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.
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.
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
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.
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
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- 1IntroductionWhat are the best new cars to buy in the UK right now? The 2017 Auto Express New Car Awards reveal all...
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- 3City Car of the Year 2017The Volkswagen up! is the 2017 Auto Express City Car of the Year, with the Kia Picanto and Skoda Citigo commended
- 4Supermini of the Year 2017The SEAT Ibiza is the 2017 Auto Express Supermini of the Year, with the Citroen C3 and Skoda Fabia commended
- 5Compact Family Car of the Year 2017The Volkswagen Golf is the 2017 Auto Express Compact Family Car of the Year, with the Skoda Octavia and Vauxhall Astra commended
- 6Family Car of the Year 2017The Skoda Superb is the 2017 Auto Express Family Car of the Year, with the Toyota Prius and Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport commended
- 7Estate Car of the Year 2017The Skoda Octavia Estate is the 2017 Auto Express Estate Car of the Year, with the BMW 5 Series Touring and Skoda Superb Estate commended
- 8MPV of the Year 2017The Citroen Grand Grand C4 Picasso is the 2017 Auto Express MPV of the Year, with the Renault Grand Scenic and SEAT Alhambra commended
- 9Small SUV of the Year 2017The Citroen C4 Cactus is the 2017 Auto Express Small SUV of the Year, with the Dacia Duster and Peugeot 2008 commended
- 10Mid-size SUV of the Year 2017The Peugeot 3008 is the 2017 Auto Express Mid-size SUV of the Year, with the Mazda CX-5 and SEAT Ateca commended
- 11Large SUV of the Year 2017The Skoda Kodiaq is the 2017 Auto Express Large SUV of the Year, with the Hyundai Santa Fe and Kia Sorento commended
- 12Premium SUV of the Year 2017The Volvo XC60 is the 2017 Auto Express Premium SUV of the Year, with the Jaguar F-Pace and Mercedes GLC commended
- 13Large Premium SUV of the Year 2017The Land Rover Discovery is the 2017 Auto Express Large Premium SUV of the Year, with the Tesla Model X and Volvo XC90 commended
- 14Pick-up of the Year 2017The Mitsubishi L200 is the 2017 Auto Express Pick-up of the Year, with the Fiat Fullback and Nissan Navara commended
- 15Hot Hatch of the Year 2017The Honda Civic Type R is the 2017 Auto Express Hot Hatch of the Year, with the Ford Focus RS and Volkswagen Golf GTI commended
- 16Convertible of the Year 2017The Mercedes C-Class Cabriolet is the 2017 Auto Express Convertible of the Year, with the Audi A3 Cabriolet and MINI Convertible commended
- 17Coupe of the Year 2017The Audi A5 is the 2017 Auto Express Coupe of the Year, with the Audi TT and Porsche 718 Cayman commended
- 18Roadster of the Year 2017The Mazda MX-5 RF is the 2017 Auto Express Roadster of the Year, with the Fiat 124 Spider and Porsche 718 Boxster commended
- 19Performance Car of the Year 2017 - currently readingThe Porsche 911 GT3 is the 2017 Auto Express Performance Car of the Year, with the Ferrari 488 GTB and McLaren 720S commended
- 20Compact Executive Car of the Year 2017The Jaguar XE is the 2017 Auto Express Compact Executive Car of the Year, with the Alfa Romeo Giulia and BMW 3 Series commended
- 21Executive Car of the Year 2017The BMW 5 Series is the 2017 Auto Express Executive Car of the Year, with the Mercedes E-Class and Tesla Model S commended
- 22Luxury Car of the Year 2017The Mercedes S-Class is the 2017 Auto Express Luxury Car of the Year, with the Bentley Mulsanne and Porsche Panamera commended
- 23Van of the Year 2017The Volkswagen Crafter is the 2017 Auto Express Van of the Year, with the Ford Transit and Peugeot Expert commended
- 24Electric car of the Year 2017The BMW i3 is the 2017 Auto Express Electric Car of the Year, with the Renault ZOE and Tesla Model S commended
- 25Technology Award 2017BMW wins the Auto Express 2017 Technology Award with its range of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles and semi-autonomous systems
- 26Car Advertising Campaign of the Year 2017Skoda's 'Driven by Something Different' advert for the new Kodiaq has won the 2017 integrated advertising campaign award
- 27Social Media Campaign of the Year 2017BMW's 'Genius - Live' has won the 2017 Social Media Campaign of the Year
- 28Design Award 2017We asked you what your favourite car design is for 2017, and the Jaguar I-Pace Concept has taken the crown
- 29Driver Power Award 2017Lexus scoops the 2017 Driver Power Award after taking the customer satisfaction survey by storm this year