The Porsche 911 is the water of the car world. It sounds absurd, but hear me out. We take it for granted and it’s so omnipresent we barely notice it, yet we couldn’t live without it. See what I’m getting at?
But unlike water, Porsche has improved the 911. Almost none of the mid-life changes the regular 997 Carreras received – seamless PDK transmission and direct injection primarily – have made it onto the latest GT3, which leaves me wondering just how much Porsche could actually do to enhance what was, on balance, our favourite 911. Possibly ever…
First impressions aren’t that good. The sheer functionality of the GT3’s interior means that you are encouraged to just get on and drive the thing, rather than wallowing in eye-catching but superfluous detail, or daft novelty. There is no daft novelty in a 911.
So we drive, but even here there’s an unexpected irritation: I can’t heel-and-toe in this thing. I know that makes me sound like some UKIP-voting codger with an Austin-Healey, but it means I can’t get into a proper flow on these sorts of roads. It’s a weird anomaly in a car whose controls are usually so perfectly calibrated.
The rest is just as you’d expect. We loved the previous GT3 for its linearity, precision, and astonishing composure over even the choppiest roads.
There’s revised front suspension geometry and adaptive engine mounts on this car, so it handles the worst I can throw at with real ease. There’s new aero too, so it feels more tied down.
And the engine – derived from the unit that helped propel Porsche to victory in Le Mans in 1998 – has grown from 3.6 to 3.8 litres, has improved breathing with Variocam on intake and exhaust, and now revs to 8500rpm with an insatiable hunger.
On a dry road, nothing turns into a corner or exits in such a dramatically undramatic way as this 911 GT3.
On the track? Given that it’s ready to race – in Clubsport-spec you get a roll cage at no extra cost – it monsters the opposition.
No surprise there.
What is a bit surprising is the GT3’s duality. Rookies can lap quickly in it without scaring themselves, enjoying the chassis’ balance and the mighty brakes. The more expert can coax huge, controllable drifts out of it, for the same reasons.
What a car. Better, even, than water.
Read the Aston Martin V12 Vantage blog.
Read the KTM X-Bow blog.
Read the Ferrari 599 HGTE blog.
Read the Audi R8 V10 blog.