Today at the New York Auto Show, Porsche showed its new 2010 911 GT3 for the second time since its debut at the Geneva Motor Show. The U.K.'s AutoCar calls the GT3 "the hardest ever 911." A bigger flat-six spits out more power, and a host of electronic chassis aids help the driver play hero in this tail-heavy GT.
The new 3.8-liter flat (horizontally-opposed) six, up from 3.6 liters, now produces - brace yourself - 435 hp. That gives it a heady 114 hp per-liter, placing it in pretty rare company for a naturally aspirated engine. Porsche says that its VarioCam variable valve timing now on both intake and exhaust camshafts is partially responsible for the extra power, and they mention the added thrust is especially noticeable in the engine's accessible midrange. Claimed acceleration time is a scant 4.0 seconds to 60 mph.
Hauling the new GT3 down from its 194 mph top speed are larger brake discs with aluminum hubs to reduce unsprung weight. Increased airflow over the discs diminishes the potential for fade, and if you don't mind shelling out even more for the ultimate in binders (like thousands more), you can even get exotic PCCB ceramic brakes.
To keep things from becoming white-knuckle at speed, aerodynamic tweaks result in downforce that is more than doubled front and rear. Larger vents in the front and rear bumpers, standard bi-xenon headlights, and LED rear lamps round out cosmetic changes.
Better grip and stability are afforded by PASM (Porsche Active Suspension Management), which allows stiffer springs and anti-roll bars for dizzying amounts of grip and control in sport mode but (claimed) livability in day-to-day use. The 2010 911 GT3 features PSM (Porsche Stability Management) for the first time, helping to keep that weighty rear end from suddenly sliding past your shoulder on slick roads. Both PASM and PSM may be completely silenced, the way all electronic nannies should be (hear that, Mercedes?).
Especially cool is the application of magnetorheological technology to the GT3's new engine mounts. Magnetic liquid-filled engine mounts stiffen during exuberant driving to fortify the bond between chassis and engine; during relaxed cruising, the mounts slacken to isolate the body from vibration and increase comfort.
Perhaps the most trick feature of all is the 2010 GT3's optional front axle lift system. Powered by an air-compressor, it raises the front end about 1.2 inches to avoid scraping all of those precious, pricy chin spoilers and such. The system is activated by a button in the cabin and can be used at speeds up to 30 mph.
Entry fee for this new uber-911, available from dealers starting this fall, is $112,200.