Illustration for article titled Diminishing returns and the 991 GT3

A lot of people are counting on this car to be the ‘best-ever’ GT3, which makes no sense to me. The GT3 is the stripped, purest version of the 911, so why would I want it to start from the most complicated and arguably compromised 911 platform?


Before this car debuted, I had been wondering if the 997 was that last 911 that’s still cool to like. I’m just talking about standard model 911s, for right now. The 991 is an incredible car, but depending on your view of what the 911 is, it’s quite possible that the 991 is one increment too far from the 911 premise. In retrospect, we may see the 997 as the last 911 that seems traceable to the old cars.

That’s a broad, easily dismissed thought. But the beef with the GT3 isn’t. What is the GT3? It’s not the fastest 911. It’s the rawest, most precise and most sorted. If it was about being the fastest, it would be a Turbo. So if that’s the premise of the GT3, the 991 is such a polished, noise-canceling base to start with, it’s not ridiculous to theorize that the rawest variant of 991 is probably still more insulated and digitized than a base 996.


With this type of car, it’s simply a matter of diminishing returns. A big part of what makes the GT3 a GT3 is that it feels like the closest to an older 911. More racecar than luxury car. If that’s your view, why would you want a 991? If you think of the GT3 as just the fastest NA 911, this one is fine. It’s more GT-R than GT3, and it will be exceedingly quick. But I think the GT3 is about more than lap times. The people who equate “newest” with “best” will be very happy. It’s about connection, communication and the sensory inputs it delivers. A car that delivers less of those inputs can still be a very quick car, but I’m not sure it makes a great GT3.

We saw this happen with the M3, and it’s an almost inevitable dilemma: the goals of the mass-market platform move in the opposite direction of the goals of the niche, driving-oriented version. Because of this divergence, you can have a ‘perfect’, “best-ever” base car (in this case, standard 911, or regular 3-series) that achieves all of it’s goals, while the performance version is not as good as it’s predecessors. This is almost a certain fate for the GT3, if not this version.


And I never even mentioned PDK.

(I originally wrote this over here)

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