The Epic Comeback of Manual In 2018 Porsche 911 GT3

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Porsche introduced the 911 GT3 back in 1999, it was named after the FIA Group GT3 racing class so popular in the old GT Series’ back then. It’s like the high-performance version of a high-performance sportscar, and to date, Porsche have sold over 14,000 units.

That figure doesn’t sound that high when compared to mass produced every day cars that could sell 500,000+ each year, but for such a niche vehicle… well, Porsche consider the numbers good enough to keep making it, and that’s good enough for us!

Big News about 2018 Porsche 911 GT3

Contents

1. Big News
2. The Flat-Six Push
3. The Boring Bits
4. Parts Bin Special

It seems that the Porsche fans weren’t happy when it was announced that Porsche wouldn’t be offering the last GT3 without a manual transmission, and the fans made their voice heard – the 2018 GT3 is going to have a manual transmission on the options list, and better yet, it will be a no cost option. Yes, you read that right – it won’t cost a dime to swap out the faster accelerating PDK transmission for the more controllable stick shift.

However, it’s worth remembering that if acceleration is everything to you, the manual loses about 0.7 second on the 0 – 60 sprint time, but does gain an extra mile-per-hour at the top end – 198 MPH over 197 MPH. You pay’s your money and takes your choices.

The 6-speed manual transmission comes directly from the ultra-limited production 911R.

The Flat-Six Push

While the outgoing flat-six 3.8 liter naturally aspirated pusher was no slouch (475 BHP and 324 lb/ft of torque), Porsche knew they could do better; a capacity increase to 4.0 liter, new valvetrain borrowed from the 911 RSR racer, new oil pump, stiffer crankshaft with increased diameter main bearings and reworked inlets means that power has increased to just over 500 BHP and 339 lb/ft of torque – noticeable enough when comparing them back-to-back. The engine has effectively been borrowed from the 911 GT3 RS – the hardcore GT3, we love the fact that it has a 9,000 RPM redline – it feels kinda racey when you’re in the mood.

Porsche quote a nought to sixty time of 3.2 seconds for the PDK equipped version, top speed of 197 MPH. It’s definitely not shy on performance, especially when you consider it has no turbo or four-wheel drive system fitted – just a limited-slip rear differential to keep things in check when ‘making progress’.

The Boring Bits

OK, boring is a harsh phrase, but most of us only really want to know about the oily bits that make it actually go. Yes, the new 911 GT3 is a technical marvel – the four-wheel steering system can work in the same direction as the front wheels, or opposed. This means that high-speed stability can be the priority or low-speed turning takes preference, it really is a clever system and you can actually feel it working, or at least you think you can.

For the first time ever, the GT3 will be offered with three, yes THREE different seating options, although anyone that doesn’t pick the fixed-back carbon fiber buckets is in the wrong car, especially if they choose the 18-way powered adjustable Adaptive Sport Seat Plus which also includes an electrically adjustable steering column (with memory). The base model just comes with powered height and backrest adjustment.

The smaller steering wheel draws inspiration from the giant-killing 918 and of course, there are no back seats, just a big empty space and lower center of gravity.
Underneath the slightly redesigned exterior (What’s the easiest job in the world? A Porsche 911 designer) comes a raft of new changes, including a larger rear diffuser, under-floor aero tweaks and a good level of tech.

Standard technology includes the Porsche Connect Plus Module which gives real-time traffic alerts, navigation and Apple CarPlay (no mention of Android Auto). It also has the Track Precision App which allows you to record the driving data and upload it to your smartphone (let’s be honest – with no mention of Android, they mean iPhone) for analysis at a later date.

OK, so we made fun of the designers hard work; the 2018 GT3 will indeed be restyled, an updated front end and fascia, new rear lighting and a few styling tweaks here and there, but it isn’t revolutionary – if see one of these 2018 models driving down the road, you won’t need to stop and stare, you’ll instantly know it’s a 911 GT3.

Parts Bin Special for GT3

Reading some of the specifications, it would be easy to think that Porsche have just knocked up a parts bin special – gearbox from the 911R, engine from the GT3 RS, rear carbon fiber wing from one of the racers… it all seems as though they really have just got some of their best bits and had a play.

However, to say that is doing Porsche a massive injustice, the 911 GT3 has always been something a bit special; it’s track focused but doesn’t necessarily feel like a racecar, or even like a hardcore track-day car. It’s properly engineered, reliable, handles exactly as you’d want it to and just works – it isn’t temperamental like other brands offerings.

But then for $144,600, you’d want it to be wouldn’t you.

The 2018 Porsche 911 GT3 should be available towards September or October this year. If having the very latest and greatest 911 is important, then knock your socks off, if not, look for some great bargains to be had on existing stock levels of the GT3.

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Summary

The new GT3 goes back to traditions - optional manual gearbox and rear-wheel drive layout would bring back the extreme feeling of a real racecar.

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