by C.J. Hubbard

March 10, 2009

So Porsche has decided not to unveil the Panamera at Europe’s premier motor show. Boohoo. We’re more than happy seeing the new 429-horsepower 911 GT3 on display instead. It speeds from zero to 62 mph in 4.1 seconds and has a top speed of 194 mph.
 
By now we know what to expect from one of these lightweight road-racing specials. But seeing a new 911 GT3 in the metal and carbon for the first time is still an awesome experience. And Porsche hasn’t exactly been shy with the color scheme.
 
So what makes this Porsche so exceptional? Compared to the previous version, the naturally aspirated flat six is enlarged from 3.6 to 3.8 liters — bringing with it an extra 20 horsepower and VarioCam technology on the exhaust camshafts. It’s the first time VarioCam has ever been used on a GT3.
 
In another first, this "second-generation Type 997" GT3 is the first GT3 with Porsche Stability Management. Specially developed for the car, this allows you to separately disengage the Stability Control and Traction Control systems, depending on just how seriously you want to get the back end out of shape.
 
When these are off they are properly off, too — unlike some rival systems, they don’t cut back in upon sensing what appears to be impending catastrophe.
 
However, it’s another first that really confirms the GT3’s position as a hard-core driving machine: PADM. This stands for Porsche Active Drivetrain Mount — an optional new engine mount that firms up upon detecting your "particularly sporting" driving style. Making the 911 stiffer when required, PADM enables the suspension to work even better. Clever stuff.
 
Further options include GT3-specific ceramic brakes, while the already upgraded regular stoppers feature better cooling for more consistent performance. Also optional is a button that raises the front suspension 1.2 inches when needed to clear speed bumps or inclines. Standard center-locking lightweight wheels provide the ultimate race car for the road ambience.
 
The special GT3 Aerodynamics Package apparently develops twice as much rear downforce as the one on the previous GT3  high-speed grip levels should be phenomenal. Bespoke Porsche Active Suspension Management gives the driver a choice between hard or really, really hard suspension settings. We cannot wait to have a go.
 
Elsewhere on the Porsche stand is the new Cayenne Diesel, making its official public appearance — although we imagine most interested customers will have seen one in their local showroom by now.
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