The 2019 Porsche 911 GT3 and GT3 RS coupes are extreme versions of Porsche’s legendary 911 sports car. Neither car has as much power as the 911 Turbo/Turbo S, but these machines are built for more than outright speed. Someone with the funds and the talent could drive one of these out of the dealership, go straight to a track and embarrass pretty much everyone and everything else out there. It would be an absolute thrill in the process.
There are no turbochargers or superchargers in the engine bay. Naturally aspirated engines are easier to modulate, so an experienced enthusiast can direct the car with the throttle as much as with the steering wheel. But that means it must be able to rev high to stay in the ideal section of the powerband. This one does, going all the way to 9,000 rpm. It’s from a full-blown racing version of the 911 and is the largest, most powerful naturally aspirated flat-six Porsche has ever put into a road-going production car.
Don’t expect any driver aids that use cameras and sensors. Those things add weight and Porsche assumes its customers know what they’re doing. The GT3 weighs a relatively light 3,153 pounds with its automated transmission. Factor in the manual transmission and that drops by 37 pounds. The engine even has titanium connecting rods.
If any more doubts were lingering about the sporting credentials of the GT3, the following information should dispel them. It was developed on the same circuit and is built on the same production line as Porsche’s racing cars.
What’s New for 2019?
The 911 GT3 range doubles from one car to two, bringing the even more track-focused GT3 RS into the paddock. See the 2019 Porsche 911 models for sale near you
What We Like
- Driving experience
- Spine-tingling engine
What We Don’t
- Quite a bit of road noise
Driving just the rear wheels and set in the usual 911 location of what would be any other car’s trunk, the 911 GT3 deploys a flat-6 engine (a 911 hallmark), displacing four liters and developing 500 horsepower at a screamingly high 8,250 rpm. The engine revs up to 9,000 rpm. Maximum torque of 339 lb-ft is achieved at 6,000 rpm.
The standard transmission is a 7-speed dual-clutch automated manual, also known as PDK. Think of it is an automatic that can change gears faster than most humans and the flow of power is virtually uninterrupted. There are also paddle shifters mounted to the steering column. Porsche also offers a 6-speed manual transmission with a short-throw action in the non-RS GT3.
The 911 GT3 RS variant enjoys 520 hp and 346 lb-ft of torque from the same engine, which only links to a PDK transmission.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates fuel consumption for the regular GT3 as 15 miles per gallon in the city, 20 mpg on the highway and 17 mpg in combined driving (PDK transmission) or 13 mpg city/21 mpg hwy/16 mpg combined (manual). The 911 GT3 RS is rated at 15 mpg city/19 mpg hwy/16 mpg combined.
Standard Features & Options
The 2019 Porsche 911 GT3 and GT3 RS coupes are 2-seaters, the small rear seats in a "normal" 911 have been ditched to save weight. Since these cars are squarely aimed at track work (although the regular GT3 is still usable as a daily driver), their standard equipment leans heavily toward the sporty side.
The 911 GT3 ($144,850) has 20-in alloy wheels with center locking hubs and wearing ultra-high-performance tires, plus active dampers, a sport exhaust system, a fixed rear wing, dynamic engine mounts, rear-wheel steering, sport seats, a 7-in infotainment touchscreen, Wi-Fi, Apple CarPlay integration, Track Precision analysis app, and Alcantara-wrapped steering wheel and upholstery (Alcantara is a simulated suede material used extensively in race car interiors). Versions with the PDK transmission have an electronic locking rear differential. Models with the manual transmission come with a mechanically locking differential.
Along with the more powerful engine, the 911 GT3 RS ($188,750) has more aerodynamic additions for much greater downforce, plus ball-jointed suspension mountings.
Options include leather upholstery, a 12-speaker/555-watt Bose surround-sound system, front end lifter (virtually essential, since the front lip is so low), a larger fuel tank, carbon ceramic brake discs, bucket seats and LED headlights.
No cars in the Porsche 911 range have been crash-tested by any agencies in North America. But the mandatory safety equipment and Porsche’s excellent build quality should be sufficiently reassuring.
Behind the Wheel
The GT3 is a remarkably quick car. We had a chance to drive one at Road Atlanta — the handling, power delivery, braking and steering ratio are all world class. If you’re going to buy one of these, look into joining a local club that allows plenty of track time.
In general, the 911 is just as much about finesse as it is about power. Much of the subtlety of the non-GT 911 is gone with the GT3, but if you’re looking at a 520-hp sports car that does its best work at the track, the more luxury-oriented elements may not interest you. In the end, this is a lightweight race car with just a few everyday comfort bits thrown in.
Other Cars to Consider
2019 Audi R8 V10 — Possibly too civilized compared with a GT3, but a wonderful 540-hp thrill ride all the same.
2019 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 — A performance bargain. Supercharged 6.2-liter V8 brings 650 hp, but the Z06 is no faster to 60 mph than the GT3.
2019 McLaren 570S — The lightweight supercar enjoys 562 hp from a twin-turbocharged V8, as well as superb handling.
2019 Mercedes-AMG GT R — Available summer 2019, this version has 577 hp from a twin-turbocharged V8.
Used Porsche 911 GT3 — If you just wanted a GT3 for occasional track days, there are earlier versions. But you should still budget $100,000.
As long as this kind of car is right up your alley, then go ahead and enjoy a special combination of driving thrills. We’d recommend stretching to the carbon ceramic brake upgrade. Find a Porsche 911 for sale