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Review: With the 2018 Porsche 911 GT3, drive it like you stole it

Time:2018-03-13 13:55Turbochargers information Click:

porsche review with 2018 Drive

Review: With the 2018 Porsche 911 GT3, drive it like you stole it

Porsche 911 GT3

Porsche

NICASIO, Calif. — Were it not for a wife, kids and moral compass, this review might have been written from some badlands hideout south of the border, my trusty 2018 Porsche 911 GT3 doubling as both escape vehicle and cramped hotel room.

Instead, I dutifully handed back the crest-emblazoned keys and resigned myself to a life devoid of wicked acceleration, metallic aural symphonies and the jacked feeling that you're driving the baddest car on the road.

You've no doubt heard of the iconic Porsche 911, a two-door sports car born in 1964 that, shrugging off five decades of design evolution, basically looks the same now as it did in 1964.

Review: With the 2018 Porsche 911 GT3, drive it like you stole it

Handout of Porsche 911 GT3.

Porsche

Those Germans are either stubborn or know a good thing when they see one. Likely both.

These days, the 911 — a car that in late '70s Turbo guise routinely threatened to kill its drivers thanks to a lively and heavy rear end — has been tamed. It's now a stately grand touring machine that, for around $100,000, will do 100 mph all day long while soothing you with classical music, plush seats and adaptive suspension. 

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And then there's the 911 GT3, its wonderfully unruly cousin. This iteration of Porsche's legend amounts to a racing car with a hall pass to terrorize the streets of Anytown USA, capable of hitting 60 mph in a neck-snapping 3.2 seconds and boasting a top speed of 197 mph.

Back after a three-year hiatus and a bit of controversy when the 2014 version suffered engine recall issues, the new GT3 is priced at around $50,000 more than a standard 911 and offers more power and perks than its predecessor.

Review: With the 2018 Porsche 911 GT3, drive it like you stole it

Handout of Porsche 911 GT3.

Porsche

It certainly looks the menacing part with its lowered ride height (scraping the front spoiler is almost guaranteed without the optional front axle lift system at $2,590) and airplane-worthy wing (larger and taller than last year's model so as to generate more downforce). 

But better yet, the GT3 sounds every bit like you made the wrong turn off the Mulsanne Straight at Le Mans and somehow wound up in the drive-through at Starbucks. Its flat-six cylinder naturally-aspirated engine (look Ma, no turbos!) generates 500 horses that run free up to a staggering 9,000-rpm tachometer redline.

Review: With the 2018 Porsche 911 GT3, drive it like you stole it

Porsche 911 GT3

Porsche

Putting all this grunt to the rear wheels (which offer minute steering adjustments that improve cornering) is Porsche's 7-speed PDK automatic transmission. While those lickety-split paddle shifts are lightning fast, one does miss in a car this analog the pleasure of shifting for yourself.

Fortunately, an old-school 6-speed stick is available as a no-cost GT3 option, if you can even find these cars for sale. Lists are long at Porsche dealerships for this collector-worthy car, one that's bested perhaps only by its honest-to-goodness racing brother, the 911 GT3 RS. But that's a different automotive adventure.

Attention must be paid

Needless to say, a car as potent as the GT3 skirts a fine line between being fun and downright dangerous.

In a few days of hard driving on winding and often wet roads in bucolic west Marin County just north of San Francisco, our nicely if modestly equipped $147,910 Carrara white-painted car (no carbon ceramic brakes for $9,210, no carbon full bucket seats at $5,200) did its best to showcase what a half-century of refining one product can produce.

The car also scared the wits out of us on a few blind hairpin turns slick with damp leaves. Without proper heat in the Michelin rubber, the grip wasn't ideal, and the track-tuned suspension wasn't happy with potholes. But the end result was a James Bond-like thrill ride that left one both shaken and profoundly stirred. 

Review: With the 2018 Porsche 911 GT3, drive it like you stole it

Porsche 911 GT3

Porsche

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