16/08/2011 Porsche 911 GT3 RS 4.0: a designer’s opinion
Design expert Chris Hrabalek reckons the new GT3 RS 4.0 is the most desirable 911 ever to come out of Zuffenhausen; and, yes, that includes the divine 2.7 RS.
“In recent years, Porsche has managed to develop and maximise a derivative model strategy second only to Mercedes-Benz in the mid 00s, and based on just ‘four plus one’ models, namely: Boxster, 911, Cayenne, Panamera – and Cayman.
“While the performance difference between a basic ‘Carrera’ and the flagship GT2 RS might be significant enough for buyers to justify a price difference of nearly 300%, the net profit margins for Porsche must, surely, increase exponentially as well.
“Porsche’s most recent 911 derivative, and the final swansong of the 997 model generation, is arguably the most desirable one yet: the 911 GT3 RS 4.0. The fact that all 600 of the limited-edition run sold out within a matter of hours only tells part of the story; yet it underlines the fact that true connoisseurs and shrewd automotive investors think alike.
“Naturally, it helps that this model is based on one of the highest selling and most successful race cars of all time. The fact that the 911 has continuously evolved over some 45 years certainly helps. While one can only question how much F1 technology really does get translated into a production Ferrari, one can be dead certain that all the (race) lessons learned from Porsche GT (and club) racing is injected straight back into improving the breed.
“Yet this is still only half the story. Porsche produced around 2000 of the ‘standard’ 3.8 RS and, arguably, every one of those 2000-plus buyers might have liked an RS 4.0. Yet Porsche is only making 600; they could perhaps have sold four times as many. And that’s without taking into account the various Carrera GT owners who are – now that there’s a limited edition – tempted into RS ownership and have the necessary purchasing power to achieve it.
“Before squeezing oneself into the lightweight carbonfibre bucket seat or reading a single line of the recent rave views on the 4.0 in the media, this car already makes sense on paper. And all of a sudden, £128k seems – especially in relation to the price of the ‘standard’ RS – like unbelievable value for money.
“In terms of creating a dead-cert ‘triple A’ long-term automotive investment, Porsche could only have topped that by limiting availability even further, perhaps by offering the 4.0 only to Porsche 918 customers (or, rather, deposit payers). Quite why anyone would opt to purchase the stickered-up Turbo S '918 Edition' that Porsche offered instead – therefore being driven to the cleaners a second time round – is beyond me. It’s probably targeting the same group that would buy a Lamborghini laptop or Ferrari camera.
“It’s a very thin line that runs between ‘limited edition with integrity’ and ‘limited edition with stickers’. It’s marketing vs. engineering. Connoisseur vs. exhibitionist. And the very reason why, for the first time in 15 years, I am myself tempted into new-car ownership.”