by Gerhard Horn
When it comes to the Porsche 911 GT3, the first question that its engineers must surely have asked themselves is: How do you improve on perfection? Well, there is no such thing as the perfect car, but the closest thing ever to the concept was the previous-generation Porsche 911 GT3. Whether you prefer the standard vehicle with the flamboyant fixed-wing or the slightly more dignified Touring, the previous-generation GT3 was an exceptional car. Like most good things, it had to end. This isn't a problem because the best GT3 was always the latest GT3. Andreas Preuninger and his team have a habit of improving cars that you thought were impossible to upgrade. There was very little chance of the new GT3 being terrible if Andreas stuck to the same well-known recipe.
But then the first details started to emerge. The engine would come from the 911 Speedster, which was an odd roofless 911 for posers. The 4.0-liter boxer engine only produces 502 horsepower, which is just two more than the outgoing model. To make matters worse, Andreas and his team gave the GT3 a control-arm front suspension. You see, the GT3's biggest rival is not the Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series, Audi R8, or Lamborghini Huracan. Its biggest rival is always the previous GT3. It begs the question: Has the team behind the GT3 moved too far away from everything that makes the GT3 great?
The 2022 911 GT3 is an all-new model. It's essentially a stripped-down, more hardcore version of the 911. Porsche first introduced the GT3 over two decades ago and it has become an icon of the automotive world. The GT3 is the track-ready version of the 911, which is arguably the best sports car in the world. The biggest news related to this car is the all-new double-wishbone front suspension adapted from the 911 RSR, which is a significant departure for Porsche. The company promises greater cornering stability and superior mid-corner control when driving on uneven surfaces. The brakes are bigger than the last GT3, more lightweight materials have been used in its construction, and aerodynamic downforce is up by 50 percent over its predecessor.
See trim levels and configurations:
The 911 GT3 is easy to tell apart from the standard car, primarily thanks to the aerodynamic additions. At the rear, you'll find the fixed-wing with a swan-neck mounting. Beneath that is another rear spoiler integrated into the body. The front has a new apron with additional air openings and a lightweight hood made from carbon fiber. The GT3 comes standard with LED headlights and model-specific forged central locking staggered alloy wheels. It has 20-inch wheels at the front and 21 inches at the rear. The center wheel caps also come with a GT3 logo if you couldn't identify it using all the other visual clues. At the back, there are two central exhaust tailpipes with a black finish. For a more subtle appearance, there's the GT3 Touring which omits the large rear wing, while its tailpipes have a silver finish.
To fully understand the difference between a standard 911 and a GT3, you first need to look at their basic dimensions. Our favorite model from the standard range (Carrera S) is 177.9 inches long, 79.7 inches wide including the mirrors, and 51.1 inches tall. The GT3 is 180 inches long, 79.8 inches wide, and a mere 50.4 inches tall. Even the wheelbase is 0.2 inches longer at 96.7 inches. The GT3 is longer, wider, and lower than the standard car, which means it has a longer and wider footprint. That's exactly what you want for improved handling.
The main difference between the standard car and the GT3 has always been weight. A Carrera S weighs 3,298 pounds with a six-speed manual and 3,382 lbs with the dual-clutch PDK transmission. The GT3 weighs 3,126 lbs with a six-speed manual and 3,164 lbs with the PDK transmission. That's a 172 lbs difference between the manual cars and a more significant 218 lbs drop in weight between the PDK models.
The GT3 has always been available in a wide variety of colors, ranging from boring to wildly extravagant. No-cost options as part of the standard color palette include White, Black, Guards Red, and Racing Yellow. The metallic colors cost $840 each, and the selection consists of Carrara White, Jet Black, Agate Grey, Dolomite Silver, GT Silver, and Gentian Blue. Porsche has a range of special colors and these will each add $4,220 to the price. You can choose between Chalk, Lava Orange, Shark Blue, or Python Green. The GT3 looks best in vivid colors, so any of the last three options are perfect.
Porsche will also create a custom color for an additional $12,830. This is the perfect option for owners who have an existing collection of GT3s and want them all to match.
The GT3 formula is straightforward - a naturally-aspirated flat-six rear-mounted engine sending power to the rear wheels only. An all-wheel-drive system is a no-go, leaving the front wheels with only one task: steering the car.
