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2018 PORSCHE 911 GT3 WITH TOURING PACKAGE FIRST DRIVE: LEATHER OVER DOWNFORCE

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2018 PORSCHE 911 GT3 WITH TOURING PACKAGE FIRST DRIVE: LEATHER OVER DOWNFORCE

It’s a GT3 minus a rear wing, for those who want to talk loud in a world of shouters

 

Don’t let the placard at the back fool you, this is not a GT3 Touring, at least not technically. What Porsche is offering here is the GT3 with the Touring Package. It’s a no-cost option package offered on the GT3 that deletes the fixed rear wing and mandates a manual transmission — no PDKs allowed — which means the base price is the same $144,650. Compared to the standard GT3, the Touring Package-equipped car looks subdued. But from all other perspectives, it’s an aggressive and attention-grabbing 911.The front clip is still filled with scoops and splitters and vents. The wheels are still large and center-locking. And the body is the same 1.7 inches wider than the base Carrera. From a distance, a layman could be fooled to believe this is a base Carrera, until the telling “GT3 touring” badge comes into view. It lies above the variable rear spoiler, which, by the way, has a Gurney flap attached.

Porsche built the GT3 Touring for folks who want a relative sleeper — or maybe, perhaps, for folks who want a high-revving, naturally aspirated flat-six and a six-speed manual transmission and don’t really care about downforce and lap times. In my mind, that’s a very narrow group. After all, the standard GT3 can also be purchased with a manual transmission. And rear wings are cool, especially when they serve a genuine, more than visual, purpose.

2018 Porsche 911 GT3 road test with specs, power, price and photos

CAR REVIEWS

2018 PORSCHE 911 GT3 FIRST DRIVE: IMPRACTICALLY PERFECT

You might think hanging a 420-pound, 500-hp 4.0-liter hunk of flat-six over the back wheels of the 2018 Porsche 911 GT3 would make it hard to handle at speed (or otherwise). You might also think …

No matter, I’m sure if Porsche is building it, those people exist. And they’ll get a sensational car. The 4.0-liter pumps out 500 hp and 339 lb-ft of torque and revs up all the way to a screaming 9,000 rpm. More than motor, the car sits an inch lower than the base Carrera, and the wider wheel arches house massive wheels and tires. It all amounts to as razor sharp a feel on the road as the standard GT3.

It’s endlessly entertaining. Find a nice winding bit of tarmac and just let loose. The seats feel cozy and supportive no matter how much speed you carry into a corner. If anything, it’s too much car for the road. The beauty of most all Porsches, though, is they inspire driver confidence and quickly encourage you to hurry up and along. Go fast! Row through the gears and hear the fantastic-every-time, never-gets-old, mechanically brilliant 9,000-rpm engine speed. If it isn’t clear, I like the way it sounds.

PHOTO

GALLERY: 2018 PORSCHE 911 GT3 WITH TOURING PACKAGE ROAD

And it sounds this good because it is a GT3. Porsche just yanked off the wing and a couple of bits and bobs. Aside from the Clubsport Package and leather replacing synthetic suede here and there, all the nontouring 911 GT3 options are also available. That includes things like the carbon-ceramic brakes and hydraulic front-lift system. It’s a GT3 that wants to blend in and maybe offer a tad more luxury in feel, but still be a hoss on the track.

But I keep getting stuck on the fact that you can get the manual in the standard GT3. So, the Touring Package must be for people who prefer leather over downforce, which is fine. It just leads me to point at the 23 other 911 variants (not an exaggeration) with varying levels performance and luxury. More than anything, the GT3 with the Touring Package is proof that, no matter your tastes, Porsche will build a 911 to meet them.

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