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First drive: Porsche lands its most ballistic 911 GT3

Big bore: The new Porsche 911 GT3 gets a bigger engne - and heftier pricetag.

Re-engined 997 Series II Porsche 911 GT3 arrives with more power and efficiency

12 Nov 2009

PORSCHE’S upgraded 911 GT3 is quicker, more powerful, more ground-hugging and packed with more high-tech features than ever, but it will also be more expensive when first deliveries of the race-ready road car take place in Australia from late January.

Just 80 to 90 examples of the limited-production GT3 have again been earmarked for Australia and a pricetag of around $282,000 – about $25,000 more than the 997 version, due largely to the increased 33 per cent luxury car tax.

That hasn't stopped about 20 Australians placing orders for what will again be one of the most exclusive 911s on the road, with the latest incarnation of the more expensive 911 Turbo flagship due to land here as a full-time Porsche model in March.

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.

25 center imageThe most formidable non-turbo 911 is also the first flat six to feature 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 clever dry-sump-within-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.

The standard six-speed manual transmission again features a 22 per cent shorter final drive ratio than the standard 911, along with closer gear ratios, additional transmission oil cooling and steel synchroniser rings from third to fifth gear, while a mechanical limited-slip differential now 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, allegedly without reducing roll comfort in the normal PASM mode.

For the first time, the rear-drive GT3 will also offer switchable stability control as well as traction control, 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 daytime driving lights and modified air intakes and outlets including a bonnet-front grille, plus 3kg-lighter race-bred alloy wheels with one-piece centre locks, wrapped in new ultra-high-performance Michelin 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.

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 race seats are another option that cut a further 10kg.

Despite the upgrades, the latest GT3 retains its former kerb weight of 1395kg.

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.

Porsche’s ground-breaking new active engine mount technology, dubbed Porsche Active Drivetrain Mounts (PADM), will also be available for the 2010 GT3, comprising variable engine mounts that are claimed to virtually eliminate mass and torque affects from the engine to improve high-speed handling without compromising everyday comfort.

Finally, a Clubsport package will again be available as a no-cost option, comprising a rear rollcage, main battery switch, red six-point driver’s harness, fire extinguisher and fire-resistant fabric-covered lightweight seats.

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