If you don’t consider yourself a Porschephile, the Porsche 911 model lineup can be maddeningly complex. The 992-generation 911 (which launched in 2019) consists of Carreras, Cabriolets, and Targas, S and 4S models, multiple versions of the 911 Turbo, and a 911 GT3—and there are more on the way. In the coming years, we’re expecting the lineup to grow with the addition of the 911 GT3 Touring, 911 GT2, and 911 GTS, among others. But as of today, if you want the ultimate high-performance 911, you’ve got two options: the 911 Turbo S and the new 911 GT3. They share a penchant for going fast and setting blistering lap times but take wildly different approaches to doing so. Here’s how the Porsche 911 Turbo S and Porsche 911 GT3 are similar and how they differ.
Porsche 911 Turbo S vs. 911 GT3: Curb Appeal
Although both the 911 Turbo S and 911 GT3 roll down the same production line, there are some clear visual differences that go beyond trim-exclusive wheels or colors. Up front, the 911 Turbo S looks a bit more like the 911 Carrera, thanks to a similar front air intake design (though the Turbo’s is larger and features three sections) and a frunk design that harkens back to the classic 930-generation 911 (1975 to 1989). Hiding beneath the Turbo S’ air intake is a retractable spoiler that deploys automatically above certain speeds or in Sport Plus mode. The 911 GT3’s nose is a bit different. Its hood, made from carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic, features a distinctive snout that works with its unique front clip to increase downforce at high speeds.
Around back, the 911 GT3 features a manually adjustable swan-neck rear wing plus a decklid spoiler, a functional rear diffuser, and twin center-exiting exhausts. The 911 Turbo S has an automatically deploying rear spoiler integrated into the decklid as well as twin air intakes on its rear quarter panels and a quad-tipped exhaust.
Inside, the 911 Turbo S is among the most luxurious and tech-forward members of the 911 line, with upscale materials, an electronic shifter, and four seats. The race-ready 911 GT3 loses the rear seats and gets thinner window glass to save weight, while features such as its mechanically operated shifter (which shares its knob with the manual version) and its specific center stack show its track focus.
The 911 Turbo is also available in coupe or cabriolet form, whereas the GT3 is only sold as a coupe.
911 GT3 vs. 911 Turbo S: Under the Hood
This is where the 911 GT3 and Turbo S really start to diverge. Although both share a rear-mounted flat-six engine, there are some major differences in the character of the two.
The 911 Turbo is powered by a 3.7-liter twin-turbo flat-six that produces 572 hp and 553 lb-ft of torque in Turbo trim or 640 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque in Turbo S form. That power is sent through a PDK eight-speed dual-clutch automatic to a torque-vectoring all-wheel-drive system. The 911 Turbo S is currently the second-quickest car we’ve ever tested, accelerating from 0 to 60 mph in 2.3 seconds.
The 911 GT3 skews old school in its drivetrain setup. It’s powered by a high-revving 4.0-liter naturally aspirated flat-six that produces 502 hp and 346 lb-ft of torque. The exclusively rear-wheel-drive 911 GT3 gets a PDK seven-speed dual-clutch automatic to save weight versus the eight-speed unit in the Turbo S. A six-speed manual is available, as well. A PDK-equipped 911 GT3 we recently tested sprinted from 0-60 mph in just 2.7 seconds.
Both cars have four-wheel steering and massive brakes, but the 911 GT3 gets a unique, race-derived multilink front suspension and specific dampers designed to improve steering feel and turn-in agility.
911 Turbo S vs. 911 GT3: How Do They Drive?
With the caveat that we haven’t driven the two 911s back to back on the same road at the same time, both are unmistakably “Porsche” yet feel like entirely different cars.
The 911 Turbo S—and there’s no other way to put this—is stupid fast. With the Turbo S, Porsche has somehow created an internal combustion car that delivers its power with the ferocity and immediacy of an electric performance car like Tesla’s Model S or Porsche‘s own Taycan. The 911 Turbo S launches so hard off the line that unsecured items will go flying backward in the cabin, and it feels as if you’ve somehow slowed the Earth’s rotation as you rocket forward.
The grip doesn’t let up in bends, either. Thanks to its torque-vectoring all-wheel drive, four-wheel steering, and massive brakes, the Turbo S can be chucked hard into a corner and the driver can get on the power early, allowing the Porsche to claw its way out of the corner at speeds far faster than should be possible. The 911 Turbo S never quite feels challenged out on the road, leaving it up to you to focus and improve your driving to wring the most out of the car.
By contrast, if we had to use one word to describe the 911 GT3, it would be “emotional.” Whereas the 911 Turbo S is sort of like a Westworld host—sentient but still somehow robotic—the GT3 is organic through and through. A 9,000-rpm redline (and a tach that reads to 10,000 rpm) will do that to you.
Big, naturally aspirated, and full of character, the 911 GT3’s engine feels like the swan song for internal combustion. Unlike many high-revving, naturally aspirated engines, it makes a solid wave of power right off idle and holds it all the way to redline. And because the engine isn’t breathing through turbos, it has a ferocious wail of a soundtrack with the sort of intrinsic quality usually reserved for big V-8s.
The unique front axle and suspension also makes a big difference. The GT3’s ride is firmer and a bit less forgiving, while its front end feels lighter and more agile—delivering its grip not through an extra driveshaft but purely through clever mechanical engineering. Put another way, if the 911 Turbo S claws its way through canyons, the 911 GT3 digs into corners like an ice skate biting into a turn.
How Much Does Each 911 Cost?
Usually, “less” car (as in fewer creature comforts in favor of more track performance) costs more in this space, but the 911 bucks that trend. Prices for the 911 GT3 start at $162,450—though it’s quite easy to option one up well over $200,000. The 911 Turbo’s base price is $175,650, with the more powerful Turbo S starting at $208,350 for 2022. The Turbos are available now; the GT3 will be released stateside this fall.
|SPECIFICATIONS||2022 Porsche 911 GT3||2021 Porsche 911 Turbo S|
|PRICE AS TESTED||$197,770||$224,780|
|VEHICLE LAYOUT||Rear-engine, RWD, 2-pass, 2-door coupe||Rear-engine, AWD, 4-pass, 2-door coupe|
|ENGINE||4.0L/502-hp/346-lb-ft DOHC 24-valve flat-6||3.7L/640-hp/590-lb-ft win-turbo DOHC 24-valve flat-6, alum block/heads|
|TRANSMISSION||7-speed twin-clutch auto||8-speed twin-clutch auto|
|CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST)||3,213 lb (40/60%)||3,628 lb|
|WHEELBASE||96.7 in||96.5 in|
|LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT||180.0 x 72.9 x 50.4 in||178.6 x 74.9 x 50.9 in|
|0-60 MPH||2.7 sec||2.3 sec|
|QUARTER MILE||10.8 sec @ 127.9 mph||10.3 sec @ 132.3 mph|
|BRAKING, 60-0 MPH||93 ft||97 ft|
|LATERAL ACCELERATION||1.15 g (avg)||1.10 g (avg)|
|MT FIGURE EIGHT||22.3 sec @ 0.95 g (avg)||22.5 sec @ 0.96 g (avg)|
|EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON||15/20/17 (est) mpg||15/20/17 mpg|
|ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY||225/169 kWh/100 miles (est)||225/169 kWh/100 miles|
|CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB||1.15 lb/mile (est)||1.15 lb/mile|