With the 2018 porsche 911 gt3, drive it like you stole it auto jamaica gleaner gas in back relief

These days, the 911 – a car that in late ’70s Turbo guise routinely threatened to kill its drivers, thanks to a lively and heavy rear end – has been tamed. It’s now a stately grand touring machine that, for around US$100,000, will do 100 mph all day long while soothing you with classical music, plush seats and adaptive suspension.

And then there’s the 911 GT3, its wonderfully unruly cousin. This iteration of Porsche’s legend amounts to a racing car with a hall pass to terrorise the streets of Anytown, USA, capable of hitting 60 mph in a neck-snapping 3.2 seconds and boasting a top speed of 197 mph.

It certainly looks the menacing part with its lowered ride height (scraping the front spoiler is almost guaranteed without the optional front axle lift system at US$2,590) and airplane-worthy wing (larger and taller than last year’s model so as to generate more downforce).

But better yet, the GT3 sounds every bit like you made the wrong turn off the Mulsanne Straight at Le Mans and somehow wound up in the drive-through at Starbucks. Its flat-six naturally aspirated engine (look Ma, no turbos!) generates 500 horses that run free up to a staggering 9,000-rpm tachometer redline.

Putting all this grunt to the rear wheels (which offer minute steering adjustments that improve cornering) is Porsche’s 7-speed PDK automatic transmission. While those lickety-split paddle shifts are lightning fast, one does miss in a car this analogue the pleasure of shifting for yourself.

Fortunately, an old-school 6-speed stick is available as a no-cost GT3 option, if you can even find these cars for sale. Lists are long at Porsche dealerships for this collector-worthy car, one that’s bested perhaps only by its honest-to-goodness racing brother, the 911 GT3 RS. But that’s a different automotive adventure.

In a few days of hard driving on winding and often wet roads in bucolic west Marin County just north of San Francisco, our nicely, if modestly equipped US$147,910 Carrara (no carbon ceramic brakes for US$9,210, no carbon full bucket seats at US$5,200) did its best to showcase what a half-century of refining one product can produce.

The car also scared the wits out of us on a few blind hairpin turns slick with damp leaves. Without proper heat in the Michelin rubber, the grip wasn’t ideal, and the track-tuned suspension wasn’t happy with potholes. But the end result was a James Bond-like thrill ride that left one both shaken and profoundly stirred.

In fact, with a modicum of driving skill and common sense, an automobile like the 911 GT3 reminds you why you fell in love with cars and driving in the first place. It offers an undeniable and overpowering sense of presence and demands that attention be paid.

Text and drive and you not only risk hurting someone and breaking the law, but you miss the truly seminal experience of wearing a machine cobbled together by passionate human beings whose main purpose isn’t transportation, but emotional salvation.

Fire up your senses and you’ll be able to hear precisely when the car wants to shift and feel when the car needs a touch of brakes or throttle. This is to self-driving cars what the Space Shuttle is to a hot air balloon. Same general concept, different universe of experience.

Speaking of, there’s actually a button on the centre console to amplify the exhaust, which is a bit like heading to a Metallica concert and finding out there’s a switch to make Enter Sandman louder. This four-wheeled machine should have only one volume: raging.

Nor is the GT3 a daily driver, as it’s just too unruly to be a bragging rights steed you’d pop over to the office in. It is, however, a car for a daily pick-me-up, one that delivers a truly special thrill in an increasingly commoditised transportation world.

That doesn’t happen much today, an era of homogenised design motifs where noise, vibration and harshness have been deliberately bred out of automobiles. Engineers, in fact, promise we will soon be chauffeured around in driverless boxes staffed by baristas.

– How much: Starts at US$143,600, plus destination and delivery of US$1,050 and gas-guzzler tax of US$1,000. Price as tested of US$147,910, which includes heated front seats (US$700) and auto-dimming mirrors (US$700). Porsche says most folks load up on options such as carbon brakes and seats that can add as much as US$20,000 to the final tally.