This is the fifth-generation Porsche 911 GT3 (Type 991)

Porsche has revealed the new 911 GT3 at this evening’s pre-event gathering at the Geneva Motor Show.

Powered by the venerable 3.8-litre boxer engine, the new GT3 features a number of firsts – the first GT3 ‘without’ a manual gearbox and the first Porsche to use active rear wheel steering.

With a power output of 468bhp at 8.250 rpm, the GT3’s boxer engine can rev as high as 9,000rpm thanks to its specially adapted crankshaft, titanium connecting rods and forged pistons.

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Putting its power down via the rear wheels, the new GT3 accelerates from zero to 62mph in 3.5 seconds and zero to 125mph (200km/h) in less than twelve seconds. Porsche are also quoting a Nürburgring Lap time of under 7:30 minutes, which although impressive pales somewhat when compared to the 7min19.1 achieved by Nissan’s 2014 GT-R.

The Porsche dual-clutch (PDK) transmission, although similar in design to the system used on other 911s, has been specifically developed for the GT3, with characteristics based on a sequential gearbox as used in racing. No doubt Porsche has worked hard to deliver greater performance and control from its PDK system, but to most enthusiasts omitting a manual gearbox from the GT3 amounts to heresy. We’ll have to wait until we drive it before commenting further.

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For the first time, Porsche has developed an active rear wheel steering system to improve the GT3’s steering precision and lateral dynamics. Depending on the speed, the system steers in the same or opposite direction as the front wheels, improving stability and agility.

Active rear steering works in conjunction with the GT3’s electronically controlled, fully variable rear differential lock and dynamic engine mounts as used in its predecessor. As any GT3 owner will be familiar with, the all-aluminium chassis can be adjusted for height, toe and camber while it’s 20-inch forged alloy wheels with central locking complete the renegade race car look.

Based on the hybrid steel-aluminium construction of the 911 Carrera, the body of the new GT3 comes with independent front and rear parts. It also features a 44 millimetre wider rear axle than the standard Carrera.

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The GT3’s aerodynamics have been optimised to combine low air resistance with high cornering downforce, featuring a large fixed rear wing in place of the standard 911’s adjustable item.

Available from August 2013, the new GT3 will cost EUR 137,303 in Germany, considerably less than the EUR 154,600 Audi R8 V10 and around the same £104,000 price as Porsche charge for the Panamera Turbo here in the UK.

A GT3 with electric power-assisted steering and an auto box? This could become the final straw for some hard-core enthusiasts. Let’s hope the driving experience is able to silence the doubters.