How Good is 2018 Porsche 911 GT3?
The iconic GT3 nameplate typically used for racing cars takes on a whole new meaning when applied to Porsche’s road-legal 911. The concept is the same though: add power, reduce weight, and increase speed. Trouble is, genuine racing cars don’t have to deal with road laws and regulations, whereas the production 911 GT3 does. The 911 GT3 has always been one of the most iconic sports cars ever made. Ever since the debut of the GT3, the 997 generation, Porsche has been continually updating the concept in a quest for perfection. Although most of us thought things couldn’t get any better than the last GT3, they have. The new 991.2-gen 911 GT3 aims to further bridge the gap between racing cars and “normal” road-going sports cars. Porsche’s cars have a habit of punching way above their weight, but no one expected the new car to bring so much to the table. We’re not even talking about sheer speed either. It’s the way the car feels and how it talks to you. As a driver, this machine offers one of the most exhilarating motoring experiences any enthusiast could wish for.
911 GT3 Exterior
Visually, the car isn’t that different compared to its predecessor. This isn’t an entirely new generation after all, but a mild facelift. The crossover from the 991 generation to the 991.2 isn’t massive, but Porsche fans will notice it straightaway. For starters, the front gets a revised bumper with a big emphasis being placed on aerodynamics. The headlights and the nose are a straight carryover, but the intakes are now bigger. It may look cooler, but Porsche claims it was simply an engineering decision. Namely, to aid in cooling. The small winglets on the side vents play their role in aerodynamics too, supposedly increasing downforce by a noticeable amount.
The side profile is unchanged, but then again, one of the 911’s signature designs is its side silhouette. The low, smooth frontend followed by the jet-like canopy in the middle, ending with a sloping roofline receding all the way to the rear overhang. Oh, and there’s a massive rear wing right just behind the rear window, making the GT3 instantly recognizable as “not just another 911”.
The back holds the biggest amount of changes, but again, they’re subtle. The diffuser has been slightly tweaked to optimize airflow, and had we not just told you that, you probably wouldn’t have noticed. Don’t worry, neither did we. The taillights are a carryover from standard 991.2 generation, yet the LED layout suits the GT3 a bit better. The carbon-fiber wing gets a slight revision as well, and the license plate is somewhat different. Not that you’d care about a license plate though. What you will care about is this: the side air vents are larger, just like they are at the front, to keep the engine cool and in its optimum working zone.
Given the fact that no one expected any major changes in the way the GT3 looks, the facelift is a win. Remember, with Porsche it’s about evolution rather than revolution. The basic shape and design hasn’t been changed for well over 50 years, and yet they’re still some of the most desirable sports cars on the planet.
911 GT3 Interior
Inside it’s everything you’d expect from a 911 GT3: purposefully basic, yet elegant. There’s nothing extra to see here, but you don’t feel like anything you’d want in the car is missing either. Well, perhaps with the exception of a radar detector. The dashboard is minimalistic but the fact that it’s higher up gives you even more connection with the car. You get the feeling that you’re sitting inside the car, rather than on it. The seats have a lot to do with it as well. The standard sports seats hug you tightly but offer a lot of adjustment with various fore/aft and height/backrest settings. The sensation is that you’re one with the car. Yes that probably sounds cliché, although that’s really how you feel. The car is like an extension of your body, it feels alive and in-tune with you. Like it goes exactly where you think it to go. Very few cars, if any, manage to do the same.
Although the GT3 is devoid of rear seats, obviously, interestingly enough new buyers get a choice between three seat variants for the front. Those who plan to track the car or drive it in a manner a GT3 is supposed to be driven will be pleased to know you can get custom bucket seats made out of carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic with carbon-weave finish. The steering wheel is a real beauty and is similar (if not identical) to the one found in the 918 Spyder. The size is ideal and the Alcantara finish means it’s pleasant to touch as well.
There’s no need to cover any of the creature comforts since no one cares that much about them if we’re honest, but here it goes. The Porsche Communication Management (PCM) system gets online navigation with real-time traffic updates, as well as the Connect Plus module and the Track Precision app. All in all then, not the most luxurious of 911s, but then again, that’s not what it was designed for. It was designed for speed and driving involvement, which brings us on to the next section.
911 GT3 Engine & Chassis
Most of you probably already know that Porsche uses a flat-six Boxer engine (horizontally-opposed cylinders) in their 911 range. They have been since the inception of the model. The newest GT3 continues that tradition, but it does so in an even more impressive fashion. The last car had a 3.8-liter flat-six, this new one gets a bigger 4.0-liter unit that’s more similar to the GT3 RS and the 911 R. Power is rated at 500 horsepower and 339 lb-ft of torque, but it feels so much more than that when you’re behind the wheel. The engine is the GT3’s crowning jewel. It screams with a mechanical roar to 9,000 rpm, and begs you to be constantly revved.
Here’s the kicker though: you can now have it with a six-speed manual. Porsche fans have criticized the last GT3 for not offering a manual transmission, and as good as the PDK is, it always felt that something was missing. Porsche has listened and they’ve replied. The official performance figures are as follows: 3.2 seconds to 60 mph for the PDK version and 3.8 seconds for the manual. The top speed is 197/198 mph for the PDK and the manual respectively. If you want sheer performance, the PDK is a no-brainer. The GT3 is more than just pure speed though, and that’s where the manual comes in.
The clutch is super smooth and predictable. It’s not heavy, although you get a lot of feedback. The six-speed shifter is as sweet as a manual can get. Precise, fast and involving. The only trouble is that you can’t enjoy it too much. The GT3 is so fast that under normal everyday driving you could genuinely get everywhere with first and second gear, perhaps third on the highway. You can of course stick it into sixth and cruise, but who wants to do that in a GT3? The engine howl is intoxicating, and begging you press the go pedal all of the time. Better budget for some speeding tickets or else spring for a top notch radar detector before you buy.
And here lies the GT3’s biggest ‘drawback’. It’s so capable and fun it tempts you into going faster and faster. The car’s capabilities far exceed those of average drivers, and even some advanced ones as well. It’s hard to find a road and a driver who can challenge the GT3. Don’t get me wrong, you can enjoy the car for everything it is and still have a lot of fun, but it’ll beg you to push harder and harder every time. Perhaps it’s why most GT3 owners decide to take their car to the track every once in a while. The beast needs to be exercised. The more often the better.
The old GT3 was agile and nimble, but the four-wheel steering on this new one makes a world of difference. When you’re at speed around a bend, the rear wheels turn in sync with the front enhancing stability and agility. You don’t even feel the system work, it’s that effective.
So… How good is 2018 Porsche 911 GT3?
The new GT3 is the Holy Grail for automotive enthusiasts yearning for more driver involvement in a world of highly computerized sports cars, with a watered down car-to-driver connection. Yes, the 2018 Porsche 911 GT3 is as good of a sports car as anyone could want. It’s a car that you can’t help to look back at as you walk away because it looks so damn good, big wing and all. When driven, it’s a car that continues to remind you that you’re driving something very, very special here. This top-shelf Porsche represents why we love cars in the first place, and that says it all really.