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

First drive: Porsche 911 GT3 RS
The 911 GT3 RS is back; its bigger, harder charging and more focused than ever before.

   



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Porsche 911 GT3 RS

5 5 5 5 5

Porsche adds its racing refugee to the 911 line-up. The GT3 RS is more distinct than ever and ludicrously quick and capable, though it loses something on the road.

Test Car Specifications

Model tested: Porsche 911 GT3 RS
Price: £131,296
Engine: 4.0-litre, naturally aspirated, flat-six petrol
Transmission: rear-wheel drive, seven-speed paddle-shifted PDK automatic
Body style: two-door, two-seat coupé
CO2 emissions: 296g/km (Band M, £505 per year)
Combined economy: 22.2mpg
Top speed: 193mph
0-62mph: 3.3 seconds
Power: 500hp at 8,250rpm
Torque 460Nm at 6,250rpm

What's this?

A racetrack escapee, Porsche's homologation machine that wears the coveted RS badge and takes the GT3 it's based on to another level altogether. More transformative than previously, the 991 GT3 RS is a more distinct and a deliberate departure from the GT3 than ever before. That much is obvious from simply looking at it. Using the Turbo's wider body, it's aerodynamics rather than stickered livery that define the GT3 RS's looks. There is a massive rear wing and unique front and rear bumpers, while the gaping, vented apertures topping the front wheels are radical looking, pure race car in intent and function. Add RS-specific suspension, a wheel and tyre package borrowed from the 918 Spyder hypercar (at the rear at least) and the RS is absolutely rippling with intent.

There are weight savings, such as the channelled roof made of magnesium that chips a kilo from the RS's kerb weight; the bonnet and front wings fashioned from carbon fibre; the bumpers a new lighter carbon reinforced plastic; the rear windows plastic; and the interior stripped of its rear seats and featuring lighter door cards with RS-specific strapped door pulls. Even the steering wheel is a few millimetres smaller in diameter to reduce mass. All that allows the RS to weigh in at 10kg less than the standard GT3, despite the wider Turbo body. Weight saving obsessive buyers can, via some choice options, reduce the GT3 RS's weight further, with PCCB brakes, a lithium ion battery and the choice to forego the entertainment and climate control systems.

Power is up too, the 3.8-litre flat-six from the GT3 growing in capacity to 4.0 litres thanks to a longer throwing crank. It, like most of the internals and auxiliaries have been comprehensively reworked for reduced mass, quicker response and more power. The result is a 500hp maximum at 8,250rpm, a slight swell in torque to 460Nm though a slightly lower - if still heady - 8,800rpm redline. All that, as well as some revisions to the PDK seven-speed paddle-shifted automatic, allows a 3.3-second 0-62mph time, 0-100mph in 7.1 seconds and 0-125mph in just 10.9 seconds. The 193mph top speed is slightly pegged back over the standard GT3 because of the sizeable 345kg of downforce all those aerodynamic revisions bring.

How does it drive?

Anyone getting out of a standard GT3 and wanting more grip, greater pace, a far more defined turn in, more noise and genuine downforce should place an order for the RS now. It takes the performance of the 911 to another level, the front end in particular more responsive and faithful than ever before. The suspension revisions and RS-specific settings to the rear-wheel steering and new wheel and tyre package help, as do the aerodynamic changes. The RS's turn-in behaviour is far more immediate, the front axle more resolute in character aiding both its agility and high-speed stability. The steering itself is beautifully weighted, with even a hint of feel through the slightly smaller diameter wheel. Grip across both axles is markedly increased, to the benefit of cornering speeds, and the RS produces up to 80 per cent of the downforce of Porsche's GT3 Cup racer. Clever airflow management isn't just to the benefit of stability, but it improves engine response and power too.

The entire induction system is new for the RS, the enlarged, 4.0-litre naturally aspirated flat-six breathing through the intakes in front of the rear wheels now, allowing for a smoother passage of air into the performance filter. More than ever you can hear the induction noise too, though it's the exhaust note and engine's flat-six characteristic sound that dominates the aural repertoire. Indeed, the exhaust is so tuneful in its standard guise the button to change it for a more overt one is largely redundant.

