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First drive: 2024 Porsche 911 GT3 RS. Image by Porsche.

First drive: 2024 Porsche 911 GT3 RS
Weíve already sampled the bonkers 911 GT3, but here is the even more track-orientated GT3 RS model, designed to do nothing other than go really, really fast.

   



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2024 Porsche 911 GT3 RS

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While we were waxing lyrical about the 911 GT3, Porsche was busy hatching something even more bonkers and even more ballistic. The new GT3 RS makes no concessions to road use ó itís a track car with number plates, really ó but has that made this flagship model more or less appealing than more road-orientated 911s?

Test Car Specifications

Model: 2023 Porsche 911 GT3 RS
Price: £192,600
Engine: 4.0-litre flat-six petrol
Transmission: seven-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive
Power: 525hp
Torque: 465Nm
Emissions: 305g/km
Economy/Range: 21.0mpg
0-62mph: 3.2 seconds
Top speed: 181mph
Boot space: Nil

Styling

It's immediately obvious that the GT3 RS is a little more than just a GT3 with some bells and whistles. The aerodynamics package on the car is completely different, not to mention dramatic. Scalloped door panels, fins everywhere, massive intakes and a huge wing all combine to give the GT3 RS plenty of downforce, and it even has a drag reduction system that opens up the rear wing for greater speed on the straights. This really is a race car made road-legal and the gap between this and the GT3 has never felt quite so large.

To tell the truth, we aren't sold on the looks. It looks as though it's trying a bit too hard, and while we've never considered the RS 911s to be especially 'cool', this is not the sort of car you want to take on a first date. If you do, be prepared for a lot of questions beginning with the word 'why'.

Interior

Although the GT3 RS is unapologetically track-orientated, the cabin is not quite the stripped-back shell you might imagine. Yes, plenty of features come straight from the race track, including the array of buttons on the steering wheel for adjusting techie things like the traction control, but you still get a touchscreen and climate control. All the usual 911 stuff remains.

The difference is, it's all trimmed in Race Tex (Porsche's name for suede) and you get fabric door catches to save a bit of weight. Bucket seats are standard, too, although you can have more comfortable versions if you prefer.

In truth, it still feels pretty premium, with the excellent quality you expect from a high-end Porsche and efficiently implemented technology. The combination of screens and dials in the instrument cluster works well, and the touchscreen is sharp and easy enough to navigate. Sure, the multi-coloured buttons on the wheel take a little acclimatisation, but it's a fairly ergonomic layout.

Practicality

Practicality is not a word you associate with the GT3 RS. There's no boot, there are no back seats, and the space where those absent back seats would be is blocked by a tubular roll cage. Even the space under the bonnet normally reserved for luggage in a 911 is taken up by a massive cooling system, which has relocated there for better weight distribution.

At least you get two seats, and though they aren't the most comfortable things on the planet, they offer enough space for two adults to sit fairly easily, even if they're tall. Headroom is good, the driving position is fabulous and the passenger gets enough legroom to prevent them from feeling too cramped. As long as you haven't put any luggage in the footwell, of course...

Performance

Naturally, performance is a key part of the GT3 RS's appeal, but it isn't all that much more powerful than the standard GT3. Where that car comes in at 510hp, the GT3 RS's 4.0-litre flat-six engine produces 525hp, which is only a 15hp upgrade. But that power goes to the rear wheels via a seven-speed automatic gearbox as standard, whereas the GT3 offers the choice of manual and automatic transmissions. Anyway, the point is, the GT3 RS is a bit faster from 0-62mph, no matter which gearbox you choose. Getting from 0-62mph takes 3.2 seconds, and the top speed is 184mph.

To tell the truth, those figures don't sound all that impressive next to the GT3, which costs almost £50,000 less. The supposedly lesser car has a higher top speed and it's only two-tenths slower, while the manual gearbox makes it a very engaging thing, but that's not the point. The GT3 RS is a race car for the road, and it's designed to feel that way.

Ride & Handling

Whether you appreciate the GT3 RSís approach will largely come down to taste, because the top-end 911 is as uncompromising to drive as it is in every other area. Stiff suspension, a lack of soundproofing and the low ride height mean it really isnít intended for relaxed commuting or the school run. The ride is bruising at times, particularly over less-than-exemplary surfaces, and driving it is quite a physical experience despite the automatic gearbox. Not because it requires strength to operate, but because your body can take a pounding from a countryside road surface. We thought the GT3 was stiff, but this is another level.

The advantage, though, is that the car corners beautifully. The boot was sacrificed to improve the weight distribution, and the car feels every bit as lively and as agile as you expect. The steering is fabulously direct and sharp, and it instills immense confidence in its capabilities. Fat tyres provide massive grip, too, and weíve no doubt that this is much faster than a GT3 on a race track. Itís sublime.

But weíd rather drive the GT3, because we arenít Lewis Hamilton, and lap times donít really matter. More important is the engagement and involvement and the user-friendliness, and we think the GT3 offers a better balance of abilities. The manual gearbox is more fun, the ride is that fraction more compliant, and the handling is very nearly as good. And though the GT3 is noisy, the RS is distressingly loud even when you donít want it to be. Donít get us wrong Ė the noise is fabulous when youíre howling around a circuit Ė but itís a bit much when youíre just overtaking a lorry on the M4.

Value

Despite having less storage space than any other 911, the GT3 RS is billed as the flagship, range-topping model, so it comes with a pretty range-topping price. There's no way to soften this blow, and some of you will probably have already read the text box at the top, so we'll just say it. The GT3 RS costs £192,600. And that's before options. When the GT3 is more engaging, more useful, and costs £146,400, the RS really doesn't look especially brilliant. But if you want the pinnacle of performance on a track day, the £46,000 premium is one you're just going to have to stomach.

Verdict

The GT3 RS is undoubtedly a wonderful track car, giving drivers all the race-car design cues you'd expect and providing magical levels of feedback, adjustment and precision. On a circuit, few cars can compete. But on the road, it's just a bit too savage for everyday use, and that spoils it a little. And while the GT3 RS might be quick, the GT3 will be just as engaging and just as much fun, so we'd stick with the supposedly 'lesser' model.



James Fossdyke - 24 Jan 2024



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2023 Porsche 911 GT3 RS. Image by Porsche.2023 Porsche 911 GT3 RS. Image by Porsche.2023 Porsche 911 GT3 RS. Image by Porsche.2023 Porsche 911 GT3 RS. Image by Porsche.2023 Porsche 911 GT3 RS. Image by Porsche.








 

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