991.2 GT3: Man­ual v PDK

How does a change in trans­mis­sion choice al­ter the driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence of Porsche’s lat­est GT3? To­tal 911 pits a man­ual Tour­ing against a Com­fort-spec with PDK

Total 911 - - Contents - Writ­ten by Lee Si­b­ley Pho­tog­ra­phy by Daniel Pullen

Is there more to the lat­est GT3’S make-up than a mere change in trans­mis­sion?

When it comes to its beloved Ne­unelfer, Porsche has con­tin­u­ously proved, speak­ing here in au­to­mo­tive realms, that there are many ways to skin a cat. Af­ter all, walk­ing into a deal­er­ship and ask­ing to buy a 911 is as am­bigu­ous as walk­ing into a bou­tique and merely ask­ing to buy ‘a shirt’. What size, ma­te­rial, fit and colour would you like? There are many op­tions to be had, many choices to make. In the case of the cur­rent 911, there are 24 dif­fer­ent mod­els in the 991.2 gen­er­a­tion alone. You might nar­row it down to a GTS, but would you like drive via two or four wheels, and in Coupe, Cabri­o­let or Targa body style? How about a 911 Turbo: would you like your Turbo in ‘S’ spec, with or with­out a con­vert­ible top? Even Porsche’s GT3 is now avail­able in three guises, these be­ing Tour­ing, Com­fort or Club­sport spec, the for­mer billed as boast­ing a greater road bias, the lat­ter more track ori­ented, and the Com­fort model sup­pos­edly some­where in be­tween. So just how dif­fer­ent are they? Our ride out from the UK to the Guards red Tour­ing in Bel­gium is a Com­fort-spec GT3 in GT Sil­ver, af­ford­ing us an op­por­tu­nity to com­pare ap­ples with ap­ples be­tween these 991.2-gen­er­a­tion cars. A vis­ual ob­ser­va­tion re­veals two key dif­fer­ences be­tween them: one has a fixed wing and semi-au­to­matic PDK trans­mis­sion, while the other sports a more tra­di­tional flatback de­sign and H-pat­tern man­ual shifter. But does the very make-up of these two GT3S go beyond that? In short, yes. These both of­fer very dif­fer­ent takes on Porsche’s GT3 moniker, with metic­u­lous op­ti­mi­sa­tion car­ried out to bet­ter serve the pre­cise purpose for which they are in­tended. The Tour­ing’s six-speed man­ual gear­box of­fers an en­gag­ing drive on the pub­lic road, its throw short and di­rect, its clutch pedal un­ex­pect­edly light. Gear ra­tios are longer than the Pd­ke­quipped Com­fort, which pro­vides in­stan­ta­neous shifts us­ing the beau­ti­fully weighted alu­minium pad­dles mounted just be­hind its steer­ing wheel. In the­ory, the clin­i­cal as­pect of PDK should pro­vide greater in­ten­sity to the driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, yet the re­al­ity is on a speedrestricted pub­lic road, this only lasts a mat­ter of sec­onds, whereas the Tour­ing’s re-introduction of a third pedal gives the driver an ad­di­tional fo­cus point for much longer pe­ri­ods. Un­sur­pris­ingly, the Tour­ing is no­tice­ably softer than the Com­fort, its more pro­nounced body roll the re­sult of re­vised spring rates more suitable for the lumps and bumps of a pub­lic road. That’s not to say the Com­fort is too stiff for any­thing but the snooker ta­ble-like sur­face of a race track, be­cause it’s not, but whereas the Com­fort dis­plays an ea­ger­ness to stay glued to the road’s sur­face, the Tour­ing’s chas­sis has a greater ten­dency to move around be­neath you. This is es­pe­cially ev­i­dent at speeds above 100mph, where aero comes into play. Bizarrely it’s the Tour­ing which is the louder of the two from in­side, as it has had more sound dead­en­ing re­moved. This is some­thing of an er­ror in judge­ment from Porsche – it should surely be the track-ori­ented Com­fort which ben­e­fits from the most sound dead­en­ing be­ing re­moved in a bid to fur­ther re­duce its weight. While this does un­ques­tion­ably make the Tour­ing’s driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence more vis­ceral by com­par­i­son, there comes with it a caveat in that the car dis­plays a ten­dency to emit a re­ver­ber­at­ing en­gine drone into the cabin at cruis­ing speed (just un­der 4,000rpm in sixth gear). Not ideal for a car built to drive to the Alps, tour around it and then drive home again. Con­versely the Com­fort car’s acous­tics are en­tirely more palat­able over medium to long dis­tances. There are fur­ther, minute dif­fer­ences too. The Tour­ing sits marginally higher (we estimate by 5mm) and Porsche tells us the flatback car even gets its own unique wiring loom. Not sure which trans­mis­sion to spec in your 991.2 GT3? It ap­pears there’s far more to con­sider be­sides how you’d like to shift your gears.

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