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718 Cayman GT4 Put Through Its Paces at Knockhill

More power, more aerodynamic grip, more performance, and more usability—we’ve heard all of the new Cayman GT4’s strengths already. However, few automotive journalists can test those claims like Steve Sutcliffe. Though he might not look like a superlative athlete, the man is arguably the best driver among his peers. Ten years ago, he was given the chance to test a Honda F1 car, and was only several tenths off James Rossiter, the Honda test driver roughly half his age.

Here, Sutcliffe uses all his strengths to illuminate the incremental changes that make this car 12 seconds a lap faster around the Nurburging than the 981 GT4. Despite the car weighing 80 pounds more and retaining the same frustratingly long gear ratios, the 718 is still quicker in a straight line.

Watch how urgently the car fires off the corner at 4:38. There’s an easily accessible engine at work here.

Based upon the motor found in the rear of the latest Carrera S, the 718’s new 4.0-liter motor makes 414 horsepower and 309 lb-ft of torque. Though that latter figure is the same as with the outgoing 3.8-liter engine, the added displacement provides a broader powerband, which helps camouflage the car’s long gearing. With the driver more often in the optimal rev range, the new chassis is more easily exploited. 

The steering, brakes, and suspension are closely related to those found in the GT3, and Sutcliffe immediately recognizes the changes. That sharpened steering is a real asset through Knockhill’s blind entries, which Sutcliffe attacks with the commitment you’d expect from him. 

A big rear wing, an underbody diffuser, and a bigger splitter creates 269 pounds of downforce at 188 miles per hour—nothing to sniff at. Not only is this car more incisive, but added stability—a little extra composure is always nice over the crests—is another feature which goads a driver to push that much harder. 

The improved powertrain, better composed chassis, and better exhaust note make it even more thrilling to drive than its predecessor, which was a firecracker itself. Incremental changes in every department make the new 718 Cayman GT4 a dependable, confidence-inspiring car which can soak up bumps, stay on the pipe, and encourage the driver to attack. That combination of qualities—not just the bump in power—is what is responsible for its incredible 7:28 lap around the ‘Ring.

Incidentally, that’s the same as the lap set by the 997 GT3 RS 4.0. Though tire technology has come a long way in ten years, having the least expensive member of the GT family set the same lap as the former heavyweight is a testament to Porsche’s unyielding search for incremental improvements in every department.

Composure, mid-engine balance, and great engine response—what’s not to like?

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Porsche 911S 2.4 tops £200,000 at Silverstone Auction sale

Silverstone Auctions raised £2.5 million at their recent Porsche Sale with a 1972 Porsche 911S leading the way under the hammer, the 2.4-litre Neunelfer topping £200,000 as the British auction house saw 70 per cent of its automotive lots find new homes.

A right-hand drive car originally sold by AFN in May 1972, the Light Yellow Porsche 911S enjoyed an 18-month restoration just under ten years ago and was offered in seemingly exceptional condition.

The Porsche 997.2 GT3 RS, finished in Carrara White with red detailing also performed well exceeding its estimate of £135,000-£155,000 to realise an eventual £168,750.

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Another pre-sale star, the 964 Carrera RS in NGT-spec also didn’t fail to disappoint as it passed the auction block for £157,500, the Maritime Blue Rennsport surpassing its upper estimate by £2,500.

A rare right-hand drive Porsche 930 SE also made it solidly into six figures, selling for £140,630 while an eye-catching Tahoe Blue Porsche 964 Turbo 3.3 just failed to break the £100,000 mark, realising £90,000 after failing to sell at auction earlier in the year.

The crazy price realised by a 993 GT2 at RM Sotheby’s recent London sale doesn’t appear to have falsely inflated the values of later widowmakers as Silverstone Auctions saw their 997 GT2 sell for £135,000 inside Silverstone’s landmark ‘Wing’ building.

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Finished in Guards Red, the 996.1 GT3 Clubsport at the sale (held in conjunction with the Porsche Club GB) also exceeded its estimates, as bidding topped out at £70,310, a solid result in the current market that has seen GT3 appreciation slow.

There were also a number of more affordable Neunelfers under the hammer at the auction, with Porsche 996s still proving a lot of bang for your buck. An early Gen1 Carrera in Arctic Silver fetched just £14,625 while an ex-UK press car (also in 996.1 C2 spec) realised a fraction more at £16,880.

