To the casual observer it isn’t always apparent why expensive sports cars cost as much as they do. With Porsches, the expense almost always lies in the engineering. The new ’11 911 GT3 RS 4.0, for example, has the distinction of having the highest specific output of any road-going, naturally aspirated 911 engine: 125 hp per liter. Even today, extracting over 100 hp per liter is quite a feat. Speaking of numbers, take note of this one: 4.0. Yes, this 911 has the largest displacement ever, four lusty liters.
Maximum power works out to 500 hp at 8250 rpm and 339 lb-ft of torque at 5750 rpm. That’s pretty far up the rev range, but things like titanium connecting rods (strong yet light, so there’s less mass and inertia to deal with) help matters. Without a turbo, and with peak power in the upper reaches, there’s a fine degree of throttle modulation, which can make all the difference in lap times. This is illustrated by an impressive 7-minute 27-second lap time around the Nürburgring Nordschleife. Getting below 7 min. 30 sec. is another major feat. A six-speed manual transmission is geared for the track, resulting in a 0-to-60 mph blast of 3.8 seconds, carrying on to hit 124 mph in under 12 seconds and a top speed of 193 mph.
From seats to body panels to carpets, there has been plenty of attention paid to saving weight; the GT3 RS 4.0 tips the scales at just 2,998 pounds. Then add more than 400 pounds of downforce from the track-derived aero appendages. And the only feat we have to perform is to come up with $185,000 (plus destination) when this limited run of 600 examples worldwide becomes available later this year.