Porsche's new 911 GT3 has brought hope and joy to driving enthusiasts the world over, with a new box to be added to the options sheet for buyers to decide just how they would like their new 911 GT3 to be.
Yes folks, the manual gearbox is not dead yet.
Following the sell-out success of the pure focused Porsche 911 R, the German brand will, for the first time, offer its most hard core machine, the 911 GT3, with a choice of either a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic or a six-speed manual transmission.
Previously, Porsche has only offered its GT variants with one type of transmission. Up until this car's predecessor, the GT3 was only ever available with a conventional three-pedal layout, but then the German brand controversially flipped its policy and offered the most recent GT3 with a PDK automatic due to the fact it was quicker and more efficient and therefore extracted the best performance from the closest model it has to a race car with numberplates.
Now, customers can have a choice.
Revealed at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show, the mid-life facelift for the Type 991 series not only has the option of different transmissions but brings more power, upgraded handling and improved aerodynamics to the last remaining variant of Porsche's iconic coupe to be powered by a naturally-aspirated engine.
The track-focused model, which literally forms the basis of the 911 Carrera Cup racer, is now powered by the 4.0-litre horizontally-opposed six cylinder that has previously been reserved for the higher-spec, and limited edition, GT3 RS models. In the new, regular (if you can call it that) GT3, it produces 368kW of power - up from 350kW in the previous model with its 3.8-litre motor - and can propel it from 0-100km/h in 3.4 seconds when equipped with the self-shifting PDK transmission.
Those that opt for the manual gearbox - which is offered at no extra cost - will sacrifice some performance for the added engagement of swapping cogs by themselves, as Porsche claims it is 0.5 second slower to triple figures. It is also marginally less fuel efficient but conversely has a slightly higher top speed (320km/h versus 318Km/h) due to its taller gear ratio.
Elsewhere, Porsche claims it has redesigned the GT3's chassis and further enhanced its rear-wheel steering system for even sharper road holding and improved its aerodynamics with a new front bumper that has been optimised for better airflow and a new rear wing and diffuser that work in harmony to produce additional downforce across the rear axle.
Inside the strict two-seater cockpit, Porsche has adopted the latest interior upgrades from the other Series 2 variants, including a new infotainment system and a smaller diameter steering wheel inspired by the heroic 918 Spyder hybrid hypercar.
Exclusive to GT3 owners, Porsche's Connect App that links a smartphone to the infotainment system features a Track Precision app that allows drivers to display and analyse data recorded from the car onto their phone during race track sessions.
In standard trim, the GT3 is fitted with Porsche's snug-fitting Sports Seat plus which feature electronic adjustment for the cushion height and backrest, but there are another three seat options on offer from a luxury-biased Sports Seat with 18-way electric adjustment to a sports bucket seat with a folding backrest and all the way to a fixed-back lightweight race-style seat made from carbon reinforced plastic with a carbon weave.
Like before, the GT3 can be ordered with a Clubsport Package that includes a half roll cage, fire extinguisher and four-point safety harnesses for the full road racer experience or for those that regular take their vehicle to the racetrack or use it in suitable competition events.
The latest 911 GT3 will cost from $327,100 (plus on-road costs) when it arrives in Australia showrooms before the end of the year.
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