The GT3 is not a numbers car. Its 4.0-liter flat-six engine produces 502 hp and 346 lb-ft of torque, figures which are dwarfed by the 911 Turbo S's outputs of 640 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque. As you'd expect, the Turbo S is much faster. It gets from 0-60 mph in 2.6 seconds and will continue to a top speed of 205 mph. The GT3 with the PDK transmission takes 3.2 seconds to get to 60 mph and can reach a top speed of 197 mph. The GT3 manual isn't as fast off the mark (3.7 seconds for the benchmark sprint) but has a higher top speed of 199 mph compared with the PDK-equipped variant.
The GT3's power output is also trounced by most performance sedans like the BMW M5, which has around 100 more horses. This car is not about the performance but rather the way it delivers the performance. You see, a Turbo S is all out of ideas at 7,200 rpm, at which point the GT3 still has 1,800 rpm left over. And it is those last few revolutions that make all the difference. If you're a keen driver, you'll never get tired of the way this car screams to 9,000 rpm. Why isn't it the fastest car if it's meant for track use? Porsche realized a while ago that 500 horses is peak as far as the 911 RWD chassis is concerned. Over the last decade, the GT3's outputs haven't increased all that dramatically, and that's intentional. Any more, and it would lose that delicate balance between usable power and too much power. The front axle would have to be connected for additional grip, and the GT3 would lose its light, pointy, and direct front end.
The GT3 proved its worth at the Green Hell in late 2020. It set a blistering time of 6:55:34 on the 12.8-mile track. That's quite a lot faster than most supercars and goes to show how beneficial that 9,000 rpm is on a track.
On paper, the GT3's engine doesn't appear to be as all-conquering as the car's chassis. It only produces 502 hp at 8,400 rpm and a shockingly low 346 lb-ft of torque at 6,100 rpm. A BMW M4 Competition has 503 hp and 479 lb-ft, and it's half the price. Those who love driving will know that these figures are meaningless. Few things in life are as satisfying as a naturally-aspirated engine producing 126 hp per liter. You have to be semi-abusive and work it hard to access those horses, but the car loves it. The wide rev range is a joy on a track, as you have so many available options. You can either cling to a gear and keep the revs high or short shift back down to just above 6,000 rpm where the full torque is available. Best of all is the immediacy. Modern turbocharged cars are getting better at eliminating turbo lag, but nothing beats the instantaneous response of a naturally aspirated engine. You touch the throttle, and it responds faster than your brain can process.
Two gearbox options are available, and this is where things get a bit contentious. The old-school option is a six-speed manual, but the 7-speed PDK is faster and smoother. At this point, we'd love to say that we'd go with the manual any day of the week, but that's simply not true. We love manual gearboxes, but the PDK transmission allows you to make the most of the GT3's dual personality. While it is meant to be a track car, Porsche wanted it to be suited to everyday driving as well. Thanks to the new suspension setup, you can actually use it daily.
There isn't a single situation where the PDK transmission isn't ideal. In humdrum automatic mode, it will slog along effortlessly like a normal 911. On a track, it swaps cogs so quickly that you can upshift mid-corner without unsettling the car. Porsche also includes a more traditional shift knob in the PDK car to make it feel more like a manual. It's an admirable effort, but you soon revert to paddles behind the wheel. Another unique feature of the PDK is the clutch kick. To induce oversteer in a manual car, you simply dip the clutch going into the corner, removing the rear power for a split-second and (hopefully) initiating a slide. The GT3 with a PDK transmission lets you do the same, but instead of using the clutch pedal, you use the right-hand paddle behind the steering wheel.
We get why some people would insist on a manual transmission. In an ideal world, you'd have two GT3s, but in the real world, we prefer the PDK for its ability to set blistering lap times while still being able to sit in bumper-to-bumper traffic without hassle.
Thanks to the new suspension setup at the front and rear, the GT3 coupe is so much better at the daily grind. It has a much stiffer spring rate, yet the double-wishbone suspension at the front and multi-link suspension at the rear mean the car is firm without being jarring. You know you're driving a vehicle with serious dynamic potential, but it can also be used for menial tasks. We suspect these latest generation GT3s will eventually have way more miles on them than any other generation, simply because it's so easy to use. You no longer need a 911 Turbo as a backup ride.
