Pinnacle of the automaker's naturally aspirated street-spec cars, the 2014 Porsche 911 GT3 makes its first public appearance in Geneva. Based on the latest 911 architecture, it arrives on the scene just in time to help Porsche celebrate the 50th anniversary of the introduction of its original 911 model. Beyond bolder, more aerodynamic bodywork, the fifth-generation GT3 boasts substantial upgrades to its engine, transmission, suspension and overall vehicle dynamics compared to the car it replaces.

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Heart of the new GT3 is a 3.8-liter flat-six engine that's loosely based on the engine in the 911 Carrera S. Sharing little more than the crankcase casting and head bolts, this heavily remade and higher-revving variant features stouter, bespoke internals and cranks out 468 horsepower and 323 lb-ft of torque which gets shipped to the rear wheels via a heavily revised 7-speed PDK dual-clutch sequential automatic transmission. While this marks the first time the GT3 will not be available with a conventional manual gearbox, Porsche is quick to point out the bespoke PDK unit -- that brings a shorter, more closely-spaced ratio set, quicker shift intervals, Launch Control and new steering-wheel-mounted paddles that allow the driver to engage neutral by pulling back on both simultaneously - also plays a key role in dropping the new GT3's acceleration times. For the record, it can sprint from 0-60 mph in 3.3 seconds and nail 100 mph in just 7.5 ticks as it heads on up to a top end of 195 mph.

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On the handling front, the 2014 911 GT3 benefits from a major chassis revamping that brings custom aluminum suspension elements, stiffer springs/shocks, a new electronically controlled and fully variable rear differential lock, 20-inch center-lock lightweight alloy wheels wrapped in sticky Michelin or Dunlop performance tires and for the first time ever on the GT3, a new active rear-wheel steering. Depending on vehicle speed, the system slightly steers the rear wheels in either the same or the opposite direction as the fronts, thereby improving the GT3's stability and agility when cornering.

To ensure it looks the part, the new 911 GT3 is fitted with a number of unique exterior bits, starting with the wider body shell from a Carrera 4. It also gets a more aggressive front splitter, a functional air vent ahead of the hood, a large fixed rear wing and a custom lower diffuser with dual center-mounted exhaust outlets.

The 2014 Porsche 911 GT3 will go on sale here late this year. Pricing will start at $131,350.


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