The new 911 GT3 RS is even more focused than its predecessor – and Jack Evans has been finding out what it’s like.
The Porsche 911 GT3 RS is a car that has found a home among the upper echelons of the driving world. It’s a car which has, through its many generations, come to represent the fine-honed edge of driving, blending the line between the road and track in one be-winged and lightweight model.
Now, there’s a new one. And it’s a GT3 RS which aims to make that line between circuit and public road even thinner with a whole host of motorsport-derived cues and features.
Though this new 992-generation GT3 RS might follow the same basic layout as its predecessor, in pretty much all areas it has been cranked up a notch. Not only is the styling wilder and more aero-focused than before but the level of customisation available to the driver has been greatly increased. Take one look at the steering wheel, for instance, and you’ll see dials for all different types of functions including the traction control and stability control – to name just two.
There are loads of ‘active’ functions, too. Both the front diffuser and rear wing can be automatically adjusted to help with braking or – in full F1 style – that rear wing can be flattened off with a Drag Reduction System (DRS) setting.
In the usual 911 recipe, you’ll find the GT3 RS’ engine slung right out at the back of the car. The 4.0-litre unit shuns turbocharging and is naturally aspirated to give it the high-revving freedom that we’ve come to expect from these high-performance track-focused Porsches.
With 518bhp and 465Nm of torque it’s actually quite modest in output against other Porsche models but thanks to a silky seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox it’ll manage 0-60mph in just three seconds and carry on to 184mph flat-out. The CO2 emissions of the GT3 RS are quite high at 305g/km, while the claimed fuel economy of 17.5mpg will likely dip when you drive this 911 as Porsche intends.
The GT3 RS has boatloads of presence even before you’ve switched it on, inspiring that little bit of motorsport excitement from the off. However, once you’re up to speed it’s a car which is all-encompassing, both in terms of sound and vibration. We actually found the 911 GT3 RS to be pretty composed on the motorway – you can thank the trick suspension for that – which means it won’t be uncomfortable during those longer journeys to the circuit.
Of course, the twisty stuff is where the RS really comes alive. We drove it during a pretty sodden day in Wales and the RS generated grip seemingly out of thin air. The steering, weighty and direct, is the party piece and the gearbox shifts crisply whenever you need it – though we found that in fully automatic ‘normal’ mode it had a tendency to shift up a little too keenly, leaving you in a higher gear unexpectedly. We absolutely looking in the rear-view mirror as the brake lights illuminate the huge wing – it’s a properly drama-filled feature.
With its huge wing and aero-peppered bonnet, the GT3 RS isn’t a car to make a quiet entrance in. However, that’s really not the point – it has been designed to smash lap times and defeat circuit records, so you can’t hold the larger-than-life features against it.
But it’s a car which you continue to drink in the more you look at it. The little diffuser pieces dotted here and there to aid airflow or the struts to activate the rear wing – they’re all features which you keep enjoying as you discover each part of this 911’s remarkable design.
As you’ll probably expect, the cabin of the 911 GT3 RS is focused primarily on the driver. That means everything is within easy reach of the person behind the wheel but, most importantly, the seating position is bang on the money with a nice low seating height and a wheel that you can bring right up towards you. The metal gearshift paddles feel superb to use, but we do wish they were just a little bit longer – it can be a bit easy to miss them at times.
There’s a huge radiator in the ‘nose’ of the car, so you lose out on any storage space there as you’d usually find in a ‘normal’ 911. The seats inside are comfortable and well bolstered, plus you can add the Clubsport pack as a no-cost option and find six-point race harnesses fitted as standard as a result.
The 911 GT3 RS is Porsche at its finest. It’s a car which is so honed, so precise and so well-finished that it’s hard to see how they could better it. It’s nice that Porsche hasn’t gone overboard with the power, either – it’s only slightly more powerful than the previous-generation RS – but instead focused on making it even more capable in the bends.
Attention to detail is a real factor with this car, from the quality of the carbon weave to the finish on the dashboard – it’s all been incredibly well thought through. It might be extreme, but the 911 GT3 RS is about as pure a driving experience as you’ll find today.