TopGear.com04 March 2013

2013 Porsche 911 GT3 unveiled

475hp £100k Nordschleife smasher lands at Geneva

2013 Porsche 911 GT3 unveiled

This is the brand new Porsche 911 GT3. And this brand-new 2013 Porsche 911 GT3 is capable of lapping the Nurburgring Nordschleife in under 7:30. That's three seconds faster than a Ferrari 458, eight seconds faster than a standard Lexus LFA, and 2:29.00 faster than a Jeremy Clarkson. And Porsche hasn't actually had a proper go yet. The weather's been too grotty, they just know it'll go quicker than 7:30.

Pretty impressive for a road car, no? The rest of its numbers aren't bad, either. It steers with all four wheels, the purpose-built normally-aspirated 3.8-litre flat six engine develops 475bhp, hits the rev limiter at 9,000rpm (nine THOUSAND), accelerates from 0-62 mph in 3.5 seconds, has a seven-speed PDK double-clutch ‘box, and hits v-max at 196 mph. Oh, and it'll cost £100,540...

See more pics of the 911 GT3

Let's start with that engine. It's a flat six based on the same engine fitted to the 911 Carrera S, but it's got an intake manifold, crankshaft and special hollowed valve setup developed just for the GT3. There are also titanium con rods and forged pistons that can withstand the insane 9,000 rev limit. It's got a dry sump, too, as well as six-hole direct injection, and new cylinder heads with swollen intake and exhaust ports. It's around 25 kg less than the previous unit, and it sits on special engine mounts that stiffen when the car detects lateral forces acting on it, too.

As you'd expect, it's got a fruity exhaust system. It's largely the same as the outgoing car's - a high-performance system with fan-type pipes and two catalysts that's close to the engine and integrated into the manifolds.

Now for the controversial stuff. It won't have a manual gearbox. Instead it'll be PDK-only. This will upset purists, but Andreas Preuninger, the guy who looks after Porsche's GT car programme was concerned enough about the switch away from a manual gearbox that he had a manual car built, just to see what it was like. And they've gone for double clutch. But, they assure us, this is a PDK we will love: faster changes (a mere 100 milliseconds), no creep at junctions, real mechanical interaction, shorter-pull paddles and "characteristics inspired by the sequential gearboxes used in motor racing". That's the claim. This is basically a new generation of gearbox, very different to the standard one. Fingers crossed.

Even more controversially, it'll also retain the 911's electric power steering. Again, the claim is that we won't recognize it from the standard Carrera, that's it's been transformed. Again, this is something that will need confirmation.

At least it's rear wheel drive only, but even there things have changed. You see, for the first time ever, they steer too... Hidden in the rear track (which has swollen by 44mm), there's two electro-mechanical actuators. They're used at the left and right side of the rear axle, and can vary the steering angle by up to 1.5 degrees, depending on your speed. Up to 31 mph it'll steer in the opposite direction of the fronts, effectively shortening the wheelbase by around 150mm. Above 80mph, it steers parallel to the fronts. This geometrically extends the wheelbase by 500mm, increasing high-speed stability. Again, Preuninger claims it helps agility and when driven back to back with a car without it, claims you'd definitely have it...

While we're underneath, we should have a poke around that aluminium chassis. It's pretty similar to the 911 Carrera, only lowered by 30 mm. There are lightweight springs and damper struts with an aluminium outer tube, reducing weight by 3kg over standard. Out back, there's a multi-link rear axle. The subframe's made from hollow aluminium (saving 3.9kgs), there's a new spring-damper element and the whole lot's been designed especially to cool the rear brakes. Talking of which, the discs have grown to 380mm and they've got redesigned ventilation. And if you really want to reduce unsprung weight, you can option a ceramic composite setup with friction rings made of cast iron and aluminium pots, just like its predecessor.

So far, so German. But it gets even more tech... Its wide body, unique chin and bum and ruddy great spoiler hide an aluminium frame, which reduces the shell weight by around 13 per cent over the previous model. Roof and wings, front boot lid and doors are also aluminium, which has helped increase torsional rigidity by a whopping 25 per cent and skim weight down to a featherweight 1430kg.

That new chin's also GT3-only. As well housing the new front lights, the flared nostrils improve air supply to the radiator, add slipperiness, and improve downforce. The rear spoiler does much the same job (increases cooling, decreases drag coefficient, and increases downforce), and there's an underbody panel, which helps it cut through the air at 0.33cd.

Yes, it only does 22.8 mpg and yes, it emits 289 g/km of CO2, but tell us this, TopGear.commers - what would you do to own one of these Nordschleife-pounding beasts?

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