Road Test: Porsche 911 GT3 2dr Reviews 2023 | Top Gear
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First Drive

Road Test: Porsche 911 GT3 2dr

£72,750 when new
Published: 31 Mar 2003


  • BHP


  • 0-62


  • CO2


  • Max Speed


It takes just seconds to adjust the leather-trimmed Recaro that hugs you into the ideal driving position. But it's not until you bring to life the flat six for the first time that you start to understand what the 911 GT3 is all about. It's the way the needle flicks round the rev counter like a turbine blade and the hard edge to the exhaust note that makes the hairs on the back of your neck bristle in nervous anticipation.

Sized up against the previous, sell-out GT3, power has been hiked 10 per cent to 381bhp at 7,400rpm and there's an extra 12lb ft of torque taking it up to 284; 80 per cent of which is available from 2,000rpm. Somehow 3.5kg has been lost from the engine's moving parts too, hence its ability to hit 8,200rpm.

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The gearbox has the precise, machined feel of a competition unit and, while the clutch is weighty, there's no sudden bite as it engages.

As you take the GT3 on the road for the first time you'll be amazed at the ride quality. Despite those 235/40 and 295/30 tyres, a lower centre of gravity and suspension honed for track day fun, your teeth won't clatter with every bump and the steering wheel won't slither in your grip as the tyres tramline. It's all totally civilised. Especially since you can slip into sixth gear at 1,500rpm and the engine won't stutter or protest.

But let's not forget red line performance, which is startling. Zero to 62mph in 4.5secs is impressive, but it's the relentless wave of power as the GT3 screams to its 190mph maximum that is most inspiring.

ABS is the only aid that Porsche says is needed in this pure sports car. Take to a twisting mountainous road, the thick-rimmed steering wheel in your hands, hips gripped firmly by the Recaro seat and the upper reaches of the engine's rev limit as background accompaniment, and you will appreciate this is one of the greatest sports cars. The steering is perfectly weighted and communication is crystal clear, with none of the vagueness some 911s had mid-bend.

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With all that power instantly available, some caution is called for when powering out of corners. After all, you wouldn't want to end up in the scenery, remodelling the GT3's aerodynamic package in the process. But get it just so and judicious acceleration will result in balanced oversteer.

In Germany, Porsche's ceramic composite braking system (PCCB) is an additional £:5,500 or so, but it's worth every penny. Stopping power is an awesome match to the car's acceleration and it never fades. The system also reduces unsprung weight by 18kg, thus aiding steering response.

It's fitting that in the year the 911 celebrates its fortieth birthday, Porsche should give us the GT3 - simply the best 911 yet. If you have the £:72,250 needed to buy one of the 100 or so that will come into the UK this year, do so. You won't regret it.

Ian Adcock

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