Competes with: Audi R8, Nissan GT-R, Aston Martin V8 Vantage
Looks like: A 911 for track-day enthusiasts
Drivetrain: 475-hp, 3.8-liter horizontally opposed six-cylinder engine with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission; rear-wheel drive
Hits dealerships: Late 2013
MSRP: $131,350 including $950 destination charge
The track-oriented Porsche 911 GT3 returns for the 2014 model year. Last offered for 2011 on the prior-generation 911 sports car, the new GT3 is more powerful, brings new technology to Porsche's lineup, starts at a higher price and has the kind of dramatic rear wing that's come to symbolize the model. It hits U.S. dealerships late this year.
Like other 911s, the GT3 uses a horizontally opposed six-cylinder engine, though Porsche says the GT3's engine doesn't share many parts. It's a high-revving engine, with peak output of 475 horsepower arriving at 8,250 rpm. Peak torque of 324 pounds-feet is achieved at 6,250 rpm, and the engine's redline is 9,000 rpm.
Rather than a conventional manual transmission like that fitted in the previous GT3, the 2014 model gets a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission with more closely spaced gears, quicker shifting operation and shorter-travel shift paddles compared to other 911s, according to Porsche.
The combination promises especially forceful acceleration; Porsche says the sprint from zero to 60 mph takes just 3.3 seconds. Top track speed is a claimed 195 mph.
At speeds like that, aerodynamics are critical, and this is one of the reasons for the distinctive rear wing hanging off the GT3's tail. This is also the first production Porsche to have rear-wheel steering, which can improve both handling and stability.
Other exterior changes include more aggressive front bumper styling with gaping vents, front and rear lip spoilers, and center exhaust outlets. The wheels measure 20 inches in diameter and have center-locking hubs.