2019 Porsche 911 GT3 RS Debuts at Geneva
Porsche sustains its legend—and profitability—with incremental performance updates to its vehicles, particularly the 911 family, and the 2019 GT3 RS is the latest example. Enhanced by a long list of go-faster upgrades, the new GT3 RS makes its debut at the Geneva Motor Show, where it will be presented as the most formidable member of this formidable series of sports cars.
Essentially every element of the car’s dynamic inventory—powertrain, suspension, aerodynamics, and mass—has had engineering attention. The result is a rear drive non-turbo 911 track toy capable of sprinting to 60 mph in 3 seconds flat, according to Porsche. That’s a tenth of a second quicker than the previous RS and two-tenths quicker than the current GT3, thanks to 520 horsepower and 346 pound-feet of torque from its 4.0-liter 6-cylinder boxer engine, up from the GT3’s 500 horsepower and 339 lb-ft. The flat six redlines at 9000 rpm, and top speed will be 197 mph, according to Porsche.
The increased output is the most ever from a naturally aspirated street-legal 911 engine, which sends power to the rear wheels via Porsche’s 7-speed PDK dual clutch automatic, and its exhaust to a pair of resonant titanium mufflers fitted with titanium tips.
Less is more
The power increase is complemented by a corresponding reduction in weight. Fenders and the front trunk lid are carbon fiber. The roof is magnesium. Back light and rear side windows are composed of lightweight glass, interior sound insulation has been reduced, the door panels are lighter, the race-worthy front buckets have carbon fiber backs, the rear seat has been deleted, and there are forged alloy wheels at all four corners, 9.5 x 20 inches front, 12.5 x 21 inches rear.
Standard braking entails a set of massive (15 inches front and rear) cross-drilled, ventilated cast iron rotors, but for those who want even more stopping power Porsche offers the option of carbon ceramic rotors, 16.1 inches front, 15.3 rear, and some 50 percent lighter than the iron brakes.
For the owner who views every excess ounce as a track day debit, Porsche suggests its Weissach Package. Named for Porsche’s famous test track, the option includes carbon fiber antiroll bars, roof panel, rear deck lid, steering wheel trim, and shift paddles. Porsche also offers a set of forged magnesium wheels, knocking another 25 pounds from the total. With the Weissach package, the GT3 RS weighs in at 3153 pounds.
But power-to-weight is only part of the RS story. Suspension elements include Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM), Porsche Torque Vectoring (PTV), an electronically locking rear differential, an enhanced spring setup, and ball-joint suspension links. As with other 911 GT models, the RS suspension also includes driver selectable ride height, camber, toe, caster, and antiroll bar settings.
Aerodynamic upgrades include a deeper chin spoiler, extended side sills, an underbody diffuser, and the high-mounted rear wing. Although Porsche refrained from releasing specifics, the company claims that at 124 mph the 2019 GT3 RS generates twice the downforce of the regular GT3.
It will also generate more revenue for Porsche dealers. When the new GT3 RS becomes available in U.S. showrooms next fall, the MSRP will start at $188,550, some $40,000 more than the GT3 Touring. The Weissach Package adds $18,000, and opting for that package allows the buyer to pop for the magnesium wheels, priced at $13,000 per set. However, the mag wheels won’t be available at launch. For the discerning Porschephile, the mag wheels will probably be worth the wait.