The engine's greater, lower rev torque response adds to the overall driveability, which, matched to the neuron impulse-like speed of the PDK paddle-shifted automatic seven-speeder, does make for an easier, friendlier, more useable RS. Indeed, one of the biggest surprises in the new RS's make up is that, despite its significantly increased capability, there are few obvious compromises on the road; it even rides commendably well on what's largely ball-jointed suspension and wide tyres. There's none of the old RS's sometimes difficult nature, though that undoubtedly adds some aloofness to its nature. That means the RS is no longer as interesting to drive at ordinary speeds on the road. To really enjoy the RS's full capability requires a track, where the combination of all the incremental, but significant changes add up to a quite stratospheric whole. The GT3 is an intense proposition, but the RS raises the bar appreciably. The power helps but it's the increased low-rev response that dominates the flat-six's transformation.

The chassis changes, allied to torque vectoring, an electronically controlled variable limited slip differential, the aerodynamic and sheer mechanical grip available only aid this. Standard brakes are steel discs, but launch cars featured the PCCB carbon ceramic discs, which not only shed some unsprung weight, but deliver consistent, mighty pedal feel and response regardless of what you ask of them. The RS's ability to carry speed is its signature though, the immediacy and faithfulness of its turn in and the rear's massive hold on the road create the extra pace as much as its additional power. Despite all this it retains the adjustability that all 911s have, only it requires greater confidence than ever to exploit it, simply because of the significantly higher velocities involved. The stability and traction control systems allow a sizeable margin for movement before intervening, though if you're happy to (and Porsche wasn't for us to at the launch event) they can be switched off.

Verdict

The Porsche 911 GT3 RS in its most recent incarnation is a more obvious departure than before from its already sensational GT3 relation. Track focus has always been a defining characteristic of RS models, but with the new car it's taken that to a new level altogether. Clever aerodynamics, other-worldly grip from the wider RS-specific suspension and tyres, a faster PDK gearbox and a freer-breathing, more tractable and enlarged flat-six make for an incredible whole, though it's extraordinary ability, speed and grip does ultimately add up to a car that's more difficult to enjoy on the road to the full. But then it's an RS, and that means it's the most committed, track-focused 911 you can buy, and on that goal Porsche has succeeded absolutely.

5 5 5 5 5 Exterior Design

4 4 4 4 4 Interior Ambience

5 5 5 5 5 Passenger Space

5 5 5 5 5 Luggage Space

4 4 4 4 4 Safety

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 Comfort

5 5 5 5 5 Driving Dynamics

5 5 5 5 5 Powertrain


Kyle Fortune - 3 Jun 2015



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2015 Porsche 911 GT3 RS. Image by Porsche.2015 Porsche 911 GT3 RS. Image by Porsche.2015 Porsche 911 GT3 RS. Image by Porsche.2015 Porsche 911 GT3 RS. Image by Porsche.2015 Porsche 911 GT3 RS. Image by Porsche.



2015 Porsche 911 GT3 RS. Image by James Lipman.
 

2015 Porsche 911 GT3 RS. Image by James Lipman.
 

2015 Porsche 911 GT3 RS. Image by James Lipman.
 

2015 Porsche 911 GT3 RS. Image by James Lipman.
 

2015 Porsche 911 GT3 RS. Image by James Lipman.
 

2015 Porsche 911 GT3 RS. Image by James Lipman.
 

2015 Porsche 911 GT3 RS. Image by James Lipman.
 

2015 Porsche 911 GT3 RS. Image by James Lipman.
 

2015 Porsche 911 GT3 RS. Image by James Lipman.
 

2015 Porsche 911 GT3 RS. Image by James Lipman.
 

2015 Porsche 911 GT3 RS. Image by James Lipman.
 

2015 Porsche 911 GT3 RS. Image by James Lipman.
 

2015 Porsche 911 GT3 RS. Image by James Lipman.
 






 

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