Car reviews - Porsche - 911 - GT3 coupe
9 Nov 2009
PORSCHE’S upgraded 911 GT3 is more powerful and fuel-efficient than the original 997-series model it replaces, but it will also be more expensive when first deliveries are made from late January.
However, an expected pricetag of around $282,000 – making the newest GT3 significantly more expensive that its $256,900 forebear due largely to the increased 33 per cent luxury car tax – hasn’t stopped about 20 Australians placing orders for what will again be one of the most exclusive 911s on the road.
While the latest incarnation of Porsche’s more expensive 911 Turbo flagship will be released here in March as a full-time model, between just 80 and 90 examples of the limited-production GT3 have again been earmarked for Australia.
First seen globally at the Geneva motor show in March, the most track-focussed 911 variant is again a manual-only proposition that is not available with other facelifted 911’s new twin-clutch PDK automated manual transmission.
Despite also eschewing the direct-injection system that is the headline act of the new engines that power the rest of the Series II 911 range, the newest GT3 employs a 200cc larger 3.8-litre flat six to deliver greater engine performance and fuel economy than ever before.
The most formidable non-turbo 911 comes for the first time with Porsche’s VarioCam valve actuation system for the engine’s exhaust camshafts, increasing peak power by 15kW to 320kW and lifting specific output to 84.3kW per litre.
More significantly, however, Porsche says mid-range torque delivery has also improved, with a peak of 430Nm at 6250rpm (up from 405Nm at 5500rpm) now available and a further 35Nm on tap between 3000 and 4000rpm via the ‘Sport’ button.
Fitted with titanium connecting rods, forged pistons, bucket tappets, a variable intake system, a GT3-specific sports exhaust system and a dry-sump lubrication system, the two-seater coupe’s larger new flat six can rev all the way to 8500rpm (100rpm higher than before).
At the same time, average fuel consumption of the EU5 emissions-compatible engine remains at 12.8L/100km on the European combined cycle, while CO2 emissions fall marginally, from 307 to 303g/km.
Of course, the standard six-speed manual transmission features a 22 per cent shorter final drive ratio than the standard 911, close gear ratios, additional transmission oil cooling and steel synchroniser rings from third to fifth gear, while a mechanical limited-slip differential offers a 28 per cent asymmetrical locking effect during acceleration and 40 per cent on overrun.
The result is 0-100km/h acceleration in 4.1 seconds (two-tenths better than before) and a top speed of 312km/h – up from 310km/h. Porsche says the 0-160km/h sprint is now also achieved half a second more quickly than before, in 8.2 seconds. Compared to the previous-generation (MY2008) Euro 4-compatible GT3, the new model is also three-tenths quicker in the 80-120km/h fifth-gear acceleration test.
Chassis-wise, upgraded aerodynamics are claimed to deliver more than double the downforce than before, allowing Porsche whitecoats to substantially stiffen both the springs and anti-roll bars at both ends, increasing high-speed grip and stability and delivering more precise handling in the Porsche Active Suspension Management’s (PASM) sports mode, without reducing roll comfort in the normal PASM mode.
For the first time, the rear-drive GT3 will also offer the ability to deactivate stability control and traction control in separate steps, as part of an even more sporting variation of the Porsche Stability Management system (PSM).
The newest GT3 is visually differentiated by new bi-Xenon headlights, LED tail-lights and modified air intakes and outlets, plus 3kg-lighter race-bred alloy wheels with one-piece centre locks, wrapped in ultra-high-performance tyres with pressure monitoring function.
Braking has also been upgraded to match the GT3’s faster pace, via 30mm larger-diameter (380mm) front brake discs with improved ventilation and the option of an exclusive version of Porsche’s PCCB ceramic brake discs, which reduce weight by 20kg overall. Six-piston front and four-piston rear monobloc aluminium brake callipers are again fitted.
An optional lift system will also be available for the 2010 GT3, which rides 30mm lower than the current 911 Carrera and features an extra-large underfloor cover, raising front ground clearance by a handy 30mm at the touch of a button.
Despite the extra features, the latest GT3 retains its former kerb weight of 1395kg.
Porsche’s ground-breaking new active engine mount technology, dubbed Porsche Active Drivetrain Mounts (PADM), will also be available for the 2010 GT3 in Europe, comprising specific new (harder) engine mounts that are claimed to virtually eliminate mass and torque affects from the engine. The racetrack-oriented system is said to improve on-the-limit handling with no expense to everyday comfort.
Inside, upgraded GT3 highlights include a new three-spoke steering wheel, a wider range of leather trim with Alcantara inserts, extra audio features and a five-inch mono-colour screen and sports seats with thorax airbags. Sports buckets seats with folding backrests will be optional, reducing weight by 23kg, while carbonfibre-backed seats are another option that cut a further 10kg.
Finally, a Clubsport package will again be available, comprising a rear rollcage, a main battery switch, red six-point driver’s harness, fire extinguisher and fire-resistant fabric-covered lightweight seats.
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