Performance Car of the Year 2017: Porsche 911 GT3

The Porsche 911 GT3 is the 2017 Auto Express Performance Car of the Year, with the Ferrari 488 GTB and McLaren 720S commended

Our Best Performance Car of 2017 has been more than half a century in the making. The latest GT3 version of the 911 traces its roots back to Porsche’s sixties original, and has evolved into one of the greatest road racers ever.

Designed to showcase the brand’s considerable motorsport success, it delivers undiluted driving thrills and unrivalled performance, yet undercuts far less talented rivals.

At the core of the Porsche’s appeal is its rear-mounted 4.0-litre flat-six, carried over lock, stock and cylinder barrels from the brand’s Carrera Cup racers. This incredible engine delivers a heady 493bhp and revs to a dizzying 9,000rpm.

Yet what these figures can’t get across is the incredible soundtrack that accompanies them. Squeeze the throttle and you’re treated to a hard-edged growl, while from 6,000rpm to the red line the note builds to a spine-tingling metallic howl that reverberates through your whole body.

Adding to the appeal is the addition of a manual gearbox alongside the familiar twin-clutch PDK auto. The latter gives rapid-fire shifts, while the former adds an extra layer of driver interaction to an already hugely involving machine.

Of course, power is nothing without control, but the 911 has the handling prowess to cope with the performance. Turn into a bend and you’ll discover incredible grip, cast-iron body control and near-perfect balance. In most situations you’ll run out of bravery way before the 911 reaches its limits.

Yet this incredible composure and ability don’t come at the expense of driver involvement, because the GT3 always lets you know exactly what’s going on, at any speed – this car is as engaging to drive in town as it is on a race track.

Porsche 911 GT3 - rear

Perhaps the most remarkable thing about the Porsche is how easy it is to live with. It’s no executive saloon, but look past the wild wings and roll cage, and you’ll find a supple ride, excellent visibility and a surprisingly decent boot. If you ever needed evidence that motorsport really does improve the breed, look no further than the 911 GT3.

Our choice

Porsche 911 GT3 (£113,857)

The GT3 exists as a standalone model, but buyers do get the choice between manual and PDK gearboxes. The latter makes sense if you plan on plenty of track day action, but for the ultimate in driver fun we’d recommend you shift cogs yourself. We’d also plump for the Clubsport pack, which adds a rollcage for full road racer effect. 


Ferrari 488 GTB

Ferrari 488 GTB - front

Stunning looks, scorching performance and scalpel-sharp handling mark out the 488 GTB as one of the greatest Ferraris in a generation. Better still, it’s easy to live with thanks to a roomy cabin and supple ‘bumpy road’ suspension setting, while the turbo V8 is as operatic as you’d expect from the brand. 

McLaren 720S

McLaren 720S - front

The jury is still out on the McLaren 720S’s daring looks, but there are no question marks over its breathtaking acceleration and acrobatic agility. Company insiders claim it could even trouble the firm’s flagship P1 hybrid for track performance, yet it’s more luxurious and easier to use day to day.

Auto Express New Car Awards 2017

For complete, in-depth coverage of the 2017 New Car Awards, buy your collector's edition copy of the Auto Express magazine now or click here to subscribe...


New Porsche 911 Turbo hybrid spied at the Nurburgring
Porsche 911 Turbo Hybrid - front
Porsche 911

New Porsche 911 Turbo hybrid spied at the Nurburgring

Development of the first electrified 911 is well underway, with a prototype spied testing at the Nurburgring
26 Jul 2021
Best performance cars 2021
Best performance cars - header
Best cars & vans

Best performance cars 2021

We run through the top ten performance cars on sale in the UK right now
20 Jul 2021
New Porsche 911 GT3 Touring Package 2021 review
Porsche 911 GT3 Touring Package - front
Porsche 911

New Porsche 911 GT3 Touring Package 2021 review

The new Porsche 911 GT3 Touring Package tones done the styling, but keeps the blistering performance
13 Jul 2021
Porsche 911 review
Porsche 911 - front driving
Porsche 911

Porsche 911 review

With the 992, Porsche has broadened the iconic 911’s everyday appeal with greater comfort, while pushing the performance envelope further
12 Jul 2021

Most Popular

New 2021 Kia EV6 boasts up to 328 miles of range
Kia EV6 - front
Kia EV6

New 2021 Kia EV6 boasts up to 328 miles of range

Kia reveals more specs for its bespoke electric car, with the EV6 offering long range and an 18-minute 80 per cent rapid recharge time
21 Jul 2021
New Vauxhall Crossland Griffin arrives to boost SUV’s appeal
Vauxhall Crossland Griffin
Vauxhall Crossland

New Vauxhall Crossland Griffin arrives to boost SUV’s appeal

The new Vauxhall Crossland Griffin undercuts the SE on price, but adds more equipment
26 Jul 2021
New 2021 Audi RS 3: 395bhp mega hatch priced from £50,900
Audi RS 3 Sportback - front
Audi RS3

New 2021 Audi RS 3: 395bhp mega hatch priced from £50,900

Full exterior and interior reveal for Audi RS 3, with aggressive styling and racy cabin to match strong performance
19 Jul 2021