Oh lordy, that looks punchy.
Hell-bent on creating the most compromised road car imaginable, Porsche took the already brutal GT3 and made it even worse.
Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to the Porsche for masochists: the 911 GT3 RS.
Quite a sight, isn’t it? RS-model 911s have always been capable-looking pieces of kit, however, this latest one looks less like a car and more like a piece of medieval torture machinery. And it’s all because of the dark art of aerodynamics. Honestly, have you ever seen a road car that is more obviously obsessed with bending the air to its will? I’ll wait.
I can’t get over the size of that rear wing.
Nor can I. The adaptive, two-piece rear wing (featuring an F1-style drag reduction system –a first for a 911) also doubles as an emergency landing strip for large aircraft. Probably.
The rear wing doubles as an emergency landing strip for low-flying aircraft.
All up, the RS is said to be capable of generating 860kg of downward lift at 284 km/h (177mph). Eight hundred. That's eight pandas worth of downforce pressing the car into the tarmac at speed.
And despite its obvious obsession with aerodynamics, the boss of Porsche’s GT division, Andreas Preuninger, announced in an interview with TopGear that “For me personally, it looks stylish. You could drive it to the opera... if it was in black or something!” He may be right, but I’m not sure you'd want to.
Why is that?
Because you would arrive at Dead Man Walking in a puddle of your own sweat and faeces. The RS is a savage car.
But you can drive it on the road, right?
Yes, but you can also keep tigers as house pets in certain corners of the world. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.
The RS is a sanitised race car in all but name. I mean, it can be specced with a rollover bar, six-point harness and fire extinguisher, for heaven’s sake. It is also infinitely customisable and guaranteed to give you choice paralysis. Everything from the rebound and compression characteristics of the damping to the locking characteristics of the rear differential can be adjusted.
What else would you expect from a car capable of racing around the infamous Nürburgring Nordschleife in 6:49.328 minutes? That’s 10.6 seconds faster than the current 911 GT3, so it doesn’t exactly hang about.
Aside from fitting a picnic bench and some louvres, what else did Porsche change?
After they ruined the GT3's face by fitting an even more hideous pair of nostrils, the boffins at Porsche's GT division set about making the RS as light as possible. A rolling demonstration of Porsche’s “reduce to the maximum” lightweight philosophy, the RS features lightweight Carbon-Fibre Reinforced Plastic components, a single radiator layout, and can even be specced with magnesium wheels. As a result, the RS weighs... 15kg heavier than the regular GT3.
It turns out all those lightweight components are simply offsetting the weight gained due to the addition of a wider body (stolen from the 911 Turbo), broader tyres, and, of course, that whopping rear wing.
I presume it has more power than the poverty-spec GT3 to counteract the added weight?
Indeed, it has. Though not as much as you might think.
Where the regular GT3 makes do with 375kW (509PS) and 470Nm (346lb-ft), the howling 4.0-litre six-cylinder naturally aspirated boxer engine in the RS produces 386kW (525PS) and 465Nm (343lb-ft). And yet, despite the seven-speed PDK having a shorter overall gear ratio than the unit in the GT3, the RS is no quicker. Each car takes 3.2 seconds to accelerate from zero to 100 km/h.
Is the RS faster, though?
It’s slower. Flat out, the RS will reach 296km/h (184mph), while the GT3 will sail past at 317km/h (197mph). Blame the RS’s shorter gear ratios and increased drag.
You're telling me the RS is slower, more compromised, and (presumably) dearer than the car it's designed to improve upon?
Yes, yes, and, yes.
How much more expensive is it, exactly?
Porsche is asking for a wallet-quaking AUD$500,200 (before on-road costs) for the RS compared to ‘just’ $369,600 for the regular GT3. Good luck ordering either, though.
Maybe I’m just getting old, but it’s hard not to be pessimistic when discussing the new GT3 RS. It fulfils its brief to a T, but I’m struggling to see the point.
On the race track, I have no doubt the RS would rinse the GT3. But out in the real world—a place with grease and roadkill and potholes that swallow small children—I cannot think of a single road where I would rather drive an RS over a GT3.
What’s the solution, then?
If you absolutely must have the fastest car at your local track day, have half a million to blow, and hate your eardrums, buy a Rodin FZED and the most expensive life insurance you can afford.
If you want the ultimate road-going sports car then I suspect a regular 911 GT3 will suffice. Or, if you would rather not risk needing an epidural before each drive, the softer, more road-oriented 911 Carrera T may be more up your alley; all yours for the bargain-basement price of $280,600. That’s some proper consumer advice if I ever saw it.