Sold out since early 2015, the current-generation Porsche 911 GT3 has finally returned into dealerships with updates similar to the 991.2 911. Unveiled at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show, the track-prepped 911 is making a comeback after nearly two years with revised styling, a retuned chassis, and more importantly a new drivetrain.
Not surprisingly, the race-bred coupe didn’t change much inside and out, and most of the new stuff is borrowed from the regular 911 that was upgraded in 2016. However, the revised chassis brings new dynamics, while the troublesome 3.8-liter flat-six was replaced by the slightly bigger, 4.0-liter unit from the GT3 Cup race car and the range-topping GT3 RS. The really big news about the new 911 GT3 is that Porsche finally brought the manual transmission back, giving enthusiasts a new reason to celebrate.
Developed on the same test track and manufactured on the same production line as the 911 race cars, the GT3 returns to a market that has a brand-new competitor, the Mercedes-AMG GT R. Launched in 2016, the AMG GT R is the first track-prepped car to actually compete in the same niche, something that hasn’t happened in quite a few years. Will the 911 GT3 continue to dominate this demanding segment? Let’s find out in the review below.
Continue reading to learn more about the 2017 Porsche 911 GT3.
Exterior comparison New 911 GT3 vs Old 911 GT3
Much like the rest of the 911 lineup, the GT3 was updated to the recently introduced 991.2 design. Needless to say, there isn’t a lot to talk about here since the update is more about nips and tucks, but most changes are noticeable. While the front fascia wears the same nose and headlamps, but bumper was revised with a big focus on aerodynamics. The intakes are significantly larger, while the side vents sport additional winglets for enhanced downforce.
There isn’t a lot to talk about here since the update is more about nips and tucks, but most changes are noticeable.
It doesn’t appear as if Porsche modified anything on the sides, but the rear end gained new taillights and a redesigned diffuser. The light units are taken off the latest Porsche 911 and have a more angular design as well as a new LED layout. The diffuser isn’t radically different compared to the outgoing model, but the mild changes deliver optimized airflow. The carbon-fiber wings also sports minor changes, the license plate has a different shape, while the side air vents are significantly larger.
All told, the new 911 GT3 isn’t that new, but I can’t say I was expecting major changes. Porsche rarely takes the revolutionary route on its cars, so it’s far from surprising that there aren’t many details to set the new and outgoing models apart.
Exterior comparison 911 GT3 vs AMG GT R
The front-engined layout with the long hood and short rear deck is very appealing if you’re a fan of the classic grand tourer design.
The Mercedes-AMG GT R may look entirely different due to its front-engined layout, but it was actually developed to compete against the 911 GT3 on both the road and the track. In creating the GT R, Mercedes-AMG used pretty much the same recipe as Porsche, building the track-prepped model around the base AMG GT. But while it retains the overall size and shape of the road model, the GT R features a much more aggressive design and advanced aerodynamics that make it more nimble at the track. Setting it apart from the standard more are the new front bumper with larger intakes, wider fenders for bigger wheels, a massive double diffuser with a center-mounted exhaust tip, and a fixed rear wing. From an aerodynamic standpoint, the AMG GT R seems just as capable as the 911 GT3 at the track. It’s also menacing in a good way and the front-engined layout with the long hood and short rear deck is very appealing if you’re a fan of the classic, race-spec grand tourer design.
Same as the exterior, the interior carries over mostly unchanged styling-wise. As before, it uses a sports steering wheel based on the 918 Spyder and standard sports seats with mechanical fore/aft adjustment and electronically height and backrest adjustment. No rear seats are provided as a weight-saving measure and in order to emphasize on the car’s track-bred orientation.
The standard equipment list also features the Track Precision app, which enables drivers to display, record and analyse detailed driving data on smartphones.
