Review: 2022 Porsche 911 GT3 6-speed manual unleashes green hell

The “green hell” of the Nürburgring is cool, but have you ever tried to cauterize the equally kinky roads in your own backyard in a 502-hp hero-maker with balletic feet and the heart of a killer?

You have if you’ve driven the 2022 Porsche 911 GT3, a cymbal-clash of a supercar that’s been destined for Halls of Fame and Garage Mahals worldwide ever since its debut. The GT3 serves up the best kind of sensory overload, particularly when it’s endowed with two very important bits: a 6-speed manual shifter and a coat of Python Green paint that delivers its mission statement in its simply perfect hue. 

Want to take the metaphor to its most painfully obvious zenith? The GT3 has a snakelike ability to move across dimensions with slithering ease. Its sinister rep’s mostly overblown. Its natural beauty must be studied before it can be appreciated. It can also  scare the living shit out of the unprepared. All those feels erupt whenever you wring all the glory from the manual-shift GT3 in Porsche’s U.S. home of Georgia. 

2022 Porsche 911 GT3 6-speed manual, Python Green

The GT3’s calling card is its 502-hp turbo flat-6, but its essence is unflappable handling.

 

Hulk smash!

Key this 911 to life and everything that’s green—the trees, the hills, the grass, the car—turns into a whizzy, exhilarating blur. 

Muscular and angry when it has to be and docile the rest of the time, this banner-carrying 911 does a Hulk turn as I cajole it out of deeply valleyed parking lots outside of Atlanta. The nose-lift helps coax it safely to the street, without scraping any of its skin, but then a slip of throttle reminds me of what’s underfoot, and what’s to come. 

Once we clear exurbia, it’s off to the races—or to the chorale performance, one delivered by its mellifluous turbo flat-6. With 502 hp and 346 lb-ft of torque, up just 2 hp and 7 lb-ft of torque from the last GT3, the current car’s punch-drunk with power once it moves a few millimeters off position zero. From 4.0 liters of displacement and 9,000 rpm of bandwidth, the GT3 extracts a sonorous rasp that elevates its top end while it shaves some low-end response. It’s a car meant to move with authority at triple-digit speeds and beyond.

I don’t need to preach to the choir as the four-lane turns to two. The GT3 sings to the rafters, which in this case are occupied by a few lunatic squirrels and a skunk that commutes across my favorite semi-rural road with the same kind of existential dread as I do when I sign on to Twitter every morning. 

Porsche’s PDK will never get left on read by me, but in this case the transmission is the special, catch-it-while-it-lasts moment. The 6-speed manual has the top-over thunk into gear that resonates deep in any driver’s heart, while the left pedal lets you tap out coded messages to the clutch with deft precision. The ballet slows things down—0-60 mph takes 3.7 seconds, versus the dual-clutch transmission’s scorching 3.2 seconds—but if you believe in things like organic produce and longform stories, the manual reels off sensual pleasures that the PDK shifter just can’t. It’s the difference between a video game and a crossword puzzle: different skill sets, different pleasure centers. 

 

2022 Porsche 911 GT3 6-speed manual, Python Green

It’s a 6-speed, not a 7-speed, but we’ll color you green with envy anyway.

911 GT3 manual: The great, glorious, and good

Skitter off the wider two-lanes on to thread-thin roads meant to link logging towns to mining towns, and the GT3 manual reveals itself to be the pot of gold. It tones down its own power for launches, so the local gas-station owners don’t grow any more wary than they already are, thanks to the electric paint job and the lunch-table wing growing out of the rear end. Its Michelin Sport Cup 2 tires barely emit a sound each time I creep from a start, which I do a few times to generate the silly grip and grin the GT3 manufactures like widgets.

At 3,126 lb, the 6-speed manual GT3 has an easier time than some of the electric cars I’ve wheedled through these same passages. As wide as this generation of 911 is, the car still needles through unstriped roads with sewing-machine precision. Lots of factors tie its ride and handling together differently than other 911 variants, but its relatively light weight (it’s gained just 11 lb from the last-gen GT3), its reworked double-wishbone front suspension, and its affable steering get the credit. More stable feel—thanks to wider 20-inch front and 21-inch rear tires—pours more glue on the road, and the GT3 turns in with crisp snaps of attention as it salutes the corner and then barks at you when you power out of it. Porsche’s electric-motor steering sets a benchmark for feedback and smoothed-over variable-ratio output.

The sticky GT3 owes a lot to more extravagant layers of bodywork. A front diffuser and adjustable spoiler that toggle between road and track modes pile on to boost downforce by 50% in daily-runner position—and up to 150% in performance position. So much glue. (If you want fancy performance with a less visible wing, try a GT3 Touring with the retractable spoiler.) As for braking? Never a moment of fear as long as you know how Salmon P. Chase looks. The carbon-ceramic package for the 911 GT3 renders nearly every situation stoppable.

If you want something not so positive to fixate on, well, the GT3 can be stiff and unrelenting—and much of that comes from available carbon-fiber bucket seats that don’t exactly render this a Panamera Gran Turismo. The welter of digital displays get cut comically in shards by the steering wheel, just like the rearward view. 

2022 Porsche 911 GT3 6-speed manual, Python Green

The GT3 calls the track home, but everyday roads call out its inner supercar, too.

A jaw-drop sticker

And then, of course, there’s the price. A stock 911 GT3 with the no-cost manual transmission costs $161,100. Dip it in Python Green for $4,220. A leather interior is another $4,730, and carbon-ceramic brakes take another $10,110 hit. The 6-speed manual’s free—but full racing bucket seats cost $5,900 and the front-axle lift that keeps its chin up like a plastic surgeon’s finest work runs $3,670. All-in, with $1,350 in destination charges and a stiff $1,700 gas-guzzler tax, this green hornet costs $195,850.