The new front suspension isn't just for comfort. It was poached from Porsche's racing department. We didn't think Porsche could make the GT3 better, but they did. There are two main things worth mentioning. The new front suspension makes the car feel even more agile, and you can tell just how much the front end is loading up as you hoon towards a corner. Secondly, there's the steering. It's the best electric power steering system out there, and if we were the bigwigs at Porsche, we'd license this system out to every other performance car maker and make an additional few billion.
The standard brakes (six-piston in the front, four-piston at the rear) are mighty, but for the best track experience, you have to include the carbon-ceramic brakes. They can take severe punishment but will never fade. The stability management system is straightforward, considering one of its main rivals, the Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series, has nine settings for the stability control alone. You can either switch the stability control off, or you can have both traction and stability control off. Essentially, it allows you to ease into the car. You first develop a relationship before switching everything off. Building this relationship won't take long, however. The grip levels are mighty, the brakes are epic, and the car is so well balanced. If ever there was a car that proved that anything more than 500 hp is an absolute waste, this is it.
Neither the EPA nor Porsche has claimed gas mileage figures for the GT3, but it's unlikely to be a dealbreaker for the typical owner of this car. For some context, the previous GT3 returned 15/19/16 mpg city/highway/combined and we don't expect the new one to be very different.
The GT3 has a 16.9-gallon tank, which is large enough for cruising. For an additional $230, you can also increase the tank size to 23.7 gallons. We'd recommend doing so since the new GT3 is so much easier to live with. Once you go chasing 9,000 rpm, the consumption figure will drop to a single-digit figure.
The GT3 is pretty much standard 911 but with a few model-specific touches. Like other 911s, it has an analog tachometer sitting proudly at the center of the instrument cluster. You get a digital display on each side of the tach, which gives you the usual information regarding infotainment, navigation, and the like. In the model-specific GT mode, you get information related to track use. This includes tire pressure, various temperatures, and a lap timer. In the PDK car, Porsche also replaces the stubby gear selector with a more traditional shift knob. The GT3 sport steering wheel and Race-Tex/leather upholstery impart an appropriately sporty look and feel. Overall, the interior is easy to understand, and you get all of the comfort and convenience items included as standard. On previous GT3 models, you could delete the infotainment and climate control, but there's no need for such silliness here. Porsche already did the weight-saving during the development, and there's simply no need to drive around drenched in sweat to save 30 lbs.
The most difficult part of the interior is getting in there. All 911s sit close to the ground, but that's hardly a criticism considering most of its rivals require you to bend in various odd shapes for the same reason. The GT3 2-door sports coupe doesn't bother with the usual 2+2 configuration and is all the better for it. A 911's rear seats usually end up as cargo space anyway, and the GT3 gives you a bigger space to work with.
A set of four-way power-adjustable sport seats is standard, but you can go one of two ways on the options menu. You can go for the ultimate in comfort and get the 18-way power-adjustable sport seats, or keep to the racing theme and get the $5,900 full bucket seats. These are lightweight carbon fiber seats with an exposed pattern. They look superb, offer proper side support from track antics, and are relatively comfortable.
The standard GT3 interior is a mix of black leather and black Race-Tex upholstery, contrasted by GT silver stitching. The seat bolsters and headrests are covered in leather, while the rest is covered in Race-Tex. You can upgrade to a more upmarket interior with more leather cladding and less Race-Tex. Black with GT Silver stitching costs $4,730. For $6,230, you can choose between black with Guards Red stitching or black with Shark Blue stitching. The GT3 with the Touring Package differs slightly. You can upgrade to a better leather/fabric interior for $4,730 although the color choice is limited to black, or you can spend $6,230 to add GT Silver stitching, but the shoutier Guards Red and Shark Blue stitching options aren't offered here. A two-tone Exclusive Manufaktur leather interior with black and another color of your choice costs a total of $12,070 as it also requires the 18-way adaptive sport seats.
Brushed aluminum trim is standard and the GT3 sport steering wheel has a leather finish. For an added cost, you can finish specific parts of the cabin in your choice of aluminum, Race-Tex, leather, or carbon fiber.
