Home/Regulars/Spotted/Porsche 911 GT3 RS 4.0 (997): Spotted

Porsche 911 GT3 RS 4.0 (997): Spotted

Yearning for a 4.0 flat-six but can't wait for the new GT4? Come right this way...

By Sam Sheehan / Saturday, February 16, 2019

We don't have long to wait before one of the hottest arrivals of 2019, the Porsche 718 Cayman GT4, appears in all its naturally-aspirated flat-six glory. Its 4.0-litre motor may well be treated to a light spot of Stuttgart detuning, but it's still predicted to offer 420hp and rev to around 8,000rpm, while the car around it gets put on the Porsche Slim Fast diet.

The numbers to promote the GT4 - a variant already ranked as an all-time driver's favourite after round one - into the realms of supercar slayer. If our predictions are right, the model could even end up aligned with some of the top atmospheric models from its maker's recent past, including the more potent (but larger) 997.2 GT3 RS. Quite the accolade. Especially when you recall that less then a decade ago this model was considered to be one of the most athletic sports cars the world had ever seen.

Now, we're not suggesting that the Mk2 GT4 will be a more exciting car than the 997.2 GT3 RS, because that car's place as one of the very sweetest driving machines has long set into cement. In pure engineering terms, a midship sports car might be the preferred choice for optimum balance and handling - see how Porsche Motorsport pushed the 911 RSR's motor forward into a rear-mid placement in order to wreak such benefits - but a rear-engined, atmospheric sports car with hydraulic steering and a manual gearbox is, to some enthusiasts, the closest recipe to motoring perfection there is.

The story of the most sporting non-turbo 997 began in autumn 2006, eight months after the fabulously agile GT3 had delivered a 7 minute 42 second-lap at the Nurburgring with Walter Rohrl behind the wheel. This early 997 RS stayed true to the form by shedding 20kg from the GT3's weight thanks to the use of a carbon fibre rear wing, plastic rear windows and an a lightweight engine cover - among other things - plus it sat on a wider track and produced 450hp from its 3.8-litre engine. That was enough to give the car an impressive power-to-weight ratio of 328hp per ton.

But things really took off with the arrival of the 997.2 in 2010, which brought the aforementioned 4.0-litre flat-six powerplant into play and offered 500hp. Not only did the car now have 348hp per ton, it also had a motor that was most potent when at 8,250rpm - a stat that was enabled in part thanks to the use of titanium connecting rods taken straight from the 911 RSR of the day.

Combine this powerplant with the GT3 RS's sublime chassis, and slipping inside variant of 997.2 was the automotive equivalent of pulling on a catsuit. It provided undiluted responses from every control surface like it were a proper racing car. Much of the 997 GT3 RS's longstanding appeal comes from its hydraulic power steering, which delivered the kind of feedback which every subsequent electric system has striven to recreate.

Then there was the throttle response, which effectively bonded your intentions directly to the six cylinders behind. Add all that to the involvement of a manual gearbox and you're looking at a sports car nirvana. Doubtless to some the 997.2 GT3 RS will forever be the peak of Porsche's atmospheric GT lineage, with the higher power outputs and even more exotic chassis used by the later 991 versions not enough to overcome the 997's hydraulic steering and more compact dimensions. You might even argue that the 997's more discreet design details add to its appeal as well.

Those things, added to the fact only 600 4.0 examples of the GT3 RS were ever made, ought to ensure that prices for 997.2 cars will forever be strong. Today's Spotted is a few quid short of £295k, and it's not the most expensive car on the classifieds - that title goes to this £450k car advertised in Surrey. Our car's 'cheaper' value doesn't come thanks to high mileage or poor specification, either; with 3,948 miles on the clock it looks to have enjoyed some proper use, while remaining in a near brand new-like condition and coming with all its original assets. Chassis number 585 is a late car, too, meaning it's one of the very youngest 997 GT3 RSs in existence.

So, if you're dreaming of a high-revving 4.0-litre Stuttgart experience but are too impatient to wait for the Cayman - and are content to spend a-l-o-t more dough - the last of the 997 generation offers a degree of pure driving thrill that no current-day model is likely to surpass.


Engine: 3,996cc flat-6
Transmission: 6-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 500@8,250rpm
Torque (lb ft): 339@5,750rpm
MPG: 20.1 (NEDC combined)
CO2: 326g/km
First registered:
Recorded mileage:
Price new: £128,466
Yours for: £289,000

Find your next car