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Porsche Saves the Best 911 for Last?

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author photo by Autotrader May 2011

The term “race car for the road” tends to be used too frequently and often without foundation. This machine – from Porsche, masters of the sports car craft – lays a more legitimate claim. Its full name is the 2011 Porsche 911 GT3 RS 4.0, and some of its parts come direct from a bona fide competition car: the 911 RSR.

Up until now, the GT3 RS was the most track-focused version of the current 911. The GT3 part means compliance with a certain class of auto racing and RS stands for “rennsport,” which is German for motorsport. This new model adds 4.0 to the badge, representing a boost of displacement in the trademark flat-six engine – from the previous 3.8 liters to four, the biggest ever seen in that famous rearward-located engine bay.

There are a couple of other landmarks as well: the most powerful production 911 without a turbocharger, and the highest amount of muscle squeezed from each liter of displacement. To achieve 100 horsepower per liter without a turbo or supercharger is considered impressive. This engine develops 125 hp in each of its six cylinders, adding up to a total of 500 hp, along with 339 pound-feet of torque.

Sometimes it’s difficult to tell why an exotic car costs so much, especially when they don’t have luxury touches like ostrich leather or a sound system developed by Grammy award-winning music producers. In a car like the 911 GT3 RS 4.0, most of the astronomical asking price goes into the hardware.

Like making engine parts out of titanium. This is a strong yet incredibly light metal, so there’s less mass, making it easier to get all those internal components spinning. Many other parts are fashioned from aluminum. And since Porsche has forged its reputation in endurance racing, reliability is never sacrificed for speed. The old racers’ saying of “To finish first, first you have to finish” is not lost on Porsche’s technicians.

This rear-drive car comes with a six-speed manual transmission only (no auto option), its ratios selected for optimum performance. Sprinting from standstill to 60 mph takes only 3.8 seconds. Keep on the gas and 124 mph comes up in under 12 seconds en route to a top speed of 193 mph. Peak power is accessed high up in the rev range – 8,250 rpm – but that is deliberate. The lack of turbo means a greater amount of finesse, a more delicate throttle response, and the sort of control a proper racing driver craves to attain good lap times.

Speaking of which, Porsche claims the car has lapped Germany’s daunting 14-mile Nürburgring North Loop (with more than 100 corners) in seven minutes and 27 seconds. Anything under eight minutes is bordering on heroic.

Part of the car’s mighty performance is due to weight-saving measures, such as carbon fiber body panels and seat bases, even lightweight carpeting. The result is a relatively svelte 2,998 pounds (for comparison, a manual 911 Turbo weighs 3,461 pounds). Meanwhile, its race-derived rear wing and other aerodynamic aids bring up to 426 pounds of downforce, really planting the car onto a track’s surface.

Only 600 examples of the 911 GT3 RS 4.0 will be made. It comes just in Carrara White (Carrara as in the Italian marble, as opposed to Carrera – a name inextricably linked with Porsche – meaning “race” in Spanish). The 2011 GT3 RS 4.0 costs $185,000 plus destination, and debuts later in the year. It may also be the last great hurrah from this generation of 911. An all-new model is expected soon.

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Used 2011 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S
Used 2011 Porsche 911
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Used 2011 Porsche 911 Carrera S Cabriolet
Used 2011 Porsche 911
$55,100
This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Porsche Saves the Best 911 for Last? - Autotrader