LAUNCHED: Porsche 911 GT3

Last issue, in a sidebar to the Lambo Gallardo LP560-4 Spyder launched story, a senior Wheels editor (let's call him 'Ash') wrote, "expect Porsche's direct-injection GT3 to rev even higher". And, while the 997 facelift 911 GT3 does out-rev the Lambo (eight-five versus eight-three), it doesn't, in fact, get DI. Apparently, the DI system in much of the rest of the Porsche range can't fuel the demands of the big-revving GT3.

Clear out your desk, Westerman... So, with that sorted, let's roll...

First impressions are reassuring. The metallic offbeat rumble at idle is present, as is the instant throttle response.

The steering wheel is of a slightly different design, but still clad in Alcantara and thin-rimmed — and, crucially, paddle-free. Thankfully, the GT3 remains exclusively a six-speed manual. The first turns confirm that the GT3's steering is beautifully weighted, alive with information and perfectly geared.

Other than the revised engine, which is cleaner and more efficient despite the increased capacity and output, the main changes for this latest GT3 are in the aerodynamics. The more pronounced front splitter and rear wing give four times the downforce of the first-gen 997 GT3, explaining why this car is only marginally quicker in a straight line despite its increased power. Porsche has also tweaked the suspension (although as before, the GT3 is fully adjustable) with firmer spring rates, reduced ride height and thicker anti-roll bars.

You have to be pushing on to notice any real difference, such is the GT3's reserve of grip, but at higher speeds it does feel more keyed into the road, particularly at the front end. The good news is that the firmer settings haven't adversely affected the GT3's surprisingly compliant ride.

So Porsche has improved on what many already view as perfection. Stronger, faster and even more precise to drive, yet no less involving, the GT3 remains the performance-car benchmark.

Porsche 911 GT3

Engine 3797cc flat six, dohc, 24v
Max Power 320kW @ 7600rpm
Max Torque 430Nm @ 6250rpm
Transmission 6-speed manual
0-100km/h 4.1 seconds (claimed)
Price $279,300
On sale now

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