When a small, independent automaker like Porsche has two world-premieres at one auto show, it's big news. It's even bigger news when the two cars are the downright nutty 480-hp 911 Turbo and this model, the 911 GT3. With 415 horsepower, the GT3 is the most powerful non-turbo 911 road car in Porsche's history. The car starts with the same high-revving 3.6-liter flat-six as the last GT3, which was derived from the 996-series 911. For the 997-based GT3, Porsche adds a larger throttle valve (82 millimeters in diameter, up from 76 millimeters), new cylinder heads, and a reconfigured exhaust system. Changes have also been made to the car's six-speed transmission, including shorter ratios for the top five gears and a shifter with even shorter throws. All of these engine and transmission modifications, Porsche claims, results in a 0-to-60-mph time of 4.1 seconds, a 0-to-100-mph time of 8.7 seconds, and a top speed of 193 mph.
Porsche hasn't ignored the GT3's chassis either, which now incorporates PASM active suspension. The system offers a basic configuration and a Sport mode to enable "more focused dynamics for the racetrack." We are a bit skeptical of PASM because of past experiences with other 997 models. PASM improves ride quality, expanding the market for the car, but it has the potential to compromise the GT3's purity and connected feeling when you push the car hard. It will be interesting to see how well Porsche has integrated PASM into this focused driver's car.
While the GT3 is not fitted with stability control, a defeatable electronic traction control system, derived from the system in the Carrera GT supercar, is standard. Together with a mechanical limited-slip differential, the traction control should help keep the massive nineteen-inch rubbers stuck to the pavement. Inside the cabin, a light illuminates the tachometer when it is time to shift. The 911 GT3 will arrive in North America in August, at a price of $106,000.