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Tuesday, November 8, 2016

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general consensus has it that ifyou have 100,000 pounds to spend on a car for roadand track, you buy a porsche gt3 rs. but luckily for us, bmw andmercedes beg to differ. well on paper, it doesn'tlook good for the m3. it's down on power, it's downthe thick end of 50 horsepower on the porsche and evenmore on the benz. of course, power to weightratio, it claws a bit back against the benz.

so it hasn't got theoutright numbers. and it also hasn't got the sortof bespoke body work that the mercedes has either. so that means it's abit weaker, too. it has got this amazing v8,though, that revs all the way out to eight and a half. listen to that noise. that's just a great noise. and it's got this dct gearbox,which is shifting and a bit

smoother than the mercedes. so on the road, yeah,it's clever. other stuff aboutthis m3 gts-- well, it's bare. this really is a lightweightspecial inside. you get a radio andnot much else. ironically enough, the othertwo have all got the bells and whistles. the porsche has got sat nav andipod and everything else,

and yet it still weighsa lot less than this. is it too bare? no, it feels special. although why you have to takethis cubby here away and just put some suede down,i don't know. it seems very mean to me. i suppose my fundamental issuewith the gts is, i keep thinking to myself, if i tookan m3 myself, e92 coupe, how much would it cost me toturn it into this car?

well, most of it, notthat much money. of course boring out the engineis something that becomes rather expensive,and that's where the money's being spent. but in terms of having studsrather than wheel nuts, and this interior-- how much does a recaroseat cost? it's about 1,000 pounds. so where's the 50,000pound premium?

i just don't see it. i very easy to be snarky andcynical about this car because it's too expensive and it looksa bit silly at times. and it probably doesn't quitetake the game where we want it to be. but actually, i love being init and i love driving it. and i want to state thatfor the record. the world's a better placebecause bmw may be m3 gts, so please bmw, just do anotherone but make a few more of

them and make ita bit cheaper. here's a question. can you compare a mercedes benzwith a porsche gt3 rs when the mercedes is actuallyover 300 kilograms heavier? i think you can. oh. [laughing] those gear shift snaps. god, this thing's awesome.

this is probably one of thelast times we'll see the classic m156 v8 from amg, and itis a great engine-- one of the great engines. there are several changesover the standard z63. in fact, what you'vegot here is a slightly detuned sls engine. the transmission is the wetclutch amg speed-shift thing, which is seven speeds. not as quick as the bmw dsg ordouble-clutch thing, whatever

they call it. mdct, i think they call it. it's not as quick or quite aseffective as that, but when it's in automatic mode, thiscar does feel great. and that gives it abig advantage over the porsche in traffic. but when you want to changemanually on the road, this, to me, is quick enoughand good enough. and it does give theselovely [inaudible]

those downshifts. and now, when youdo an upshift-- snap, bang, crackle, pop. you get all sorts comingout of the exhaust. now when bmw launched the m3gts in 2010, i personally didn't need any confirmation ofthe fact that i thought the car was way overpricedat 115,000 pounds. ok. it's not necessary, but thiscar does serve to confirm

that, because this to me feelslike a much more serious engineering exercisethan the m3 gts. we've got wider tracks, we'vegot a significant body changes to this car, and it's about110,000 pounds, this c63 black series, which to me, starts tolook like value given how special it feels over a normalc63, if you could ever call that car normal. but for me, the big surpriseabout the black series is just how nice it is on the road.

i honestly don't think it feelsany less refined or less comfortable than the lastc63 coupe i had driven. in fact, shock horror, i thinkthis car rides better. it's really supple. the steering's lovely. here on the road, to livewith, if that's valid in this test. this is a nicer car than a gt3rs, and on the road, for me, it really takes care of m3 gts,which is just, as we'll

find out, a bit toomuch at times. in the case of the gt3 rs,success breeds contempt. you either love these carsor you hate them. there are those that buy themand use them and think they're the best thing ever, but thereare those who just get fed up with porsche's constantlywinning magazine and video group tests and sayingit's so predictable. but i put this to you. the reason why bmw and mercedestry so hard to try

and do something slightlydifferent to the gt3 rs is that the gt3 rs is so goodit doesn't really have a natural rival. now we're going to do somecircuit work later on in the video, but for now,i'm on the road. and i do think these cars haveto work on the road to have a point, otherwise you might aswell buy a radical or a [inaudible] or an ariel atom, and theyare even more exciting.

