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Porsche 911 GT3 RS Roadtest

Porsche applies the RS treatment to the latest 'Generation 2' version of the 911 GT3.

an outrageous 450hp developed at a searing 7,900rpm

Ever since the iconic 2.7RS of the early 1970s, an RS badge on the rump of a 911 has signified a particular form of race-bred sports car, at home on the race track and often extremely effective on the road too. Countless race victories and the frequent appearance of road-going RSs on track days affirm this cult among performance car enthusiasts. Now Porsche has applied the RS treatment to the latest 'Generation 2' version of the 911 GT3, in itself an already exceptional hardcore performance car. The results should be spectacular.

The RS recipe has always been straightforward: more power moving less weight. So the latest 3.8-litre flat six engine has had further revisions from its already heady state of tune, with the result that power has been raised to an outrageous 450hp developed at a searing 7,900rpm. And remember, this engine does without the aide of a turbocharger, offering in return scalpel sharp throttle response and an awe-inspiring soundtrack.

With a carbon fibre rear wing, cloth door openers, plastic rear window and reduced sound proofing, Porsche has tried everything it can to make the RS lighter, despite the wider bodyshell used for the RS (and shared with all four-wheel drive models such as the Carrera 4S and Turbo) actually weighing more than the standard width GT3 body. A kerbweight of 1,370kg is the result: hefty compared to a classic 911 RS of the 1970s, but light by the standards of modern cars with all their comfort and safety equipment - especially those that can nearly reach 200mph.

Not Many Other Cars On Sale Can Conjure This Much Raw Excitement

So the RS will sprint to 62mph from rest in four seconds and touch 192mph flat out: awesome performance, but this car isn't really about mere numbers and straight-line speed. It's the character and delivery of the acceleration that really suckers you under the spell of the RS. There aren't many other cars on sale that can conjure this much raw excitement, or connect on an emotional level like this one. It starts the moment you see the car, to you squeezing down into the motorsport seat, to the ever-evolving repertoire of sounds coming from the engine.

Thanks to the direct nature of the gearbox and the exacting operation of the pedals, driving the RS demands concentration but offers massive rewards. The steering, in particular, is exceptional for the utter confidence its precision and feedback inspires, while there is no doubting the sheer amount of grip on offer from the Michelin Pilot Sport Cup tyres.

It Is A Car You Can Enjoy Driving On The Road

Although the RS has been built mainly for the track - it is a homologation device for Porsche's racing cars after all - it is a car you can enjoy driving on the road. You'll certainly feel all the bumps, but it's usually fun to simply guide the RS along, apart from when you're caught in a traffic jam perhaps where the heavy clutch and general racket from the flywheel can become wearing. Note too, that unlike most other 911s, there are no rear seats in the GT3 RS, and if the original buyer has kept their specification simple, there may be no radio or air-conditioning either.

It's on the track, of course, that the RS is really in its element, and although we weren't able to try the car in that environment, considering the abilities of the 'Gen 1' version of this car, and the massive new rear wing, prodigious brakes and further honing of the suspension, there's every reason to believe this car will be even more capable.

The GT3 RS is clearly a car only for wealthy enthusiasts at £106,870 before the inevitable optional extras, but it's hard to think of any rival that can match its inimitable blend of racing circuit pace and stamina, road-going usability and sheer character. It's a worthy recipient of the RS badge.

Posted on 21.09.2010 by Adam Towler
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