I learned early on to respect the legend that has become the Porsche 911. This year the German brand celebrates 50 years of the iconic sports car by which many competitive performance vehicles are measured. Known by various monikers and variants, the bottom line is simple: If it looks like a 911 then it is a 911.
This week at the 83rd International Motor Show in Geneva Porsche revealed the most powerful 911 ever, the 5th generation GT3 which of course becomes the greatest model built to date. Since the icon’s debut in 1999, over 14,000 GT3s have been produced. Both the engine and transmission as well as the body and chassis are entirely new and extend the 911 GT3 with an impressive performance leap.
The latest GT3 is a beast, accelerating from zero to 60 mph in 3.3 seconds on its way to a top speed of 195 mph. As a technical highlight, the 911 GT3 features the first active rear-wheel steering in a production Porsche, as well as optional full LED headlights. The powertrain is composed of a 3.8-liter boxer engine yielding 475 horsepower, featuring a 9,000 rpm redline and a specially developed Porsche dual-clutch transmission (PDK) which drives the rear wheels. PDK in this application has been specially developed for the 911 GT3: the characteristics are based directly on a sequential gearbox from racing to providing further performance and dynamic advantages to the driver. Highlights include shorter gear ratios with closer spacing, faster shifting, and shift paddles with shorter travel and increased tactile feedback which now allow the driver to place the PDK in neutral simply by pulling on both paddles at the same time.
For the first time Porsche is employing active rear wheel steering to achieve even higher steering precision and improved lateral dynamics. Depending on the speed, the rear wheels steer in the same or opposite direction of the front wheels, improving stability and agility. Other enhancements that improve driving dynamics are an electronically controlled, a fully variable rear differential lock and dynamic engine mounts. Contact with the road is made by new 20” forged alloy wheels with center-locking hubs in place of conventional wheel bolts.
The 2014 911 GT3 will go on sale in the United States late in 2013 and will be priced from $130,400, not including a $950 destination charge. Stay tuned to Automotive Rhythms as this beauty will be fully tested very soon!