UK Drive: The Porsche 911 GT3 RS offers a mesmerising driving experience
The 911 GT3 RS is the latest in a long line of stripped-back sports cars from Porsche. Jack Evans finds out what it’s like
What is it?
It’s a pretty special moment whenever Porsche introduces any new car, but a new RS model? Well that’s even more of an occasion. It brings us to this – the new 911 GT3 RS. It’s a harder, stiffer and more track-focused version of the already very capable 911 GT3 designed to handle every corner you throw at it. It’s already proving incredible successful – Porsche simply cannot build enough to meet demand – but we’ve managed to get some time behind the wheel to see what all the fuss is about.
The GT3 RS gets all manner of tweaks and upgrades to make it as capable as possible out on the road, as well as on the circuit. Weight-saving has been the name of the game here too, with many interior comforts stripped out – though you still get Porsche’s infotainment system as standard. The front springs are stiffened to double that of the previous-generation RS, while the rears are up by 50 per cent.
There’s also a large, hard-to-miss spoiler at the rear (which it shares with the GT2 RS), and there are plenty of underbody aero gubbins to make the GT3 RS able to generate more downforce than its predecessor.
What’s under the bonnet?
At the back of the 911 GT3 RS sits a naturally-aspirated 4.0-litre flat-six engine with 513bhp and a substantial 470Nm of torque. In this case, power is sent to the rear wheels only via Porsche’s seven-speed PDK gearbox, which can be left in either full-auto mode or controlled via steering wheel-mounted shift paddles.
It’s a truly mesmerising powertrain, this one; it’s an unlikely event that you’ll be able to ever fully extend it out on the road, but even in the low to medium rev range it’s hugely entertaining – and whenever you do prod further up towards the car’s 9,000rpm limit, you’re rewarded with one of the very best engine sounds in the business.
The performance stats are impressive; the dart to 60mph takes just three seconds, while flat-out you’ll be doing 193mph.
What’s it like to drive?
There’s only one way to describe the way the 911 GT3 RS drives – sensational. It’s an intimidating car to begin with; the large wings, air ducts and deep-set bucket seats make it feel more race than road car from the off. However, once you settle into a rhythm with it, getting used to the rather firm low-speed ride and relatively weighty steering, it’s an easy enough car to drive.
And then you get going and boy, does this car come alive. The engine pulls and pulls and pulls – then, whenever you think it may be tailing off, it has an ability to punch even harder. The gearbox, though easily capable when left to its own devices, is laser accurate when in full manual mode – with each pull of the paddle only adding more fury to the driving experience.
How does it look?
The GT3 RS is a wild evolution of the classic 911 shape. It’s all intakes, wings, and – in our test car’s case – ‘Lizard’ green. It’s still instantly recognisable as a 911 but turns heads like few cars in the Stuttgart manufacturer’s stable can.
For those who want even more, then there’s the Weissach Pack. This adds magnesium wheels which save 11kg combined, as well as a titanium roll cage, carbon bonnet and exposed carbon-fibre roof, all of which come together to not only save weight, but add even more visual impact to the GT3 RS.
What’s it like inside?
The GT3 RS’ interior may be stripped back, but that doesn’t stop it from being surprisingly comfortable. Our test car came with a pair of deep set but uber-supportive bucket seats, while all of the major touch points are finished in a variety of Alcantara, leather or metal.
The biggest benefit to the cabin is the excellent driving position. You’re able to get the steering wheel (which is also pleasingly free of buttons and dials) just where you want it, and the seats are fixed low but adjust forward and backwards. You do get air conditioning in this otherwise stripped-back model too, and this will come as a welcome feature for those drivers planning on using their cars each and every day.
What’s the spec like?
There’s plenty of standard kit included with the GT3 RS, but then you’d hope so for a car costing from £141,346. There are bi-xenon headlights, two-zone automatic climate control and full bucket seats fitted as standard, along with a hefty use of Alcantara on the seat centres, door panel arm rests and A, B and C pillars.
However, in truth, this car isn’t about the in-car tech, the satellite navigation nor the type of stitching used on the seats – it’s about driving, and this is where the GT3 RS truly delivers in spectacular style.
This latest Porsche 911 GT3 RS is arguably one of the very best sports cars of all time. The way it handles, steers and accelerates is like nothing else available today, and will certainly take some beating. It’s little wonder why this car is in such demand; it delivers on all fronts and produces on of the most exhilarating driving experiences we’ve had the pleasure to try.
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