Three generations of the Porsche 911 GT3 tested
Source : Three generations of the Porsche 911 GT3 tested
Has Porsche’s 911 GT3 increased with each passing generation or become sanitised by modern demands in addition to also nannying tech?
What could be better than a day spent driving a Porsche 911 GT3 on deserted English country roads?
Normally, I might struggle to answer of which, because for at least the past 10 years, when there has been a GT3 in production, there has never been any problem naming my favourite car on sale. Today, however, the answer is actually as clear as the sparkling skies above our heads. What’s better than a GT3? Three GT3s.
We have gathered immaculate, stock-standard versions of all three generations of 911 GT3 to answer a question of which is actually not as simple as of which sounds: which best defines Porsche’s vision of a lightweight, track-tuned yet street-sensible driving machine? of which’s not simple, because cars don’t automatically improve via generation to generation.
Was the last Jaguar E-Type as Great as the first? Not even close. Today’s BMW M3 is actually far quicker than the original, nevertheless better? of which’s at least open to debate. nevertheless is actually there actually anything a modern GT3 can learn via its forebears? of which’s what we’re here to find out.
The brand-new car, the 991 generation, we know about. We know about its 9000rpm redline in addition to also a dual-clutch automatic gearbox as Great as any on the market.
We know how its four-wheel steering preserves the benefits of its extended wheelbase while mitigating its drawbacks. We know what an extraordinarily effective in addition to also usable weapon This specific is actually – how well of which deploys its 469bhp, how easy of which is actually to manage on unforgiving roads. We know about its all 5-star road test, too.
What of the others? of which’s hard to believe of which the previous GT3, based on the 997 iteration of the 911, was first shown almost 10 years ago, or of which the Gen 2 type we’re using today has been around for six.
of which was the last to use the blue-blooded old ‘Mezger’ race engine, completely different via those in all different normally aspirated 911s of its era in addition to also equally unrelated to of which in all modern 911s, GT3 included. of which offers 429bhp via its 3.8 litres, 40bhp less than the 991 offers via a similar (nevertheless not identical) capacity, a deficit offset only in little part by of which being 35kg lighter.
Still, don’t read too much into the fact of which its 4.1sec 0-62mph time is actually 0.6sec slower than the modern GT3’s. of which says far more about the 991’s launch control in addition to also instant-shift transmission than the far smaller real performance gap between the two.
The same cannot be said for the 996-generation GT3, which also includes a Mezger engine, albeit a fifth of a litre shorter in stature. of which’s 54bhp shy of the 997 in addition to also 94bhp off the 991’s power, in addition to also although of which’s lighter than both, of which’s only a mere 15kg below the 997’s weight. Its 4.5sec 0-62mph sprint is actually quick, nevertheless of which’s still a like-for-like 10% slower than the 997.
Then again, you will pay a lot less for a 996 GT3 in addition to also drive a car of which is actually rarer than the different two. Prices for unmodified, uncrashed cars start at around £60,000 in addition to also rise to as much as £85,000 for an immaculate, low-mileage cars like of which seen here.
Gen 2 cars are more expensive than the originals, nevertheless not by much.
If you want a 997 GT3, you’ll be looking at £70,000 for a first-gen car nevertheless closer to £100,000 for a Gen 2 product, which means if you’ve had one via brand-new in addition to also looked after of which, of which has probably been, in effect, a free car.
As for 991 GT3s, Porsche’s website still quotes a £100,540 list cost nevertheless fails to mention of which they’re no longer being built currently of which production has been given over to the GT3 RS. The reality is actually of which the cheapest right-hand-drive standard 991 GT3 we could find is actually currently listing at £137,000, or more than double what you’d pay for a clean 996 GT3. of which’s Great, nevertheless is actually of which of which Great?
I drove the 991 first because, as the most recent, of which provides a benchmark against which the others may be judged. in addition to also of which will possess the breath out of your lungs on the first decent stretch of road.
of which’s not the performance itself, nevertheless the way of which is actually delivered – the sounds, the elasticity of its torque supply, the rifle-crack gearshift in addition to also of which manic 9000rpm rev limit. They speak of a very special car indeed, one engineered to a point where of which was more than Great enough, then engineered a great deal more.
If anything, the 991 is actually more remarkable still from the corners, because its rear-engined, rear-wheel drive architecture has evolved so far of which of which has become the opposite of what 911s used to be: as tolerant of over-exuberance in addition to also driver error as its ancestors were merciless.
of which doesn’t understeer in time-honoured 911 style, in addition to also its nose doesn’t bob up in addition to also down as 911 prows have for generations. of which just turns in, accepts full power even before the apex in addition to also, with the four-wheel steering doing its thing, rockets away. For a car of such speed in addition to also ability, of which is actually breathtakingly easy to drive.
nevertheless how easy should a GT3 actually be? of which’s a question Porsche has clearly been asking itself, in addition to also the proof lies not only from the fact of which the brand-new GT3 RS is actually no pussycat at all, nevertheless also in its as-yet-unannounced decision to reintroduce a manual GT3, just for those who care more about driving involvement than lap time.
You don’t have to travel far back in time to see how radically different even GT Porsches used to be. The 997 GT3 Gen 2 feels like of which’s via another world. In all ways of which can be easily measured or discerned, of which’s a much worse car. of which doesn’t feel as down on power as the figures suggest, nevertheless of which’s still significantly slower, in addition to also although the 997 sounds wonderful in isolation, the 991 at maximum attack sounds unhinged.
