10
Until the track-bred RS comes along, this is the ultimate GT3 — endowed with speed, poise and a definite sense of purpose

Our Verdict

Porsche 911 GT3

Latest 911 GT3 is big and brutal; despite this Porsche has made it faster, more responsive and more user-friendly than ever

Nic Cackett
30 July 2013

What is it?

Our second look at the Porsche 911 GT3 - but we’ve good reason for going back to Germany. This return visit held the prospect of driving the Clubsport version – an option package that some 45 per cent of customers of the previous generation of the 911 ticked on their way to GT3 ownership.

2016 Geneva Motorshow update: Porsche confirm next generation 911 GT3 will be built with a manual gearbox

Their enthusiasm is understandable. A full 80 per cent of buyers report that they are likely to take their new toy out on the track. For those who intend to do it more than once or twice a year, the extras included in the (almost) no-cost option pack are well worthy of consideration.

As before, the most notable additions are the ones that the GT3 emerges from the factory wearing: namely, the burly half cage straddling the already deleted rear seats and the clasping bucket seats up front (which have to be pre-selected separately).

They come with the mountings for a six-point harness, although the peculiarities of homologation mean that this must be fitted by the owner. Likewise the fire extinguisher and battery kill switch, so there’s still a modicum of DIY fettling to be done before a Clubsport can be truly considered complete.

What's it like?

Clearly, you could have someone else tightening the various bolts for you, but the thought of showing a socket set to this GT3 is an appealing one; if only because the latest model, infamously shorn of its manual gearbox, radiates technological aloofness.

As there is no mechanical adjustment to differentiate the Clubsport, it, too, is defined by the blasphemous new powertrain – a black-box partnership of such malevolent, moreish ferocity that its 9000rpm impact leaves a scowling mark on the memory banks. Mourn the six-speeder, but it’s hard to imagine impeding the GT3’s progress with anything as rudimentary as a pedal and lever. Short of sequential blinking, ice-pick paddles feel all the world like an appropriate way to pluck at the PDK’s shortened ratios. 

Any nagging doubt that the fiercest ‘991’-generation 911 yet would have altered during its pigeon-step into production is duly eradicated within moments. Comparison with the previous ‘997’ GT3 will be protracted but, truthfully, the change in Carrera template brings the current 911 more often to mind. It is that car’s supple athleticism which has been preserved, distilled and re-administered to a stiffer, leaner and wider body. 

Likewise, the agility and potency simmering somewhere below the 991’s unruffled surface have been brought steadily to boil by not only the far sharper chassis set-up, but also the notably better means of aiming it down the road. Quite how Porsche has engineered such sinewy resistance into its electrically powered steering rack remains a mystery, but it is the fleshy weight, hint of kickback and measured eagerness that keeps both hands wedded to the Alcantara-clad wheel, and so compulsively involved at all speeds. 

Around this desirable cake, the Clubsport’s embellishments orbit like proverbial cherries. The bucket seats feel a little broader than before and certainly better cushioned. The lightweight carbonfibre-reinforced plastic shells still want for a bit more shoulder support, but your hips are largely invulnerable to lateral excess. 

With no structural part to play (save for holding up the roof if you dump the car on it), the scaffolding’s effect is chiefly spatial – robbing the rear of a useful perch, yet brimming it with utilitarian swagger and a useful dose of extra confidence should you choose to challenge the limits of the GT3’s mighty grip. 

Should I buy one?

So broad is the GT3’s appeal now that opting not to include the Clubsport’s auxiliary items is understandable, given that the standard seats are likely to prove more comfortable, and the cage-less car more practical. 

But we’d remain in the sizable minority predicted by Porsche to keep the faith. While the GT3’s talent may now stretch to accommodating a commute at one end, it hasn’t detracted from the model’s supreme ability at the other. Because a track is still required to consistently and best explore this, and the Clubsport is marginally better prepped for doing so, it pips the stock version at the post. Five and a half stars, then. 

Porsche 911 GT3 Clubsport

Price £100,540; 0-62mph 3.5 seconds; Top speed 196mph; Economy 22.8mpg; CO2 289g/km; Kerb weight 1430kg; Engine 3799cc, six-cylinder, petrol; Power 468bhp at8250rpm; Torque 325lb/ft at 6250rpm; Gearbox Seven-speed PDK

Join the debate

Comments
11

30 July 2013

In 10 years time, it is the last one they will mourn...

