The 911 is going out with a bang. The existing 997 generation of Porsche’s supercar is due to be replaced next year, so the new GT3 RS 4.0 is the last variant we’ll see. And it’s a fitting swansong.
The £128,466 machine is billed as the ultimate expression of the brand’s race and road car know-how. Only 600 are being built, each featuring one of the biggest-capacity engines ever fitted to the 911. The 4.0-litre flat six-cylinder is the same size as that in Porsche’s GT3 RSR race car.
Watch a video of the most extreme 911 yet here:
In fact, the engine is packed with track-bred technology. The crankshaft is lifted from the ultra-successful Le Mans racer, while titanium connecting rods, a single mass flywheel and dry-sumped lubrication also feature.
The end result is the most powerful normally aspirated engine ever to grace a 911. It’s quick to rev, and has masses of torque throughout the range. Yet at 6,500rpm, the 493bhp unit becomes even more manic, all the way to its 8,500rpm red line.
This means performance is just sensational, and accompanied by an intoxicating bark from the revised exhaust system. The RS 4.0 pins you into the seat every time you press the throttle. It sprints from 0-60mph in 3.8 seconds, while the 30Nm torque advantage it has over the 3.8-litre RS means in-gear response is even punchier.
The chassis is enhanced,
too. Lower suspension arms
now feature ball joints rather
than rubberised bearings, for extra precision. Plus, secondary ‘helper’ springs on the rear axle pretension the main spring, allowing for smaller and lighter coils. These motorsport solutions ensure the new RS delivers the purist and most engaging driving experience you’ll find in a road legal car.
The dual setting active suspension allows for two levels of damper stiffness but the RS is always firm on broken surfaces and while the delicacy of its controls make it engaging at any speed, its high limits mean this Porsche makes the most sense on the racetrack.
Here, the 4.0-litre comes alive - turn into a corner and the precision of the steering combines with incredible front-end grip, allowing you to arrow towards the apex. Then, picking up the throttle through the corner beautifully balances the car to the exit of the bend and even with the traction control turned off; the cut slick tyres deliver unbelievably high grip levels. Plus, the optional ceramic brakes mean stopping power is every bit as impressive as the acceleration and cornering ability.
High-speed stability is amazing as well; the revised rear wing increases downforce, while for the first time on a production Porsche, front bumper winglets balance out this rearward pressure and control nose lift. Unlike some road cars, the handling is so focused that at track speeds you’re left in no doubt that the spoilers are more than just a visual gimmick and that the aerodynamics really work.
Inside, the usual no nonsense 911 cabin is given a racier edge with lightweight supportive seats and a sprinkling of carbon trim. As before on RS models, the air conditioning and the radio are removed to save weight, but they can be added as a no cost option, while the optional Clubsport package adds a rollover bar, six-point harness and fire extinguisher. Externally, subtle 4.0 badges and slightly gaudy stickers distinguish this GT3 RS, but it’s the scintillating driving experience and astonishing performance that make this such a special 911.
* Price: £128,466
* Engine: 4.0-litre flat 6cyl
* Transmission: Six speed manual, rear-wheel drive
* Power/torque: 493bhp/460Nm
* 0-60mph: 3.8 seconds
* Top speed: 193mph
* Econ/CO2: 20.0mpg/326g/km
* Equipment: LED daylight running lamps, dynamic engine mounts, PASM active suspension, stability control, tyre pressure monitoring and single mass flywheel
* On sale: Now