as a road car, the base 911shines through in this thing. this is my car, makeno secret of that. it's got sat nav, whichworked brilliantly. it's got an ipod thing. the phone is on the bluetooth. it's just very easy to use. and as you can see, theride is firm but it's not too harsh. in fact, whenever i drive thiscar on the road, i just can't

quite equate that sort ofsensible usable performance with the lunatic it becomes whenyou use it on a circuit. and that's the key appealof the gt3 rs. this standard use for this car,certainly for a uk user surely is, buy the car, runit in, drive it to the [inaudible] green, lapfor a couple of days, and drive home again. what other cars can do that? well, m3 gts and c63black edition

certainly are in the mold. the key difference for me inthis car, driving around, compared to the mercedes and thebmw, is the transmission. on the track, i love thistransformation. on the road, i loveit as well. it just makes me feela part of the car. it draws me intothe experience. it's not as effective as theothers two for just mooching around town though.

what about the spec of thiscar compared the others? well what we do have is 500horsepower from a flat six, and we weigh about1380 kilograms. so it's the lightestof the three cars. it has pasm adjustable dampersso you've got a sport and a normal setting. i never go anywhere near thesport setting on the road, i just leave it in comfort. we have a sport button tosharpen the throttle up.

we've also got traction controland esp, which you can turn off completely. what it doesn't have is anyclever m dynamic mode or amg modes where you can configurethings on one button. you just have a steering wheel,a stick here, three pedals, and an abilityto go very fast. amg makes some of the mostcharismatic v8s in the world, and that bmw v8, it'sa mighty thing, but there's a sharpness.

how do i define thedifference? to me, this feels like a genuineracing engine, which is fair enough because thecrank is shared with the rsr race car. there's a sharpness to it. it just zings. it feels absolutely onit, the whole time. [inaudible] the waythese things look. to me, it goes withthe territory--

having the big wing and thesilly paint and the just how small is your willyoverall styling. i suppose i just learnedto live with it. i think the c63 certainly is thecooler-looking device, but i still like this. so here we are at anglesey,with nary a cloud in out in the sky. there's a smattering,a dusting, of snow over on the hills.

it really is quite beautiful. there's a reasonfor being here. it's partly serious. so i'm going to split this intotwo parts because i think that track driving is abouttwo disciplines. one being fast and neatand accurate. so i want to test technicallyhow fast these cars are. it's lap time. that's the only way todo it, isn't it?

so a timed flying lap. but also i want totest how well-- or let's say with how muchpanache-- they can smash their rear tires to bits. so two parts. track time. hooliganism. the bmw m3 gts, then. what do we think abouton the warm-up lap?

isn't this circuitjust the best? i've got snow capped mountainsin the background and i've got a load of turns. i didn't get this car when itwas launched, i really didn't. i sort of have warmed to it,because i no longer think about the new price becauseyou can't buy one. i think seven or eight came tothe uk and i admire the people that bought them. because it is a singular car,however, whatever it was, 120

grand, they were having abit of a laugh, i think. just a bit of a laugh. really powerful car here. 444 horsepower fromits four-liter v8. it just doesn't have thefirepower of the others. but it's a pretty special car. it's pretty much a gt4-classracing vehicle. how are those pirellisgoing to hold up? right.

let's get ready to go overthe line pronto, then. so it's an out, a flyer, andan [inaudible] each car. i missed that apex straightaway,but understeer, and i've got a bit of oversteeron the exit, so come on, monkey, you coulddo better than that. this fourth gear turnis very quick. nurse those tires, run rightout onto the curbs. that feels good. come on, mister front axle--

i'm going to leave youin third this time. that's it. it's turned. get on the gas. ah! keep going. fourth gear. this monstrously fast car. now i'm about to dive a brake toget the car settled and see

if we could drive it throughthe [inaudible] on the curb stones almost. there we are. [inaudible] flat throughthis compression. i'm going to have to lifton the way up the hill. no, brake throttle. please stop. 30 seconds. [inaudible] this iscalled, but it's a

great little section. a bit too much oversteerthere for real speed. it just is lacking tractionfor the noise. i've still got someundersteer-- chase that throttle. a little bit of oversteeron the exit. [inaudible] onto this[inaudible]. a bit of oversteeron the curb. i'm going to take secondand slow the car down.

don't overslow it. out onto the curb. really have to feedthe power in. understeer over the line. dear, me. what a shambles. but forget the lap timefor a minute. where does the m3 gts fit whenit comes to being a complete wally in a car?

well it feels good to me. it feels like a classic m car. it just feels like it wantsto oversteer everywhere. you just look at the throttle. and there it is desperateto oversteer. yeah, i don't think there's anydoubt that this is one of finest machines for behavingbadly that i've ever driven. it's got so much balance. look at it.

you just put it in,wind the gas up-- oh, come on. yes! [inaudible] lap times. this is more fun. on the upscale, i'm giving them3 gts 10 and 1/2 out of 10. it's absolutely splendidat it. in some respects, it feels wrongcoming here in the c63 black because i know it's atrack car, but to me, it just

feels a bit more like a[inaudible] car that's turned up to a track. it's got a fantastic bit ofkick, but it feels quite physically big. even after the m3, itfeels quite big. this car's got a lot more powerthan the bmw and a lot more torque. it also weighs a bit more,so it's going to be harder on its brakes.

