Porsche 911 GT3

January 2014

picture of car from the front

The 911 GT3 is clearly distinguished from the front

Ratings

Overall Rating 9Overall rating

Value for money Rating 7Value for money

Space and Practicality Rating 5Costs

Space and Practicality Rating 5Space and practicality

Controls and display Rating 8Controls and display

Comfort Rating 6Comfort

Security Rating 8Car security

Safety Rating 8Car safety


Likes

  • Aerodynamic changes add to the visual appeal
  • Tuned engine is a thrilling device
  • Handling is razor sharp
  • High quality finish throughout

Gripes

  • Tyres are optimised for dry weather
  • No manual option will disappoint some
  • A big financial commitment
  • Fixed seats will not be comfortable for all

For many sports car fans the Porsche 911 is the definitive example of the breed. That hasn't stopped the German manufacturer producing a large number of versions, and perhaps the most extreme is the GT3. Lighter, sharper and more focussed than any other version, the GT3 attempts to deliver the biggest and most pure 911 thrills.

Since its introduction the 991-series 911 has impressed with its sensational performance and handling but also its comfort, usability and technology, all of which are significantly superior to the previous generation. The GT3 however sacrifices a small degree of that usability in favour of increased sharpness and response, although arguably it is still an everyday machine.

The GT3 is instantly distinguished by the signature large rear wing, unique alloy wheels and an extensive aerodynamic bodykit, which befits its racing heritage. It also has unique alloy wheels and discreet GT3 badges, although there is the option to make it more prominent with addition of body graphics.

Aside from the visual differences, there are a number of mechanical alterations to the GT3 model over a regular 911. As well as weight-saving over the standard car the 3.8-litre flat-six engine receives a substantial power boost, with features such as an increased rev limiter and a dry-sump lubrication system, all of which are usually found on racing cars. Also the GT3 is fitted with the seven-speed PDK gearbox only; no manual version is available.

Aside from the visual differences, there are a number of mechanical alterations to the GT3 model over a regular 911. As well as weight-saving over the standard car the 3.8-litre flat-six engine receives a substantial power boost, with features such as an increased rev limiter and a dry-sump lubrication system, all of which are usually found on racing cars. Also the GT3 is fitted with the seven-speed PDK gearbox only; no manual version is available.

Our verdict on the Porsche 911 GT3

Few performance cars feel sufficiently honed or capable that they would be at home on the track, but the GT3 is just such a car. It has managed to carry over much of the usability of the 991-series car but without diluting the iconic appeal of the GT3. Expensive and costly to run of course, but for anyone fortunate enough to afford one there is almost nothing to rival it.

Costs
Costs rating 5

Running costs for the 911 are likely to be high. Fuel economy is relatively low, while insurance and running costs will be at the highest end of the scale. Servicing isn't cheap on a car like this, but as this is a thoroughbred performance car that's always going to be one of the downsides.

Space and practicality
Space and Practicality Rating 5

Front seat passengers have plenty of room in all directions, and are unlikely to have any quibbles. Storage space in the cabin is relatively good, although the front boot is only suitable for carrying a couple of soft bags.

picture of car from the rear

Trademark big rear wing appears on the GT3

Controls and display
Controls and Display Rating 8

The layout of the 911's cabin is impressive. It retains the classic five-dial set-up for the instruments, supplemented by changeable digital displays. As well as being attractive it is informative and easy to use. Some of the smaller buttons on the dashboard are quite small, but otherwise the cabin is faultless.

Comfort
Comfort Rating 6

The 911 does a good job of delivering respectable comfort levels. The seats are very firm but also very supportive, although the fixed backrest will not suit all. Noise levels are relatively restrained, the engine subsiding when on a light throttle. The ride is firm, and bigger potholes will jar the occupants.

Car security
Security Rating 8

All Porsche 911 vehicles are fitted with a tracking system as standard, making it very difficult for the car to be successfully stolen. In addition it has an immobiliser and alarm as standard.

Car safety
Safety Rating 8

With such high dynamic limits and sharp responses, the GT3 has a high level of active safety. Passive safety systems include airbags, while the option of a roll cage and four-point harnesses instead of seatbelts increase safety levels.

Driver appeal
Driver Appeal Rating 9

The driving appeal of the 911 GT3 is the key reason for purchasing one. Although having the engine at the rear is not inherently ideal in terms of dynamics, the Porsche engineers have honed the set-up to the point where it delivers an impeccable degree of balance, grip and enjoyment. The steering, brakes, suspension, gearbox and engine combine to make every burst of acceleration, braking and turning an immense pleasure. Despite all this, it can still cruise comfortably and cope with traffic jams.

picture of car interior

Familiar cabin is less luxurious than the standard car

Family car appeal
Family Appeal Rating 3

The 911 is not an ideal family car, although it could carry two adults. The front seat would probably not accept a child seat either. Insufficient boot space would be the key issue, as is access to the rear seats.

First car appeal
First car Rating 2

The 911 is much too powerful and expensive for a first car, and would be too great a challenge for an inexperienced driver.

Quality and image
Quality and Image Rating 10

The 911's reputation is founded on high quality, and almost without exception it delivers. It feels thoroughly engineered throughout and robust, with the only demerit being the slightly flimsy nature of some of the minor switches. The 911's image is even stronger, remaining one of the most desirable sports cars ever despite strong competition, and its reputation as a superb performance car is well known.

Accessibility
Accessibility Rating

For a sports car, the 911 is relatively easy to get into. The doors are long and open wide, though the seats have high sides and are low set. On GT3 models there are no rear seats, and optionally a roll cage so access to the rear is not required.

Stereo and ICE (In car entertainment)

As befits such an expensive car the standard stereo is very good and includes CD, radio, auxiliary and USB inputs. For extra power and a fuller, more balanced audio experience there is an optional Bose surround sound hi-fi system. Porsche's Communication Management system includes satellite navigation and built-in telephone operation, and the system works very well.

picture of car in detail

Honed aerodynamics contribute to overall performance

Colours and trim

The 911 is bought by people from all sorts of backgrounds with a variety of tastes, and as such there is a wide selection of colours from the very obvious to the very subtle. Several solid finish choices are joined by metallic and 'special' paints, which cost extra. Inside the trim choices span an equally wide spectrum, thankfully more subtle shades are plentiful.

Parking

Because of its unique shape, parking the 911 can be a little tricky, especially seeing past that large rear wing. Visibility all round is generally good, but the sloping rear can make it difficult to judge and the optional rear roll cage all but obliterates the rear view.

Spare wheel

Tyre inflation kit fitted as standard.

 

Range information

Petrol engine options - 3.4-litre (345bhp); 3.8-litre (395bhp, 523bhp and 552bhp). Transmission options: seven-speed manual as standard, seven-speed PDK twin-clutch automatic - standard on Turbo and Turbo S models. Trim levels: Carrera, Carrera S, Turbo, Turbo S and GT3.

 

Alternative cars

Ferrari 458 Italia Incredibly rapid and desirable, much more expensive

Lamborghini Gallardo Performante Most usable Lamborghini ever is about to be replaced

Aston Martin V12 Vantage S Stunning looks and performance, expensive to own

Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Black Series Limited production run but sensational looks and performance



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January 2014