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Geneva show: More power, extra tricks for Porsche GT3

Rear steer: Porsche’s 911 GT3 is the latest high-po sportscar to gain rear-wheel steering, in this case as part of a 2017 update that also includes an extra 18kW of power.

Porsche 911 GT3 price jumps $34k for latest version with 368kW Cup engine

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Porsche logo9 Mar 2017

By RON HAMMERTON

AUSTRALIAN Porsche buyers will pay an extra $33,900 for the pleasure of stepping up to the latest 2017 911 GT3 launched this week at the Geneva motor show ahead of its fourth quarter arrival in Australia where the asking price will be $327,100 plus on-road costs.

For their extra expenditure – representing a price jump of 11.5 per cent over the superseded version – buyers will get a slightly bigger, more powerful 4.0-litre normally aspirated flat-six engine lifted from the hard-core GT3 Cup racer, along with other niceties such as active rear-axle steering, improved aero performance and upgraded electronic driver aids including Porsche’s Track Precision app that enables the driver to record driving information on their smartphone.

As well, the GT3 buyer can also now tick the box for a six-speed manual gearbox as a no-cost alternative to the regular seven-speed dual-clutch PDK transmission that previously was the only choice.

The GT3 update, which comes four years after the current model was launched at the Geneva show in 2013, can be expected to add even more impetus to 911 sales that are rocketing along this year, up a whopping 48.1 per cent so far this year after 11.9 per cent growth in 2016.

The latest GT3’s bigger engine – up 200cc from 3.8 litres – delivers an extra 18kW of power, to 368kW, helping to cut 0.1 seconds from the 0-100km/h sprint time, to 3.4 seconds for the PDK-equipped version.

The manual-gearbox variant is somewhat slower through the cogs to 100km/h, at 3.9 seconds, but has a marginally higher top speed, at 320km/h, compared with the PDK’s 318km/h.

Not unsurprisingly, the larger engine capacity impacts fuel economy which rises from 12.4 litres per 100km to 12.9L/100km.

Porsche says the 4.0-litre engine is virtually unchanged from the unit employed by the GT3 Cup cars competing on track in various Porsche series around the world, including the 2017 Porsche Carrera Cup championship in Australia.

Sitting 25mm closer to terra firmer than the garden-variety 911 variants, the road-going two-seater also gains from race-style chassis changes that includes active rear-axle steering to help keep the car planted on the tarmac in high-speed direction changes by steering the rear wheels in the same direction as those at the front.

At lower speeds, the wheels turn in the opposite direction to improve manoeuvrability.

Dynamic engine mounts and a rear differential lock also contribute to high speed dynamics.

The stripped-out GT3 weighs just 1430kg in PDK form, giving this 911 variant a power-to-weight ratio of 3.88 kilograms per kilowatt.

According to Porsche blurb, air flow around the front and rear ends has been improved with aerodynamic tweaks that include a re-shaped front fascia and new rear diffuser.

As before, the GT3’s aerodynamics are dominated by the race-style rear wing, in carbon fibre.

While luxuries are few and far between in this road racer, the driver can luxuriate in items such as a meaningful sports steering wheel pinched from the 918 Spyder and sports seats with bigger side bolstering.

If these don’t float your boat, full bucket seats in carbon-fibre-reinforced plastic with a carbon-weave finish are available at a cost.

If manually adjusting seat position is not your thing and a little extra weight is not a concern, electric18-way adjustable seats are also an option.

Standard equipment does extend to connectivity with a Wi-Fi hotspot, LTE phone module with SIM card reader and the Porsche Connect app.

2017 Porsche 911 GT3 pricing*
911 GT3$327,100N/A
911 GT3 (a)$327,100(+$33,900)
*Excludes on-road costs

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