What can point-two of a litre add to the already brilliant, naturally breathing Porsche 911 GT3 RS? Quite a bit, actually…
2012 Porsche 911 GT3 RS 4.0 Overview
The RS, or Race Spec version of Porsche’s naturally aspirated track weapon is a pretty specialised beast. Porsche claims 85 per cent of RS buyers use their cars at track days or for competition on a regular basis – as they should – and in a last hurrah for the 997 before the new shape hits our shores, they released the even more finely honed track weapon, the RS 4.0.
2012 Porsche 911 GT3 RS 4.0 Engine
The GT3 is powered by Porsche’s 3.8-llitre flat six, which pumps out a bit more power in RS form. The 4.0 takes it further, with 0.2 litres of additional displacement, a-la the RSR engine. Usually only found in the track-only Cup and RSR, the four-litre develops 368kW at 8250rpm, and 460Nm of torque at 5750rpm. That equates to 33kW more than the stock RS, and 44kW more than the regular GT3.
It gets a longer stroke, and internals are lightened with titanium rods and a skinnier clutch flywheel to increase power-to-weight (the car only weighs 1360kg).
It breathes better, too, with a less restrictive air filter, intake manifold and exhaust – the latter with a lovely two-stage Sport system that opens up the butterflies in both the muffler and the stomach, and brings the exhaust note up to full tilt.
A six-speed conventional manual is the only transmission choice on the ace. Porsche does not offer its dual-clutch PDK semi-automatic on the 4.0 – it is an excellent ‘box, and worthy on the track, but this goes against the principles of the purist RS model. Plus it weighs more… and weight has been a priority for power-to-weight potential.
2012 Porsche 911 GT3 RS 4.0 The Interior
Even with the trimmings toned down and the power pumped right up, the GT3 RS is far from bare bones inside. Standard fare such as air conditioning and the stereo can be deleted if the customer required that extra bit of weight shaved off, and the seats and trim are moulded from carbon fibre and are only manually adjustable.
The door handles are removed completely, replaced by flash red loops made from seatbelt material that easily click the door open and let you grab and swing it close if you’re already strapped in – those carbon seats have holes for racing belts, of course. The rear seat is simply a bench. The RS’s intentions could not be clearer.
2012 Porsche 911 GT3 RS 4.0 Exterior & Styling
It’s all about lightness in the RS, and the 4.0 gets carbon fibre on its shell as well as its interior trimmings. The bonnet and front guards are carbon, and alloys are used wherever possible.
The rear spoiler can be adjusted on the move, to come up at speed for maximum downforce, to keep the rear wheels suctioned on to the road, and small canards on the front corners do the same for the Porsche’s nose. The splitter is hardened plastic – a good thing being so low to the ground, and it along with the canards reduce the lift and buffeting that is typical of a car with all its weight in the rear.
It is distinguished by a subtle 4.0 badge, and striping specific to the model. But only two colours are available – black, and white.
2012 Porsche 911 GT3 RS 4.0 On The Road
Ah, the handling, the response! The 3.8-litre RS is hardly a sloth, and it would be difficult to feel a gaping difference between the two. But when tested back-to-back, the level of purity and power is raised just that little bit higher in the 4.0. From noise, to high-screeching rpm, to the bang out of the blocks when the throttle is hit; it is just that little bit bigger.
The 0-100km/h sprint is dusted in 3.9 seconds - slightly less than the already pessimistic four second sprint for the RS - and 200km/h is reached in under 12 seconds.
The PASM adaptive suspension and Sports setting (remember the butterflies?) together produce an angrier beast, but if driven with some form of decorum the RS does not bite. In fact, it is far more compliant than the old Turbo in its linear power delivery and smooth weight transfer, aided in part by that rortier engine, and Porsche’s dynamic engine mounts which dampen the donk’s movement and keep things a little more centered.
Our test car was fitted with the optional ceramic brake package; at about $8K a corner, you would want to use them, hard. They bite like a Bluetongue lizard – swiftly, and they don’t let go. At all.
2012 Porsche 911 GT3 RS 4.0 Challenges
For starters, there aren’t all that many 4.0 models available. Only 600 were made, with fewer than 10 allocated to Australia, and they were all sold almost instantly.
Secondly – as per usual – is the restrictive price tag of $409,100.
2012 Porsche 911 GT3 RS 4.0 Verdict
A super, stonking car with amazing vocals, brilliant mechanical grip, and yet still comfortable enough to drive on a daily basis. It is a fitting farewell for the 997 Porsche in its purest road going, race-ready form.
2012 Porsche 911 GT3 RS 4.0 Competition
Some may argue there isn’t any competition for this car; at least not that is as pure. Back in the day it was the E46 BMW M3. Now, most of its rivals are turbocharged, or have more cylinders – they certainly don’t have the engine in the rear. The lucky few looking within this price range and demographic would probably size up the Ferrari 458, the Aston Martin DB9RS, the Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4, and look within Porsche’s own ranks at the GT3 RSR, the GT2 RS, and of course the 3.8-litre GT3 RS.