If you relish the 9,000-rpm scream of a naturally aspirated flat-six but otherwise want to turn down the volume on the Porsche 911 GT3 experience, the $163,450 Touring is the GT3 for you. Otherwise mechanically identical to the brilliant, winged GT3, the Touring offers the same sound and fury in a (slightly) subtler package for the exact same price.
As with the previous generation, the primary difference between the GT3 Touring and the exhibitionist version is the absence of a rear wing. To create downforce, the Touring has a rear spoiler like lesser 911s that automatically extends at 70 mph. But even without the downforce of the big wing, the Touring’s top speed is a claimed 198 mph with the PDK automatic transmission and 199 with the manual. The rest of the aero bits are shared between the two models, from the paneled underbody to the rear diffuser. Other exterior visual cues unique to the Touring include a body-colored front fascia and bright window frames in place of the GT3’s black trim.
Under the wingless tail is Porsche’s 4.0-liter flat-six, kicking out 502 horsepower at a dizzying 8400 rpm. In keeping with its more roadgoing mission, the Touring comes standard with a six-speed manual transmission. Carried over intact from the previous GT3, its throws are natural and precise, and so is the beautifully weighted clutch. For the first time in a Touring, a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic is optional. Though it adds nothing to the bottom line, opting for the automatic imparts a 37-pound weight penalty. (Just one more reason to save the manuals.)
With the entire 992 lineup being a little taller, longer, and wider than before, Porsche GT boss Andreas Preuninger and his team worked hard to keep the new GT3 Touring from gaining weight. According to Porsche, the Touring comes close, a mere 11 pounds heavier than its predecessor. Most of the credit goes to the use of lightweight components such as a carbon-fiber-reinforced polymer hood, thinner glass, and lighter standard brake rotors. Opting for the carbon-ceramic brakes reduces weight by an additional 39 pounds.
With the engine fired, the entire cabin buzzes and hums from the internal-combustion subwoofer out back. At only a tenth of the redline, the big boxer sounds more hyper than its 900-rpm idle would suggest, whirring and chattering away anxiously against its engine mounts. Engaging first gear instantly transforms that anxiety into a wallop of straightforward thrust. Power is unrelentingly direct and linear as the three-stage intake provides the right amount of air from idle to the redline. Porsche puts the manual Touring a half-second behind the automatic to 60 mph, which would put it at 3.2 seconds, as we’ve hit 60 mph in 2.7 seconds in a dual-clutch GT3.
Bounding up Angeles Crest Highway in the mountains above Los Angeles, the Touring reminds you that, as glorious as life may be, it is ultimately unfair. That stratospheric redline is deliciously addictive, and yet achieving that goal in third gear catapults you well into triple-digit speeds. As fast as the Touring is, the enormous brakes scrub away the speed instantly and without fuss. Diving into a corner makes you wonder why you bothered braking so much in the first place, as the Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires refuse to budge from the chosen line. Sport Cup 2 R tires are newly optional, providing even more insane levels of grip. (We measured 1.11 g on the skidpad in a GT3 on these tires.)
But it’s not just the tires that contribute to the Touring’s impressive handling acumen. With a control-arm front suspension largely borrowed from the mighty 911 RSR racer, front-end stability is nothing short of magical. Steering input isn’t measured in degrees but by gradations. You know you’ve hit your mark even before you get there. It can take time to build trust with the rear-axle steering, however, as it can be occasionally overzealous as it introduces midcorner inputs that revector your path.
Porsche more successfully corrected an oversight in the original GT3 Touring. When it debuted in 2018, it attracted buyers who expected a greater deal of customization, only to discover that all Tourings came with coal-pit-colored interiors. This time around, Porsche learned its lesson and will offer the Touring— and not the regular GT3—in a prolific number of interior colors, including several two-tone leather options as part of the Exclusive Leather package that will relieve customers of $15,530.
Should buyers still be in a spending mood, they’ll likely treat themselves to the Touring’s timepiece de résistance, a custom-built chronograph that starts at $8100. Practically every aspect of the watch can be customized, from the color of the hands to the type of titanium used for the bezel. The dial ring alone is offered in 15 Porsche paint colors. Did we mention the back of the case evokes the design of the wheel?
Even in standard form, the Touring’s interior is—for the most part—a model of ergonomic simplicity. Shared with the rest of the 911 lineup, the 10.9-inch touchscreen infotainment system responds quickly and features well-organized menus, while the climate-control system is blissfully straightforward in operation. We do wish the center vents didn’t blow directly at gearshift level, and the window/side mirror switches are awkwardly placed aft of the driver’s elbow on the door. It’s just as well, since prominent wind buffeting discourages windows-down motoring.
Lowering the windows would only slow you down, and the Touring is all business. Dead center is a large central tachometer, flanked on either side by two 7.0-inch configurable digital displays. Although it evokes the classic 911 five-gauge setup, the smaller end pods are completely obscured by the steering wheel. In lieu of an overboost function, pressing the center button on the drive-mode dial instead brings up the menus for Sport and Track mode, enabling you to tweak individual settings to your liking. You can enable or disable things like rev matching, sport exhaust, and—most notably—traction and stability control. What’s more, all of these settings are retained after a restart. We appreciated the track-focused display option, which snuffs out the smaller pods in favor of the larger ones. Only the essentials are featured: tachometer, speed, tire pressure, water temperature, and oil pressure.
Put into production after the brilliantly raw 911 R proved that customers would line up for a GT3-like 911 that puts experience over lap times, the Touring built upon the R’s back-to-basics formula. Its success made a follow-up inevitable, and this time around the Touring offers more choices to buyers who want their GT3 to wear a tailored suit instead of a tracksuit. With the addition of even more customization options on the horizon, the lack of a fixed wing may soon be its least distinctive feature.
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