2017 Porsche 911 GT3 & GT3 RS
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last couple of years, you’ve probably heard about the new Porsche 911 GT3 and its RS hardcore variant. How could you not have? Every magazine has been praising it and every schoolboy’s bought an RS poster just to hang it up on his bedroom wall. It’s been called the sportscar of the decade, the bargain of the century and even a supercar. Well, the simple fact of the matter is that it probably IS the greatest sportscar ever made, and we’ll tell you exactly why. To further differentiate the “standard” GT3 from the insane GT3 RS variant, we’ve decided to compare the two and highlight the differences between them.
The normal GT3 looks like, well, a GT3 racecar for the road. It’s wider, lower and more aggressive than your run-of-the-mill 991 911. Almost everyone bar those partially blind can tell the difference between it and the regular car. That’s mostly down to one thing: that huge rear wing. You can’t ignore it can you? It’s just there, sitting tall and proud. For 2017 Porsche has redesigned the bumper lights and the air intakes, bringing it more in-line with the new Carrera. The air intake layout is especially interesting, since it seems to be remarkably similar to the one found on the Cayman GT4. Headlights and taillights get a slight revision, as does the decklid and the bumper at the back.
Then, there’s the GT3 RS, and you really can’t miss this one even if you are blind. For starters, the front bumper has been completely redesigned sporting larger air intakes big enough to engulf a small child altogether, thinner LED stripes and a huge splitter. The front fenders get louvers, and that’s a first on any production Porsche. They’re not just aesthetic however. They provide actual downforce at the front axle, pushing down on the tires, providing more turn-in and stability. The rear fenders get intakes similar to those found on the 911 Turbo variants and revised side skirts with an all-new wheel design round off the look. Well, that and the ridiculous rear wing. If you thought the GT3 had a large wing, wait till you see the RS’ fixed one. The weird thing is that it doesn’t look out of place, especially since you have the splitters and the louvers. It really does give off the impression that it’s a well thought out package, mostly because it is.
We’ll just touch base on the interior and move on, since it’s the usual Porsche stuff you expect to find. The GT3 RS bases its cabin on its younger GT3 sibling, boasting some RS badging, Alcantara all around and a sportier layout. The bucket seats were ripped straight out of the 918 Spyder and offer more support as well. A Club Sport Package is standard on the RS, offering a bolt-in roll cage, battery master switch preparation and a six-point safety harness for the driver along with a fire extinguisher should things go wrong, which hopefully they won’t. If you’re after even more race-ready equipment, there’s always the Sport Chrono Package with integrated timers and Porsche’s very own Track Precision app. It measures lap times automatically via GPS, logging data on a smartphone. A useful feature to compare your laptimes and measure up against your mates at the end of the day.
This is the 911’s crowning jewel. The standard GT3 houses a 3.8 liter flat-six Boxer engine at the back, producing 354 glorious naturally-aspirated Kilowatts and 439Nm of torque. By contrast, the GT3 RS uses a bigger 4.0 liter flat-six unit with 373 Kilowatts (18 more than the GT3) and 459Nm of torque. The two units might not seem that different on paper, but the way they go on about delivering their power is anything but. For instance, the GT3 RS does indeed feel more powerful, and you can feel the extra kilowatt difference, but they get delivered slightly lower down in the rev range. When we say slightly we mean that it “only” revs to 8,250 rpm, whereas the GT3’s unit, because of its smaller displacement and titanium connecting rods with forged pistons, goes all the way to 9,000 rpm. Just imagine that. A six-cylinder horizontally-opposed engine screaming at bike-rivaling revolutions per minute. If you think it sounds glorious, you’d be right.
Both engines use Porsche’s brilliant 7-speed PDK transmission, but the 2017 GT3 might see the addition of a third pedal and a manual shifter. Porsche isn’t revealing anything just yet, but it’s almost certainly going to happen. Finally, after years of complaining about the lack of manual, we finally might get our wish.
If you’re purely after a track car, go for the GT3 RS, no question about it. It’s got more aero, 20mm wider tracks at the front and rear, a revised suspension and more power. It is, for all intents and purposes, the faster car. Period. However, don’t mistake it for being the better car. On the road, the GT3 is just as fast as the RS, and arguably even more fun. The lack of the RS’ trick aero means it’s much more willing to dance and it’s just amazing getting to rev it out to 9,000 rpm. It looks slightly more mannered and if you choose to leave the roll cage out, it’s much more livable with on a day to day basis.
It’s a matter of picking your poison really. Do you want something which will annihilate every other car on the track, or the best sportscar ever made capable of demolishing any B-road? Porsche has you covered on both fronts, and it’s a win-win situation either way you go.