Porsche offers three additional seat variants for the new 911 GT3. There’s tge adaptive Sports seats Plus with electrical adjustment of all seat functions (18-way) and sports bucket seats with folding backrest, integrated thorax airbag, and manual fore/aft adjustment. Finally, customers can opt for full bucket seats made from carbon-fibre-reinforced plastic in carbon-weave finish for the ultimate race car experience.
As far as tech goes, in addition to the Porsche Communication Management (PCM) system that includes an online navigation module with real-time traffic information, the standard equipment list also features the Connect Plus module and the Track Precision app. The latter enables 911 GT3 drivers to display, record and analyse detailed driving data on their smartphones.
Much like the 911 GT3, the AMG GT R bridges the gap between the regular model and the race-spec version.
Much like the 911 GT3, the AMG GT R bridges the gap between the regular model and the race-spec version, in this case being the AMG GT and the AMG GT3, respectively. While the dashboard, center console, and center stack are virtually identical to the road car’s, other features have been revised to give the GT R a more race-like feel. For starters, there’s a lightweight, manually adjustable sport bucket seats wrapped in Nappa leather and Dinamica microfiber. Another important addition is the new AMG Interior Night package. Included as standard equipment, it adds shift paddles, steering wheel bezel, door sills, and boot cross member in high-gloss black. You can’t have a race-inspired interior without loads of details in black, right? Combined with the standard-specification AMG Interior Piano Lacquer package, it further emphasizes sportiness. As an option, customers can order the trim in matte black carbon-fibre. As you’d expect from a car built for the track, it also comes with a flat-bottom steering wheel and bespoke displays focused of performance data.
The previous 3.8-liter flat-six engine was replaced by a larger, 4.0-liter unit.
It’s here where the main novelties come into the spotlight. For starters, the previous 3.8-liter flat-six engine was replaced by a larger, 4.0-liter unit. The swap is far from surprising, as the 3.8-liter caused quite a few issues in the previous model, prompting Porsche to issue a massive recall after a few engines caught fire.
The 4.0-liter flat-six is shared with the GT3 Cup race car and is rated at 500 horsepower and 339 pound-feet of torque. That’s a 25-horsepower and 15 pound-foot increase over the previous GT3 and makes the new sports car as powerful as the GT3 RS. The seven-speed, dual-clutch PDK transmission remains standard and pushes the 911 GT3 from 0 to 60 mph in 3.2 seconds, a tenth-second quicker than the outgoing model. Top speed has increased from 195 to 197 mph, too.
Requested for many years by purists, the manual finally made a comeback on the GT3.
However, the really big news is the optional six-speed manual. Requested for many years by purists, the manual finally made a comeback on the GT3 some years after Porsche said it’s unlikely to offer a high-spec 911 with three pedals. But before any of you purists pop the champagne, you should know that the manual GT3 is slower, needing 3.8 seconds to reach 60 mph. Top speed, on the other hand, is slightly higher at 198 mph.
Another feature that sets the two apart is curb weight. While the PDK version comes in at 3,153 pounds, the manual model is 37 pounds lighter, tipping the scales at 3,116. Definitely another good reason to get the manual if you’re looking to get a road car that’s as close as possible to the GT3 Cup racer.
The new 911 GT3 also rides on a redesigned chassis with the company’s recently introduced rear-axle steering.
On top of getting a new engine, the new 911 GT3 also rides on a redesigned chassis with the company’s recently introduced rear-axle steering. Specifically tuned to the new engine output, the chassis benefits from Porsche’s motor racing experience and delivers even better driving dynamics. The active rear-axle steering system is also responsible for the enhanced characteristics. By steering either in the opposite or the same direction as the front wheels depending on speed, it also improves the vehicle’s agility and stability. Finally, the revised, dynamic engine mounts and the rear differential lock also boost the car’s dynamics, making it quicker at the track compared to the previous 911 GT3.
