Porsche has launched the 2016 range of its legendary 911s and with prices starting from Rs. 1.39 crores (ex-showroom, Maharashtra) and Rs. 1.42 crores (ex-showroom, Delhi), you could almost call it a bargain, for what you get is something of a rare breed on this planet, a German with a sense of humour. The 911 family tree has remained majorly unchanged over the years, with the flat-six engine stubbornly remaining at the back. Nobody thought it would ever work, but fast forward to 2016, and these are one of the most sought after driver’s cars, known for their one-of-a-kind feel.
In a welcome move, Porsche has launched the 2016 line up of its 911s in India. The new line-up, like every other year sees minor tweaks and changes to get the 911 formula that much closer to perfection. The models that have been launched in India include the 911 Carrera Cabriolet, the 911 Carrera S, the 911 Turbo and the 911 Turbo S Cabriolet. All of these cars were showcased at the 2016 Detroit Motor Show.
DESIGN AND STYLE
Much like the rest of the 911 lineup, the GT3 was updated to the recently introduced 991.2 design. Needless to say, there isn’t a lot to talk about here since the update is more about nips and tucks, but most changes are noticeable. While the front fascia wears the same nose and headlamps, but bumper was revised with a big focus on aerodynamics. The intakes are significantly larger, while the side vents sport additional winglets for enhanced downforce.
It doesn’t appear as if Porsche modified anything on the sides, but the rear end gained new taillights and a redesigned diffuser. The light units are taken off the latest Porsche 911 and have a more angular design as well as a new LED layout. The diffuser isn’t radically different compared to the outgoing model, but the mild changes deliver optimized airflow. The carbon-fiber wings also sports minor changes, the license plate has a different shape, while the side air vents are significantly larger.All told, the new 911 GT3 isn’t that new, but I can’t say I was expecting major changes. Porsche rarely takes the revolutionary route on its cars, so it’s far from surprising that there aren’t many details to set the new and outgoing models apart.
CABIN AND COMFORT
The steering of the Porsche 911 is the typical three spoke Porsche steering. But this steering has no controls. The area is hollow. The volume and track changer is a knob extending at the lower right side of the steering. Just in front of the of the stick for scanning through the system. On the left there is a similar stick for cruise control. Behind all this are the chrome paddle shifts. The three pod instrument cluster are again typical Porsche. The A/C vents are rather simple and blend with the dash. The centre vents blend with the centre infotainment screen.
Below the vents there is a chrome strip that runs across the dash board and is really broad. There is more chrome on the door livers and around the front speakers that are on the doors too. The large screen for the infotainment is good but the icons seem old and not up to the current level of cars. Luckily this car has way less button than the likes of Macan, Cayman etc and leads to less confusion. These seats in spite of being extremely sporty are extremely comfortable. The Sports seats are comfortable and provide support even during performance driving. They come equipped with electric backrest adjustment and mechanical height and fore/aft adjustment. The seat centres are lined with Alcantara®.
ISOFIX child seat preparation for the front passenger seat is available as an option and includes a deactivation function for the front passenger airbag. The Porsche equipment range of genuine accessories offers a selection of Porsche child seats specially tested and approved for Porsche cars.
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION
Few engines have had as much to prove as this new 2,981cc, twin-turbocharged flat six does. In the Carrera it’s tuned to produce 370hp and 450Nm, but in the more potent Carrera S, it makes 420hp and 500Nm! These are, of course, far more significant numbers than what you’d get from the now defunct 3.4- and 3.8-litre naturally aspirated flat sixes, especially the torque figures, as is the case with most turbocharged cars. Even the performance claims – 0-100kph in 4.2sec and 3.9sec respectively are better than before. But all of this means nothing. No, in a 911, it’s all about the way the car sounds, responds, feels and makes you feel.
And I’m happy to report that it feels good. Fire it up and it sounds like a proper Porsche boxer six should (especially with the optional sport exhaust fitted), set off gently and it doesn’t feel laboured or strained. It feels naturally aspirated, and that’s the best compliment you can pay a turbocharged car. On the road, it’s comfy changing pace as we weave in and out of Abu Dhabi’s traffic, the quick and smooth seven-speed PDK dual-clutch automatic gearbox coping well with the random changes in throttle input. It’s very civilised and very comfortable, as the 911 has always been, but of course, we didn’t expect that to change.
RIDE AND HANDLING
All the wheels have been coupled with high performance internally vented and cross-drilled disc brakes that are further accompanied with four-piston aluminum monobloc fixed calipers. These brakes are integrated with anti lock braking system and Porsche ceramic composite brakes, which enables shorter braking distance even under race conditions. As far as the suspension is concerned, its front axle is paired with McPherson Strut and the rear axle is fitted with a Multi-link mechanism. This model series also comes with an electromechanical power assisted steering featuring a turning radius of 11.1 meters.
The car has full-sizeairbags for both the driver as well as the front passenger. Also, there are knee airbags for both of them. Porsche inbuilt Side Impact protection system (POSIP) as well as the head airbags protect you in every possible way. Three level automatic seat belt and remote locking are some of the other safety features installed.Talking about the breaking system the car has a 6-piston aluminum fixed monobloc calipers in the front whereas 4-piston aluminum fixed monobloc calipers in the rear end. With a brake disc radius of 380mm perfectly cross drilled and ventilated the car is in total control. An electric parking break is present alongwith pad wear sensors on every brake pad.
Needless to say, the new 911 GT3 doesn’t disappoint performance- and feature-wise and if the outgoing model is any indication, the 991.2-based coupe should be at least as exciting and popular with Porsche fanatics. I remember that last year I was thinking how cool it would be for Porsche to reinstate the manual transmission for the GT3, but I wasn’t really hoping it to happen. Well, it turns out I was wrong and I’m actually very happy that the Germans did the unexpected. The 911 GT3 deserves to continue with a manual transmission and I do hope that this won’t change with the next-generation model.