gears and the engine rockets explosively towards its 9,000rpm redline before the next ratio is delivered in a split-second action that's smoother than you initially expect. Even left in full auto mode, the PDK transmission does a solid job of understanding your intentions. Out on the road, it slips up to the higher gears more quickly, but reacts almost telepathically to any sudden throttle inputs.

You get a similar effect when you opt to shift manually using the steering wheel paddles. They're small and at a perfect distance from your fingertips. You only need to press them lightly before the transmission deals you the next ratio. Alternatively, you can use the PDK's gear selector on the centre console. Thankfully Porsche works it the 'right' way where you pull it back towards you to go up a gear and forward to drop back down. Such is the purity of the engine note, especially with its auto blip on downshifts, that you'll invariably end up changing gear more than is necessary just for the sheer joy of it.

Whether you're threading it along a winding country road on a dawn raid or taking on some of the world's greatest race circuits, the steering setup of the RS feels perfectly judged for the car. Certainly one of the very best power steering setups we've come across, and the rear axle steering adds to the car's agility, especially on tighter sections of road. The ride quality is firm as you might expect yet it is compliant enough for road use. Those planning more daily driving will probably want to avail of the lift kit option to keep that lovely front splitter in one piece.

Verdict

From the ear-splitting, spine-tingling engine note to the perfectly judged steering and sublime chassis setup, the latest 911 GT3 RS is Porsche at its very best. You can't help but admire the fastidious attention to detail in its attempt to strip every unnecessary gram of weight from the car. Tapping its motorsport knowledge has helped shape a car that feels every bit the road-legal racer and has all the makings of being not only a thoroughly rewarding track day car, but a sure-fire future classic. This is naturally aspirated sports cars at its very best.

5 5 5 5 5 Exterior Design

5 5 5 5 5 Interior Ambience

4 4 4 4 4 Passenger Space

4 4 4 4 4 Luggage Space

5 5 5 5 5 Safety

4 4 4 4 4 Comfort

5 5 5 5 5 Driving Dynamics

5 5 5 5 5 Powertrain


Dave Humphreys - 25 Apr 2018









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2018 Porsche 911 GT3 RS. Image by Porsche.2018 Porsche 911 GT3 RS. Image by Porsche.2018 Porsche 911 GT3 RS. Image by Porsche.2018 Porsche 911 GT3 RS. Image by Porsche.2018 Porsche 911 GT3 RS. Image by Porsche.

2018 Porsche 911 GT3 RS. Image by Porsche.2018 Porsche 911 GT3 RS. Image by Porsche.2018 Porsche 911 GT3 RS. Image by Porsche.2018 Porsche 911 GT3 RS. Image by Porsche.2018 Porsche 911 GT3 RS. Image by Porsche.








 

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