2011 Porsche 911 GT3 Road Test Review

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One of the things that makes Porsche's iconic 911 so remarkable is its multifaceted personality. When you buy one, you can get anything from a luxurious convertible grand tourer to an all-out racing machine. And should your proclivities lie somewhere in between, you'll find the good people in Stuttgart more than willing to perfectly tailor a 911 to accommodate you.

Personally, my preference lays just this side of the all-out racing aspect of the range. I prefer driving on the street to the track, although I do like the idea of taking my daily driver to the track and being perfectly competitive. Also, while I fully appreciate the magic that happens when you combine the words Porsche and Turbo into a single phrase, for me, natural aspiration holds a stronger allure.

This is why the Porsche 911 GT3 is my favourite 911.

Packing just enough luxury to ensure your comfort, the GT3 delivers performance by the bucketful. Fed to the rear wheels by a six-speed manual transmission and one of the stiffest clutch pedals you'll ever encounter, the rear-mounted 3.8-litre engine spins up to 8,250 rpm and streams 435 horsepower and 317 ft-lbs of torque. Yes, I know these days that might not sound like a lot––until you learn the GT3 only weighs 1,400 kilos. The first time your left hand keys a GT3 into life, you'll know you're about to be in command of something extraordinary.

And, every aspect of the car is geared toward providing you with the maximum efficiency for that pleasure. The seats hold you firmly in place and nicely upright. Upholstered with Alcantara––as are the steering wheel and shift knob––slipping and sliding about is a foreign concept, for both your body and the Porsche.

There is no corner the GT3 won't attack with impunity. Prod the throttle firmly and the back of your head becomes instantly intimate with the headrest. Demand the brakes respond urgently, you'll come away with a diagonal stripe across your chest. Turn the steering wheel sharply; the Porsche changes directions so rapidly your eyeballs will still be looking where you were going before. However, used in measured fashion, each of those controls communicates with you brilliantly––while rewarding you with a positively organic experience. Porsche builds the only street cars I've driven that feel absolutely alive. Strap yourself into a GT3, set it into motion, and it's as if your body grows mechanical appendages. A Porsche GT3 feels like an extension of your body.

In a time when computers do everything from keeping your car in line on the road, to operating dual clutches and matching revs for downshifts, the GT3 says, "Hey, you went and got me, you must know what you're doing––have at it dawg." Which is not to say the GT3 makes no use of modern technology. In fact, quite the opposite is true. Active engine mounts reduce flex in the drivetrain under load, enabling the Porsche to put its power down with minimal friction losses. The exhaust system incorporates a complex arrangement of butterfly valves, manifolds, catalytic converters and presilencers. Forged pistons, titanium connecting rods, hollow camshafts, and special lightweight valves and cup tappets enable the engine to spin to that monumental redline.

Of course, along with all of this capability does come some compromise. The GT3 sits so low to the ground you can barely slip your foot beneath the front spoiler. This means you need to pay attention when negotiating driveways and such, lest you're greeted with sound of the chin spoiler dragging the pavement like fingernails on a chalkboard. Additionally, the GT3 makes no bones about trying to be a quiet car; you buy a GT3 to listen to the engine, not your iPod. The ride quality can be stiff for most butts as well, but again, if you're looking for a relatively quiet and comfortable experience with full luxury amenities––might we please show you something in a Carrera?

But if you came specifically to drive, and an absolutely unalloyed 911 experience is what you're after, behind the wheel of a GT3 is where you really want to be. It's the ultimate iteration of Dr. Porsche's original idea. Pricing starts at $132,000.
©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Sports Coupe, Porsche, 911 GT3, $99,999+,

Organizations: Porsche

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