In the Porsche hierarchy, the most powerful cars aren’t always the most sought after by connoisseurs. Historically, purists, those who are the most fanatical about performance driving, tend to flock to the 911 GT3 despite it technically being not as fast in a straight line as a GT2.
But now there’s the all new GT3 RS. It’s still not the fastest Porsche you can buy (hello, 918), but if you're all about driving nirvana, it's almost certainly the best.
- Engine: Naturally Aspirated Flat Six
- HP: 500
- Torque: 338 lb-ft
- Nurburgring Time: 7m20s
- 0-60 mph: 3.1 seconds
- Quarter Mile: 11.2 seconds
There's a lot to talk about with this car, starting with that engine. As more and more carmakers are going the turbo route to keep emissions in check while putting out gobs of power, the fact that the RS's 4.0 liter flat six is still naturally aspirated is a big deal—and it’s possibly the last time you’ll see that from Porsche.
The chassis is 36mm wider, allowing for extra stability through the twisty bits, and the body’s a full 50 mm wider than your standard 911 (it's now the same as the 911 Turbo), but that’s just the beginning of the car's performance enhancement surgery.
Those vents in the fenders and rear bumper relieve air pressure and improve both downforce and drag. To save weight, those panels are made of carbon fiber-reinforced plastic, as is the trunk (i.e. up front), the rear lid (the “hood” in back) and the rear wing. The roof’s freaking magnesium.
The rear window? You guessed it: polycarbonate, in the name of weight reduction.
The seats are pure racing shells. And you don’t really want pure race seats and harnesses without a roll cage…so, naturally, that’s a factory option. So is a fire suppression system.
While you can only get it with paddle shifters (they are faster than a manual, after all), the GT3 RS has a "paddle neutral" feature: simply pull on both paddles at the same time, and you're in neutral, just like stepping on a clutch. It's a useful tool if you've been overly exuberant and are trying to regain control of the car.
How's this for race-inspired gadgets: it even comes with its own pit speed limiter! It's a switch in the center console that works like so: when you come back from a session on the track you'll basically crawl back to your garage, in case you're mind is still trying to fathom the lap times this machine is putting out.
And about those lap times. Seven minutes and twenty seconds around the Nurburgring is mind-bogglingly quick for a road car. That's the range of early 1970s Formula One cars.
For $175,900, it's hard to imagine a better performance bargain.
Aaron Miller is the Rides editor for Supercompressor, and can be found on Twitter. He'd like to point out that Jackie Stewart's 1971 pole time at the Nurburgring was exactly one second faster than this car.