The Porsche 911 GT3 RS is a punk rock cover of an idyllic swan song

The Weissach Package makes the 911 GT3 RS a scalpel-sharp super-Porsche

Porsche is in the final stages of developing the next-generation 911. The current car (called 991 internally) has entered its last full calendar year on the market. It’s going out with a bang. An updated 911 GT3 RS with more power and trick tech features is Porsche’s punk rock cover of a swan song for the model. It also stands out as the first GT3 RS available with a track-oriented Weissach package.

The GT3 RS’ business end hides a 4.0-liter flat-six engine tuned to deliver 520 horsepower (20 more than the outgoing model) and 364 pound-feet of torque. It’s the most powerful naturally aspirated (read: turbo-less) engine Porsche has ever made for one of its street-legal cars. You can buy a Porsche with more power, but it will either be a turbocharged model or a hybrid. The flat-six pelts the GT3 RS from zero to 60 mph in three seconds flat and, given enough tarmac, sends it to a top speed of 193 mph.

Porsche applied the lessons it learned on the track to the 911 GT3 RS. Fully adjustable, the suspension system uses some of the most advanced components ever fitted to a road-legal Porsche. Rear-wheel steering boosts agility at higher speeds, while huge brakes on both axles bring the action to a stop with no fuss. The extra-wide rear tires help transfer the flat six’s cavalry to the pavement.

Mass is the enemy of performance. Porsche used lightweight materials like carbon fiber, magnesium, and polyurethane to shed as much weight as possible, bringing the RS under 3,200 pounds. Minor visual tweaks help the newest 911 stand out from its predecessor while generating more downforce, but you need to be a true Porsche-phile to spot them. Here’s a hint: look at the spoiler up front (it’s bigger than before).

The weight-saving treatment continues inside. Porsche made the side and rear glass thinner, added lightweight door panels with loops instead of conventional handles, tossed out some of the sound insulation, and sent the rear seats back to the parts bin. The two passengers travel on bucket seats with carbon fiber-reinforced back rests.

The list of options includes the Weissach Package (pictured above), which costs $18,000. Unveiled at the 2018 New York auto show, it adds front and rear sway bars, a roof panel, a steering wheel, and shift paddles all made out of carbon fiber to further reduce weight. Buyers can also add magnesium wheels, which Porsche priced at $13,000. Ordering both makes the GT3 RS 40 pounds lighter. Andreas Preuninger, the head of Porsche’s GT division, told Digital Trends the package makes a big difference on the track. The car feels lighter, more precise, and it’s ultimately more engaging to drive. Some of the technology comes from the sold-out 918 Spyder.

“[On the 918], the package consisted of visible carbon fiber parts. If you look at the car without Weissach, it’s relatively calm. We don’t show off the carbon fiber, though there is carbon fiber. With the Weissach package we really clearly show it off. It looks more brute, more racy, more track-focused. Apart from the looks, we transferred the 918 experience from the GT3 RS. Look at the wheels as well. The magnesium wheels were part of the 918 Weissach package. We found out it was an option you really could feel as a driver in terms of throttle response and turn-in,” Preuninger told us on the sidelines of the New York show.

The 2019 Porsche 911 GT3 RS is on sale now, though deliveries aren’t scheduled to start until the fall of 2018. Pricing starts at $187,500 before dealers factor in a mandatory $1,050 destination charge. The brand doesn’t expect many people will stick with the base model, though. Preuninger told us the take rate on the Weissach package among GT2 RS buyers stands at about 90 percent. He expects a similar percentage of buyers will tick the box when ordering a GT3 RS.

Product Review

The Ferrari Portofino is the super stallion you’ll want to drive every day

With the introduction of the Portofino, Ferrari addresses the California T’s stylistic shortcomings while improving comfort, convenience, and performance. There’s little “entry-level” about this super stallion.
Cars

FWD vs. RWD vs. AWD: How the wheels that turn change the way you drive

Let's face it, you've likely heard front-, rear-, and all-wheel drive mentioned before in some context or another. But what do these terms mean, especially in terms of performance? We’ve got the answers.
Cars

Adventurous and electric, Porsche’s second station wagon will arrive in 2020

The Mission E Cross Turismo concept Porsche unveiled during the 2018 Geneva Auto Show will morph into a production model tentatively named Taycan Cross Turismo. This 600-horsepower electric station wagon will arrive in showrooms by 2021.
Cars

Can electric cars be S3XY? Tesla says yes with the new Model Y crossover

Tesla introduced a crossover named Model Y at its design studio in Los Angeles. It's a more spacious alternative to the Model 3 it shares 75 percent of its parts with, and is a smaller sibling to the Model X.
Cars

Tesla wirelessly gives the Model 3 a 5-percent increase in power

Tesla again showed the potential of its innovative over-the-air software updating system by making the Model 3 five percent more powerful via a firmware update. The Performance model gained 23 horsepower.
Cars

Fiat wants to transform the cheeky 500 city car into an urban Tesla

Fiat is finally preparing a new 500. Scheduled to make its debut in early 2020, the retro-chic city car will go electric in part to comply with looming emissions regulations.
Product Review

Who needs a Range Rover? BMW’s X7 has better tech and just as much luxury

The 2019 BMW X7 is the German automaker’s long-overdue entry into the full-size luxury SUV segment. Packing three rows of seats and plenty of tech, can the new BMW take on Mercedes-Benz and Land Rover?
Cars

Say goodbye to Uber for good: Here's how to cut ties with the ridesharing service

If you thought that deleting the Uber app would also delete your account, think again. You'll have to deactivate your account, then wait 30 days in order to do so. Here, we outlined how to delete your Uber account once and for all.
Cars

Shift it yourself: How to drive stick in a manual transmission car

Driving a manual transmission car might seem intimidating at first, but it's not as difficult as you might think. Knowing how to operate this type of gearbox will serve you well. Here's everything you need to know to learn how to drive…
Cars

Waymo boosts robo-taxi plans with new service center in Arizona

Waymo has announced plans for a facility in Phoenix, Arizona, that will help to service, maintain, and grow its fleet of autonomous Waymo One cars. The vehicles operate as part of the company's robo-taxi ridesharing service.
Cars

Vivint’s Car Guard keeps tabs on your vehicle when you’re not in it

A simple plug-in that you can place in just about any vehicle, Vivint's new Car Guard will automatically detect if your car is bumped, towed, or stolen and will alert you about it.
Cars

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC coupe gets a tech upgrade, keeps quirky styling

The 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC coupe debuts at the 2019 New York Auto Show with an upgraded infotainment system that incorporates Mercedes' digital assistant. The SUV launches later this year with turbocharged four-cylinder power.
Cars

This modified Land Rover Discovery is heading to Africa to help fight malaria

A Land Rover Discovery will be used by the Mobile Malaria Project for a 3,900-mile trek across Africa to study malaria. The SUV is equipped with a mobile gene-sequencing laboratory, as well as everything necessary for serious off-roading.
Cars

Volvo wants to use speed limiters, in-car cameras, and data to reduce crashes

Volvo believes new tech is the best way to improve car safety. The Swedish automaker will let owners set speed limits when loaning out their cars, install cameras to monitor drivers, and use data to design better safety features.