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2019 Porsche 911 GT3 RS First Look Review: King Of The Breed

First Look / Comments

Porsche's latest 911 GT3 RS is the most powerful, naturally aspirated, road-legal 911 ever

It's amazing how many unique derivatives Porsche can develop from a single model. The versatile 911 has one of the most expansive model ranges in existence, with the humble Carrera, the more powerful Turbo, the stylish Targa, and the numerous GT models. At the 2018 Geneva International Motor Show, Porsche will complete the current generation's family with the most powerful, naturally aspirated, road-legal 911 ever made: the 2019 Porsche 911 GT3 RS.

The third road-legal GT model revealed within the last 12 months following the new GT3 and GT2 RS, the 2019 GT3 RS is powered by a 4.0-liter horizontally opposed six-cylinder with a screaming 9,000 rpm redline. Forget about torque. This is a horsepower machine. At its peak, the GT3 will generate 520 horses-20 more than the 2016 911 GT3 RS and current 911 GT3-but only 346 lb-ft of torque. But don't worry: you don't need metal-shredding twisting power to set blisteringly fast lap times. The GT3 RS can sprint from the pit box to 60 mph in 3 seconds flat, onto a top track speed of 193 mph. There's no manual transmission or all-wheel drive here. Instead, the GT3 RS sends power to the rear wheels with a seven-speed PDK dual-clutch automatic.

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Power and speed are useless on the track unless you can push it to the limit as you clip those apexes. The GT3 RS ensures maximum grip with its fixed rear wing and larger front lip spoiler versus its previous generation. Along with its underbody diffuser, the GT3 RS's combined aerodynamic elements generate double the downforce of the non-RS GT3 at 124 mph, Porsche claims. Further aiding its track-minded mission, the GT3 RS is constructed of lightweight polyurethane body panels at the front and rear, a magnesium roof, carbon-fiber NACA ducts, carbon-fiber reinforced bucket seats, lighter glass and door panels, and it rids itself of the rear seat in favor of a roll-cage crossbar. Want sound insulation? Get a Turbo.

From the factory, the GT3 RS's 20- and 21-inch wheels (front and rear) are wrapped in 265/35 and 325/30 ultra-high performance tires for a wildly staggered stance. Keeping that meaty rubber planted is Porsche Active Suspension Management, rear steering, and a fully variable electronic locking differential with torque vectoring. You'll need all the traction you can get as this GT3 RS uses cross-drilled 380mm brakes front and rear to bring the party to a hurried stop, but you can also option your way into 410mm front and 390mm rear carbon ceramic brakes that weigh around 50 percent less.

All the GT3's performance doesn't come cheap. An optional Weissach Package and lightweight, forged magnesium wheels reduce weight even further to 3,153 pounds when ordered together, but they'll make your pocketbook lighter, too, as their combined cost rings the till at $31,000-$18,000 for the package and $13,000 for the wheels on their own. Those options will be available following the initial launch. When the GT3 RS arrives at U.S. dealers this fall, expect to shell out at least $187,500 plus a $1,050 delivery fee before you even look at the options list.

Comparatively speaking, those with the wealth and want for a sports car like the GT3 RS don't have a vast swath of other options. The Mercedes-AMG GT R is a bit more powerful and about $30,000 less than the GT3 RS, but not as quick to 60 mph. Meanwhile, the McLaren 570S is just as quick to 60 mph as the GT3 RS and has a greater top speed, but it costs a few grand more. And if you don't mind going the domestic route, Chevrolet will bring its new Corvette ZR1 to dealers later this year, which is capable of a higher 212 mph top speed for about the same price. Even Ford will happily sell you a track ready, 526-hp Mustang Shelby GT350 for much less than the GT3. Every one of the GT3 RS's competitors has a V8, too.