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Porsche 911 GT3 (991, 2013-2016): review, specs and buying guide

The 991-generation Porsche 911 GT3 remains one of the finest driver's cars money can buy. We look back at our first impressions and how to buy one today

You can’t go too far wrong with a 911 GT3 of any generation, with Stuttgart’s finest having meticulously refined every aspect of an already-accomplished sports car to create the ultimate driving machine – the 991 generation was no different. Revealed at the Geneva Motor Show in 2013, the 991 offered a substantial increase in performance over the 997 thanks to the use of rear-wheel steering, PASM active dampers and a PDK dual-clutch transmission as standard. While many mourned the loss of the Mezger from the 997, the use of a new 3.8-litre 9000rpm flat-six was certainly nothing to complain about. 

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In original 991.1-form, 468bhp and 324lb ft of torque are sent to the rear axle via a seven-speed dual-clutch PDK transmission. While these output figures aren’t quite as extreme as some of its alternatives, it still manages to achieve a brisk 3.5sec 0-62mph sprint and a 196mph top speed. If you have even more cash to spare, the 991.2-generation brings a revised 4-litre unit to the mix, with 493bhp, 339lb ft of torque and the option of a manual transmission.

> New Porsche 911 (992.2) spotted – the first electrified 911?

Numbers aside, the GT3’s focus is on driver engagement as opposed to outright pace, with its screaming 9000rpm redline, beautifully honed chassis and shockingly capable brakes making it one of the best performance cars money can buy. While it borrows the electrically-assisted steering from the standard 991 911, its new tuning, stiffened front end and electro-mechanical rear-steer makes it a joy to thread down the road, with engagement like not much else.

Porsche 911 GT3 (991) buying checkpoints

The Porsche 911 GT3 isn’t known for poor reliability, but there are certainly things to look out for. Not long after the first cars hit the road, numerous owners reported engine issues, ranging from misfires to catastrophic failure. Following an investigation, Porsche disclosed that the issue related to the use of a defective batch of valve train rocker arms, something that had the potential to cause significant damage elsewhere in the unit. As a result, all 785 GT3s delivered up to that point were recalled and fitted with brand new engines – these are often referred to as the 'G6' unit.

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While complete replacement of the defective units should mean you won't experience any engine troubles, plenty of owners have seen catastrophic failure since. Aside from oil analysis to check for excess wear and a listen for any concerning engine bay sounds, there's not a whole lot you can look for prior to purchase to ensure a particular engine is strong. Regardless, Porsche does still seem to be rectifying any issues under warranty for no charge, which is good for peace of mind. Opt for the more pricey 991.2, and you can avoid this altogether. Elsewhere, the 991 GT3 is typical Porsche, with electrical issues almost unheard of and build quality top notch. 

A decade since the 991.1 made its debut, you can find relatively clean, low-mile cars for just over £90,000. You’d be right in thinking that’s not much change from its original list price, but with demand far outstripping supply during its production run and Porsche supplying a healthy warranty, it’s no surprise they’ve held well. Stump up an additional £10,000 and 991.1 cars with under 10,000 miles come into reach, with the 991.2 jumping to the £130,000 mark.

What we said

'Twist the key set in its traditional position on the dash near the door and the 468bhp flat-six engine starts with a more muted version of the familiar GT3 clatter. Select ‘D’ and begin manoeuvring out of the car park, however, and the feeling of the tight diff on full lock and the slight chuntering grumpiness of the drivetrain at low speeds signals that this is a car with only a thin layer of civility cloaking its race car internals. We won’t try and spin out the suspense any longer, though: the new GT3 is brilliant. As soon as you have the wheel in your hands you feel hardwired into the chassis and every tiny shift it makes, which lets you drive it like no 911 should be driven.

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Front-end grip isn’t just astonishing for a 911, it’s astonishing for any car. And although the limits feel terrifyingly high from the passenger seat, when you’re in control you find the car is egging you on and encouraging you to drive it not only up to the edge of adhesion but well over it as well if you want. The breakaway that you assume would be snappy and unpredictable is as readable as a Wodehouse short story. And the stopping? Well, that’s just comical.

Porsche’s decision to stick with natural aspiration has been entirely justified by the new engine, which is more than good enough to stand comparison with the old Metzger unit of the 996 and 997 GT and Turbo models. It lives to rev, starting to pull really hard at around 5000rpm and then giving its all from 7000rpm – the point by which most of its rivals have given up. From there to the 9000rpm redline the engine feels as quick as anything, with a howling soundtrack that seems to have come straight from the track. And the ratios of the PDK gearbox are carefully selected to keep the flat six in this zone when you’re in full attack mode. 

The PDK itself works extremely well. It features a ‘Sport’ mode to sharpen gearchanges, and which will still work when the gearbox is left in ‘drive’ – revving the engine out to its redline and changing down aggressively to keep it in the zone. Alternatively you can take control yourself via the two paddles behind the steering wheel, which are smaller and nicer-feeling than those of the standard 911. The gear selector can also be switched to a manual channel, but one where you have to pull back to change up and push forward to change down – the opposite of the standard 911, but what a ‘proper’ race car does. 

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The steering is vastly better than in the standard 911. There’s more weight, but also proper communication – it feels like most of the ‘noise’ that Porsche so assiduously filtered out of the Carrera’s helm has been allowed to return, and the car is far better for it. The GT3’s steering wheel tells you both when the front tyres are at their limit of adhesion, but also passes back messages about the surface you’re passing over. 

The rear-steer system is almost invisible. Knowing it’s there you will feel a very slight sense that the car is turning around a pivot point further back than usual at low speeds, but when you add velocity it vanishes. The GT3 is fitted with Dunlop Sport Maxx tyres as standard, which generate colossal grip. The car’s overall handling balance remains neutral right up to the limit, with levels of grip at both ends beautifully balanced. With the stability and traction control off the car will oversteer, but you don’t need to drive it sideways to feel that you’re getting the best from this remarkable chassis.

Two-mode PASM active dampers are fitted as standard, and in their softer setting the GT3 rides impressively well, even on rougher road surfaces.' – Richard Meaden

Porsche 911 GT3 (991.1) specs

Engine3.8-litre naturally-aspirated flat-six
Power468bhp @ 8250rpm
Torque324lb ft @ 6250rpm
Weight1430kg (DIN)
Power-to-weight327bhp/ton
0-62mph3.5sec
Top speed196mph
Price new£100,540
Value todayFrom £92,000
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