New 2017 Porsche 911 GT3 driven on UK roads: verdict

A new 4.0-litre engine derived from the GT3 Cup cars, a 991 GT3 RS-matching 500hp output, 997 GT3 RS-equaling downforce and the return of the manual gearbox alongside PDK makes the new Porsche 911 GT3 an even more compelling choice in 991 Gen2 guise. Mixing up elements of RS and R DNA, as well that from the Cup car, the Porsche 911 GT3 is a hedonistic shot of driver purity that underlines Porsche’s GT department is very much playing it’s ‘A’ game.

And so to the A422, Warwickshire. My drive home. I’ve driven the stretch from Banbury to Stratford Upon Avon so many times I know every twist and turn, crest, dip and rise. There’s a German-plated Porsche 911 GT3 here, and I’ve got the keys. It’d be rude not to go for a drive. Right?

I’ll not go over the details, you’ve read them previously on Total911.com. You need to know it’s a PDK, the manual’s being driven a few hours after you read this, but hey, we’re not so blinkered by the return of the stick to ignore the seven-speed PDK. Anything else? Well, there’s 500hp from that new 4.0-litre engine, it borrowed largely from the GT3 Cup cars. Still as enthusiastic for revs, it’s 9,000rpm limit is retained, but there’s the promise of even greater flexibility further down the rev range.

So it transpires, too. The new 911 GT3’s 4.0-litre boxer engine is different. Good different, the authority with which it gathers pace at lower engine speeds is notable, even if the sound it makes isn’t quite as appealing. Initially, at least, get more than 4,000rpm on the rev-counter and the old, howling, mechanical magic is there, the 4.0-litre a charismatic, immediate, and exotic-sounding unit that might have a racer’s edge, but it achieves that without any road car compromises.

Like that new powerplant, the rest of the GT3 formula has been finessed. The suspension has been overhauled. Spring and damper rates, the geometry, new GT3 specific tyres and detailed changes to the rear-wheel steering system are clear on the road. The GT3 mixes tight, fine control with a compliance that’s remarkable given its clear focus. The steering response is as immediate as you’d wish for, the brakes mighty, the PDK’s shifting with such quickness you’d swear those paddles were anticipatory.

The very definition of a puristic 911, the GT3’s an absolute triumph, more forgiving and exploitable as a road car than the RS, more R in its character, and unique among not just the 911 line-up but all its contemporaries. We expected a lot from this car. And it’s very much delivered.

The most in-depth review of Porsche’s new 991.2 GT3 anywhere on the newsstand can be found in Total 911 issue 153, in shops from 17th May.

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