2015 Geneva Motor Show: Porsche debuts 911 GT3 RS

Porsche's 911 GT3 RS returns with 4.0-liter flat six-cylinder engine worth 500 horsepower

Porsche has less than a year before it rolls out a midlife update to its iconic 911 sports car. That leaves just enough time to squeak out one last version of the current generation.

The 911 GT3 RS debuting at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show is that car. It’s the purest, most raw version of the 911 to date.

Unlike the other current 911 models (and there are 20 of them), this track-oriented, street-legal RS model puts a larger, 4.0-liter flat six-cylinder engine above the rear wheels. Your orthodontist's 911 probably just has a 3.8-liter engine, unless it’s the base Carrera model, in which case it’s a 3.4-liter six.

This larger engine means more horsepower and torque than even the regular 911 GT3 on which this RS is based.

Porsche builds and sells the GT3 and GT3 RS to the public to comply with various racing regulations around the globe, many of which require rear-wheel drive and naturally-aspirated engines.

Thus, Porsche’s all-wheel-drive 911 Turbo may have more impressive acceleration figures (the Turbo S can do 0 to 60 in 2.9 seconds versus the RS’s 3.1 seconds), but it’s the GT3 models’ handling and performance that win the hearts of driving purists and critics alike.

Porsche says the RS will have 500 horsepower and 338 pound-feet of torque. Porsche’s PDK seven-speed dual-clutch transmission is standard, though its software has been reprogrammed.

The RS is 22 pounds lighter than the GT3, largely through the use of weight-saving measures such as a carbon-fiber hood and trunk lid and a magnesium roof. This diet happens despite the RS using the wider body of the 911 Turbo models, something the GT3 does not.

The RS comes with a larger fixed wing than the GT3, as well as a fully adjustable suspension, rear-wheel-steering, Porsche’s PASM adaptive suspension and torque vectoring. The car also has a Pit Speed button that caps the car’s speed in pit lanes during races, a regulation common in competition.

Not only does all this add up to the aforementioned 3.1-second 0-60 mph acceleration time (and it’s probably faster than that, given how Porsche is historically conservative with its cars’ 0-to-60 times), but the automaker says the upgrades and weight savings means the RS’ seven minutes, 20 second lap time around the famed Nurburgring track in Germany is a full five seconds faster than the regular GT3, an impressive feat.

The GT3 RS arrives in dealerships in July with a base price of $176,895.

The GT3 RS joins other go-fast exotic cars debuting at the 2015 Geneva show, including the Porsche Cayman GT4, Lamborghini Aventador SV, Aston Martin Vulcan, Audi R8, Bentley EXP 10 Speed 6 concept, McLaren 675 LT, and Ferrari 488 GTB.

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