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  • Brilliant 3.8-litre flat-six; huge performance on track; faster; more responsive and more user-friendly than its predecessor; incredible throttle response; immense stopping power; comfortable
  • I've spent 10 minutes trying to think of any gripes - and there aren't any, except of course, I can't afford one

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10 / 10



2015 Porsche 911 GT3 Review : Track Test
2015 Porsche 911 GT3 Review : Track Test
2015 Porsche 911 GT3 Review : Track Test

When you’re testing the mettle of genuine hardcore sports cars more at home on the track than on the road, few can go head-to-head with the revered Porsche 911 GT3.

It’s been that way since 1999, when the first example, based on the 996-series 911, rolled out of Porsche’s Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen factory and became an instant icon, on and off the track.

The GT3 has since enjoyed a hugely successful racing career, with dedicated track versions winning a slew of championship and endurance races, including six outright wins at the 24 Hours Nurburgring and seven wins in the GT class of the American Le Mans Series.

It also takes centre stage in the popular Porsche Carrera Cup series and international Porsche Supercup, usually run in conjunction with Formula One events.

Perhaps even more so than its predecessors, this latest-generation Porsche 911 GT3 road car is unlikely to be confused with any of its 911 brethren, including the range-topping Turbo S. From any angle, this is a sports car with serious race-going intent that’s hell bent on letting you know about it.

For a start, there’s that unmistakable, oversize fixed rear wing that generates increased downforce, along with a large ram-air intake for the rear-mounted engine. The signature GT3’s can-size exhaust pipes – centrally mounted – are there too, along with a new rear bumper with vertical air ducts to help with the car’s improved aerodynamics.

2015 Porsche 911 GT3 Review : Track Test
2015 Porsche 911 GT3 Review : Track Test
2015 Porsche 911 GT3 Review : Track Test
2015 Porsche 911 GT3 Review : Track Test

There’s also an all-new design up front, with a deeper front bumper incorporating triple air-ducts and a new headlight design and side mirrors. The latest 20-inch wheels are now made of forged aluminium. Even at standstill, the GT3 looks properly hunkered down on its massive 305/30 series Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 rear tyres.

However, there’s still a degree of commonality between the $245,200 Porsche 911 Carrera S Coupe and the $293,600 GT3. The body shell is shared, with extensive use of aluminium for the guards, roof, doors and bonnet.

Compared to the previous model, the new GT3 is longer, wider and 35kg heavier, though the payoff is torsional rigidity – up by around 25 per cent.

Like all 911s, you’ll need a good set of knees to get low enough to climb aboard, but once in, you’ll find one of the best driving positions in the business – low slung, snug, and ready to tackle serious track-work at serious speeds.

Inside, the GT3 pretty much mirrors any other Porsche 911 – meaning it’s more comfortable than ever before, with high-quality materials and beautifully executed trim all round.

The differences are subtle; the exception being the Alcantara-trimmed steering wheel and proper racing-style buckets fashioned from carbon fibre and complete with a four-point harness. They’re part of a $7790 Club Sport pack for the GT3, which also adds an on-board fire extinguisher and roll cage.

2015 Porsche 911 GT3 Review : Track Test
2015 Porsche 911 GT3 Review : Track Test
2015 Porsche 911 GT3 Review : Track Test
2015 Porsche 911 GT3 Review : Track Test

Porsche purists will have to live with the fact that the GT3 no longer uses the highly acclaimed ‘Mezger’ engine, named after Hans Mezger, the acclaimed Porsche engineer responsible for the marque’s road and racing successes from 1950-1980’s and still a feature on the Porsche Cup cars.

Fire the engine up though, and any such concerns will be largely forgotten.

It’s still a naturally aspirated 3.8-litre flat-six, but this one gets direct direction, makes 350kW of power and 440Nm of torque, and redlines at an astonishing 9000rpm.

It’s actually a derivative of the powerplant in the rear end of the Carrera S, but with Mezger elements, such as titanium connecting rods, forged pistons and the carry over race-bred dry sump lubrication system.

Porsche claims it will rocket the GT3 to 100km/h in 3.5 seconds with a top speed of 315km/h.

There’s a predictable bark on start-up, which quickly settles down to a wonderfully bass-heavy, mechanical chatter at idle. You can tell this is no ordinary Porsche 911; it’s a car that is equally suited to pit lane, as it is to Pitt Street.

No need to dispense with the barrage of electronic nannies; according to Porsche Sport Driving School boss, Tomas Mezera, “it will help you rather than hinder you”, but you’ll want to tap the Sport button on the centre console for that full surround sound experience as the tempo rises, the pitch changes and the exhaust morphs into that classic flat-six Porsche howl, only way more visceral with the GT3.

2015 Porsche 911 GT3 Review : Track Test
2015 Porsche 911 GT3 Review : Track Test
2015 Porsche 911 GT3 Review : Track Test
2015 Porsche 911 GT3 Review : Track Test

At 8200rpm, when you’re flat stick down the main straight, this thing sounds like a full-blown GT racer, and that’s inside the cockpit with a helmet on. From outside, it makes hearing protection positively mandatory.

I rate the new seven-speed PDK as the best dual-clutch gearbox on the market and an essential high-speed supplement for the GT3.

It’s also the GT3’s sole transmission and proves itself time and time again on track with shorter, closely spaced gearing from third to fifth.

At full tilt, the shift action is blindingly quick, but perhaps more remarkably, it’s also smooth and refined even in the Sport/manual mode. That certainly helps when you’re traveling at a frightening pace and needing to pull a couple of gears in rapid-succession before a right-hand hairpin.

