For true drivers, this car needs no introduction. Here's Porsche's '992'-series 911 GT3. Jonathan Crouch drives it.
Ten Second Review
The '992' series version of Porsche's 911 GT3 sets an even faster and more rewarding benchmark for what a track-tuned super sports car can be. With changes to suspension, aerodynamics and more power, enthusiasts will find it utterly addictive. This is the most capable GT3 ever.
When it comes to motorsport-tuned Porsche 911s, one version has always stood above all others, the GT3. Priced at the level of a 911 Turbo but with rear wheel drive and a race-ready manual gearbox option, the GT3 has long been the enthusiast's choice in this iconic model line. But of the many GT3 models we've had down the years, none represents a greater step forward than this '992' series version.
Key changes lie with aerodynamics and suspension. Aero has been enhanced so much that there's now up to 385kg of downforce, a massive 150% more than before. And suspension changes see a front double wishbone design implemented for the first time in 911 history. It delivers the usual uber-firm GT3 ride quality though, which is why you might prefer the very slightly more road-ready 'Touring Package' GT3 model that we're trying here.
The GT3-unique 4.0-litre normally aspirated engine in play here has gained 10PS in this '992' series version of this model, but the 510PS flat six powerplant isn't the real story here. With this '992' generation GT3, Porsche has gone to the very considerable trouble of re-engineering the suspension specifically for this track-tamed variant. Unless you count the Le Mans-spec $1 million 911 RSR racer, the 911 model line has never featured front double wishbone suspension, but this '992'-era GT3 gets it, together with revised multi-link rear suspension too (otherwise the four-wheel steering system wouldn't work as Porsche wants it to). You immediately notice that front suspension change - response from the wheel is even more instant and precise than it would normally be from a 911. Like a race car? Yep, pretty much like that.
The ride is like a race car too, which isn't great for a typical British B road, where the standard GT3 is easily thrown about by bumps and cambers, sometimes somewhat disconcertingly. Which is why our preference would be for the GT3 'Touring Package' model we're trying here, which is still stiff but a much better road car, particularly when specified with either of the more road-focused tyre packages that Porsche offers.
As we said earlier, the other key '992' series GT3 change lies with aerodynamics - an aggressively-profiled front spoiler and (on the standard model) a simply huge rear wing with swan-neck stanchions. With all the bits added and at maximum speed, Porsche says the standard GT3 develops 385kg of downforce, which is why this car is 18 seconds quicker round the Nurburgring Nordschleife than the last one. The rest to 62mph time is 3.4 seconds on the way to a maximum speed of 198mph, the stats hardly any different if you choose the 6-speed manual gearbox rather than the 7-speed PDK paddleshift automatic. The engine spins to 9,000 revs, you can hold 2nd gear at up to 80mph and it's all accompanied by wonderful combination of intake roar and valvetrain scream. There's nothing else quite like it.
As you'll know if you're a long-time GT3 enthusiast, drive is from the rear only, this variant spurning the heavy 4WD system from the 911 Turbo. So for traction through the corners, you rely instead entirely on a locking differential that works alongside the car's brake-based torque vectoring system. And talking of brakes, track-ready ceramic discs with urgent stopping power are standard - as they should.
Design and Build
You'd know at a glance that this wasn't any ordinary 911, even with the GT3 in its dialled-down 'Touring Package' form. In this guise, the car loses the standard model's wild rear wing with its unusual swan-neck stanchions. But it still looks pure GT3, with a scalloped rear bumper, a wide diffuser and a shotgun-style exhaust.
At the front, there are nostrils in the carbon fibre bonnet, an aggressively-profiled front bumper and lots of matt-finished 'chicken wire'-style additions. The wheels are 20-inches at the front and 21-inches at the back, shod as standard with Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres and fitted with carbon ceramic brakes.
Inside, low-slung 'Sports seat Plus' 4-way-adjustable front chairs are standard, but if you're going to be engaging in occasional track visits, you'll prefer the pricey option of the 'Full bucket' seats we tried. Unlike in other 911s, the GT3 has no tiny rear seats. Not even the 'Touring Package' version, in which guise you can't add in the half roll cage behind the seats that can be fitted to the standard GT3. Without that cage fitted, the advantage of no rear chairs is that there is around three times more cabin space, though with the non-folding bucket seats, it's difficult to get to it.
Everything else is as with any other '992' series 911. Which means that through the grippy three-spoke wheel lies a defiantly analogue central rev counter, without which a Porsche simply wouldn't be a Porsche. The two 7-inch read-outs that sit either side of it are actually configurable freeform displays. And just about everything else you need to know is covered off by a generously-sized 10.9-inch flush-mounted 'Porsche Communication Management' touchscreen display in the centre of the dash. Under the bonnet, there's this model line's usual small 132-litre boot.
Market and Model
There are two versions of the 911 GT3 available, the standard one and the 'Touring Package' version we tried. At the time of our test in Summer 2023, Porsche wanted an identical amount for both - just under £147,000. For committed billionaire racers, the brand also offers an even faster 911 GT3 RS model with power uprated to 525PS, but that cost £192,600 at the time of our test and really will probably only suit if you own a race track - or happen to have one in your back garden.
With the two ordinary GT3 models, we'd suggest that you think seriously about tyres, particularly if you've gone for the more road-orientated 'Touring package' version. We'd swap out the standard circuit-orientated Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 rubber for one of the two other more road-spec tyre options Porsche offers - Pirelli P Zero or Goodyear Eagle F1. If you are committed to a circuit-spec for your GT3, bear in mind that you'll need the standard model if you want to fit a rear roll cage. The popular Club Sport package (also only available on the standard model) comprises that half roll-cage, plus multi-point harness seat belts, a fire extinguisher and a battery cut-out switch: it remains a mainstay of the options list.
Most customers spend big on luxury extras. The 'Touring Package' version we tried had almost £20,000-worth of additional features fitted - like full-bucket seats, the front axle lift system, the Porsche Dynamic Light System Plus, the Chrono package, a BOSE Surround Sound System and the 'ParkAssist set-up with a rear view camera. Not exactly an excessive list. And all very nice to have.
Cost of Ownership
Some things to consider here. You're driving a £140,000 car that in five years will probably be worth somewhere in the region of £90,000. So enjoy it. Drive it as Porsche envisaged and of course you're not going to come anywhere near the 21.9mpg combined economy figure or 293g/km emissions claim (it's 292g/km for the 'Touring Package' version). Perhaps Porsche should monitor owners and invoke a compulsory buy back scheme if average economy tops 20mpg....
But seriously, this is never going to be a cheap car to run. A couple of track days will see off a set of the gumball Michelin Pilot Sport tyres (not helped by the fact that they're different sizes at each end. Insurance is a top of the shop Group 50 with some insurers deviously looking to load policies still further for cars fitted with roll cages. So you know that thing about 911s being affordable to run once you've got over the shock of the initial purchase price? Well it doesn't necessarily apply here.
This is a more mature breed of 911 GT3 - in its standard form the best ever for track time and in its 'Touring Package' guise the best ever for road use. Take your pick. Either way, in terms of driving involvement, no other rival even comes close. You could pay two or three times what Porsche is asking here and easily end up with a supercar which wouldn't even see which way this GT3 went on a twisting race track.
And, even in slightly softened 'Touring Package' form, the race track is where this extreme 911 feels most at home. If you've neither the time or the inclination to regularly take this car there, then we'd suggest that for you, a 911 GTS would be a better, more satisfying choice. But for a dedicated few, only a GT3 will do. And after trying this one, we can understand why.