The “green hell” of the Nürburgring is awesome, but have you ever tried to cauterize the equally twisted streets of your garden into a 502hp hero with ballet feet and a murderer’s heart?
You have if you drove the Porsche 911 GT3 of 2022, a clash of plates of a supercar that has been destined for Hall of Fame and Garage Mahal around the world since its debut. The GT3 offers the best kind of sensory overload, particularly when it is equipped with two very important bits: a 6-speed manual gearbox and a layer of Python Green paint that expresses its mission in its simply perfect hue.
Do you want to take the metaphor to its most painfully obvious peak? The GT3 has a snake-like ability to move through dimensions with creeping ease. His sinister reputation is mostly exaggerated. Its natural beauty must be studied before it can be appreciated. It can also scare the unprepared. All these sensations explode every time you snatch all the glory from the manual gearbox GT3 at Porsche in Georgia, USA.
The GT3’s calling card is its 502hp turbo flat-6, but its essence is unabashed handling.
Bring this 911 to life and everything green – the trees, the hills, the grass, the car – turns into a sparkling and exhilarating blur.
Brawny and angry when he has to be and docile the rest of the time, this banner-carrying 911 makes a turn at the Hulk as I flatter him out of the parking lots at the valley floor outside Atlanta. Lifting the nose helps him get it on the road safely, without scratching its skin, but then a slip of the accelerator reminds me of what’s under my feet and what will happen.
Once the exurbia has been eliminated, we leave for the competitions or for the choral performance, the one provided by its mellifluous turbo flat-6. With 502 hp and 346 lb-ft of torque, just 2 hp and 7 lb-ft of torque from the latest GT3, the current car is drunk with power once it moves a few millimeters from the zero position. From 4.0 liters of displacement and 9,000 rpm of bandwidth, the GT3 extracts a sonorous rasp that elevates its high-end while shaving off some low-end response. It is a car designed to move with authority at triple-digit speeds and beyond.
I don’t need to preach to the choir because the four lanes become two. The GT3 sings to the rafters, which in this case are occupied by some crazy squirrels and a skunk riding my favorite semi-rural road with the same kind of existential terror I feel when I log into Twitter every morning.
Porsche’s PDK will never be read by me, but in this case the broadcast is the special moment, take it while it lasts. The 6-speed manual has the thud at the top of the gear that resonates deep in every driver’s heart, while the left pedal lets you send coded messages to the clutch with skillful precision. Ballet slows things down: 0-60mph takes 3.7 seconds, versus the searing 3.2 seconds of the dual-clutch transmission, but if you believe in things like organics and long-running stories, the manual burst into pleasures sensual that the PDK gearbox just can’t. It’s the difference between a video game and a crossword puzzle: different skill sets, different pleasure centers.
It is a 6-speed, not a 7-speed, but we will still color you green with envy.
911 GT3 manual: the great, the glorious and the good
Glide from the two widest lanes on paper-thin roads meant to connect logging towns to mining towns, and the GT3 manual turns out to be the pot of gold. It dampens its own power for launches, so local gas station owners don’t get any more cautious than they already are, thanks to the electric paint job and dining table wing growing out of the back. Its Michelin Sport Cup 2 tires barely make a sound every time I crawl from the start, which I do a few times to generate the stupid grip and smile that the GT3 produces as a widget.
At 3,126 lbs, the 6-speed manual GT3 has an easier time than some of the electric cars I’ve dragged through these same steps. As broad as this generation of 911 is, the car continues to hit dirt roads with the precision of a sewing machine. Many factors tie its ride and handling together differently than other variants of the 911, but its relatively light weight (it gained just 11 pounds from the last generation GT3), its reworked double wishbone front suspension and its affable steering get credit. More stable feeling, thanks to wider 20-inch front tires and 21-inch rear tires, pour more glue on the road and the GT3 approaches with crisp attention spurts as it greets the corner and then barks when it turns off. Porsche’s electric-powered steering sets a benchmark for smooth variable-ratio feedback and output.
The sticky GT3 owes a lot to more extravagant body layers. A front diffuser and adjustable spoiler that alternates between road and track modes stack to increase downforce by 50% in the daily runner position and up to 150% in the performance position. Lots of glue. (If you want extravagant performance with a less visible wing, try GT3 Touring with retractable spoiler.) What about braking? Never a moment of fear until you know what Salmon P. Chase is like. The carbon-ceramic package for the 911 GT3 makes almost every situation stand still.
If you want something not that positive to hang on to, well, the GT3 can be stiff and relentless, and much of that comes from the carbon fiber bucket seats available that don’t quite make it a Panamera Gran Turismo. The clutter of digital displays is comically cut into fragments by the steering wheel, just like the rear view.
The GT3 calls the track home, but everyday roads also call its inner supercar.
A screaming sticker
And then, of course, there is the price. A stock 911 GT3 with the free manual transmission costs $ 161,100. Dip it into Python Green for $ 4,220. A leather interior costs another $ 4,730, and carbon-ceramic brakes require another $ 10,110 hit. The 6-speed manual is free, but the full racing bucket seats cost $ 5,900 and the front axle lifter that holds the chin up like a plastic surgeon’s best job costs $ 3,670. All-in, with $ 1,350 in destination fees and a stiff $ 1,700 fee to consume gas, this green hornet costs $ 195,850.
You might try to convince me that there is a better 911 out there, just keep in mind that it’s okay to be wrong. Few cars take advantage of the visceral feel of a supercar without the supercar’s abusive ride and upper-body strength requirements, and even fewer tell you exactly what to do and for how long. The stratospheric price doesn’t seem morally wrong either. You have two kidneys, after all.
Nor is it a car that limits its thrills to a select handful of private tracks and closed roads. Germany’s brown hills might be a better place to experience all of this, but why leave the country when you have pure green country roads at your back door? It is an apex predator, possibly the pinnacle of 911 formation until GT3 racing car appears; Python Green blends seamlessly with the verdant hills of North Georgia and lets the 911 GT3 hide and hide before its next attack.
In other words, the Nürburgring is great, but have you ever pushed yourself down a blind path and turned your car off quickly as your heart beats fast and you almost expect a county cop to come back with you with, ah, questions ? Same.
Porsche slipped us a Python Green GT3 with manual transmission so we can write this test drive review while simultaneously bragging about how many people will never enjoy this car.