991.1 GT3 RS v 991.2 GT3
Gen2 GT3 v Gen1 RS: which is the best Porsche 991 GT for £150,000?
The Editor answers a common question: which is the better Porsche GT for £150k?
The ever-changing nature of the Porsche marketplace often throws up some interesting conundrums for the 911 buyer. As values of separate models fluctuate, they often combine to bring about new scenarios for those in the market to consider: ‘What’s around for my £100,000?’ for example. Right now there are many different choices of 911s available at many different price points. As a case in point, for £40,000 you could choose anything from a G-series classic, to a 996 Turbo, to a 997.2 Carrera S right now. The market’s constant evolution means different cars move in and out of the equation, whatever your budget. It’s what keeps things interesting, in many ways.
As another case in point, only five years ago we ran a head-to-head road test in this very magazine asking which was the better Turbo for your £60,000: 993 or 997.1? Today the 993 is worth at least double that, while a 997.1 can be had for £50,000.
Market circumstance has dictated the 991.2 GT3 and 991.1 GT3 RS have been trading hands for roughly the same money for a while now, so the question we’ve routinely found levied in our direction in the past year is thus: ‘Which is the better buy for my £150,000; a Gen2 991 GT3 or Gen1 991 GT3 RS?’
Really, there are multiple answers to the question, and it all comes down to what you’ll do with the car. We’ve therefore assessed both the 991.2 GT3 and 991.1 GT3 RS over three practical categories, which covers all possible ownership intentions.
While it’s not really something we like to entertain here at Total 911, because we believe you should buy a Porsche purely for the thrill of driving it, it cannot be denied the nature of these cars will attract those looking to invest. The 991.1 GT3 RS in particular saw thousands of supposed enthusiasts from around the globe clambering to get a build slot at launch, believing an RS to be a surefire investment off the back of the golden years of the market boom. As a result you’ll find no end of high-spec, Paint To Sample 991.1 GT3 RSS with delivery miles littering the classifieds, all of them tumbling towards, or below, list price. They’ve come down a hell of a long way – in the early days these same cars were being traded for a quarter of a million pounds.
Porsche itself was only too happy to make hay while the sun was shining in the period, bowing to this unprecedented demand and pumping out a monumental 5,000 units of the 991.1 GT3 RS worldwide. That’s in sharp contrast to any other generation of 911 Rennsport ever made. There are just 1,500 997.2 GT3 RSS, for example, or 1,100 997.1 GT3 RSS, or just 672 996 GT3 RSS. In the context of the RS stratosphere the 991.1 represents a relatively weak investment – its numbers are not favourable, it doesn’t have the caché of being the last naturally aspirated Rennsport, and all examples are PDK only, of course.
Despite this, in comparison to a GT3, a GT3 RS with similar miles will very nearly always hold precedent, the allure of those fabled last two letters affixed to its decklid clear. Manual 991.2 GT3S may yet upset the apple cart – and Tourings in particular, given their rarity – but there’s no reason a PDK 991.2 GT3 will ever usurp a 991.1 GT3 RS. Don’t be fooled into thinking either of these cars represents a good investment at present though; that both are trading for £150,000 shows they are generally very close to list price, a far cry away from the golden days of two years ago when even Pdk-only 991.1 GT3S were exchanging hands for £100,000 above list.
Track day use
There’s no doubt about it, the track is home for the 991.2 GT3 and 991.1 GT3 RS. As a consequence of
their birthplace in Flacht their primary objective is chasing lap times, and so the 991.2 GT3 and 991.1 GT3 RS are both exceptional tools to use in your own quest for excellence at the circuit.
Here, therefore, it’s all about performance, and the stats will tell you the previous-generation GT3 RS might just have the edge over the newer GT3. Though they both have the same maximum power and torque outputs, it is the Rennsport which is faster across the board in terms of acceleration, though it does suffer slightly on outright top speed compared to the GT3. However, keep in mind that maximum speeds will be affected by adjustments in either cars’ aerodynamics, so it will depend on your set-up. That’s all straightline stuff, though: if you look at their respective Nürburgring lap times, the Green Hell ever a staple for a 911’s capabilities, it is the GT3 which conquers its old rival by some eight seconds, a tremendous achievement that shouldn’t be overlooked in a hurry.
Away from the stats, you’ll find the GT3 ever so slightly softer than the RS, the latter more stable through fast sections on track. And though both
PDK and manual gearboxes are brilliant in the 991.2 GT3, it is the GT3 RS’S PDK gearbox which has the edge in terms of its clinical output, being faster and more responsive, and the steering is slightly better
too. The margins are incredibly fine here, so don’t expect them to be night and day, but they are margins nevertheless.
The GT3’S engine, however, is an absolute work of art. Previously described by Total 911 as the best ever flat six to find its way into a Neunelfer with licence plates, it’s torquier at lower revs, with little let-off in power from its peak at 8,250rpm all the way to the redline at 9,000. The RS, meanwhile, tails off rather sharply after its peak power at the same point, though its redline is slightly shorter at 8,800rpm, its exhaust note not quite as exotic as the GT3 at nine grand. Running costs are relatively equal depending on your spec – some have ceramic brakes, for example – so if you want more emotion from the car on track the GT3 will pose a tantalising proposition, but if circuit precision is your end goal it is the GT3 RS which has the greater potential to unlock it for you – provided your driving is up to the task.
On the road
If the vast majority of your pleasurable driving is done on the public road the 991.2 GT3 is the car for you. Of course, the nature of both models’ track orientations means they’re slightly compromised for this environment from the get-go, so here we’ve looked at which is the most accommodating. This is where the GT3 wins, as it’s going to be more palatable in terms of comfort and engagement – particularly if, in regards to the latter, you opt for a manual variant. Its ride will still feel overly firm and a little crashy in places, especially at low speeds over less-than-perfect surfaces, and it will prove taxing to continuously climb in and out of if you have bucket seats. Despite that it’s still not as compromised as the ride of the 991.1 GT3 RS, which lacks the rather more sophisticated suspension of its successor in the 991.2 GT3 RS which represents a huge improvement in quality on the road.
The GT3 RS’S reduced sound deadening means its cabin is often overawed by engine noise too, even at cruising speeds on the motorway. You won’t quite have to shout to be heard by your passenger, but don’t expect the same level of decorum you might enjoy from a relaxed conversation in a Carrera. The GT3’S more insular cabin means this isn’t so much of a problem, though rolling tyre noise can be just as droning as the Rennsport. For an early morning Sunday drive, though, you’ll want the GT3; its slightly more supple suspension is better suited to the rigours of the public road, and chasing that 9,000rpm redline – and unleashing the crescendo of noise which comes with it – will be far more invigorating than nonchalantly hitting every apex in the Pdk-only GT3 RS. That’s the issue with the Rennsport here: it’s so good as a performance car that in fact it is too good for this environment to get anywhere near the most from it. Owning a 991.1 GT3 RS and never taking it to a track would be like having a winning lottery ticket in your back pocket yet never cashing it in. A manual GT3 has further, obvious advantages in terms of engagement over the RS, too.
As you can see, the outcome of your decision here will really come down to your lifestyle and driving intentions. In truth it’s no different to any decision involving multiple choices within a certain price bracket. Think carefully about what you want from your 911 experience and how you want to use the car, and that will often dictate your sensible outcome. You should prepare for the fact the right 911 for you might not be the model you think you want at the outset.
Thanks to John Westbrook for supplying the 991.1 GT3 RS in our pictures
BELOW Rennsport has a more comprehensive aero package than GT3
above The RS chases down the GT3. Both have an identical 500hp achieved at a heady 8,250rpm