New 997 GT3 MkII first drive
Just putting the finishing touches to issue 49. The big news it that we have a first test of the new 997 GT3 MkII – and very good it is, too. Here’s a sneak preview:
First impressions as I warm up the engine and gearbox in the light suburban traffic leading away from Zuffenhausen were of a car little changed from its predecessor.
The same flat-six growl is there, its exhaust note a half octane deeper and more purposeful than a Carrera’s. The short-shift gearchange is stiff but very positive. There’s little chance of wrong slotting it, but its weighting makes you feel that this is no car for boulevard poseurs.
The six-speed gearbox is more or less the same as before, with the same ratios and steel synchros in second, third and fourth gears, but some parts have been made lighter along with the dual mass flywheel. The limited-slip differential is unchanged.
The steering is as crisp as ever; positive, heavier than a Carrera’s and never nervous. It doesn’t talk to you or walk around like an 1980s 911, but it is perfectly set up for a chassis that feels taut and all of a piece.
As I pick up the pace on a dual carriageway leading to open country, the extra torque becomes apparent. Decent pull in fourth gear from 1500rpm is there for the asking. The 3.6 would happily do that party trick, too, but with less meat on the bones. This is a more relaxed drive, indeed.
Yes, I’m looking for that everyday drivability again. It’s certainly there with the engine but is it there with the ride comfort? As always, though, these German roads are just too good to tell. Perhaps I can find some UK- or Spanish-grade Tarmac out in the sticks where the recent long, hard winter has opened up some seams.
In the meantime, the ride seems no worse than before, despite the uprated springs. Firm but quite compliant in secondary ride, the new GT3’s comfort levels are a country mile better than those of the 996 GT3. I flick the PASM button to Sport and the ride firms up noticeably.