30 July 2013

did anyone from Autocar really go out to Germany to drive the club sport?  I mean,  a child of 6 could have given more insight into what this car was like to drive!  Could hardly have been for more than 5 minutes if someone really did drive it.  This review was hardly worth the plane trip out there.  The second extremely mediocre review.

30 July 2013

"Short of sequential blinking, ice-pick paddles feel all the world like an appropriate way to pluck at the PDK’s shortened ratios. 

Any nagging doubt that the fiercest ‘991’-generation 911 yet would have altered during its pigeon-step into production is duly eradicated within moments. Comparison with the previous ‘997’ GT3 will be protracted but, truthfully, the change in Carrera template brings the current 911 more often to mind."

Sorry, but WHAT?  All for a bit of creativity to help make a review more interesting, stand out from the rest, but I have read this three times now and still not sure I get it.  Either I am too thick, or it is too ... something.

30 July 2013

benjamino wrote:

Either I am too thick, or it is too ... something.

I'm with you there, not the first of this author's reviews I've given up on. Think I'll go watch Chris Harris' review.

#thesaurusvomit


30 July 2013

bomb wrote:

benjamino wrote:

Either I am too thick, or it is too ... something.

I'm with you there, not the first of this author's reviews I've given up on. Think I'll go watch Chris Harris' review.

#thesaurusvomit

 

Agreed. I can't stand Nic Cackett's writing style. Tries far too hard and the harder he tries the more nauseating he gets. Much as I love Autocar, he kills it for me now and I've given up reading his articles.

30 July 2013

Bencolem wrote:

bomb wrote:

benjamino wrote:

Either I am too thick, or it is too ... something.

I'm with you there, not the first of this author's reviews I've given up on. Think I'll go watch Chris Harris' review.

#thesaurusvomit

 

Agreed. I can't stand Nic Cackett's writing style. Tries far too hard and the harder he tries the more nauseating he gets. Much as I love Autocar, he kills it for me now and I've given up reading his articles.

 

I agree with each of the above.  Clumsy attempts at entertaining prose are just jumbles of mumbo jumbo conveying absolutely zero.  The writer appears to ascribe to the philosophy of "Why write a single useful sentence when you can fill the page with rambling drivel?"

F'rinstance, "proverbial cherries" do not orbit, they sit on top, and not of a cake, but a sundae!  "The proverbial cherry on top" ... of the Sundae ... meaning a perfect finishing touch.  A car can be in perfect "cherry" condition.  A virgin can "pop" his (or especially her) cherry in the back (or front) seat of a car.  A car can be a delightful thing, like a bowl of cherries.  But no car, not even a Porsche, makes cherries orbit cake.  Daft.  

This "review" deserves notoriety only for its condensed gathering of failure.  I could shred every paragraph, but one more will suffice:  While this is indeed the fiercest GT3 to date, that superlative is lost in blurry sentences as if dictated while driving said fearsome car, and transcribed verbatim, unedited.  Ugh.  Not to mention the absurd use the word perch and the incomprehensible "pigeon-step" ... is that a pigeon wing or pigeon toed?  And this would mean what exactly?  Such self-indulgent piffle.

Nothing at all said about the actual matter of driving the car.  Why no photos of the club sport components or how they work?  Why not a photo of the belts/harnesses in place; or the fire extinguisher tank?  Perhaps photos of where and how the half cage attaches to the car?  The changes to the design of the cage or the option to install the front half and make it a full cage?  Will the GT3 come with weld-in plates for all six attachment points?  Does this improve the rigidity of the chassis at all?  What does it all weigh?  Why no mention of forthcoming new seat designs?  Any mention of cabin air buffeting at speed with the windows down?  Any number of things an actual enthusiast interested in buying the GT3 with clubsport pack would like know in detail, to make an informed decision.  Is Autocar becoming a lifestyle and fluff magazine?

Autocar should do better than to pay for this rank junk pulp ... or expect readers to subscribe to it.

1 August 2013

It's a first drive, not a fully comprehensive review??

Give the guy a break, I have read worse first drive reports and maybe the whole hype and expectation surrounding the 991 GT3 launch had a part to play in the writing of this article.......

30 July 2013

If yoiu have the disposable, then why not?,for me the road version is plenty enough car for me,if i could afford one,but of course, you can't use the car's full potential on the road, so, it is really a Track car.

Peter Cavellini.

pog

30 July 2013

Not interesting reading for me. What have I learnt ? Car journalism ? Really ? the creativity is misplaced, misjudged. Trying too hard Nic ?

pog

31 July 2013

i lost the will to live after reading the first paragraph, Nic... please write in English...

ajd

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