REVIEW DATE: 21 May 2010
The fastest 911 of the lot will take some beating. Steve Walker takes a look at the GT2 RS.
The horsepower arms race has been declared over at regular intervals down the years. Usually, some absurdly powerful car is launched and commentators throw up their hands in disbelief, proclaiming that it will never be topped. It always is.
The desire to out-muscle rivals invariably proves too strong for car makers to resist and while chassis technology and lightweight design are being pursued more vigorously today as means of achieving ultimate performance, a few extra horses nearly always sneak into the mix as well. If proof were needed that power outputs are still edging inexorably towards the stratosphere, the 620bhp Porsche GT2 RS is it.
The GT2 has always been the slightly crazy one in Porsche's family. If the 911 Turbo has the air of a stealth bomber about it, the GT2 is the fur-clad Neanderthal brandishing a mammoth femur. Unlike the normally-aspirated GT3 models, the 911 GT2 gets a turbocharged engine but unlike the 911 Turbo, it directs all its power to the rear wheels. The original GT2 version of this 997 Porsche 911 had an outrageous 530bhp but this RS version gains 90bhp over that car while shedding 70kg in weight. As such, it demands to be taken seriously and approached with caution.
Porsche has achieved an impressive mix of performance and efficiency with its 3.8-litre flat-six engine featuring advanced direct fuel injection technology but the GT2 RS doesn't use that unit. Bringing up the rear in the most powerful road-going Porsche to date is a less high-tech 3.6-litre flat-six which can trace its lineage back to the 1980s. Since then, it's gained a water cooling system in place of the original air cooling and in the GT2 RS, it's fitted with a pair of variable geometry turbochargers.
"To be hailed as the fastest and most powerful Porsche of all time, a car has got to be special"
The performance is nothing short of fearsome. With 620bhp at 6,500rpm and 700Nm of torque available from 2,500rpm up to 5,500rpm, the GT2 RS can pass 62mph in 3.5s and 124mph in 9.8s. Keep the throttle planted and the car will be doing 186mph 28.9s after setting off and will reach the 205mph top speed shortly after that. It's not the fastest accelerating Porsche, the four-wheel-drive models gain an advantage off the line with their extra traction, but it has recorded a 7 minute 18 second time for a lap of the Nurburgring-Nordschleife on standard road tyres. That feat will guarantee it legendary status in the performance car world.
There's more to the GT2 RS package than the huge quantities of power emanating from its engine bay. The 70kgs of weight savings that have been made on the car compared to the GT2 come from the use of lighter aluminium suspension components, a carbon fibre bonnet and rear spoiler plus polycarbonate replacing the glass in the rear and side windows. There are a number of other tweaks to lesser components that shave off further grams and Porsche has also moved to improve the car's aerodynamic performance by repositioning the spoilers front and rear.
The cabin is a predictably minimalist with black leather and red Alcantara being the materials of choice. Lightweight bucket seats are fitted to hold driver and passenger in place while those huge cornering forces are being exerted.
Porsche's most hardcore settings are applied to the stability and traction control systems, the springs, the anti-roll bars, the engine mounts and the Porsche Active Suspension management system in the GT2 RS. Braking duties fall upon PCCB composite ceramic brakes which are fitted as standard and the gearbox is a six-speed manual item. The price for all this most extreme of Porsche 911s is close to £165,000 but Porsche will still be confident of shifting the 500 units that it plans to make and ship to customers around the world.
Porsche Intelligent Performance is the banner under which the manufacturer is pushing for greater efficiency in its products. Using less fuel is some way from the top priority in a 620bhp supercar but Porsche is still rightly proud of the 23.7mpg economy that the GT2 RS achieves on the combined cycle. Neither that nor the 284g/km emissions are going to sway 911 GT2 RS customers one way or the other but it's a reasonable showing for a car of this potency.
To be hailed as the fastest and most powerful Porsche of all time, a car has got to be special and the GT2 RS is certainly that. A rear-wheel-drive 911 with 620bhp to play with is both a thrilling and daunting prospect but you wouldn't really expect anything less.
Weight-saving and aerodynamic enhancements, ceramic brakes and all that power position the GT2 RS alongside the fastest cars in the world. Its spiritual home is on the track and it's a safe bet that unlike the majority of supercars, a fair proportion of the 500 GT2 RS buyers will take it there.
|For 911 GT2 RS|
|OVERALL||6.9 OUT OF 10|
|Space / Versatility||7|