Believe it or not, this track-ready weapon is actually more practical than the standard 911. Since the engine is rear-mounted, the 911 doesn't have a trunk. Instead, it has a frunk, which only has 4.6 cubic feet of cargo capacity. It's large enough for two soft bags, but most 911 owners simply chuck all of their stuff on the rear seats. The GT3 doesn't have rear seats, so the cargo space behind the front seats is even larger. Porsche doesn't provide a figure, but you can get a lot of stuff in there. It's like having a midsize executive sedan trunk on the inside of the car.
Small-item storage is meager but that's no surprise in a car like this. There is a cupholder on the passenger side and another one in the center console. Each door has a storage pocket and you can add a luggage net in the front passenger footwell at no extra cost if you want it.
To trim the fat needed to create the GT3, Porsche's engineers traditionally went for the soft targets like climate control and radio. The new GT3 is much better, keeping all of the convenience while not gaining any fat. As standard, the GT3 comes with LED headlights with four-point LED spotlights, dual-zone climate control with a pollen filter, a heated rear windshield, four-way power-adjustable heated seats with heating, cruise control, a garage door opener, a rearview camera, two seven-inch TFT displays in the instrument cluster, a multifunction GT3 steering wheel, a 12-volt power socket, and two USB-C points. There are no driver assistance features, but more on that later.
The GT3 gets the same infotainment system as the 911, which is a 10.9-inch touchscreen that has clear graphics, which responds to inputs quickly. It has wireless Apple CarPlay, wired Android Auto, connected navigation with real-time traffic updates, SiriusXM, wireless internet access, and an eight-speaker sound system. Porsche seems to think most of its customers have Apple phones, as the infotainment system also has Apple Music and Apple Podcast integration. A 12-speaker Bose surround sound system is available as an optional extra.
There have been no recalls logged against the GT3 so far. The standard Carrera S has been recalled twice in 2021, but these recalls don't apply since the GT3 is a specialized product with a model-specific engine and suspension. As for customer satisfaction, there is no model-specific review. We will say this, however; we haven't heard a single person say the words, "you know what? I hate my GT3."
The GT3 comes standard with a four-year/50,000-mile limited warranty and a 12-year/unlimited-miles corrosion warranty. The limited warranty includes 24-hour roadside assistance.
There is no safety review of the 2022 Porsche 911 GT3. Even the base 911 doesn't have a safety rating because it's too expensive to smash into a wall. No car enthusiast on this planet would be willing to sacrifice an icon like the GT3 for something as paltry as a safety rating. So, neither the NHTSA nor the IIHS has tested the GT3 - but that doesn't mean it's not safe. It simply means it doesn't have an official safety rating as a crashworthiness review has not taken place.
The Porsche comes as standard with six airbags, side-impact protection, traction and stability control, ABS, tire pressure monitoring, and a rearview camera. There's also a system that will monitor the brake caliper levels. There are no driver assistance systems, but you can add park assist for the rear and traffic sign recognition. We wouldn't bother with the latter, but the fixed rear wing makes a parking assistant an absolute necessity.
If it's advanced safety features like a surround-view camera and adaptive cruise control that you're after, you can have them on your 911 Turbo, but the GT3 doesn't offer these systems at all.
The 2022 Porsche 911 GT3 coupe is not just good; it's one of the all-time greats. The best way to describe the GT3 is by saying that it's a best-of collection spanning the entire history of the automotive industry. It has a naturally-aspirated flat-six 4.0L engine that revs to 9,000 rpm. Throttle responses are instantaneous, and it provides a sensational soundtrack with no fakery needed. The steering is utterly magnificent, and it has a low curb weight. It feels light and nimble, like a mosquito that sniffed a pound of china white. Traction is epic thanks to the rear-mounted engine, but it also manages to feel balanced. The way the front-end digs in is unlike anything else.
Whichever gearbox you go for, you'll be pleased. The manual is slower but more engaging and old-school. The PDK is blistering but far from clinical as it comes with a naughty clutch kick feature. Compared to other performance vehicles, the GT3 is low on power. But now that nearly everything is going AWD, we'll look back at the history of the internal combustion engine and agree that we hit a peak at 500 hp. Porsche knows it, while the rest of us have yet to reach that conclusion.
Are there any real criticisms? Porsche does charge a lot for some optional extras, but the base car is just fine by us. We honestly couldn't care less about green seatbelts or interior ambient lighting. But we have to point at something terrible if only to prove that Porsche didn't pay us to wax lyrical about its car. After thinking about it for a while, we do have something. Porsche likes to brag about its new center console cupholder, but it just isn't one. It's too shallow, and if you brake, it spills your beverage all over the GT3 badge. Erm, that's it, really.
