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Geneva Motor Show 2013: Porsche 911 GT3

Auto gearbox and electric power steering on a GT3? Oh dear oh dear...

Porsche has officially unveiled the new 911 GT3 at the Geneva Motor Show and while it looks pretty familiar on the outside, there are some pretty big changes that will annoy the purists…

Let’s get the bad stuff out of the way first – the new 911 GT3, the hardcore track toy of the 911 range (until the RS comes along) is only available with the firm’s dual clutch 7 spd PDK gearbox. We all thought that the GT3 was one of the last bastions of the manual gearbox, that Porsche understood those who love stirring gears themselves and feeling at one with the mechanical aspects of the car, but sadly not. For now at least, the manual GT3 is dead and that really saddens us.

Visually the look of the GT3 was previewed by the normal car’s Sport Design Pack, and the front end is certainly familiar with the deep central air intake, flanked by two large intakes with the DRL and indicator units sitting above. There’s a low splitter and a vent ahead of the bonnet. At the rear there’s a large rear wing on struts, looking like that seen on the 993 GT2 many years ago and additional vents below that and to the sides. The standard GT3 centre-twin-exit exhaust is present and correct as well. There are also a new design of 20-inch centre lock alloy wheels as well, all mixing together to make one seriously aggressive and attractive sports car.

The interior carries over but adopts leather & Alcantara seats, an Alcantara-wrapped steering wheel and red contrast stitching. For the purists, the electric handbrake carries over too, annoyingly.

Power comes from a tweaked version of the standard Carrera S’s 3.8 litre six-cylinder boxer engine that features variable valve timing, direct injection, titanium conrods and forged pistons. These modifications help the engine to produce 468 bhp and 324 lb/ft of torque, up 39 bhp over the 997.2 GT3. Power is sent to the rear wheels via a locking differential and the aforementioned PDK ‘box. The 991 GT3 weighs in at 1430 kg.

 Acceleration from 0 – 62 mph takes 3.5 seconds, before hitting a top speed of 195 mph. To put things into prospective, Porsche says the model can lap the Nürburgring in less than 7 min 30 seconds.

To further boost its handling credentials, the GT3 is the first Porsche to offer an active rear wheel steering system. Designed to deliver unparalleled driving dynamics, the system steers the rear wheels in the same or opposite direction of the front wheels for improved agility. Many think that this, along with the PDK and electric steering system is a dilution of the GT3, and we have to agree with them but will reserve final judgement until we can drive it.

We hope (but aren’t overly hopeful) that the GT3 RS model coming next year will at least offer a manual gearbox as an option. Prices have yet to be revealed.

Images courtesy of Porsche

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About Tim Oldland

Contributing Editor - Long time petrolhead, automotive design engineer and journalist. Also Social Media Manager for the ecurie25 Group - www.ecurie25.com Tim has worked in the automotive sector for many years, but has been a fan of anything with 2 or 4... read more