“As a huge Porsche fan I’m delighted that we’ve been able to offer some fantastic cars to new owners, as well as securing strong prices for our highly valued vendors,” said Silverstone Auction’s managing director, Nick Whale.

For all the latest Porsche 911 auction news, make sure you bookmark Total911.com now.

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Porsche 991 GT3 RS v Rivals: Battle of the Best

At its most reductive, the idea that certain activities can “make you feel alive” is a peculiar one, especially when you consider the flipside; I have certainly never done anything that has made me feel dead.

Yet this supposedly tangential notion is never more evident to me than when I am out on a racetrack, pushing a car to its limits. The often delicate and sometimes brutal dance on the edge of adhesion from corner to corner is enough to get thousands of petrolheads’ pulses racing.

It is a sensation that is intrinsically woven into the fabric at Zuffenhausen and it is, therefore, the key ingredient in what is undoubtedly the 911’s most exciting and renowned subdivision: Rennsport.

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Based near the race teams in Weissach, Andreas Preuninger’s GT cars department are the current custodians of this legendary moniker. This crack squad of engineers has proven that they truly understand what is needed to create an enthralling Neunelfer experience, with a track-focussed character that is equally captivating out on the open road.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in the 997 generation of GT3 RSs. From the 3.6-litre, first generation iteration to the instantly iconic 997 GT3 RS 4.0, Preuninger’s team never missed a beat between 2006 and 2010.

Somehow, they have managed to improve on perfection with each revision, culminating in the aforementioned 4.0-litre Rennsport – a car that we concluded in issue 125 was “the king of kings”. Now though, the RS ranks have been bolstered with a new 3,996cc pretender to the RS 4.0’s throne.

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The 991 GT3 RS is, on paper, the antithesis of the 997’s analogue thrills: a PDK gearbox in place of the lauded six-speed manual shifter, a flat six based (loosely) on the Carrera’s 9A1 engine rather than the motorsport-derived Mezger, and rear-wheel steering in place of the previously passive back axle.

These changes have made the latest RS devastatingly effective – our first drive in issue 128 proved as much – and hugely coveted, just like its 4.0-litre 997 forebear.

That was in isolation though; context is key here, which is why we have gathered both 4.0-litre Rennsports (as well as both previous generations of the 997 GT3 RS) together for the ultimate test on track and road.

To find out how the 991 GT3 RS gets on against its 997 rivals, pick up Total 911 issue 136 in store today. Alternatively, order your copy online for home delivery, or download it straight to your digital device now.

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Total 911 issue 135 on sale now

It’s only the third production 911 capable of surpassing that magical 200mph top speed but with just a 20hp boost, is the new Turbo worth its €12,000 price hike over its predecessor? See what the experts think in our full exposé of the 991.2 Turbo, complete with full specs and a detailed walkaround of the car in issue 135 of Total 911, out now.

Your latest instalment of world-class Porsche journalism also uncovers the full story on a super-rare 993 Speedster. Perhaps so rare you never knew it existed, join us for a drive through Vegas in this special 993 drop-top, only in issue 135.

Issue 135 also throws up a bizarre group test that sees the 2.4S do battle with the 993 Turbo and 997.1 GT3 RS. Why, we hear you ask? Find out in the new issue, in shops and available for download now.

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Our buyer’s guide series continues and this issue we take a look at the RS-engined 2.7 Carrera, plus we help you decode any 911 with our guide to chassis numbers. Hitting the road again, we then pit the 930 four-speed against its later five-speed variant, before sampling the delights of a backdated 964 RS. Yes, you read that right: a 964 RS backdated to look like a 2.8RSR…

For all this and much, much more, pick up Total 911 issue 135 in store today. Alternatively, order your copy online for home delivery or download it straight to your digital device now.

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Top five Porsche drives of 2015 – Lee’s picks

The past twelve months have been exceptional for Total 911. In the year we hosted our inaugural Total 911 Awards, we also got behind the wheel of some truly exquisite 911s in our bid to provide you with world-leading Porsche journalism across our website, magazine and digital specials.

