Compared: 911R vs 911 GT3 Touring - Looking Beyond What Meets the Eye

Comparing two of the most analog 911s of the 21st century to see what makes each of them so special

Jason Camisa beautifully articulated the fact that before the 911 R, VW’s typically German mentality dominated the cars that came out of Stuttgart. As a result, they were getting faster around tracks and quicker to 60 mph, all while losing the soul and essence that one desires from a sportscar like the 911. The regular 911s weren’t designed by engineers or purists anymore but by the accountants and board members who solely cared about sales figures. This is why the 911 R was such a big kick in the rear for that lot when it was met with unparalleled demand. This was a similar story for the 991.1 Speedster and every special Porsche with a stick shift and naturally aspirated engine.

The Paramount Shift

Compared: 911R vs 911 GT3 Touring - Looking Beyond What Meets the Eye High Resolution Exterior
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Porsche’s success with models like the 911 R and 991.1 Speedster hit home. This is why since 2015 there has been a paramount shift in Porsche’s philosophy where the GT division is getting more spotlight than ever before, and the GT3 Touring is a result of the engineers and purists at Porsche getting to execute their will. And yes, there is no denying the fact that the Carreras and Turbos bring in more money than the GT products, but the GT cars are the face of Porsche today and that says it all.

But let’s get back to the million-dollar question, what is the difference between the 911 R that proved instrumental in kick-starting this trend of analog Porsche’s in 2015, and the GT3 Touring, which is the closest you can get to having the same experience in Porsche’s lineup today? Well, let’s find out.

What makes them special?

Compared: 911R vs 911 GT3 Touring - Looking Beyond What Meets the Eye Exterior
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The bottom line is that both these cars operate on an identical core philosophy: They are sedate-looking Porsches with no fancy wings or a body kit, and a big 4.0-liter naturally aspirated engine that revs to over 8,500 rpm. But the little things that made them different in the first place are what’s made the GT3 Touring a viable and scalable product, something that the 911 R was never designed to do.

2022 911 GT3 Touring vs. 2015 911 R - Top Trumps:

Compared: 911R vs 911 GT3 Touring - Looking Beyond What Meets the Eye Exterior Wallpaper quality
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  • GT3 Touring has the higher redline at 9K as opposed to 911 R’s 8.7K
  • 911 R weighs 270 lbs less than the GT3 Touring
  • GT3 Touring has a higher power to weight ratio at 351 horsepower per ton as opposed to the 911 R with 342 horsepower per ton.
  • 911 R has a 6-speed transmission, which in popular opinion is superior to GT3 Touring’s six-speed manual
  • GT3 Touring costs between $170K - $180K while 911 R’s are fetching upwards of $300K in the used market
Porsche 911 GT3 Touring vs Porsche 911 R
Porsche 911 GT3 Touring Porsche 911 R
Engine 4.0-litre six-cylinder boxer 4.0-litre six-cylinder boxer
Horsepower 502 HP 500 HP
Torque 346 LB-FT 339 LB-FT
Transmission 7-speed PDK \ 6-speed Manual six-speed manual
0 to 60 mph 3.2 seconds 3.7 seconds
Top Speed 197 mph 200 mph

What makes them unique?

Compared: 911R vs 911 GT3 Touring - Looking Beyond What Meets the Eye Exterior Wallpaper quality
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For starters, the limited run 911 R from 2015 was a true homage to the original 911 R from 1967 - the very same that was envisioned by Ferdinand Piech himself. Just like its namesake, the 911 R is a lightweight special, weighing in at just 3021 pounds. thanks to a series of drastic weight-saving measures like plastic windows, a magnesium roof, virtually no sound detinning, and of course a whole lot of carbon fiber - all enclosed in a standard GT3 chassis.

The Touring name which made its first appearance in 1973 as a 2.7 RS variant is essentially a package for the regular GT3 that debuted in 2017 with the 991.2 gen 911 GT3. It was designed for customers looking for a toned done version of the regular GT3, which implies that it loses the massive wing in favor of a modified retractable rear spoiler from the Carrera GTS, but other than that, the engine, gearbox, suspension, brakes, wheels, and sticky performance tires are carried forward unchanged, which is why the "touring package" is a no-cost option.

Compared: 911R vs 911 GT3 Touring - Looking Beyond What Meets the Eye High Resolution Exterior
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But something that outright stats will never be able to convey is how much more visceral the 911 R feels, and even though the GT3 Touring’s updated 4.0-liter flat-four revs higher and gets rid of the flat spots in power delivery that the 911 R and the 991.1 gen GT cars suffer from, it is still a far more engaging experience. It is a mechanical symphony that exposes its occupants to sounds and vibrations that are next to impossible to be heard or felt in a modern-day car, let alone a top-of-the-line Porsche product.

But there’s no denying that the GT3 touring is a much better all-rounder that one can enjoy year-round, even on daily commutes, courtesy of its well-damped cabin, comfortable seats, and the wide range of customization options like a high-end sound system, custom upholstery option, and of course, the six-speed manual gearbox that turns this car into a frugal Grand Tourer (things that the 911R misses out on). All that comes in at a much more reasonable price tag and, with the added assurance that these cars will hold their value better than most other Porsches currently on sale.

Compared: 911R vs 911 GT3 Touring - Looking Beyond What Meets the Eye High Resolution Exterior
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So the bottom line is if you can afford to get your hands on a 911 R, which is very hard to come by in the used market since they made just 991 units, then we suggest you pounce on that opportunity because it is not only one of the purest modern-day 911s, it is also a guaranteed non-depreciating asset. But for all those who have 200 odd grand burning a hole in the pocket and want a pure yet discreet 911 experience, the GT3 Touring is as good as it gets.

Bhavik Sreenath
Bhavik Sreenath
A keen automotive enthusiast with a love for anything with engines. He loves discovering the world of cars and technology to explore new boundaries in the field of modern-day journalism.  Read full bio
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