Perspective is important. So, so important.
There I was, standing at a high-end dealership in Cape Town, admiring a 996 GT3. Despite the headlights that half of the Porsche community openly hates and another third secretly hate, the 996 GT3 represents so many things that are great about sportscars.
I haven’t had the joy of driving one, although I’ve driven various other 996 models (all of which make you quickly forget about the styling that some find awkward). The reality is that a 996 GT3 isn’t particularly pretty from any angle, but it’s certainly capable. I’ve been a passenger in one and I clenched various parts of my body on a regular basis during that experience.
doesn’t even have a real badge on the front
Next to this particular GT3 was a much newer GT3 RS Weissach Witzenberger Nurburgring Mezger Ferdinand edition. It costs more than the GDP of Rwanda and doesn’t even have a real badge on the front, as Porsche felt it necessary to save just a few grams and use a sticker instead. I trust the owner goes to the bathroom before he drives it, or all that engineering would be a waste, other than being a nauseating discussion topic at the dinner table.
To be fair, that car is a magnificent beast when viewed in isolation. There’s high drama from every angle, but therein lies the problem. The high drama is, well, high.
On the new GT3 the high drama is, well, high.
If you parked one next to a Macan, I’m pretty sure the headlights are almost at the same height. Parking it next to the 996 looks like those recent social media images of Vin Diesel hanging out with Lewis Hamilton. Vin may be all about family, but the 911 family has suffered from the same affliction that all modern cars have.
The 911 has eaten all the pies. All of them. Worst of all, it now sits far too high on the road, so you lose the sportscar experience that makes the 911 so great in the first place.
You sit in a 996. You sit on the latest models. If I don’t feel as though my pants are about to split on entry and exit, it’s not a sportscar. End of story.
your bits barely a few inches off the tarmac.
The reason people rave about the MX-5, GT86 and especially the S2000 (my personal favourite in that group) is because you sit with your bits barely a few inches off the tarmac. Sitting in a Z4 M Coupe is more of an event than sitting in a new 911, at least for drivers who value the feeling of being connected to their cars.
Perhaps it has something to do with pedestrian safety. I can only assume that being hit in your stomach by a car is more pleasurable than being taken out at the knees. Whatever the reason, I’m glad that I got to see this bloated car standing next to the GT3 that created the legend.
It made me realise that if you want a proper sportscar with a GT3 badge, you really don’t need to buy the Wiener edition. You can just buy the 996 GT3 or, better yet, the 997 GT3. They even come with real badges.