Few cars can rival the Porsche 911 for rich motorsport heritage. Over the past half century the legendary rear-engined machine has notched up hundreds of race and rally wins.
The latest in this long line of racers for the road - and perfect for track days - is the all-new GT3. Based on the current 991-generation 911, it aims to blend unprecedented performance with everyday usability and practicality. Yet it’s not the only new hardcore coupé. First up is Jaguar’s wild XKR-S GT, which boasts a heavily uprated chassis, bold aerodynamics and a stripped-out cabin.
Aston’s V12 Vantage S doesn’t look as outlandish, but with a 565bhp V12 and race-bred handling, it promises equal thrills. So which of our high-performance heavyweights will land the knock-out blow in this bruising encounter?
Read the reviews for each car using the links above, then find out our verdict below. Make sure you also check out our video track battle:
All three of our contenders offer prodigious stopping power, yet only the Aston and Jaguar come with carbon-ceramic brakes as standard. The Vantage has massive 398mm
front discs, while the XK’s are only slightly smaller at 390mm.
You’ll pay a huge £6,248 extra for the same tech on the Porsche, but you do get vast 410mm discs that hauled our GT3 from 70-0mph in 40.3 metres – which was over five metres less than the Aston.
Each of our trio takes its own approach under the bonnet. As you’d expect from a 911, the new GT3 features a rear-mounted, naturally aspirated 3.8-litre flat-six. The XK gets Jaguar’s familiar supercharged 5.0-litre V8, while the Aston benefits from a stonking 565bhp 6.0-litre V12.
Keeping high-performance cars on the road requires aerodynamic help. The Jag’s rear wing claims to give 145kg of downforce, and the Porsche’s wings and spoilers 120kg. Careful underbody design helps keep the Aston glued to the road.
The brilliant 911 GT3 stands out with its driving thrills. With its scintillating performance, race-bred handling and spine-tingling sound, it makes every trip an adventure. On the road or track, it’s simply the best sports car on the planet.
It’s hard not to fall for the Aston’s charms. It looks beautiful inside and out, and its V12 sounds amazing and gives a knock-out punch. And while the Vantage isn’t as focused on-track as its rivals, and is let down by its clunky box, it’s just as much fun.
Limited numbers assure the Jaguar’s rarity, plus it sounds thunderous and has sharp handling and blistering performance. Yet the wild looks won’t be to all tastes, and the XK can feel extreme on the road, particularly in slippery conditions.
|Porsche 911 GT3||Aston Martin V12 Vantage S||Jaguar XKR-S GT|
|On-the-road price/total as tested||£101,660/£114,946||£140,026/£163,070||£135,000/£135,000|
|Annual tax liability std/higher rate||£7,038/£14,076||£9,723/£19,447||£9,372/£18,743|
|Annual fuel cost (12k/20k miles)||£4,004/£6,674||£4,826/£8,043||£4,735/£7,891|
|Ins. group/quote/road tax band/cost||50/£934/M/£490||50/£1,792/M/£490||50/£1,652/M/£490|
|Peak power||469/8,250 bhp/rpm||565/6,750 bhp/rpm||542/6,000 bhp/rpm|
|Peak torque||440/6,250 Nm/rpm||620/5,750 Nm/rpm||680/2,500 Nm/rpm|
|Transmission||7-spd auto/rwd||7-spd auto/rwd||6-spd auto/rwd|
|Fuel tank capacity/spare wheel||64 litres/sealant||80 litres/sealant||71 litres/sealant|
|Boot capacity||125 litres||300 litres||300 litres|
|Turning circle/drag coefficient||11.1 metres/0.33Cd||11.8 metres/0.37Cd||10.9 metres/N/A|
|Basic warranty (miles)/recovery||2yrs (unltd)/2yrs||3yrs (unltd)/3yrs||3yrs (unltd)/3yrs|
|Service intervals/UK dealers||20,000 miles (2yr)/36||10,000 miles (1yr)/22||15,000 miles (1yr)/97|
|Driver Power manufacturer/dealer pos.||13th/6th||N/A||3rd/5th|
|Euro NCAP: Adult/child/ped./stars||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|0-60/30-70mph||3.3/2.8 secs||4.2/3.4 secs||4.5/3.4 secs|
|30-50mph in 3rd/4th||2.9/4.0 secs||2.0/2.7 secs||2.3/3.4 secs|
|50-70mph in 5th/6th/7th||4.7/6.0/7.1 secs||3.2/4.4/5.8 secs||4.8/6.6 secs/N/A|
|Top speed/rpm at 70mph||196mph/3,000rpm||205mph/2,250rpm||186mph/2,000rpm|
|Noise levels outside/idle/30/70mph||68/60/65/74dB||60/55/65/70dB||67/58/67/75dB|
|Auto Express econ (mpg/mpl)/range||18.8/4.1/265 miles||15.6/3.4/275 miles||15.9/3.5/248 miles|
|Actual/claimed CO2/tax bracket||347/289g/km/35%||418/388g/km/35%||410/292g/km/35%|
|Ceramic brakes/limited-slip diff||£6,248/yes||Yes/yes||Yes/yes|
|Met. paint/xenons/sports exhaust||£801/yes/yes||Yes/yes/yes||Yes/yes/yes|