News from Europe doesn't get much bigger than dropping a new model. OK, so maybe Prince William and Kate Middleton might command a bit more hype and ballyhoo, but unlike the royal wedding, the new 911 GT3 RS 4.0 isn't all about pomp and circumstance. Rather, it's a celebration of power—brutal, glorious, unbridled power.
The 4.0 in the 911 GT3 RS 4.0 designates the engine size in liters, a 0.2-liter bump from the "regular" 3.8-liter , making it the largest-displacement 911 powerplant to date. This upgraded flat-6 utilizes forged pistons, titanium connecting rods and a crankshaft out of the 911 GT3 RSR race car. Thanks to these improvements, the 911 GT3 RS 4.0 produces 500 bhp at 8250 rpm and 339 lb.-ft. of torque at 5750 rpm. That works out to an incredible 125 bhp/liter, outstanding for a naturally aspirated engine. For comparison, the previous 3.8-liter-equipped GT3 RS produced 450 bhp and 317 lb.-ft. of torque.
Like Performance Numbers? Read Here!
Numbers are good, but performance numbers are even better, especially for this 911 doubling as Porsche's grand exit strategy for the 997. Equipped with the standard (and thankfully, only) 6-speed manual transmission, the GT3 RS 4.0 is claimed to run from 0 to 60 mph in 3.8 seconds with a 193 mph top speed. Porsche also says the 911 GT3 RS 4.0 will hit 124 mph in 12 seconds, a figure attributed to gearing optimized for racetrack duty. Fans of Nordschleife lap times at the Nürburgring will be impressed to know the GT3 RS 4.0 completed a lap in 7 minutes, 27 seconds.
The bigger, brawnier engine isn't the sole secret to the latest GT3's performance. That isn't the German way. Weight reduction was paramount for Porsche, equipping the 911 GT3 RS 4.0 with carbon-fiber bucket seats, front fenders and luggage compartment lid, and lightweight carpet. Porsche states the GT3 RS 4.0 weighs in at 2998 lb. with a full fuel tank, resulting in a weight-to-power ratio of 5.99 lb./bhp. If that figure is accurate, the new GT3 RS 4.0 is almost 200 lb. lighter than the standard GT3 RS—a 2011 Porsche 911 GT3 RS tipped our scales at 3190 lb.
With the exception of downforce-generating dive planes (those silver-colored winglets on either corner of the front bumper, a first for a production Porsche), the 911 GT3 RS 4.0 retains the exterior functionality of the standard 911 GT3 RS—i.e., it looks just as mean. At its 193-mph top speed, Porsche says the aerodynamically enhanced 911 GT3 RS 4.0 generates 426 lb. of downforce.
Limited to 600 vehicles globally and available in Carrara White, the Porsche 911 GT3 RS 4.0 starts at $185,000. Look for it to go on sale late 2011. Hopefully the whole royal wedding thing will have died down by then.