Chris Harris drives the Porsche 991 GT3

Chris Harris videos continue to evolve and entertain. His latest production (apparently filmed on his own) is this one below on the new Porsche 991 GT3: a world exclusive drive of a development car, somewhere in the hills of southern Europe.

Talking to GT3 owners, some are still cross at the technical upsets: PDK-only, electric power steering and a non-Mezger engine. But many more like this fastest, revviest, most-button Porsche, and covet new-spec trinkets like the centre-lock matt silver wheels and that racecar front airdam.

What most are not liking is the financial pain to take to get it. As a good friend and GT3 owner said the other night: “I paid £70k for my first GT3, £80 for my second one and the latest is getting on for £100,000. Porsche are quoting £30k plus my low-mile Gen 2 GT3 RS to get into a new one, rising to £40k when I add some spec.”

The problem is not the lack of forty grand. It’s the airiness of Stuttgart thinking and pricing, the value (and trust) lost in what is still a satisfying machine to drive and the emerging sense that Porsche will keep jacking up the price, every time there’s a new model. You can’t pin all those price hikes on inflation.

Over on Apple’s product treadmill, owners are increasingly fed up with the latest dangling shiny bit mocking their spend on the last upgrade. An iPhone 5 upgrade costs a small fortune, only to find Apple shoving a must-have ‘S’ upgrade out six months later, costing contract holders similar daft sums to upgrade.

Apple has tackled upgrade apathy with some brains, retaining the camera and overall operating system from 4S to 5, so the upgrade was just to have a bigger phone and slightly faster processor. For people who use their iPhone mainly as camera and web device, a change made little sense, so the faithful can wait for the 5S and a step up in camera technology, and let the fashionistas take the 5 to iron out all the bugs.

In contrast, Porsche’s move from 997 to 991 GT3 threw out all the old stuff and went straight to GT3 5S: a big change in spec with a whacking hike in price. Before today, looking at this car on paper begged the question, “is all this new tech really that great?” Masterful demonstration of the tech at work dismisses any notion that this isn’t an improvement.

The facts and the feedback make this a no-brainer. The video rips the numbers to perfection and Harris is Porsche’s best salesman. There is no reason to avoid this car when he shows you what it can do.

With no access to the car and none of this talent behind the wheel, I must talk philosophy. As Harris puts it, a car with this ability, in this shape and making this noise should be the last bastion of a manual gearbox. But with the GT3 now so well engineered, the downside to a manual would be cockpit confusion when really pressing on: the driver becomes a log jam in the flow of speed from chassis to tarmac, and that is not what GT3 is all about.

Will Porsche build a GT3 5S-S with a manual transmission? Not in the short term. We’re now talking about Porsche past – manual transmission as ultimate go-faster bit is history. As Porsche sees things, if you want a manual box, you’re hankering for old technology in an older car, so just buy an old car.


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Ferdinand blogs my freelance adventure with Porsche at the centre. To support the blog or engage with me in other ways, you can:

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