Like so many good ideas, it was very simple. They took the 911 GT3, with its jewel of an engine, manual gearbox and beautifully honed chassis, then swapped the rear wing for the low-key extending deck from the 911 Carrera, and ditched the cabin’s racey Alcantara in favour of smooth leather.
The result was an exceptionally special machine disguised as only a moderately special one. And you only have to look at the number of debadged RS6 Avants around to know that people like that sort of thing. More importantly, the reason this subtler, more charming alter ego worked so well for the GT3 was because the 991-series car was very much at home on the road in the first place. To many, the 991 GT3 Touring was – and still is – peak modern Porsche 911.
It’s therefore no surprise that the GT3 Touring is now back, this time earlier in the model cycle because Porsche knows the demand exists, and with optional PDK (previously it was manual only). And once again, simply the sight of this car gets the blood pumping, not least because while the elegant silhouette is regular 992-series 911, only set lower to the road, the details are plain devilish.
The shotgun exhaust, the wide rear diffuser, the nostrils in the carbonfibre bonnet, the scalloped rear bumper and even the staggered, centre-locking alloy wheels are all pure GT3, as is the aggressively profiled front bumper – although you might not notice that, because on the Touring it’s painted the colour of the body, rather than being black plastic. There’s also matt-finish chicken-wire all over the place, but quite apart from looking cheap, it serves to give the Touring an appealingly illicit, almost skunkworks-y vibe.
So even in the black of our LHD test car, the 992 GT3 Touring is considerably less understated than the old 991, and the low-slung, carbonfibre-shelled seats don’t do much to quell the sense of occasion when you slide aboard. Porsche’s ‘Sport seat Plus’ is the standard option, but when you’re already spending £128,000, one imagines it’s hard to resist dropping an extra £3790 for the more attractive, comfortable and supportive buckets that debuted in the 918 Spyder.
The mechanical specification is regular GT3, with the only major differences being the absence of the large rear wing, with its swan-neck stanchions, and the fact you cannot order the Touring in Clubsport spec (would anybody really want to?), so there’s no option of having a half roll-cage behind the seats.
It means you get the GT3-unique 3996cc flat-six, which is technically naturally aspirated but, in practice, uses extra throttle-bodies and manipulates pulses into the intake tract to achieve some level of forced induction. It spins to 9000rpm, meaning among 911s only the racecars rev higher, and it develops 503bhp at 8400rpm and 347lb ft at 6100rpm. The resulting specific output of 126bhp per litre matches that of the upcoming Ferrari 812 Competizione.
Downstream of the engine sits either a dual-clutch seven-speed PDK gearbox or Porsche’s 17kg-lighter six-speed manual, paired with a locking differential that works alongside the car’s brake-based torque vectoring. Carbon-ceramics brakes are standard, as are the sizeable forged wheels: 21in at the back and an inch smaller at the front, and shod in Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres.