2010 Porsche 911 GT3

2010 Porsche 911 GT3

Though we rarely meet a Porsche we don't like, the 911 GT3 - a hardcore, track-tuned version of the legendary sports car - has always occupied a soft spot in our hearts. That likely won't change, as the 2010 Porsche 911 GT3 has grown in all the right places.

That isn't immediately apparent, though a few visual cues do set the new GT3 apart from its predecessor. A new aerodynamics package adds a redesigned rear wing, along with new front and rear bumper fascias. The front grille is now body color, while the GT3 also sports revised turn signals and taillights - a hallmark of the revised 911 range.

The biggest growth, however, lies underneath the hood. The previous car's 3.6-liter flat-six engine is eschewed in favor of a new 3.8-liter unit. It's good for 435 hp, a 20-hp increase that Porsche attributes to both the extra displacement and the addition of variable cam timing. Notably absent, however, are direct fuel injection, a technology increasingly seen on Porsche's latest models . Also missing is the new PDK dual-clutch transmission - the new GT3 comes only with a six-speed manual, and Porsche won't confirm or deny rumors of eventually offering the PDK gearbox in the car.

No worries - even without the fancy transaxle and fuel delivery system, the new GT3's still a verifiable rocket. Porsche says the new car will move from 0-62 mph in a brief 4.1 seconds, and will ultimately hit a top speed of 194 mph. Perhaps it's a good thing the GT3 continues to offer Porsche's active suspension system (PASM), allowing the driver to select between a softer mode for casual driving and a stiffer setting for track days.

Such adaptivity is also found in a clever new option, the Porsche Active Drivetrain Mount. As its name suggests, the PADM system essentially acts as an active suspension for the engine itself, stiffening the engine mounts in hard driving to improve weight transfer. One new addition: stability control, though Porsche's added a neat trick to keep enthusiasts and racers alike happy. The system can be deactivated in two parts - one killing the stability control, the other disabling traction control - and unlike similar systems in lesser 911 models, neither is reactivated upon applying the brakes.

Though the 911 GT3 launches at the 2009 Geneva motor show in March, it won't arrive stateside until October. Porsche says pricing should begin at $112,000, excluding taxes and destination charges.

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