You could try to convince me there’s a better 911 out there, just keep in mind it’s OK to be wrong. Few cars tap the visceral supercar feel without the abusive supercar ride and upper-body strength requirements—and even fewer tell your fingertips exactly what to do, and for how long. Even the stratospheric price doesn’t seem morally wrong. You have two kidneys, after all.

It’s not a car that confines its thrills to a selected handful of privateer tracks and closed-off roads, either. The swarthy hills of Germany might be a better place to experience all this, but why leave the country when you have pure-green country roads at your back door? It’s an apex predator, maybe the apex of the 911 lineup until the GT3 race car appears; the Python Green blends in perfectly with the verdant north Georgia hills, and lets the 911 GT3 tuck away and hide before its next strike. 

Put another way, the Nürburgring is great, but have you ever hustled down a blind path and shut down the car quickly while your heart races and you half-expect a county cop to J-turn in behind you with, ah, questions? Same. 

_____________________

Porsche slipped us a Python Green GT3 with a manual gearbox so we could write this test drive review and simultaneously humblebrag about how many people will never get to enjoy this car.

 

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2022 BMW i4 M50, 2024 Kia EV9, Mercedes-Benz AMG One: This Week’s Top Photos

BMW’s latest 4-Series family has an electric option in the form of the i4 hatchback. The car is a new addition to the BMW lineup for 2022 and in i4 M50 guise, it delivers up to 536 hp and is a hoot to drive.

2023 Nissan Z

2023 Nissan Z

We also spent more time behind the wheel of the 2023 Nissan Z. With more power, more technology, and a stiffer structure, Nissan didn’t reinvent the Z with the sports car’s 2023 redesign but moved the icon forward into the new decade.

2024 Kia EV9 spy shots - Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

2024 Kia EV9 spy shots – Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

Kia is close to launching an electric SUV with rugged looks and third-row seats, and a prototype was spotted this week. The vehicle is the production version of the EV9 concept unveiled at the 2021 Los Angeles auto show, and it’s shaping up to be similar in design to the striking show car.

2023 MG 7

2023 MG 7

MG is going electric in most markets where it operates, but its redesigned MG 7 sedan sticks with internal-combustion power. The handsome mid-sizer was revealed with up to 254 hp, and we’ve heard more powerful plug-in hybrid options are on the way.

2023 GMC Canyon AT4X Edition 1

2023 GMC Canyon AT4X Edition 1

We also saw the reveal of the 2023 GMC Canyon this week. The redesigned mid-size pickup debuted with a high and wide stance, a powerful turbo-4, and a larger than ever price tag. The starting price will be around $40,000, which is $10,000 more than the outgoing truck.

Mercedes-Benz AMG One production in Coventry, U.K.

Mercedes-Benz AMG One production in Coventry, U.K.

Mercedes-Benz AMG’s One hypercar finally entered production this week, five years after it was first shown. The Formula 1-powered hypercar is built in the U.K., not far from the location where Mercedes’ F1 cars are built.

2023 Ford Bronco Heritage Edition and 2023 Ford Bronco Sport Heritage Edition

2023 Ford Bronco Heritage Edition and 2023 Ford Bronco Sport Heritage Edition

The 2023 Ford Bronco and Bronco Sport Heritage Editions also debuted this week to celebrate the Bronco nameplate’s 57th birthday. With throwback colors, two-tone paint jobs, and special edition-specific interior colors and materials, the modern SUVs truly do take on the look of their predecessors.

Porsche 911 Sally Special

Porsche 911 Sally Special

And finally, Porsche built one of the characters from Pixar’s “Cars,” and one lucky buyer will get to own it. We’re talking about Sally Carrera, whose real-life version is based on the 2022 911 Carrera GTS.

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2023 Ford F-150 Lightning, 2023 Nissan Z, 2023 Honda Pilot: The Week In Reverse

The 2023 Ford F-150 Lightning got a price, we drove the 2023 Nissan Z, and Honda teased the 2023 Pilot. It’s the Week in Reverse, right here at Motor Authority.

Ford announced details of the 2023 F-150 Lightning. The base price will increase $7,000 over the 2022 model year and range will get boosted by 10 miles with the big battery pack in base form. Ford said the price increase is due to “significant material cost increases and other factors” to justify the 17.5% upcharge.

Our spy photographer spotted the 2024 Kia EV9 electric three-row crossover SUV undergoing track testing. The production car appears to feature similar styling as the striking EV9 concept car. The Telluride-sized crossover SUV will arrive for the 2024 model year.

Senior producer Joel Feder spent a long weekend living with the 2023 Nissan Z and compared it to the family’s Z32 300ZX. While not perfect, the new Z exceeds expectations by pulling cool elements from the past, integrating the latest technology, and addressing the major issues with the 370Z.

The Meyers Manx 2.0 Electric debuted to bring the dune buggy back for the EV era. With up to 300 miles of range from a 40-kwh battery pack, two electric motors powering the rear wheels, and the ability to sprint from 0-60 mph in 4.5 seconds, the modern Manx makes the dune buggy exciting again.

The 2023 Honda Pilot was teased in TrailSport form. The Pilot will mark the second vehicle in the Honda lineup to get the off-road-inspired TrailSport treatment, which will give the three-row crossover SUV a slightly lifted ride height, a redesigned fascia, different wheel patterns, and unique interior accents. Serious off-road modifications won’t be on the table.

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