By on July 11, 2011

I never thought it would happen, particularly after a long few years of mercilessly criticizing every overpriced, cynically-conceived, cost-cut piece of garbage Porsche has released in the past few years, but as I stepped off the plane in Frankfurt this morning for a completely exclusive, embargo-busting preview of the 911 GT3 RS 4.0 in the Black Forest, followed by a full-throttle attack of the only racetrack in the world that really matters (the hallowed Norfschleifegarten) I knew that all had been forgiven and that I would be able to share all the details with you about the fastest, finest, just plain best 911 in the nameplate’s storied history: the awesome 2012 911 GT3 RS 4.0.

Please read the disclaimer at the bottom of this exclusive “First Look” before commenting. Thank you! — JB

The 997 GT3 RS was already known as the uber-911, the amazing racecar-for-the-road that provides supercar performance at a fraction of the cost of competitors such as the Ferrari 458 Italia, the Corvette Z06, and the Nissan GT-R Egoist Edition. Everything about the GT3 RS, from its “center-lock” wheels to its exquisitely-painted half-cage, screams “GO KART PERFORMANCE!” The only fly in the soup was the power, which wasn’t totally dominant of its competition. With the new four-liter engine, Porsche has literally urinated on the dying corpses of the competition as it drives over their families like Ferdinand’s own “King Tiger” tank given a chance to do battle on a perfectly flat, dry battlefield with convenient fuel stations nearby and a couple of those crappy old PzKpfw IVs around just in case somebody loc’s up with the ol’ bazooka.

We are talking five hundred horsepower here. Not since the 2003 Viper has a supercar dared to offer exactly five hundred horsepower. To make this technological miracle happen, Porsche’s engineers have performed a daring surgery on the existing block, increasing the stroke by four millimeters. Until now, the laws of physics prevented such a thing from occurring, but after close consultation with the marketing department, Porsche has managed to find a company that could create the so-called “eighty-millimeter rod.” According to Andreas Pfreuinginger, head of stripe and sticker engineering at Porsche AG,

To increase the stroke is not good for a high revving car usually, but this one was better because we changed a lot of other things. There are different rods and heads and we’ve lowered the compression ratio meaning you can use a more aggressive ignition curve.

Exactly. So banish all thoughts of the old three-liter Porsche four-cylinder, which didn’t have any of that stuff except probably the lowered compression ratio. This is a four-liter six-cylinder and it develops literally TWICE the power of that old engine at a price that, adjusted for inflation, is barely more than twice as much.

After a dinner consisting of food I didn’t recognize, Porsche set me free with the four-liter RS on the backroads of the Black Forest. I immediately pushed to the eleventh tenth, showing the Germans how people really drive in Germany. I was amazed at how I could immediately tell the difference between this new RS and the old one. To begin with, this one has more stripes. Also, it’s much faster. As the kilometers passed, the line between man and machine blurred until finally I was brought to halt by a police roadblock. A stern-looking German polizei approached.

“Vat is los?” he said, or something like that. “Ja, we have just stopped you for the purpose of congratulating you on your outstanding driving. You are a credit to the German race.” I nodded silently and beeped the RS 4.0’s horn, which contains three percent less plastic for a lap-time improvement of some 0.0075 seconds.

The next morning, I was taken by helicopter to the famous “Green Hill” where Jackie Stewart famously lost an ear before continuing to win the 24 Hours of The Nurburgrings and earning the title “Sauron, Lord Of The Rings.” After a quick four-hour presentation on the RS 4.0’s new sticker package, I was permitted to unleash hell on the unsuspecting racers. Following a quick excursion into a sandy test area of the “Flugplatz-Forst”, I tightened the laces on my complimentary Pilotis and began an earnest assault on the seven-minute barrier.

Almost immediately I began a deadly duel with a fellow Ring driver. This seasoned veteran played cat and mouse with me for what seemed like hours. I would use all five hundred horsepower of the GT3’s mighty new engine to pull ahead on the straights, but he would attack to the inside on the braking zones. Somehow I couldn’t shake him, but in the Karussell I made a move that stuck and accelerated away down the Pfantgarden. I asked a fellow journalist to use one of his seventeen different camera/lens combinations to photograph my adversary for the historical record, and so you would know that I wasn’t making it up. Although my colleague was too busy stuffing a German sausage down his throat at the time to take a shot, he was able to get it on the following lap.

It’s the bigger one. Like I said, a tough adversary who knew the ‘Ring like a combination of Sabine Schmitz and Sabine Reck. Before we knew it, our Ring time had ended and we were escorted into a small room where Porsche marketing engineer Horst Wessel gave the final summation on the 4.0.

