There is never enough time. We get to drive an incredible variety of cars in our line of work, but every summer has its highlight. My 2014 car of the year is the Porsche 911 GT3.
You see, when people ask me what car they should buy, I usually respond with: “Porsche 911”. Hey, why not? It’s what I would get, if there were no intervening conditions borne of “reality” and “life”. Well, that answer is going to have to be updated to “Porsche 911 GT3”, for I have seen the light – in fact, I can’t believe I was so vague before. The 2014 Porsche 911 GT3 is exactly how I perceive Porsches: loud and raw, alluring and precise, a touch violent and fast. Very, very fast.
my own records indicate that I achieved better results in the Turbo I had earlier in the summer than the GT3.But this is not the fastest Porsche, or even the fastest 911, at least not from a standstill, estimated by Porsche at 3.3 seconds to 100 km/h, where the 911 Turbo S can do it in 3.1, with Porsche yet to unveil the speed-demon 911 GT2. However, Car and Driver managed 0–60 mph (96 km/h) in 3.0 seconds, 0.3 seconds faster than Porsche’s estimate (they clock the Turbo S at 2.6 to 60 mph). The GT3 claws it back on the skidpad, though, topping the Turbo S 1.12 to 1.09, though
Still, talking about cars that accelerate to highway speeds in less than four seconds is all getting pretty academic. Any of the 911s will get you to highway speeds in short order (most trims managing five seconds or less), but the GT3 does it in the most epic, violent way possible. The suspension can be switched from hardest to who-needs-functioning-kidneys-anyways at the press of a button, and the PDK from stupid-fast to holy-expletive. The engine has only one mode: kill.
At 8,250 rpm, the 3.8L naturally aspirated flat-six delivers 475 hp and an unfiltered wail that will inspire modern-day epic poets to write really long, loud poems. Maybe what they call performance art. It keeps going for another 750 rpm before encountering the dreaded red line. The way this things screams at high revs makes me tingly, giddy and light-headed – that last might also be because of the sheer accelerative force. Torque is more modest, 325 lb-ft at 6,250 rpm, but if you have a problem with 300+ lb-ft of torque in a car weighing 1,430 kg, you ain’t doing it right. Remember the sounds I described of that engine north of 6,000 rpm?
2014 Porsche 911 GT3, dashboard, G-force meter. Click image to enlarge
Once you get going there is even more noise, intakes and combustion echoing from the rear, exhaust barking its madness and frustration every time you lift off the throttle, gears slamming home into one of the two clutches of the PDK, the rear differential turning and the suspension beating the road into submission. Brakes are fierce, too, steel cross-drilled rotors measuring 380 mm front and rear, staggered 20-inch wheels with Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 rubber measuring 245/35ZR20 (20×9 inches) in front and 305/30ZR20 (20×12 inches). This is one of those rare cars where braking is more exciting than accelerating, the seatbelts leaving a strip of bruises down my chest, my eyelids sore from keeping my corneas from flying into the windshield.
The seats are up to the task of containing my body (just barely), the bolsters like the embrace of a loving parent, and the alcantara inserts meaning you stick in your seat just like you’re stuck with a lifetime of baggage from said parents. Adjustments are fairly basic, with fixed headrests, manual fore-aft and power tilt and height adjustment. No complaints about the seats, other than the inevitable challenge of dropping into them, an exercise I wouldn’t trade for any easy-loading crossover considering the performance benefits of such a low centre of gravity.
The rest of the cabin is the now-familiar Porsche interior, the high console and short centre stack with small screen for controlling things you won’t care about, like nav and audio. What’s right in front of you will concern you much more, the superbly contoured GT3 SportDesign steering wheel wrapped in alcantara and stitched in matching red thread (as are the seatbelts and GT3 stitched logos on the seats. As to the business of driving, the large shift paddles are easy to find if you don’t find PDK’s programming to your satisfaction – on occasion, I appreciated the ability to put it in a higher gear when my eardrums started to get tired. The large, central tach is Porsche’s sporty white on grey face, and the ancillary gauge on the left for speed and fuel level, while on the right, a screen that can display a wealth of information like tire pressure g forces, lap times, navigation, audio and more is incredibly useful. To keep the steering wheel itself clean, Porsche has deferred controls for cruise and the info display to stalks, so there’s a bit of clutter behind the wheels when you reach to signal a turn.