While that may sound a tad self-indulgent, it goes without saying the biggest delight we have here is sharing our experiences at the wheel of such great steers exclusively with you, our fanatical Total 911 readership. So, here’s the top five Porsche 911s I’ve had the pleasure of steering this year:

5) Porsche 911T 2.0-litre

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Surprised? So was I. Back in issue 127 we got behind the wheel of the first and last 911T to chart the evolution of the first entry-level 911. By the end of the test, I actually found favour with the short wheelbase, 2.0-litre variant over the (slightly) more contemporary 2.4. To get the 911T moving, you have to live in the final third of the rev range, really wringing its neck to get anywhere near ‘fast’.

The best thing is, this sensation can be achieved well within legal speed limits on the road and, complete with the early T’s ‘dogleg’ first gear and a cool rasp on induction from the carburettors, this classic 911 has bundles of charm. It’s no daily driver but the thrill of driving the first T was only bettered by four other Porsches for me this year.

4) Porsche 3.2 Speedster

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Speedsters: you either love ‘em or you don’t. I’ve long found peace with this 911’s altered silhouette and am fascinated by the degree of engineering that’s been plied into making this car aesthetically pleasing and practical to own (have you ever seen the brilliantly-shaped door glass on an air-cooled 911 Speedster?).

Our group test of every Porsche Speedster in issue 129 made for an exciting comparison along the Sussex Downs, but the 3.2 Speedster was the one I was most enamoured with. Despite not drawing on the original 356’s spartan-inspired interior as with the later 964, the 3.2’s more agricultural approach to the 911 was most enchanting, complemented of course by that amenable G50 gearbox. It’s the perfect boulevard cruiser.

3) Porsche 991 GT3

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Thanks to the 2014 recall (we won’t talk about the 2015 recall just yet) I didn’t get the chance to climb behind the wheel of this latest GT3 until summer with our head-to-head test with the 997.2 GT3 RS in issue 131.

The wait was well worth it: the 991 GT3 is a sublime machine that’s blessed with breathtaking pace and exquisite poise – not to mention that ungodly exhaust howl every time the crank spins up to 9,000rpm. Feeling unshakable through corners, the 991 GT3 feels unlike any other 911, so much so that its performance remit feels almost omnipotent at times.

2) Porsche 997 GT3 RS 4.0

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I should start by saying the 997.2 GT3 RS is possibly my favourite 911 steer, ever. We’ve been lucky enough to jump into one many times in recent years at Total 911, on both road and track. Compared to the 991 GT3, it’s the thinking man’s race car, dictated by a peaky engine, manual gearbox and passive rear axle. As shown by our head-to-head in issue 125, the 997 RS 4.0 is a masterly evolution of the 3.8, benefiting from increased torque low down in the rev range, tweaked aero for improved downforce, and a stiffer chassis courtesy of rose jointing at the rear.

Far more than merely a low-numbers automotive mural, this is an outstanding performance weapon that’s surprisingly tractable on road, too. I can fully believe Walter Rohl’s claim that he commuted to work in his RS 4.0 test car every day for six months. Unbelievable – and there’s only one Rennsport that’s better.

1) Porsche 997.2 GT3 RS 4.1 by SharkWerks

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Slightly controversial, I know, but SharkWerks’ brilliant take on the Gen2 997 GT3 RS (which, as I’ve just said, is one of the best ever performance 911s in my view) is comfortably my number one drive of 2015. SharkWerks’ RS 4.1 was our cover car of issue 122, so I know it had good form ahead of my visit to California in September, yet the sheer intensity of its driving experience was beyond captivating.

Throttle response is astoundingly quick and this vastly reworked flat six gets shifting quickly with noticeably more torque availabe at low revs than even the factory RS 4.0. However, the real magic is how SharkWerks’ 4.1 still retains the Mezger’s peaky nature and sense of occasion as that needle zips relentlessly around the tacho, pulling strongly all the way to a heady 7,950rpm.

My drive was only 30 minutes long but that was enough – any longer and I’ll have likely got too carried away by its eagerness to rev so robustly, so relentlessly. It’s not just an improvement on the factory 3.8-litre Rennsport, and it’s not just better than the coveted 997 RS 4.0 either. I don’t make the statement lightly when I say this is most likely the best Porsche 911 I’ve ever driven. Peddling it was my greatest pleasure of 2015.

What five 911s have you most enjoyed reading about in Total 911 this year? Comment below or tweet us @Total911.

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