“With this revolutionary new development in long-stroke engines, Porsche has created the ultimate send-off to the ultimate version of the ultimate sportscar. What’s always surprised about RS 911s is that the excellence they demonstrate on track doesn’t translate to a car that’s impossible to drive on the road. So, despite its serious track car credentials, the GT3 RS 4.0 is no one-trick pony. Rather, it’s a first class road and track car. The best car of 2011 so far? It might just be.”

Then he came around to make sure that we’d written it down just like he said it. For those of who were bloggers, he had some Internet Engineers (Clickandjerkenjagermeisters) help us enter it into WordPress. When all our first drafts were submitted for review by the Porsche Marketing Department, we were offered a delightful choice of evening entertainments: free wine in the bar, a complimentary “long-term tester” Cayenne for our families, or a chance to participate in “ze most dangerous game” where a homeless Untermensch would be released into the Black Forest and we would use dogs to track down and kill him. The editor from AutoWeak demanded to be allowed to hunt the homeless man in a Cayenne so a squad of welders began cutting a new Turbo apart to accommodate a special plus-width hunting chair, but as a humble blogger I elected to drink in the bar.

When I woke up I discovered a headless, nude prostit Once again, Porsche has raised the bar with the 911 GT3 RS 4.0. And the handling. Oh, boy. The steering is sharp and absolutely loaded with feel. It has lots to communicate because this isn’t a car that clings to a neutral attitude. Your inputs and the tightness of the curve dictate whether there’s understeer or oversteer, and the little suede-clad wheel keeps you hardwired into it all. Both the front tires and the 325/30 ZR 19 rears relinquish their grip with early, progressive warning, so you can do something to sort it out. This awesome car is surefire collectors’ gold.


* * *

Disclaimer: This week, Porsche will purchase international flights costing between one and four thousand dollars and expend several thousand dollars more per head to provide a selection of journalists with exclusive access to the Porsche 911 GT3 RS 4.0, a car which has apparently been completely pre-sold to the dealers. What’s the point? There probably is none. It amounts to a long, slurpy fluff of the chumps who have proven malleable enough to let Porsche dictate their stories for them in the past. And obviously TTAC wasn’t invited. So we have nothing to disclose, except that the entire article above is a fabrication…

…except for a few parts which were lifted verbatim from “first drives” published elsewhere. What’s fake, and what’s real, is an exercise left to the always-brilliant B&B. Love, Jack.

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34 Comments on “TTAC Breaks Embargo With Exclusive 911 GT3 RS 4.0 First Drive...”

  • avatar

    You had me right up until the moment you “stepped off the plane in Frankfurt…”

    Good fun (and a good left jab as well).

  • avatar

    You cribbed that “I never thought it would happen” line from the Penthouse Forum first drive, right? ;)

  • avatar

    Aw man, now this thing will run the Top Gear track .0047 second faster than the old GT3 RS and Jeremy Clarkson is going to proclaim that only a buffoon would drive the old one and the resale on my ’11 is going to plummet like a stone! The horror. The horror.

  • avatar

    I wasn’t sure if it was a spoof article as I read it, but just as the key to enjoying a good [your fav genre goes here] flick is “suspended disbelief”, I was embracing the tale, and was even beginning to get kinda sad that I didn’t have the chance to drive up and meet (not ride with) you, but then you got to the part about drinking WINE in the bar… and it was like when Christopher Reeve found the 1979 penny in Somewhere In Time… POOF!!!

  • avatar

    BTW, what’s the story with the gratuitous jacket logo shots and focus on the weird hand gestures in the video? Is there some connection to the car I’m missing, or are they subtly hinting that they know whole thing is an exercise in legerdemain and branding?

  • avatar

    So what was the best fictional lap time?

  • avatar

    “fraction of the cost of competitors such as the Ferrari 458 Italia, the Corvette Z06”

    I guess 2/1 is a fraction.

  • avatar

    Didn’t the Ford mustang gt500 have an advertised 500 horsepower?

    Wouldn’t you rather have the Carrera GT instead?

  • avatar

    But does it come with “a sat-nav that only goes to Poland”?

    Jack really is the American Clarkson…

  • avatar
    H Man

    Which G&L did you take along?

  • avatar

    “Porsche has literally urinated on the dying corpses of the competition”

    Dying corpses? The 458 is only a couple years old, the GTR seems to get more powerful every week, and all this 4.0L talk… with 500 hp the Porsche still technically short against a Corvette that debuted 7 YEARS AGO.

    I get the point you’re making, but this line irked me a bit.

  • avatar

    THE END.


