Porsche has earned some good press this week. With the Frankfurt Motor Show open to the public until next weekend, one of the Stuttgart sports car maker’s cars has caught our eye for more than the usual numerical and ideological reasons.
Yes, the 911 GT3 with Touring Package, otherwise clipped to ‘GT3 Touring’, is fast, and yes, the option pack is centred around a manual gearbox with subtler styling, but that’s not what makes Porsche this week’s real MVP. Hose yourself down with its 3.9-second 0-62mph launch and its 196mph top speed all you like, but these are numbers you can find elsewhere in the 911 stable. The most important thing about the 911 GT3 Touring is what it isn’t.
It isn’t a limited edition. It’s simply a manual GT3, the like of which customers were crying out for after Porsche switched the 991.1 GT3 to PDK paddleshift only. It’s also a more luxurious and friendlier place to sit than the regular GT3 with its sea of Alcantara, and there’s something wonderfully retro about that; something that feels like an echo of the original, classic 911. But, again, it isn’t a limited edition.
That means the 911 R, which at the time of its release a couple of years ago was a halo of ultra-desirable manual GT3-dom, is no longer the unique star it was. Back then, with the GT3 having lost its manual ‘box, apparently for good, all 991 examples of the R sold like the hottest of cakes.
Almost as soon as they were sold out, delivery-mileage examples started popping up in the classifieds for double and triple what they cost new. We hated it, you hated it, and Porsche hated it. So much, in fact, that the GT3 has got its manual back and the GT3 Touring has joined it to give buyers more or less what the 911 R could, but for little more than a quarter of the sickening prices the latter has changed hands for. Fair enough, the R was based on the GT3 RS and is slightly faster, but values will surely have to take a hit.
This new interpretation of the GT3, then, without the big wings and racecar Alcantara surfaces, is the best of all worlds. The Touring blends the 4.0-litre race-derived flat-six and its 497bhp clout, the comfort and confident luxury of a regular 911 and the security of knowing that, if you have the money, you can simply go to a dealer in your own time and order one. It won’t drive any worse for not being part of a 991-car limited edition, and residual values are likely to stay high regardless.
Of course, Porsche might only be unhappy about hugely inflated used prices because it doesn’t get any of that extra profit itself, but by all accounts the company is hardly struggling, financially. Whether you take this cynical viewpoint or not, with the GT3 Touring Porsche has got another money-spinner on its hands. The Porsche speculators or traders who haven’t yet shifted their 911 Rs must be crying into their wine cellars.
This is a clear signal from Porsche that if its customers want something, it will build it, and earn the profit the right way. Speculators? They might want to start looking elsewhere. Good riddance.