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New Porsche 911 GT3 will have optional manual transmission and 500-hp flat six

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Photos courtesy Porsche

Sports car enthusiasts may rejoice, because the manual transmission lives on in the revised 991-2-generation Porsche 911 GT3. Drivers may once again opt for three pedals and a six-speed gearbox to make forward motion with a powerful naturally aspirated flat six, Porsche announced this morning at the Geneva International Motor Show. Or, they can go with the standard seven-speed PDK automatic.

2018 911 GT3

Not long ago, it would have been hard to imagine a manual gearbox overshadowing the introduction of a state-of-the-art Porsche flat six. The GT3’s new mill is a glorious 4.0 liters, pumping out 500 horsepower and 339 pound-feet of torque. Its origin is in motorsport, based on the engines used in the GT3 R and the GT3 RSR race cars. But such is the automotive climate these days — finding new sports cars with manual transmissions is only getting tougher.

We’re encouraged that Porsche saw the writing on the wall when the manual 911R and Cayman GT4 were virtually sold out before hitting the market. The automaker realized its most devoted and enthusiastic customers still want the option to row their own gears.

Interior of 911 GT3

Of course, the reason the last GT3 was only offered with an automatic is clear when comparing performance numbers. With PDK — which adds 37 pounds to the manual car’s 3,116-pound curb weight — 0-60 mile per hour can be dispatched in 3.2 seconds, Porsche states. With the manual, 3.8 seconds, more than half a second behind. If ultimate acceleration matters to you most, go with the PDK. The difference in top speed between the two is a negligible 1 mph, with the nod going to the 198-mph manual car.

A locking rear differential and dynamic engine mounts help with traction in and out of corners, while rear axle steering improves low-speed agility and high-speed stability.

911 GT3

Only astute observers will immediately notice visual differences between the 991-1 and 991-2 cars. The front fascia has been redesigned, notably the center columns between the intakes, which are angled inward from the bottom up. At the rear there’s a new diffuser and 991-2-style taillights introduced on the 2017 Carreras. The carbon-fiber rear spoiler looks similar to the previous GT3’s but with black end plates.

911 GT3

Inside, drivers are treated to 14.1-inch steering wheel from the 918 Spyder and three seating options. Sport Seats Plus, as Porsche calls them, are standard and have “enhanced” bolsters and electric seat back and height adjustment. Step up to Adaptive Sports Seats Plus offer 18-way adjustment along with steering column and seat memory. Carbon-fiber race-style buckets with electric seat height adjustment are available for those who plan on driving on track. As usual for the GT3, rear seats have been deleted to save weight.

Porsche says to expect the GT3 to hit showrooms in fall 2017 with prices starting at $143,600 (excluding $1,050 destination fee).

Porsche Press Release

A matter of choice – the new 2018 Porsche 911 GT3

500 hp from a naturally aspirated four-liter flat-six available with PDK or six-speed manual 

ATLANTA, March 7, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Porsche motorsport technology continues to be incorporated into street-legal sports cars. The new 911 GT3 was developed in Weissach,and will be manufactured on the same production line as all other 911 street and 911 GT3 Cup racecars. The centerpiece of the latest 911 GT3 is the new naturally aspirated 4.0 liter flat-six engine which produces 500 hp and 339 lb.-ft. of torque. This new, high-reving powerplant  is based on  the one now used in all 911 race cars, including the 911 GT3 R and 911 RSR. The redesigned chassis with Rear Axle Steering and systematic lightweight construction is specifically tuned to produce superior driving dynamics in conjunction with the naturally aspirated engine.

Thanks to a power-to-weight ratio of 6.4 pounds per hp, the 911 GT3 feels very much at home on the test track. With the standard seven-speed dual-clutch transmission (PDK) — specifically constructed and tuned for the GT3 — the 3,153 pound two-seater accelerates from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 3.2 seconds with a top track speed of 197 miles per hour. For purists, Porsche will also offer the 911 GT3 with a six-speed manual transmission. With this transmission, the 911 GT3 weighs in at 3,116 pounds, allowing it to achieve a top track speed of 198 miles per hour and hit 60 mph in 3.8 seconds.

Fast in corners, stable on the straights: Track-bred chassis with rear axle steering
The chassis of the new 911 GT3 benefits from Porsche motorsport racing experience, and it has been tuned for improved handling and driving dynamics. The chassis and active Rear Axle Steering offer superlative handling characteristics.  Depending upon the speed, the rear wheels are steered either in the opposite or the same direction as the front wheels, improving the vehicle's agility and stability. The dynamic engine mounts and the rear locking differential, both fitted as standard, also boost the car's driving dynamics.

Visually, the lightweight carbon fiber rear wing reinforces the fact that the design of the car is driven by aerodynamics. The lightweight front fascia and the front spoiler are designed for optimum airflow. The rear end with exhaust air openings and a new diffusor also contribute to the overall aerodynamic efficiency.

Interior: A control center for exceptional driving dynamics 
The interior of the new 911 GT3 is designed to underscore the exciting driving experience. The GT Sport steering wheel designed with a 14.1 inch diameter was adopted from the 918 Spyder. The Sport Seats Plus feature enhanced bolsters for increased lateral support and electric adjustment of the seat back and seat height.

There are two other seat options available for the 911 GT3. The Adaptive Sport Seats Plus offer an 18-way electric adjustment along with a power steering column and seat memory. Alternatively, Full Bucket Seats with electric height adjustment and a fixed carbon fiber reinforced backrest are also available. As on all GT variants, the rear seats are omitted to save weight.

Porsche Track Precision App as standard 
In addition to the Porsche Communication Management (PCM) — which includes a navigation system capable of real-time traffic information and the Connect Plus Module including Apple Car Play — the Porsche Track Precision App is also included as standard equipment. Using this app, 911 GT3 drivers can display, record, and analyze detailed driving data on a smartphone. 

Pricing and availability 
The 2018 911 GT3 is scheduled to reach U.S. dealers in fall 2017. The base MSRP will be $143,600, excluding the $1,050 delivery, processing, and handling fee.

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