Few vehicles embody the concept of a precision tool better than the 2022 Porsche 911 GT3, and, like any fine tool, the GT3 demands respect.
Use a Randall knife as a screwdriver and you’re likely to lose a thumb. Likewise, if you use the 911 GT3 for your everyday driver, your ears and spine will be assaulted by one of the sportiest vehicles to bear a license plate.
But you’ll look, sound and perform like few others on track days.
That’s the point of the 911 GT3: to distill Porsche’s unmistakable sports car to its essence. From sound insulation in the cabin to steering response to ride comfort, the 911 is built for speed, not comfort. Sure, the interior is swathed in leather and suede, the optional two-tone alloy wheels slay and the navigation system is world-class. But don’t mistake the GT3 for a luxury car. Every inch and ounce has been honed to a fine edge for performance.
The 911 is Porsche’s torchbearer, born in 1964 to race. Despite nearly 60 years of advances in comfort and driver assistance, the GT3 is a 502-horsepower reminder of that.
Prices for the 2022 911 GT3 start at $161,100, excluding a $1,350 destination fee and $1,700 gas guzzler tax. (The two-seater gets just 14 mpg in city driving, the sort of figure more frequently associated with delivery vans than 198-mph two-seaters.)
A normally aspirated 4.0L horizontally opposed six-cylinder engine that produces 502 horsepower and 347 pound-feet of torque is standard. The GT3 comes only in the coupe body style, just like the 911 GT3 Cup race car that use the same fast-revving, growling engine.
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A six-speed manual and seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmissions are available for the base price. The fact that Porsche offers a manual transmission in such a focused performance car speaks volumes about 911 owners. They understand the manual is slower from 0-60 mph — 3.7 vs. 3.2 seconds. They don’t care. Their understanding of driving real performance requires them to work the shifter and clutch continuously around the track. It’s part of the fun, and the GT3 is all about fun.
2022 Porsche 911 model line and prices
Carrera 4: $109,850
Carrera S: $118,450
Targa 4: $122,650
Carrera 4S: $125,750
Carrera GTS: $138,050
Targa 4S: $138,550
Carrera 4 GTS: $143,350
Targa 4 GTS: $158,150
GT3 Touring: $164,150
Edition 50 Years Porsche Design: $185,150
Turbo S: $208,350
Prices include $1,350 destination charge, but exclude gas-guzzler charge, where applicable.
How is a 911 like a pickup truck?
The 911 product line covers a vast price range from the Carrera at $102,550, to the $208,350 Turbo S. It includes coupes, targas and convertibles, rear and all-wheel-drive models, turbocharged and normally aspirated models. That allows Porsche to build models precisely for small audiences who know exactly what they want and will happily pay for it. U.S. full-size pickups are probably the only other vehicles on the road that cover such a broad spectrum — in their case from gardeners' work trucks to luxurious crew cabs and six-figure heavy duty models towing million-dollar show horses and RVs.
I tested a 911 GT3 with the manual six-speed and options including black and red leather and Race-Tex seats; a 23.-7-gallon extended range gas tank; black and red alloy wheels; staggered tires (20-inch front and 21-inch rear); a suspension that can lift the front axle 1.2 inches for speed bumps and driveways and dynamic LED headlights.
It stickered at $174,740, excluding destination charge and federal gas guzzler tax.
It goes without saying the Porsches are expensive, but they consistently present a pretty good value compared with vehicles with similar performance. That’s true of the GT3.
Key weight reductions in 2022 Porsche 911 GT3:
Carbon-fiber reinforced hood
Carbon-fiber reinforced rear wing and rear spoiler
Seven-speed Sport PDK dual-clutch transmission saves 44 pounds vs. eight-speed PDK in 911 Carrera models
Optional carbon fiber roof
Lightweight stainless steel exhaust saves 22 pounds vs. the 991.2 GT3
Rear seats are deleted (as with past GT3 models)
Lightweight lithium iron phosphate battery saves 22 pounds
Standard lightweight glass standard saves 8 pounds
The 911 GT3 is blazingly quick, with precise, perfectly weighted steering.
Built for regular track use, its electrically assisted power steering features both variable assist and ratio. With the steering wheel on-center, the 14.2:1 ratio (the ratio between the turn of the steering wheel in degrees to the turn of the wheels in degrees) is almost unnervingly direct in street driving, making it easy to over-correct initially. It quickly becomes intuitive, though, as does the transition to a more common 11.2:1 ratio in full turns. Rear axle steering contributes further to quick response and stability at speed. The GT3 demands attention, and rewards it with lap times.
The suspension is very firm over the kind of bumps common on public roads, but holds the GT3 absolutely level in high-speed turns.
The naturally aspirated engine is built for top-speed performance rather than acceleration from a standstill. That’s why it’s naturally aspirated, revving to 9,000 rpm while a turbo would generate torque at low revs — fine in stoplight-to-stoplight sprints, but not the maximized top end GT3 owners want.
The manual transmission has short throws and a clutch that’s easy to learn and use. Porsche’s PDK dual-clutch automatic is quicker, but there’s no denying it's fun slicing through the manual’s gears and dumping the clutch to shift the coupe’s balance in a turn.
Porsche spared no effort to reduce weight, and sound insulation was one of the first things to go. The interior is rife with engine and wind noise to the degree that highway conversations escalate to shouts and hands-fee phone calls elicit requests to “Call me back when you get home.”
The sculpted sport seats are snug and comfortable. The instruments and controls are easy to read and reach. There are buttons and dials for frequently used functions and a good touch screen for the rest.
The steering wheel has a handy mode dial that allows you to go from normal to customizable sport and track modes.
Despite its lack of sound insulation, the interior looks luxurious, with contrast stitching, and leather seats and trim. There’s no rear seat to save weight. (Seats are heavy, even the Mini-Me holders in other 911s.)
The audio system is best described as adequate, but that’s low on GT3 owners’ hierarchy of needs. This exchange on a Porsche bulletin board sums it up:
Yeezus asks: Would Porsche put Burmeister sound system in a GT3 if you ask nicely?
Maverick 787 responds: With all the engine noise, I think it would be pointless, and not really fit for a GT3.
Jimmy D brings it home: That is what my other car is for. I kind of like the GT3 as my weekend warrior and my Lexus as my weekday car
There’s something to be said for knowing what you want. GT3 owners do, and Porsche gives it to them.
2022 Porsche 911 GT3 at a glance
Base price: $161,100 (all prices exclude destination charge and gas guzzler tax)
Rear-wheel drive two-seat sports car
On sale now
Specifications as tested:
Price as tested: $174,740
Engine: 4.0L horizontally opposed six-cylinder
Output: 502 hp @ 8,400 rpm; 346 pound-feet of torque @ 6,100 rpm
Transmission: 7-speed dual-clutch automatic
EPA fuel economy estimate: 14 mpg city/18 highway/16 combined. Premium gasoline.
EPA estimated annual fuel cost: $4,550
0-60 time: 3.7 seconds
Top speed: 198 mph
Wheelbase: 96.7 inches
Length: 180 inches
Width: 72.9 inches (79.8 with mirrors)
Height: 50.4 inches
Cargo volume: 4.7 cubic feet
Curb weight: 3,126 pounds
Assembled in Stuttgart, Germany
This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: 2022 Porsche 911 GT3 keeps the torch burning for sports cars