  • avatar


    As much as I enjoyed reading this, there is actually a point in journos driving this car. I want to know what it’s like. I want to know why Porsche did it, how they did it, how this car or part of it is useful to Porsche in the future. If the car itself is (still) available new, is quite irrelevant. TTAC has featured lots of reviews from my side of the pond (ie Europe) which do not have a hope in hell of getting stateside. Ditto for Brazilian cars. What is ‘the point’ in that? Well, simple, because people on here would want to know what it’s like.

    If every single article, blog or video from this trip boils down to what you have parodied here (WTF I DROVE THE NEW 911 GT3 RS 4.0 ON THE NERBERGRING [sic] OMGOMGOMG!!!1111one) then yes, I wouldn’t see the point either.

  • avatar

    Porsche envy, that’s all. ;)

  • avatar

    I think Porsche and Mustang are suffering the same stigma. They both really fail on the redesign and look far too much like the last. Jaguar may be VERY unreliable, but at least they designed a beautiful new vehicle when they had the chance. The Panamera was the perfect opportunity for Porsche to break from tradition. It did not happen. Now, only a died in the wool Porsche lover would ever consider its purchase. I get more excited seeing a Volkswagon or Karmann Ghia from the 60’s.

    • 0 avatar

      Panamera sales in June were up 12%, to ~2.500 units. In fact, Porsche just had the most succesful first half year of their history. Must be a lot of “died in the wool Porsche lovers” out there…

      • 0 avatar
        Jack Baruth

        The Panamera has been a monstrous success, as has the Cayenne. What they will do to Porsche’s long-term prospects is anybody’s guess, but in the short term they’ve made money.

        I was a dyed-in-the-wool Porsche fan when Porsche’s primary business was making durable small cars. My 1995 993 is a solid example of the Porsche virtues I admired. It still looks new, inside and out, despite being seventeen years old and having covered nearly ninety thousand miles. I expect it to last a quarter-million miles, minimum. I expect my son, who is two years old now, to drive it into his adulthood.

        Only an extremely optimistic individual would expect to get a quarter-million miles out of a new 997 Carrera 2, and only a fool would expect it to still be worth more than half of the original purchase price fifteen years later, as my 993 is.

      • 0 avatar

        The demise of Porsches “long term prospects” was announced by Porsche-philes back when the Boxster was released, as well as when the 996 came along (watercooled!!!) and again when the Cayenne was first released. Those events were 15 years (18 if you count first presentation), 14 years and 9 years ago.

        When exactly do things stop being short term and start being long term?

  • avatar

    Hey Jack – exactly!

  • avatar

    Am I missing the fictional portion of the story? Are you telling me this isn’t real?!

    Where has Richard Hammond led me wrong?

  • avatar
    Domestic Hearse

    A thoroughly enjoyable and informative review. I haven’t read anything this elucidating since Sniff’s last Troy Queef article. Good show, Jack.

  • avatar

    “Porsche marketing engineer Horst Wessel…”

    Bwahahahahahahahahaha!! Just brilliant parody. Thanks for the belly laugh, Mr. B.

    • 0 avatar

      Actually, I thought that particular bit was a bit too far. Idunno why[*] — the King Tiger bit didn’t really bother me at all — but sneaking in Horst Wessel felt a bit slimy.

      Sorry, Jack, good work otherwise, but not that.

      [*]: Perhaps because he’s a lot less well-known than the Tiger tank, so more people could be expected to take it at face value? For those of you who didn’t know: Horst-Wessel-Lied @ WikiPedia.

  • avatar

    I’m sure it was only for the purpose of brevity that you omitted that part about how, once back in Ohio, you got cut off by some Escalade-driving octomom in the White Castle drive through.

    But thank you for breaking the embargo. It’s cutting-edge auto journalism like this that keeps me coming back.

  • avatar

    “… you omitted that part about how, once back in Ohio, you got cut off by some Escalade-driving octomom in the White Castle drive through.”

    Probably a “highway buddy” gone bad?

  • avatar

    I’m getting mine with the graphics-delete package. Several more thousandths of a second shall be mine!

  • avatar

    That’s pretty funny.

  • avatar

    Jack – you’re wrong about the 996/986s – I have a 1981 911 SC which admittedly still runs like new, and the interior despite being 30 years old is absolutely incredible.

    But I also own a 986 and while the interior hasn’t aged as well its been far more reliable and had far less issues than any of my friends air cooled cars, yes, even than the 993s.

    My friend has a 996 and other than brakes, tires, and oil changes his car has needed nothing. Not to mention it is ridiculously fast.

    Although I will give the air cooled cars the edge in depreciation – my 30 year old 911 is worth as much as a 10 year old 911, whereas a 993 is still worth ~$35,000 – but I attribute that more to snobs and purists than to any actual real value over the other cars.

  • avatar

    So, if I decide, as Steven Lang put it, to blow my financial brains out on German performance iron, Porsche is “better” than BMW?

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