Oh look, it’s a new Porsche 911 GT3 RS, and you guessed it, it’s pretty damn amazing. In fact, it’s so good that I will spare you the usual ‘physics-defying’, ‘mind-bending’, ‘close to perfection’ and other usual nonsense car journalists like to use when it comes to describing every single generation of Porsche’s ultimate naturally aspirated race car.
You can probably stop reading now and go do something more useful with your life. But wait just a little bit, hang in there, because this review is a little different.
You see, I knew the 991.2 GT3 RS would be good before I even drove it. I had driven the previous 991.1 extensively, and even tested the new 991.2 GT3, and I could only imagine what the folks at Porsche had done to take it yet another step forward. I was, of course, looking forward to driving it, but the thought of having to tell you just exactly how well it defied the laws of physics was making me feel a little queasy. So, I came up with a better idea. Why not ask actual Porsche owners for their thoughts?
Here in Brisbane, the high-end car community is pretty small and insular. We have a group that does regular track days together, and in that small group of no more than 20 folks (but a lot more cars), we had four Porsche owners all with the latest-generation 911s of different variants. Everything from stock to heavily modified GTS, GT3, GT3 RS and Turbo S.
For the sake of this test, the thought was that if you’re going to buy a new 911 at GTS level and above, the GT3 RS at $416,100 (without options) is within reach, and in fact cheaper than the Turbo and Turbo S. So, how does it compare?
To find out, we gathered for a drive up Mt Glorious and Nebo in Brisbane and swapped around to feel the difference between the cars. There are so many different variants of a 911 that you have to wonder how anyone at Porsche can even keep track. For now, you can still buy the ‘outgoing’ GTS, GT3, GT3 RS and GT2 RS in the 991.2 generation, alongside the new 992 generation. No other car company can get away with this, but Porsche is Porsche and this is why we are here.
First, here are some facts about the GT3 RS to get you in the mood. It’s powered by a 4.0-litre six-cylinder naturally aspirated and extremely high revving engine with 383kW of power and 470Nm of torque. It will do 0–100km/h in 3.2 seconds.
Ricci – A long-time Porsche owner that tried his very best not to buy yet another Porsche last year, but still ended up with a black-on-black-on-black 991.2 Porsche 911 GTS (331kW, 550Nm, 0–100km/h in 4.1 seconds – PDK)
Stepping into the GT3 RS from my 911 GTS, I feel the familiarity like other 911s but the stead of this car is completely unfamiliar. From the raucous howl of the engine on startup to how I feel tightly bound to the bucket seats, this car is a completely different beast. But even this couldn’t prepare me for the great revelation I feel when I first steer the car into a corner. The steering is reactive and communicative to a level so much higher than my 911, it truly is something that you can only appreciate driving them back to back.
As we wind our way down the mountain, the PDLS swinging the headlights around turns is lighting the way, so I push harder. It’s unnerving and yet invigorating how far the limit is on roads that are by no means a palette for the car’s capability. It’s a test of confidence, firstly in yourself and then the car, to get even remotely acquainted with where the limits lie on such roads.
We reach the bottom of the pass and cruise our way back to the rendezvous point, and I reflect on this Teutonic supercar. Would I have one? Absolutely. To drive daily? No way. To drive on track days? Yes. And that’s precisely who the GT3 RS is built for: the person who needs a machine that is an absolute track weapon and for those days only. Maybe the occasional blast on an early or late Sunday.
Brad – Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera and 991.2 Porsche GT3 (368kW, 460Nm, 0–100km/h in 3.9 seconds – manual)
Climbing into the cabin of the GT3 RS and looking around, immediately I’m compelled to want to drive this car fast.
No matter where you look, from the bright-green rollcage, the perforated green centre sections of the seat straps instead of door handles, it becomes immediately apparent this car means business. Even coming from my GT3, the general vibe walking around it, and just sitting in it, is more hardcore.
Start the engine and head to the nearest winding road and begin to exploit the limitations of the car, and any doubts that you won’t notice those little tweaks you read about on paper are put to rest.
The steering is sharper, the ride firmer, and its full capability now further away from a novice driver’s ability. Its only drawback for me is you can’t pick a manual transmission. Although faster, to me it’s fitting that a GT3 RS buyer should have the ability to choose a manual gearbox and remain more analogue. Although the RS is faster than the standard GT3 in every way, the GT3 is already such an amazing car that there’s no wrong decision here. Whichever one you choose, you will convince yourself that you made the right decision because they are both amazing cars.