Here’s where the AMG GT R is yet again a different beast. While the 911 GT3 uses a naturally aspirated, somewhat classic flat-six engine, the AMG is equipped with a twin-turbo, 4.0-liter V-8. Specifically developed by the high-performance firm for several AMG-badged model, the V-8 cranks out 577 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque in this configuration. That’s 77 horsepower and a whopping 177 pound-foot more than the 911 GT3. But while it may seem like a massive difference, the AMG GT R, which uses a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, is only three tenths quicker than the manual 911 GT3 and three tenths slower than the PDK-equipped versions. Yet another lesson that power and torque isn’t everything. However, the GT R can match the 911 GT3’s top speed at 198 mph.
While the 911 GT3 uses a naturally aspirated, flat-six engine, the AMG is equipped with a twin-turbo, 4.0-liter V-8.
The AMG GT R’s chassis received its fair share of attention compared to the standard model. The coupe rides on an adjustable coil-over suspension, a nine-way adjustable traction control derived from GT3-spec racing. an electronically controlled limited-slip differential, and active rear steering. All told, although it might not be quicker than the PDK-equipped 911 GT3 in a straight line, it should give the 911 a run for its money on any race track.
The new 911 GT3 is on sale as we speak and first deliveries are scheduled to commence in June 2017. Pricing starts from €152,416 in Europe, including VAT and country-specific equipment, and from $143,600 in the United States. For reference, the 911 GT3 is $24,600 more expensive than the GTS, but costs $41,300 less than the 911 R.
The Mercedes-AMG GT R retails from €165,410 in Germany, which is adds a bit more than €10,000 to the 911 GT3’s sticker. U.S. pricing is not yet available, but I expect it to fetch at least $160,000 before options. Being significantly more expensive that the 911 GT3 doesn’t play well for the AMG GT R, especially considering Porsche’s performance and heritage in this niche, but an extra $15,000 to $20,000 isn’t that much if you’re looking to stand out in the crowd.
McLaren 570S Sprint
Much like the 911 GT3 and the AMG GT R, which bridges the gap between the standard and the race-only version of the sports car, the 570S Sprint was developed to slot between the road-going 570S and the track-prepped 570S GT4. However, the big difference here is that the Sprint is for track use only. It’s widely available to customers without restrictions, but you can’t drive it on public roads. While this is indeed a disadvantage, the catch is that the Sprint is fully upgradable to GT4 specifications, meaning you can turn your weekend track car into a vehicle suitable for various FIA-supported championships. Pretty cool, right?
On the outside, the Sprint shares many of its features with the GT4 version, including the more aggressive bumper and diffuser and the big rear wing. The drivetrain, on the other hand, is borrowed from the road-legal model, which uses a twin-turbo, 3.8-liter V-8 rated at 562 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of twist. However, due to a lighter curb weight a better aerodynamics, the Sprint is quicker in straight line and quite agile on the race track. Pricing for the 570S Sprint starts from £148,000, which converts to around $181,000 as of March 2017.
Find out more about more about the McLaren 570S Sprint here.
Needless to say, the new 911 GT3 doesn’t disappoint performance- and feature-wise and if the outgoing model is any indication, the 991.2-based coupe should be at least as exciting and popular with Porsche fanatics. I remember that last year I was thinking how cool it would be for Porsche to reinstate the manual transmission for the GT3, but I wasn’t really hoping it to happen. Well, it turns out I was wrong and I’m actually very happy that the Germans did the unexpected. The 911 GT3 deserves to continue with a manual transmission and I do hope that this won’t change with the next-generation model.
Updated 07/20/2016: If a few days ago we brought you the first leaked patent images of the upcoming 911 GT3, today we decided to create a rendering of the sports car to help you make an idea what a cool car it will be. Let us know in the comments section below what do you think about it.
Updated 07/18/2016: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming 911 GT3 out for a new testing session. They also managed to take some shots of the interior, making it pretty clear that the GT3 will be offered with a 6-speed manual gearbox.
Updated 07/14/2016: The first “images” of the facelift 911 GT3 surfaced online offering us a first glimpse on the upcoming sports coupe. Of course, this is a clear indication that an official debut will happen shortly.
