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A love letter from Hammond to Porsche
I’ll just come right out and say it: the Porsche 911 GT3 isn’t just my Car of the Year for 2013, it is, in my opinion, the best car ever invented. And yes, that probably sounds like I’ve finally gone and lost it, but hear me out here. I have my reasons.
First up, if you like 911s - and I do - then you’ll notice that it looks reasonably subtle for a car that can do 196mph and get to 62mph in 3.5 seconds. The latter being less than half the time it took you to read the actual sentence. It’s got 475bhp, Porsche Torque Vectoring for the rear diff, active suspension management and fully adjustable suspension, should you want to attack a track. It’s also got Isofix child-seat mounts on the front passenger seat. Though that’s possibly less important.
But the GT3 isn’t just about Top Trumps. It’s more alive and more purposeful than ever before, but also more focused, more intimate. More connected. You don’t get into the GT3, you put it on. It’s like a set of Superman pants and a cape.Yes, I’ve heard all the moans about the fact that this new version has electric steering, that you can’t buy it with a manual gearbox and that it has four-wheel steer. All of which mean it’s supposed to be less pure than before. Well, I can tell you that it makes not one ounce of difference.
The steering is as precise as a samurai chef, the PDK paddleshift just makes it feel like a racing car as you rev the insane 3.8-litre naturally aspirated engine to 9,000rpm, and the four-wheel steer does a fair impression of sticking the whole thing to the road with industrial glue. And the brakes. The brakes will change the shape of your face.
And it’s usable. Really. Day to day, it’s no harder to drive than your mum’s Golf, easy to see out of, easy to potter in, easy to understand. Which makes it the best 911 you can buy, immediately sitting it at the top of a very distinguished family tree. It’s a car that takes the genius of the 911 and turns it up to 11. And that’s why it’s my Car of the Year for 2013. And possibly forever.
Words: Richard Hammond
Pictures: Justin Leighton
This feature first appeared in Top Gear magazine