2018 Porsche 911 GT3 RS Review

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Launched in 2015, the 991-generation GT3 RS was a significant update over the GT3 and a big departure from the previous car design-wise, having borrowed base bodywork from the Turbo model. On the other hand, the 4.0-liter inline-six was pretty much identical to the 997-generation GT3 RS 4.0 model, as was the 500-horsepower output, a bit of letdown for those expecting a more powerful car. This minor inconvenience will be fixed with the upgraded GT3 RS, which should gain a more potent engine now that the standard GT3 has been updated to the same 4.0-liter engine.

Unleashed on public roads in early 2017, the upcoming 911 GT3 RS looks ready to hit dealerships by the end of the year. Although the rear section is still based on the pre-facelift 911, the front fascia has already been updated to the fresh design and Porsche is probably already testing the new underpinnings. Notable changes should include revised aerodynamics, new tech inside the cabin, and a more powerful flat-six unit. However, while the GT3 RS has been the most powerful iteration of the 991-generation 911 and will continue to sit at the top of the range with the revised engine, it will no longer be the most potent model at the end of the 911’s current life cycle. New spy shots confirmed that Porsche is launching a GT2 RS, which will have a significantly more powerful turbocharged engine.

Nonetheless, the GT3 RS will remain the ultimate naturally aspirated track-toy with a Porsche badge at least until the next-generation model arrives in a few years. Expect the revised 911 GT3 RS to debut in September 2017 at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

Exterior

Porsche 911 GT3 RS

If you’re looking for something that sets the RS apart, check out the camouflaged vents on each side of the trunk lid.

The first thing that catches the eye in these spy shots is the front bumper taken off the recently unveiled 911 GT3. The new element sports improvement aero bits, larger intakes, and additional winglets toward the corners. The nose and headlamps are identical to the previous RS, but this is no surprise, as the new GT3 has similar features. If you’re looking for something that sets the RS apart, check out the camouflaged vents on each side of the trunk lid.

Moving onto the sides, the GT3 RS appears to be identical to the previous model. The side skirts and wheels are likely to receive modifications until the production model is ready, but everything else should remain unchanged, including the big intake in the rear fenders.

Porsche 911 GT3 RS

Around back, the GT3 RS’s rear end will be pretty much a GT3 with a bigger wing.

Around back, the prototype is pretty much identical to the previous RS, so we need to wait a while longer to see the changes. However, I have a hunch that we’ll see the same modifications as on the 911 GT3, so look for revised taillights with a more angular design, an optimized diffuser, larger side air vents, and a mildly altered wing. All told, the GT3 RS’s rear end will be pretty much a GT3 with a bigger wing.

Also look for the GT3 RS to gain all the new exterior colors offered with the GT3 and maybe a couple of exclusive finishes.

Interior

Porsche 911 GT3 RS

Note: current 911 GT3 RS interior pictured here.

The interior of the new GT3 RS should carry over unchanged for the most part. But since it will be based on the GT3, it will get a few updates on top of the familiar Alcantara upholstery, “RS” badges, 918 Spyder steering wheel, and other race-inspired goodies. The carbon bucket seats that are optional on the GT3 should be standard on the RS, while the door panels should have lightweight handles.

The interior will get a few updates on top of the familiar Alcantara upholstery, “RS” badges, 918 Spyder steering wheel, and other race-inspired goodies.

Also expect to find more carbon-fiber inserts inside the cabin, as well as a yellow 12-o’clock stripe on the steering wheel. The Club Sport Package will also come standard and add a bolted-on roll cage behind the front seats, preparation for a battery master switch, a six-point safety harness for the driver, and a fire extinguisher with mounting bracket.

Tech-wise, the GT3 RS will get the Porsche Communication Management (PCM) system, the Connect Plus module, and the Track Precision app. The latter enables 911 GT3 drivers to display, record and analyse detailed driving data on their smartphones. It also enables owners to share and compare their performance with other 911 GT3 RS drivers.

Drivetrain

Porsche 911 GT3 RS

Porsche should inject more power into the 4.0-liter flat-six in order to make the GT3 RS more potent than the standard GT3.

As some of you may remember, the previous GT3 RS received a 4.0-liter flat-six instead of the more traditional 3.8-liter unit. The then-new engine had 500 horsepower and 339 pound-feet of torque and made the RS 25 horses more powerful than the GT3. Now that the facelifted GT3 received the same powerplant with the same output rating, the RS needs a bit more oomph in order to make a difference.

