The Sunday Times Driving Placeholder

Geneva 2013: Porsche 911 GT3 unveiled, on sale now

Racing car for the road will hit 196mph


Porsche’s new 911 range now boasts its wildest model yet: the new GT3 has 469bhp, can hit 196mph, and is the new king of giant rear wings.

The new coupe is being shown at the Geneva motor show, and has been developed by race engineers to eat Ferraris for breakfast on the track one day and then manage the daily commute the next.

It’s powered by a 3.8 litre flat six engine, which began life as one of the units fitted to the standard 911 Carrera S, before its parts were stripped away and replaced with lightweight forged aluminium and titanium components.

The result, according to Porsche, is a car that can rev up to 9,000rpm and  accelerate from 0-62mph in 3.5 seconds, while providing, as the Germans put it, “a highly emotional ‘fun factor’”.

Four out of five GT3s bought will be used on a racing circuit, says Porsche, justifying the huge rear wing that should provide plenty of downforce while cornering on track.

There’s also a new engine mount that’s flexible on the road to absorb vibrations, but which automatically stiffens up to improve performance when it senses that the driver is in racing mode.

All-adjustable aluminium suspension, a seven-speed sequential gearbox (no manual option) and a club sport option that includes a roll cage, seat harnesses and fire extinguisher all emphasise the GT3’s track pedigree but it’s not all about serious lap times.

The paddle shift gearbox allows drivers to dip the clutch in an instant by pulling on both paddles. As Porsche explains, this means that “the rear of the vehicle can be consciously destabilised for dynamic leaning into the curve”. In English, it means you can powerslide easily.

There’s also a practical side with rear wheel steering. At speeds of up to 31mph, the back wheels turn into the corner, giving a sharper response and making the car easier to park. At higher speeds, the wheels turn, slightly, in the direction of the front wheels, which is claimed to increase stability, but not so much that the GT3 begins to glide sideways like a crab.

The 911 GT3 is said to lap the Nürburgring, in Germany, in under 7min 30sec, which should give Nissan GT-R owners something to think about. The car is on sale now, costing from £100,540, but the first buyers will have to wait until November for delivery.