October 27, 2016 – Porsche 911 GT3 caught testing on the Nürburgring without any camouflage
July 18, 2016 – Porsche 911 GT3 out for a new testing session
March 16, 2016 – First testing session
The Porsche 911 GT3 delivers motorsport-like performance, a systematic lightweight construction and an unfiltered driving experience. In the new generation of the radical 911, the connection between everyday driving and the racetrack is even more intense. At the heart of the latest enhancement beats a four-litre flat engine. The extremely high-revving naturally aspirated engine with 368 kW (500 hp) remains virtually unchanged from the thoroughbred 911 GT3 Cup racing car. The redesigned chassis with rear-axle steering and the systematic lightweight construction are specifically tuned to convert the engine power into superior driving dynamics. Developed on the same test track and manufactured on the same production line as the racing cars, Porsche’s motorsport technology has once again been incorporated into a road-approved sportscar.
The majority of Porsche GT drivers also like to take their sportscars for a spin on the racetrack, which is where the new 911 GT3 really comes into its own thanks to its weight-to-power ratio of 3.88 kg/kW (2.86 kg/hp). With seven-speed double-clutch transmission (PDK) as standard, which has been specifically tuned for use in the GT, the two-seater weighs in at 1,430 kg with a full fuel tank and can accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in 3.4 seconds. Its boasts a top speed of 318 km/h. For proponents of pure unadulterated driving, Porsche also offers the 911 GT3 with a six-speed sports manual gearbox. This allows the high-performance 911 to sprint from 0 to 100 km/h in 3.9 seconds and reach a top speed of 320 km/h.
Fast on the corners, stable on the straights: Rigid chassis with rear-axle steering
The chassis of the new 911 GT3 benefits from Porsche’s motor racing experience and its tuning has been reworked for even better driving dynamics. The new two-seater sits around 25 mm lower than the 911 Carrera S. In addition to the further refined basic design, the chassis also boasts superior handling characteristics, thanks in large part to the active rear-axle steering. Depending on the speed, it steers either in the opposite or the same direction as the front wheels, thereby improving the vehicle’s agility and stability. The dynamic engine mounts and the rear differential lock also boost the car’s driving dynamics.
When it comes to its appearance, the 911 GT3 leaves little doubt as to its purpose. The dominant carbon rear wing emphasises the fact that the sportscar’s form is determined by aerodynamics. The lightweight front end and front spoiler have been optimised for an even better airflow. The aerodynamic enhancement is also evident on the lightweight rear end with exhaust air openings and on the new diffusor.
Interior: Experience centre for exceptional driving dynamics
The interior of the new high-performance sportscar is tailored to the 911 GT3 driving experience. The GT sports steering wheel with a diameter of 360 mm originates from the 918 Spyder. Both the driver and passenger experience the dynamics in Porsche Sports seats Plus with enhanced seat side bolsters and mechanical fore/aft adjustment. The seat height and backrests are adjusted electronically. As the 911 GT3 is traditionally a two-seater, the seat pans in the rear are covered.
Porsche offers three additional seat variants for the 911 GT3: The adaptive Sports seats Plus boast electrical adjustment of all seat functions (18-way). The second option is sports bucket seats with folding backrest, integrated thorax airbag and manual fore/aft adjustment. And the third variant is full bucket seats made from light carbon fibre-reinforced plastic in carbon-weave finish.
Porsche Track Precision app as standard
In addition to Porsche Communication Management (PCM) including an online navigation module with real-time traffic information, the standard equipment also includes the Connect Plus module and the Track Precision app. The Track Precision app enables 911 GT3 drivers to display, record and analyse detailed driving data on their smartphone.
Market launch and prices
The 911 GT3 is available to order now. It will be launched in Germany from mid-June. Prices for the new high-performance 911 start at 152,416 euro, including VAT and country-specific equipment.