Viktor – Ferrari 458 Speciale (in a ridiculously cool Rosso Focco), 991.2 Porsche 911 Turbo S (427kW, 700Nm, 0–100km/h in 2.9 seconds)
How does one convey the experience of the new GT3 RS without recycling all the old clichés? 'Mechanical grip', 'evocative howl', 'ironing board wing'. You can’t! Because words are limited, while emotion is unlimited. And ultimately, that’s what driving a sports car should be about: the way it makes you feel as you do things that you didn’t think were possible.
Behold, the latest 991.2-generation GT3 RS. “Race car grip .... porn star looks ... girl-next-door comfort.” It’s a sunny morning at the top of Mt Glorious, and we have interrupted our drive for a much-anticipated coffee and debrief.
A spirited discussion flows back and forth about the new GT3 RS and how it compares to its kin that have joined the journey, a 991.2 GTS and 991.2 Turbo S. Keys are thrown across the table and excitement fills my mind as I entertain what is going to be a novel experience, and yet the keys in my hand feel somehow very familiar. A prophetic representation of the experience that is yet to follow.
Approaching the car keys in hand is reminiscent of approaching the most beautiful woman in a bar, drink in hand. You just know this is going to be special. As a seasoned Porsche owner spanning several generations and models (but never an RS-spec), I was ready for a raw, metal-on-metal, machine experience. What greeted me instead was 'familiar'.
The interior of the GT3 RS provides the same level of comfort as the Turbo S, except where I expect to find leather, I find Alcantara. It’s the same, but just a bit different. An experience that allows you to jump from Porsche to Porsche and start driving without having to think, but just to get on with the enjoyment. A quick turn of the key brings the engine to life and the fun begins.
One thing becomes immediately clear. For all intents and purposes, this car feels as comfortable as the Turbo S, and far removed from the road noise and discomfort of something truly as raw as the Ferrari 458 Speciale. Picking up the pace is where you begin to understand how this car comes together and its true superpowers are revealed.
It remains poised, comfortable and razor-sharp no matter how hard you push. It’s an uncanny level of engineering that allows this package to perform the way it does, with the nimbleness of a fully stripped out race car, but without the deafening levels of cabin noise and suspension harshness.
The car gobbles up the bumps and undulations just as well as the Turbo S, but it carries much less weight and so its front and rear come around with uncanny precision. It’s exhilarating what the car allows you to get away with. It’s downright rewarding and confidence-inspiring, and allows you to take your driving abilities to the next level.
Much has been said about the mechanical grip of this car and its sibling, but let me tell you this. The only time I have ever experienced grip that is this outrageous has been in a GT3 race car itself and in a Ferrari 430 GT race car on slicks. It’s that good. And until you experience it for yourself, you just won’t understand this point.
In fact, if you’ve never driven a Porsche, and think that banging about in a car with the motorsport option is what driving a sports car is like, then you are missing the eighth wonder of the world. Just get a Porsche, and if you can get this Porsche, then your motorsport life will be complete.
Well, there you have it, folks. Three verdicts from three different Porsche owners on the 911.2 GT3 RS. For me, the RS is everything I hoped it would be and then more. The only thing I would change is to bring a modified exhaust so that the noise starts much earlier in the rev range, rather than being locked away till the very top. The only car I have driven that compares to this on equal footing for poise, dynamic capability and outright pace is the Lamborghini Huracan Performante.
On an interesting side note, one other Porsche joined us on this trip. A heavily modified 911.2 GTS that not only out-dragged and kept up with the GT3 RS with relative ease, but it was also in fact just as quick as, if not quicker than, the Turbo S. That makes you wonder just how much potential there is left in these cars from the factory.
There is no doubt that Porsche over-engineers its cars, which is why you can take this GT3 RS to a racetrack, once a week, and service it like you would a regular car. Try that with one of the other exotics and you will see a Christmas tree of warning lights greeting you in the morning.
In saying all that, and if you ask me, the GT3 RS is the only 911 to own. It is truly a physics-defying, mind-bending machine that comes as close to perfection as you can possibly expect from any car. Oh crap, I went there.
Check out the photo gallery for more photos of the cars together.