GT3 FOR SYBARITES
The new Touring Package for the GT3 makes it more acceptable everyday transport, but surely there are other 911s for that?
IF ANYTHING YOU READ ON THIS PAGE sounds negative, may I clarify here and now, unequivocally, emphatically, earnestly: the 911 GT3 with Touring Package is a brilliant car. It has a normally aspirated flat-six engine of such range, potency (493bhp) and acoustic drama that it alone is worth much of the `23.7 crore (ex-showroom Mumbai) entry fee to GT3 ownership. I love driving this car. I want to own one very badly indeed. Its engine shows what we’re missing with turbocharged Carreras and its six-speed manual gearbox betrays how the regular seven-speed unit still isn’t good enough.
You may be wondering why we aren’t giving more space in evo to the GT3 Touring. After all, the very notion of the car brings to mind the first RS 911, the 2.7 Carrera RS of 1973. Back then, many of the cars delivered to customers were in M472 Touring specification, rather than M471 Lightweight trim. The M471 package took the raw RSH (H for homologation) version of the car – so basic it didn’t even have a sticker for the tyre pressures – and added just a few concessions to civility, such as some lining for the luggage area, decent wheels and tyres and a cover for the glovebox. Nevertheless, it was still unimaginably single-minded by modern standards, and this was reflected in its 960kg kerb weight and 5.8-second 0-100kmph time.
However, the M472 option added a significant 100kg to the car. It gave it a steel rear bumper and full protective trims front and rear and on the sills. It had ‘normal’ 911 carpets and sound insulation, could be ordered without the ducktail spoiler, even, and it had, decadently, a clock. It was effectively trimmed to the standard of the erstwhile range-topping 911 2.4 S, albeit with the same mechanical package as the Lightweight underneath the skin.
Which brings us to the 991.2 GT3 Touring. The large fixed rear wing has been replaced by the Carrera’s electrically extendable rear spoiler, which has the addition of a Gurney flap on its rear edge. A 911 R-style rear diffuser attempts to claw back some of that lost aerodynamic advantage. You can’t have the Clubsport package or the Alcantara interior – so it’s all leather – and, um, that’s pretty much it, bar some tiny details. If you tick the Touring Package box – a no-cost option – you must have a manual transmission. There are still no rear seats, there isn’t a different chassis set-up, it is no quieter, or more luxurious, or anything really. I’m driving the car in France, so while its stability and drag properties over 240kmph may be slightly different, I can’t tell you.
Which leaves us in the strange predicament of sounding downbeat about a car that is actually really rather wonderful, and which if you don’t peek in the rear-view mirror looks, feels and drives in exactly the same way as the GT3 we know and love. This, it must be said, encourages the sentiment expressed on the previous pages with the 911 Carrera T: a really good car, yes, but couldn’t you have put in a little bit more effort, Porsche?L
Above: Touring cabin definitely more road than track; do GT3 and Touring belong on the same badge? Below: Bye-bye big fixed rear wing