Although there’s no word as to what engine the upcoming RS will use, it’s safe to assume that Porsche will inject more power into the 4.0-liter flat-six. Adding more horsepower to this unit is definitely doable, but don’t expect a massive increase. Most likely the RS will get a 20- to 30-horsepower bumper, while torque will remain unchanged. The added oomph won’t do much to make the RS quicker, but the revised setting and the better aerodynamics will probably shave a tenth-second of the GT3’s 0-to-60 mph benchmark. That said, the dual-clutch PDK transmission should send the RS flying from 0 to 60 mph in 3.1 seconds, to go with a top speed of 197 mph.

A manual gearbox is now available on the latest GT3 and it makes a lot of sense for Porsche to offer it on the RS too.

The big mystery here, however, is whether Porsche will give the RS an optional six-speed manual. The three-pedal gearbox is now available on the latest GT3 and it makes a lot of sense for Porsche to offer it on the RS too. If this happens, expect the manual GT3 RS to hit 60 mph in around 3.7 seconds and top out at 198 mph. The manual version will also be some 37 pounds lighter than the automatic.

Other upgrades should include a redesigned chassis, rear-axle steering, dynamic engine mounts, and a retuned suspension system.

Prices

Pricing for the GT3 RS is obviously not available at this point, but given that the previous model was some $45,000 more expensive than the GT3, it’s not difficult to make an accurate estimate. We already know that the new GT3 is priced from $143,600, so its safe to assume that the upcoming GT3 RS will fetch anywhere between $180,000 and $190,000.

Competition

LAMBORGHINI HURACAN PERFORMANTE

Lamborghini Huracan Perfomante

Finding a proper competitor for the 911 GT3 RS is next to impossible given that there aren’t any other rear-engine performance cars out there, but there’s at least one mid-engined track beast that will give this Porsche a run for its money. It’s called the Lamborghini Huracan Performante and it’s the most menacing road-legal Lambo built to date. And don’t let the road-legal description fool you, the Performante is actually a race car in disguise. Based on the already popular Huracan, the Performante gained a comprehensive aerodynamic package and a revised chassis for enhanced performance, while a retuned 5.2-liter V-10 engine sends 631 horsepower and 442 pound-feet of torque to all four wheels. As you might have already guessed, the extra oomph and the AWD system makes the Performante significantly quicker, needing onlyh 2.8 seconds to hit 60 mph from a standing start. The Lambo is fast on race tracks too, having set a new Nurburgring record for production cars at 6:52.01 minutes. This benchmark makes it five seconds quicker than the Porsche 918 Spyder, so it’s safe to assume it would be quicker than the upcoming GT3 RS around the “Green Hell” too. On the flipside, pricing for the Performante starts from $274,390, at least $70,000 more than the German sports car.

MERCEDES-AMG GT R

Mercedes-AMG GT R

The AMG GT R may not be as extreme as the GT2 RS and it’s a different kind of animal due to its front-engined configuration, but it’s also turbocharged and quite fun to drive at the track. Developed around the milder GT, the GT R features a more aggressive design and advanced aerodynamics for increased performance. The German coupe is packed with all the goodies you’d expect from a track-prepped car, including larger intakes, wider fenders, and a massive diffuser around back. Inside, the GT R has sport bucket seats in leather and microfiber, optional carbon-fiber trim, and a performance-oriented instrument cluster. Motivation comes form the same twin-turbo, 4.0-liter V-8 as found in the standard model, but massaged to deliver 577 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque. Hitting 60 mph from a standing start in this Merc takes 3.5 seconds, while top speed is rated at 198 mph. Granted, the GT R is significantly slower than the competition, but pricing is expected to start from around $160,000, which makes it more than $100K more affordable.

Conclusion

Porsche 911 GT3 RS

With the facelifted GT3 already launched, it’s only a matter of time before the RS hits the streets. The 991-generation 911 has been one of the most popular in the model’s history and its performance is arguably the best, and the new GT3 RS will only come to confirm the tremendous effort Porsche has put into the nameplate in recent years. Of course, with a GT2 RS model already tested on public roads, the GT3 RS won’t be the most extreme version of the current generation, but it’s a tremendous alternative for die-hard enthusiasts who still love naturally aspirated engines. It’s also safe to assume that the highly limited production run will turn the updated GT3 RS in a highly prized collectible in no time. It’s the kind of vehicle that will be sold out the second day it goes on sale.

LOVE IT

  • Unique aero features and interior
  • The most powerful all-motor 911 ever
  • Could regain the Nurburgring record for Porsche
LEAVE IT

  • Tough competition from the Huracan Performante
  • The AMG GT R is a significantly more affordable proposition

(topspeed.com, https://goo.gl/prdUsW)

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