listen to that v8. what a spectacular noise. braking hard. i'll tell you what. it does stop very well. and i've got an apex, as well--almost got an apex. all the systems are off. out over the curb-- i'm going to leave it inthird through here.

a bit of oversteer thereon the exit. i'm going to leaveit in third. we've got so much torque, surelycan just keep the third through here. i can. [inaudible] attraction, too. come on. where's the front axle? where's the grip?

turn it in, it's pretty good. but then it feel big. then it feels big. i'm out over the curbs a bit. and now it just feels fast. wow. yes. that is an impressiveturn of speed. turned in, what's it like forthis technical stuff here?

it wants to oversteer. the diff feels quitetight, not too bad. you know what? i'm not finding it as taxingas the other two. it seems to be helpingme more. the car feels quite neutral-- then it feels big. that was slow. it just took some oversteer.

leap, monkey, leap! feed the power. a little bit of oversteerover the curb. sorry. i'm braking-- oh, pedal has gone long. i'm going to leave you inthird, you big old dog, because i think you'll be bettercoming out even though we're crawling.

out and over the curb[inaudible]. messy! it's messy. it just feels likea big car, this. full commitment over the line. what are we going to get? we're going to get a load ofundersteer, but a little bit of oversteer on the exit. now to me, the specification ofthis car reads like it was

born to behave in ananti-social manner. all the systems off. i think we can safely saythat this car wants to do naughty stuff. yeah. it feels very naturalgoing sideways. and whenever you put yourfoot down, it's there. oh yes. so can the porsche beat a 139?

you have to put your money onthe fact that it can, but we'll have to justwait and see. now of course, the porsche hasa lot more power than the bmw and it's lighter. so is it a fair contest? you can argue it's not, butthat's the way of the world, isn't it? when they were launched, theyweren't too dissimilar in price, these cars.

so braking in third, let'ssee if we can find ourselves an apex. here's the turn. there's the apex. that's fine. wide open on the exit. it feels good. porsche attraction. get it turned into this veryquick third-gear corner and

use all the curb on the exit. that feels good as well. i'll try and take secondhere and chase the throttle through. i've just got less understeerthan the bmw, and then i can get on the gas earlier, too. it's pretty fierce infourth-gear turns. get it in. settle in the middle andthen gas on the exit.

it feels good there. good god, the speedsare high here. and we're going to getthrough to here. third. second. i don't know whatthis is called. let's not get too much oversteerat all, and we've got oversteer there. come on, monkey.

pull yourself out. oh, understeer, not very nice. come on, i'm beinga yob, i think. let's nurse it through a bit. that's better. and then wide open. use that traction. that feels pretty spectacularto me. this circuit is just awesome.

have to rotate there, as well. don't feed the power in,just smash it in. just understeer over theline if you have to. well, maybe oversteerover the line. silly boy. so mister gt3 rs four-liter,we know that you are three seconds quicker than an m3 gts,and that's substantial. but know that the m3 gts is, infact, a 10 and 1/2 out of 10 car for being acomplete nob in.

what do you like? being a 911, i'd hope you'requite good at it. pitch into this oneshall we maybe? quite good at it, asit would seem. 911s are strange when you'retrying to demonstrate deliberately poor behavior inthem because at first, after the m3 gts, it feelspretty leery to me. you're aware of thatmass, there. they've done lots to makethat feeling go

away, but it's there. but then when you start to usethe mass, and just back it in. it feels pretty good. it's up there. it's a 10 out of 10. is it a 10 and a1/2 out of 10? i'm not sure. pretty damn fine carin which to behave like a child, though.

pretty damn fine. if you owned any one of thesecars, you would be a very happy chap indeed, andpeople would envy you, and rightly so. the mercedes and the bmw areviable options to the gt3. it has to be said. the m3 gts, when it waslaunched to me, was a bit of a folly. i didn't understand why it was115,000 pounds, almost twice

the money of a standard m3. it didn't offer that much more,and it still doesn't. but it's a right old characterof a car, it makes an amazing noise, and if you want to be ayob, it might be the best car on the planet. the c63 black edition is just alightly-disguised muscle car made by the most unlikelygerman manufacturer. it's amazing to me that thatcar there is made by the people that make the b classand the a class.

all it wants to do iswreck rear tires. but when you break down whyyou'd actually buy one of these cars-- to use it on thetrack, to use it on road, to be seen in it, to enjoy it,to reward yourself-- it's a clear winner. there's a reason why every timeyou go to the nurburgring in the car park, everyother car is a gt3. it's because nothing elsequite does the job the way a gt3 does.

so if you offered me one ofthese cars to go home in, i'd take the white one.

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