Whereas the previous GT3 was lauded for its touch-sensitive hydraulic steering, the new car gets an electro-mechanical system, with a few performance-enhancing add-ons.

It works in conjunction with rear-wheel steering, which, if I were honest, you wouldn’t know is there. At low speed, the wheels turn in the opposite direction for increased agility. Press on above 80km/h, and the rear wheels turn in the same direction as the front for added stability in the curves.

Does it work? The answer is an undeniable yes in terms of how fast the GT3 is on track.

2015 Porsche 911 GT3 Review : Track Test
2015 Porsche 911 GT3 Review : Track Test
2015 Porsche 911 GT3 Review : Track Test
2015 Porsche 911 GT3 Review : Track Test

In concert with the sensational Michelin Pilot Sport 2 rubber, the grip levels and potential cornering speeds for the GT3 are off the charts; it doesn’t seem to matter how hard you push, the GT3 is telling you it wants to go harder.

The steering weighting is perfect and there’s loads of quality feedback through the steering wheel too. You know exactly where the front tyres are tracking at all times, as well as any surface irregularities. It’s brilliantly reassuring and inspires massive driver confidence at big speeds.

It’s the same story when it comes to chassis balance, and the GT3 represents a masterclass in this dark art. Turn the nose in and it all feels perfect, like you’re hard-wired to the chassis, and thinking you could easily carry more speed and still keep it on the black stuff. One more lap, please, Tomas.

While Porsche Carbon-ceramic brakes are optional, the standard steel rotors measuring 380mm all round with six-pot up front and four-pot down back are stupendous.

The GT3 is able to wipe off huge speed with ridiculous ease – and brake fade is simply non-existent in this car, even after countless track sessions.

Dual-mode electrically adjustable dampers are fitted as standard, and while the suspension seemed to deal with the occasional high curb (on track) with enough bump-absorbing ability, we’ll have to wait until we road test the GT3 for the complete picture.

2015 Porsche 911 GT3 Review : Track Test
2015 Porsche 911 GT3 Review : Track Test

The fifth-generation of the Porsche GT3 is no less intimidating than the rest of its lineage, the big rear wing, demonic engine note and 9000rpm redline, upholds its fearsome reputation as a Porsche racecar for the road.

Perhaps more remarkably though, this new version is actually noticeably less harsh, offering huge performance in a package that is as easy to drive as a Porsche Boxster.


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2015 Porsche 911 GT3 Review : Track Test
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Porsche 911 Specs

GT3 : 991 MY14 : 3.8L MULTI POINT F/INJ - 7 SP AUTO DUAL CLUTCH - PREMIUM UNLEADED PETROL - 2D COUPE
Car Details
Make
PORSCHE
Model
911
Variant
GT3
Series
991 MY14
Year
2014
Body Type
2D COUPE
Seats
2
Pricing
New Price
N/A
Private Sale
$208,670 - $237,130
Dealer Retail
$201,650 - $239,800
Dealer Trade
$160,300 - $189,700
Engine Specifications
Engine Type
MULTI POINT F/INJ
Engine Size
3.8L
Cylinders
INLINE 6
Max. Torque
440Nm @  6250rpm
Max. Power
350kW @  8250rpm
Pwr:Wgt Ratio
244.8W/kg
Bore & Stroke
102x77.5mm
Compression Ratio
9.8
Valve Gear
VARIABLE DOUBLE OVERHEAD CAM
Drivetrain Specifications
Transmission
7 SP AUTO DUAL CLUTCH
Drive Type
REAR WHEEL DRIVE
Final Drive Ratio
0
Fuel Specifications
Fuel Type
PREMIUM UNLEADED PETROL
Fuel Tank Capacity
68Litres
Fuel Consumption (Combined)
12.4L / 100km
Weight & Measurement
Kerb Weight
1430
Gross Vehicle Weight
Not Provided
Height
1296mm
Length
4545mm
Width
1852mm
Ground Clearance
106mm
Towing Capacity
Brake:0  Unbrake:0
Steering & Suspension
Steering Type
RACK & PINION - POWER ASSISTED
Turning Circle
11.1
Front Rim Size
9x20
Rear Rim Size
12x20
Front Tyres
245/35 R20
Rear Tyres
305/30 R20
Wheel Base
2457
Front Track
1539
Rear Track
1590
Front Brakes
DISC - VENTILATED
Rear Brakes
DISC - VENTILATED
Front Suspension
MacPherson strut, Coil Spring, Gas damper, Anti roll bar
Rear Suspension
Multi-link system, Coil Spring, Gas damper, Anti roll bar
Standard Features
Comfort
Auto Climate Control with Dual Temp Zones, Sport Seats
Control & Handling
20 Inch Alloy Wheels, Traction Control System
Driver
Power Steering
Entertainment
Radio CD with 4 Speakers
Exterior
Power Mirrors, Xenon Headlights
Interior
Power Windows
Safety
Dual Front Airbag Package, Anti-lock Braking, Head Airbags, Side Airbags
Security
Central Locking Remote Control, Engine Immobiliser
Optional Features
Comfort
Racing Sports Seats
Driver
Satellite Navigation, Voice Recognition System
Entertainment
CD with 6 CD Stacker, Premium Sound System
Exterior
Metallic Paint Special
Other
Service Interval
12 months /  20,000 kms
Warranty
36 months /  999,000 kms
VIN Plate Location
Pass Side Windscreen
Country of Origin
Germany