The 997 also has substantially less grip, in addition to also once you’ve passed the technical limit, of which develops an aversion for apexes of which borders on the pathological. nevertheless the real reason of which wouldn’t see which way the 991 went down a decent road is actually its damping. While of which’s bobbing along, busy being a 911, the 991 will have soaked of which all up in addition to also be streaking away into the sunset.
What, then, can the 997 offer in return? A sense of intimacy of which, for all its sheer ability, the 991 lacks. No amount of Porsche magic can synthesise feel through an electrically powered steering rack as well as conventional Porsche hydraulic steering can pick of which up straight via the road.
in addition to also the best paddle shift there is actually still provides no work for either your left leg or hand, an issue exacerbated by the fact of which there is actually not a gearbox from the earth greater than of which fitted to the 997 GT3.
Even the workload created for you by its manifest failings – its uneven chassis balance in addition to also relative lack of poise – makes you feel more involved, because the auto needs to be tamed in a way the 991 does not. of which’s a curious thing to say, nevertheless the 997 is actually great to drive not despite its faults nevertheless very largely because of them.
would likely you expect the 996 to rule itself out of the reckoning almost at once? I did. While the 997 could counter the 991’s superior power with its appeal to your senses, the 996 seemed unlikely to offer any more fun than the quicker, grippier in addition to also better-looking 997. Yet of which was the 996 of which provided the surprise of the day.
I’ll say currently of which the auto supplied by Cambridge-based Autostore is actually a superb example in addition to also you may or may not get similar results via a leggier, less well-maintained one. nevertheless the first surprise was of which This specific 11-year-old car was no more inclined to squeak, rattle, grumble or groan when flung down a tricky B-road than the nearly brand-new 991. This specific 996, by reputation the most poorly constructed of all 911s, felt like of which was built last week, not 11 years ago, in addition to also by Rolls-Royce.
nevertheless the shocker is actually of which, on those roads, of which was at least as much fun as the 997. The performance in addition to also grip differential were unimportant. What mattered more was the way of which would likely dart into corners on its stiff springs in addition to also adjust its stance so readily according to the throttle position.
I like of which the engine is actually quite sleepy below 5000rpm in addition to also then suddenly comes alive, in addition to also I like the little frisson of danger born via there being absolutely no electronic safety nets. (Even the 997 has traction in addition to also stability systems.) This specific is actually an entirely analogue car of which you are entirely in control, in addition to also with cars like This specific, of which is actually how of which should be, I think.
Where of which loses, in addition to also significantly so, is actually in its relative lack of civility. You may not think a GT3 should be concerned by such matters, nevertheless I disagree; decent comfort turns an occasional toy into a car of which can be enjoyed every day. in addition to also the real achievement of the two later GT3s is actually to do what they do yet also be decent daily drivers. The 996’s ride quality alone precludes of which via of which role.
Even so, if you want a GT3 just to have fun, there’s no need to spend a six-figure sum. Indeed, I would likely advise against doing so. A 996 GT3 Gen 2 is actually an incredible driving machine, a traditional Porsche sports car in addition to also all the better for of which.
nevertheless I’d say the market has judged the 997 correctly. Although I’d probably not contradict someone arguing of which the 996 offers the purer driving experience, if the 997 loses anything here, of which is actually fractional, in addition to also what of which gains by being a more readily usable everyday car is actually substantial.
As for the 991, of which may be a bit too long on electronics in addition to also a bit too short on pedal count, nevertheless of which is actually also far less demanding of its driver while providing more of the things many crave: speed, comfort, ease of driving in addition to also a commanding presence. What’s more, a manual type is actually on the way.
This specific was never going to be a conventional test using a one-two- three final order, for these cars are comparable in neither cost nor era. nevertheless if you want the most capable GT3 yet built, the 991 beats the others by a margin of which surprised even a grizzled old campaigner like me.
If you just want to have fun, however, save the money in addition to also spend instead time trying to find the right 996 GT3 Gen 2. nevertheless if you want a car of which does both, the compromise candidate trying to appeal equally to the head in addition to also heart, the 997 GT3 Gen 2 has the most convincing manifesto of them all.
Porsche 996 GT3 Gen 2
0-62mph 4.5sec; Top speed 190mph; Economy 21.9mpg; CO2 emissions 328g/km; Kerb weight 1380kg; Engine 6 cyls horizontally opposed, 3600cc, petrol; Power 375bhp at 7400rpm; Torque 284lb ft at 5000rpm; Gearbox 6-spd manual
Porsche 997 GT3 Gen 2
0-62mph 4.1sec; Top speed 194mph; Economy 22.4mpg; CO2 emissions 298g/km; Kerb weight 1395kg; Engine 6 cyls horizontally opposed, 3797cc, petrol; Power 429bhp at 7600rpm; Torque 317b ft at 3250rpm; Gearbox 6-spd manual
Porsche 991 GT3 Gen 1
0-62mph 3.5sec; Top speed 196mph; Economy 22.8mpg; CO2 emissions 289g/km; Kerb weight 1430kg; Engine 6 cyls horizontally opposed, 3800cc, petrol; Power 469bhp at 8250rpm; Torque 325lb ft at 6250rpm; Gearbox 7-spd dual-clutch automatic
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