The mind has trouble comprehending extreme speed. It's what makes roller coasters so exciting - they push you back in the seat and whip you around in a way that delivers a visceral thrill. Of course, drivers of high performance automobiles know that the same kind of excitement is available with a twitch of the foot.
The 2010 Porsche 911 GT3 RS (MSRP $132,800) is one of those rare cars that's so blindingly quick, it causes one to question physics. Even more amazingly, this ultimate 911 achieves these feats of acceleration without the use of turbos or supercharging, common ways of juicing up engines for more power. The classic Porsche Boxer six in the 911 GT3 RS wails out 450 horsepower in a distinctive voice that's become the signature 911 engine note. Second only to the speed, perhaps, is the aural component of the GT3 RS. The shriek of this motor will cause goose bumps, and it's nearly as memorable as the cries of your first child.
So, we've established it sounds phenomenal and it's quick, but just how quick? The 3.8-liter six uses its impressive 118-hp per liter to hurtle past 60 miles per hour in just 3.8 seconds. The engine's power is thanks in part to new double-flow air filter housings and a variable intake manifold with larger tubes to move more air through the cylinders. Further optimizing breathing is Porsche's VarioCam system, enhanced for GT3 RS duty, which adjusts camshaft timing seamlessly for smoother running, reduced emissions, and a wide power band. A lightweight sport exhaust system made from titanium caps off the deep-breathing upgrades and reduces backpressure.
A six-speed transaxle with closely spaced ratios snaps through gear changes with precision. Ratios one through five are 13 percent shorter than the 911 GT3, which improves acceleration, and the GT3 RS uses a lightweight single-mass flywheel that lets the engine rev more freely.
A strong heart is just part of the GT3 RS experience. That explosive power would be all for naught without the ability to harness it. Standard on the GT3 RS is a dynamic engine-mount system that minimizes vibrations and automatically adjusts its stiffness to enhance handling. Not only do the dynamic mounts increase smoothness during normal driving, they make the 911 GT3 RS feel more direct when you're wringing it out.
Tenacious cling to the pavement is aided by one-piece GT3 wheels that wear a contrasting color to the body. Shod with road-legal sport tires, these lightweight wheels are part of a fastidious weight-management program for the GT3 RS. In a nod to the track prowess baked into the GT3 RS, the wheels mount with a central-locking design that lowers rotating mass and improves driving dynamics, not to mention facilitating faster tire changes at the track!
Porsche Stability Management (PSM) is fitted to the 911 GT3 RS for the first time in 2010. PSM ties the antilock braking system together with stability and traction control to extract maximum performance and keep the GT3 on its intended line. The threshold of these systems is higher on the GT3 RS than on other Porsches, and they can be completely disabled in two steps.
Riding 1.2-inches lower than the standard 911 Carrera, the 911 GT3 RS is equipped with Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) that adjusts the shock absorbers continuously to suit conditions and driving style. PASM has two modes, “Normal” and the track-ready “Sport.” The suspension system of the 911 GT3 RS is adjustable for height, camber and toe angle, and front- and rear-axle stabilizers can be adjusted to achieve the best suspension setup at the track. The GT3 RS has a split wishbone in the rear suspension for more precise camber adjustment.
When it's time to bring all the fun to an end, Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes are available on the GT3 RS, offering increased heat capacity for endless hot-lapping.
While many cars wear the trappings of motorsport as a gimmick, the Porsche 911 GT3 RS is the real deal. It stands out from its brethren with a wider body and fixed rear wing. The wing is adjustable and brings more stability and downforce to the racetrack. Dual tailpipes that enter from the center of the body are distinctive, as is the paintwork. The wheels and air inlets are painted in a contrasting color to the body, as is the side logo that resembles a checkered flag.
Despite the hard-charging motorsports credentials, the 911 GT3 RS isn't without interior comfort or technology. Drivers will find high-quality leather and Alcantara inside the GT3 RS. Porsche Communication Management (PCM) can be fitted to serve as the central control for available navigation, communications and audio. PCM has a 6.5-inch touch-screen that also serves as the display for the GPS navigation system. PCM also integrates mobile phones with Bluetooth and can be controlled with an optional voice control system. An optional Universal Audio Interface adds connections for iPods, a USB port and an auxiliary jack to PCM, as well.
Standard in the 911 GT3 RS are sport bucket seats with folding backrests and integrated thorax airbags. The shell of the seats is made from a high-tech mix of fiberglass, carbon fiber, and plastic. These seats offer exceptional support and carry red RS 3.8 logos on the headrests. The three-spoke steering wheel has an Alcantara rim with a top center mark in yellow to help the driver keep bearings on race day. The GT3 RS may be a racecar at heart, but it's finished in the typical Porsche fastidious way. It carries full instrumentation and can be customized however you choose from a long list of optional equipment.
When it comes to the Porsche 911, the GT3 RS is a direct link to its storied forebears. The 911 GT3 RS is all muscle, a vehicular device for delivering shots of adrenaline. Among astounding sportscars, the 2010 Porsche 911 GT3 RS keeps the legend alive while expanding on the car's historically astounding capabilities.