The price of the 2022 Porsche 911 GT3 begins at an MSRP of $161,100, excluding the $1,350 destination charge in the USA. Equipped with the Touring Package, the GT3 carries exactly the same price. This makes it cheaper than the 911 Turbo which begins at $174,300.
There is only one GT3 at the moment, but it will be joined by the more subtle GT3 Touring in a few months, giving customers a choice of two configurations. The rear-wheel-drive GT3 follows the same recipe as always; it has low curb weight and naturally-aspirated flat-six power. The latest version of the 4.0-liter flat-six produces 502 hp and 346 lb-ft of torque. Prospective owners can choose between a six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.
To make the GT3 more suited to track use, Porsche redesigned the front suspension, added larger brakes, and high-performance summer tires. It also has a flashy fixed wing, which the Touring does not have. Now more suited to daily driving, the GT3 comes standard with LED headlights, dual-zone climate control, four-way power-adjustable heated seats, cruise control, a multifunction steering wheel, and a 10.9-inch infotainment system with navigation, wireless Apple CarPlay, and wired Android Auto.
The GT3 doesn't have any driver assistance systems and relies entirely on six airbags, side-impact protection, traction and stability control, ABS, tire pressure monitoring, and a rearview camera.
There are no packages but rather a long list of standalone features. Most of it is fluff, but if you want the best version of the GT3, you need to add the $5,900 full bucket seats, the $9,210 ceramic brake upgrade, and a front-axle lift system for an additional $3,670.
Elsewhere on the options list, you can opt for the Bose surround sound system ($1,600), traffic sign recognition ($450), and rear parking sensors ($610). However, traffic sign recognition also requires LED-Matrix design headlights and the Porsche Dynamic Light System Plus which adds a further $4,010 to the bill.
A GT3 without a big rear wing doesn't compute so we'd skip the available Touring Package. To the base GT3, we'd add the full bucket seats, ceramic brakes, front-axle lift system, rear parking sensors, and metallic paint. With all these options, the GT3 will cost you $182,680 including destination.
Add a few much-needed options to the GT3, and it almost costs the same as the mighty 911 Turbo. So why would you have the 503-hp GT3 over the 640-hp Turbo S? The latter is supercar quick, sprinting to 60 mph in 2.6 seconds. The explanation is quite simple. The GT3 is a track tool, while the Turbo exists to compete with supercars. Porsche has stated numerous times that it will keep on building the Turbo as long as supercars exist. To cope with the extra power, the Turbo needs AWD, so it weighs 3,635 lbs (3,636 lbs in the case of the Turbo S) compared to the GT3's 3,126 lbs in manual guise. The Turbo also doesn't have the new front suspension, borrowed straight from a race car. We want to say the Turbo is more of a cruiser since it's available with adaptive cruise control and night vision, but that's not true. While it is more luxurious, it would be a disservice to the 911 Turbo to say it's not an accomplished handler. Around most tracks, the Turbo would likely be faster. The GT3 has the upper hand in a department that can't be quantified. It's a love letter to naturally-aspirated internal combustion engines that provides a more thrilling driving experience than the clinical 911 Turbo. Both are very good at going fast, but the GT3 just does it in a more exciting way.
Porsche and Mercedes-AMG are currently engaged in a Nürburgring production car battle. In late 2020, the GT3 set a lap time of 6:55.34. Around a month later, Merc pitched up with the new Black Series and set a time of 6:43.61. That's quite a gap, but not that much, considering the Green Hell is 20,6 kilometers (12.8 miles) long. That's a one mistake difference. Although the GT3 is all Porsche currently offers in this space, the inevitable GT2 RS will do a better job of going around the Ring. The Black is also garnished with lots of aerodynamic bits, and its 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8's performance specs are staggering at 720 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque. Those figures make the GT3's 502 hp and 346 lb-ft look insignificant, but have a look at those Nürburgring times again. The Black Series has roughly 218 hp/244 lb-ft more, yet it's only 12 seconds faster around the long circuit. The Merc also comes with a $325,000 base price, making the $160,000 GT3 look like the bargain of the century.
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