Barely road-legal Porsche 911 GT3 RS gives a searing sonic assault
Porsche’s ‘regular’ GT3 is already a very special piece of engineering, with rear-wheel steering, PDK-only gearbox, trick suspension and almost 470bhp from the 3.8-litre flat six engine. So how does the RS compete?
Well the RS is wider than a regular GT3; it uses the Turbo bodyshell and those big hips now house the air intakes, forcing more air into the engine at higher revs. There’s more power from the engine too, which is now 4.0-litres and dishes out a mighty 493bhp.
It’s also lighter, only by 10kg, but with more power pushing less weight you get a faster car. There are options to make it lighter still by adding the lithium ion battery option and deleting the stereo and air con.
Finally the suspension has been overhauled significantly. The track is wider, there are stiffer ball joints and even helper springs fitted at the rear, which shows just how serious this car is.
There’s a massive (adjustable) rear wing, bigger air intakes ahead of the rear wheel arches and a deep front bumper, all of which are designed to pin the GT3 RS to the road with genuine downforce. It also shares the delicious centre-lock alloy wheels already used on the regular GT3, although they’re an inch bigger here.
The eye-poking orange paint might not be to all tastes, but with the shark-like vents over the front arches and lots of other black detailing a contrasting colour brings out the best in the ultra-aggressive looks.
Behind the wheel, there’s a case for saying that the outright improvements in grip, speed and poise are marginal over the regular GT3. But this car is about extremes, which is why Porsche went to the trouble of making a magnesium roof that saves just 1kg compared to a carbon-fibre one.
Even in trickle traffic the GT3 RS feels like a racer that’s escaped from the track. The jiggling of the firm suspension and the sensation of power and performance being restrained is palpable, yet it’s not significantly less comfortable than an ordinary 911.
This may be the last 911 track-special that will have a non-turbocharged engine, so the searing sonic assault of 9,000rpm will soon be history, and all the throttle sensitivity that goes with it. It’s a car you could buy and keep forever, savouring its ability to make every journey feel special. They won’t make them like this any more…
Porsche 911 GT3 RS
Engine: 4.0-litre petrol unit producing 493bhp and 339lb/ft of torque
Transmission: Seven-speed dual clutch gearbox driving the rear wheels
Performance: Top speed 193mph, 0-62mph in 3.3 seconds
Economy: 22.2mpg combined
Emissions: 296g/km of CO2