By Harrison Card
Yet another variation on the Porsche 911 theme.
The 911 GT3 RS 4.0 is the latest, and supposedly last car in the current 911’s long line of confusing model differentiations. This is the second GT3 RS in the last 2 years. It gets a bigger engine though, and it’s really fast and somewhat of a limited edition. It’s already sold out, of course.
The 911, now presently distinguished as the 997 generation, received a slight redesign in 2009, changing very little. Since then, 21 different, distinct models are or were available over the last two years. These blur the line between distinct models and trim packages. Still, it’s not without reason that magazines publish humorous guides to the 911 and its web of models. There’s a lot to share and this information is confusing.
Perhaps the most confusing of all 911s, the GT3 model, named for the FIA racing classification, offers a few subtle differences that make for an interesting lineup. The latest and of course greatest GT3 is thought to be the last of the line for the 997 chassis.
The 911 GT3 RS 4.0 is the third GT3 hailing from the second generation of the 997. Improving upon its stellar predecessors, the RS 4.0 gets, most importantly, a bigger engine. The new engine, 4-liters obviously, ads an extra 200 cubic centimeters to the standard 3.8 found in most 911s. The engine is naturally aspirated, as are all GT3 engines, and produces 500 horsepower and 340 foot-pounds of torque. That’s a boost of nearly 70 horsepower over the standard GT3 and 55 over the GT3 RS. That’s also a pretty significant power bump, and the GT3 was no slouch to begin with.
The 4.0 engine is of course, of the familiar Porsche flat-six layout. This is the last engine from the family designed by Hans Mezger. The basic construction has been around for more than a decade, and a racing version powered the 911 GT1 that won Le Mans in 1998.
The GT3 variant of the 911 appeals to serious drivers. Unlike the regular Carreras and Turbo variants, the only transmission is a six-speed manual. Unlike most modern supercars, the driver needs serious skill to get the most out of this car. The 4.0 features several new aerodynamic parts to help on the track. The rear wing, taken from the standard GT3, features a steeper angle, creating more down force.
The front end also gets aerodynamic tweaks including canards, an aerodynamic aid found on race cars. The suspension also gets a few revisions, most importantly, solid ball joints, which stiffen the chassis even more. Active engine mounts firm up when driven hard to keep the car stiff and when simply cruising, soften to reduce vibration.
The GT3 RS 4.0 is the last of the 997 Porsches. With a new 911 releasing soon, the 4.0 is a fitting finishing stroke, complete with a lot of commemorative badges and stickers.
Photo: Porsche Cars North America, Inc.