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Porsche 911 GT2 RS - First Drive

Doug Neilson
Jul 15, 2011 SHARE

It was like experiencing an extremely vivid dream after a very rich and satisfying meal with a few glasses of wine at a trendy new restaurant. Driving through a surreal desert landscape, I was behind the wheel of what seemed to be my own 997.2 GT3. Things were totally realistic and believable, but on the other hand, I had the sense that something was just not quite right. Most everything was familiar and where it should be, however, the Alcantara seat inserts, parts of the steering wheel, hand brake lever and door handles were a “wild” shade of red. The driver seat felt comfortable, but tighter with less padding, so I looked towards the empty passenger seat and noticed that these were the folding carbon-fiber sport buckets that I should have ordered. This was all very strange.

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Continuing along the challenging, undulating road at a moderate pace I could feel the motorsport-derived suspension working perfectly to keep the car stable and flat, as well as providing amazingly communicative feedback through the steering wheel; perhaps even better than I remembered. The shift linkage was familiar too; quick, short throws with a precise and slightly heavy mechanical feel, making every gear selection a joy. And when on the brakes, I found a hard, satisfying pedal that provided the confidence and control I’ve come to expect from modern high-end German sports cars. Inside the cabin, my ears discerned that the engine note was very slightly muted; again, I wasn’t “flying,” but the sound was completely pleasing and recognizable, much like a GT3 fitted with a factory exhaust system while cruising along below 4000 rpm.

Just then I glanced down into the familiar five-pod circular instrument cluster and took notice of a digital boost gauge. This was the point when I knew for sure that I wasn’t in my GT3, and that this was no dream. I then eased out of a slow on-camber hairpin in Second gear and progressively rolled deep into the throttle. The throttle response was immediate and positive, as the revs quickly climbed the car was effortlessly catapulted down the long straightaway with unbelievable force. With this, the engine note changed to a ferocious and frenetic roar. I snapped into Third gear and continued at an insane rate of acceleration until the upcoming corner appeared in the distance and better judgment ruled that I get on the flippin’ binders. With such mind-blowing acceleration on tap, this was certainly no normally aspirated “GT” 911. Indeed, it was the new and sensational GT2 RS.

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The GT2 RS is touted as a 620-hp twin-turbo monster encased in Porsche’s best handling road-going chassis ever, the current GT3 RS. After my full-on experience over the mountain roads of the High Sierras near Reno, Nevada, I would completely agree. This new GT2 RS does not disappoint. The first of many things that one is amazed with is the fact that it can be driven around as tamely as any garden variety Boxster, Cayman or Carrera. No fuss, no muss; just supremely smooth drivability at a crawl or canter. Dipping gently into the throttle, however, provides an indication of the “Mr. Hyde” personality that lurks behind you; torque is everywhere. In addition, the throttle response of this 3.6L turbocharged masterpiece is nothing short of astonishing. Turbo lag? Doesn’t know the meaning of it!

With power up by 90 hp over the previous 911 GT2, and 170 hp more than the current GT3 RS, acceleration is brutal and relentless. An on-ramp run (a very long and straight one at that!) up through the gears and well into Fourth gear provided thrills to the senses beyond measure. The exhaust fury sounds spectacular inside the car and out through the titanium muffler supplied by Akrapovic. Factory figures claim that the GT2 RS accelerates from 0-60 in 3.4 seconds, 0-124 in 9.8, has a top-track speed of 205 mph, and it laps the Nürburgring-Nordschleife in a scorching 7 minutes and 18 seconds. In order to accomplish these merits, Porsche engineers reworked the twin intercoolers, intake, ECU and flywheel (now single mass) and increased the maximum boost pressure to 23.5 psi, an extra 3 psi over the GT2.

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The gorgeous, muscular widebody GT2 RS runs on new 245/35ZR19 and 325/30ZR19 tires, front and rear respectively, (N2 rating on the rear, with new a cord/body/compound design to stand up to the massive hp/torque loads) on light alloy centerlock wheels. Power is transmitted through a six-speed manual transmission and mechanically locking limited-slip rear differential. Yes, this machine is rear-wheel drive only; again, just as the previous GT2 and continuing the infamous “Widow-maker” line of fine cars. A Porsche Ceramic Composite Brake (PCCB) setup is still standard equipment too. This is a very good thing! Also, the handling dynamics were improved by recalibrating the spring rates, antiroll bars, Porsche Adaptive Suspension Management (PASM) system and Porsche Stability Management (PSM), all to work seamlessly with the awesome power.

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The use of carbon-fiber-reinforced material and other lightweight components helps to achieve a weight savings of 154 pounds and a svelte wet curb weight of 3021 pounds. The hood, side hip intakes, front splitter, rear diffuser and other trim pieces are produced in a beautiful matte-finish clearcoat carbon fiber. Our test car had the optional carbon-fiber front fenders painted to match the car’s Guards Red exterior finish. The new aerodynamic package is understated, stunning on close examination and provides extra downforce too, Porsche claims an increase of over 60 percent from the GT2.

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The new GT2 RS is an unbelievably well-executed and completely usable package, and definitely worthy of its titles as the “Ultimate 911” and “Porsche’s fastest street car ever.” Limited to a run of just 500 units worldwide, in the U.S. it became available in February 2011 with an MSRP of $245,000. Sadly, savvy buyers have snapped up nearly all of the small U.S. allotment. Time for some more glasses of wine, along with another gourmet meal to enable equally vivid dreams of the next supreme creation by Porsche Motorsport. Say, a limited edition GT3 RS with 500 naturally aspirated horsepower?

A special thank you to owner Pete “SavyBoy” Hitesman for allowing me to fully experience his spectacular new GT2 RS.

2011 Porsche 911 GT2 RS

Layout
longitudinal rear engine, rear-wheel drive

Epcp_1108_05_z+2011_porsche_911_gt2_rs+engine_bay Photo 7/8   |   Porsche 911 GT2 RS - First Drive

Engine
3.6-liter flat-six, twin-turbo

Transmission
6-speed manual

Suspension
McPherson-strut (f), multi-link w/ five control arms (r), antiroll bars

Brakes
Porsche Ceramic Composite Brake (PCCB) system with ventilated and cross-drilled rotors, 6-piston monobloc fixed aluminum calipers (f), 4-piston monobloc fixed aluminum calipers (r),

Dimensions
Length/Width/Height (in): 175.9/72.9/50.6
Wheelbase: 92.5 in.
Curb Weight: 3075 lb

MSRP: $245,000

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Performance
Peak Power: 620 hp @ 6500 rpm
Peak Torque: 516 lb-ft @ 2250 rpm
0-60: 3.4 sec.
Top Speed: 205 mph

From The Hip
Plus +
An unbelievable, fully engaging and usable high-performance package
Minus -
Huge $$, and a limited edition that is now sold out

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By Doug Neilson
26 Articles

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