The GT3 Experience

 

Part III

The GT3 Test Drive (Continued)

 

All of the dash gauges are scrunched up so they slightly overlap each other, where as the 993 has discrete gauges.  The tach and the speedometer both span about 180 degrees.  The analog speedometer is purely show.  It is useless to tell speed by.  It goes from zero to 200 mph in 5 mph increments, but the whole scale is so scrunched that reading it is all but impossible.  You must use the digital readout to keep the ticket masters at bay.  The tach sits dead center and is useful.  The lower half houses the computer display, which has the odometer , trip odometer, and a user selectable display of fuel economy (I mean glut), air temperature, miles until you run the gas tank dry, and average vehicle speed.  There are other functions like a system fault check and setting limits and resetting things as well as checking oil level.


Incidentally, the computer showed 28.7 mpg (highway) in a recent trip down Florida’s Route 95 at 80 mph.  That is not too bad for such a high performance car.  Around town it’s closer to 16 mpg if you are gentle.


Everything is viewable through the steering wheel, which is 14.75” in diameter.  The center console holds the radio and environmental controls.  Let me tell you that the 996 actually has an air-conditioning system that really works!  The 993 was an improvement over its predecessors, but the environmental system really blows cold air, not cool air when you need it.  Clearing off a fogged window happens quick.  The thermostat is easy and effective to use.  I like it!


The hand brake is an improvement, too.  It also feels much more robust that the 993, which felt a little flimsy in comparison.  The pull door handles feel strong and robust, too.  While the materials used may be a little plastic, I have no complaints about anything feeling flimsy or cheap.  The window switches now sport a one touch up and down function and you can operate them after the key is turned off!


When you first enter the cockpit and look aft the volume of space behind the seats stuns you.  Part of it is that the GT3 has no rear seats, but part of it is just plain more interior space.  You can toss a huge amount of soft luggage back there.  It just gobbles up cargo and there is room for more.  Embossed on the back firewall is the script GT3.


Before mounting your seat, you notice the door sills are both wider and lower.  This makes egress easier into the sport seats.  The US cars get sport seats with a hardback.  The European version gets the lightweight one-piece GT3 seats.  Many like the GT3 one-piece seats, but for everyday life the sport seat has a lot of advantages, including access to the are behind the seats!

 

The roof liner is a sued like material.  Most of the sound deadening material is absent in the GT3.  When it rains the roof sounds like a tin sheet.  The carpet is now a thin material that is light, but durable.  You hear a lot of road noise and engine noise.  Welcome to the track machine my son.  Yes it has a CD player.  The steering wheel telescopes, but does not adjust up or down.

Pop the trunk and you find an extraordinarily deep pocket for a trunk.  The overall size is a little smaller, but it is far deeper thanks to the absence of a spare tire.  There is a panel you can easily lift up that contains tools and space for additional storage items such as cleaning supplies.


Pop the engine deck lid and you are in for a bit of a surprise. The deck lid is not much larger than the glove box!  Inside sits a special engine with its roots; rumor has it, from the 964.  It is a true dry sump engine and is built to stand up to the rigors of track use.  The engine is said to cost more than a used 993 C2 in excellent condition, yet it is virtually invisible to the naked eye through the deck lid.  To Porsche’s credit they did make basic service easy.  The air filter is right there where you can get at it and the oil filter sits right next to the sump and hangs even with the pan.   A special cast aluminum wrench is used to twist the outer canister off and the inside paper element can be replaced with relative ease.  The drain plug is near the center of the pan and in easy reach.