With 200bhp more than a GT3 and two fewer driveshafts than a Turbo, the 690bhp rear-drive Porsche 911 GT2 RS must be an absolute animal, right?
We jump behind the wheel to find out. Read on for our full review.
Porsche 911 GT2 RS: specs, news and photos galore
A 690bhp rwd 911? You’re a bit late for Halloween…
Yeah, sounds scary, doesn’t it?
The GT2’s ‘widowmaker’ reputation has been carefully cultivated over the years, and was probably deserved back when the 996 GT2 came without any kind of traction control.
These days it’s a whole lot more civilised. And a whole lot faster.
Exactly how quick are we talking?
Two-eight to 62mph. 211mph top speed. And with a lap time of 6min 47sec it’s quicker round the Nürburgring Nordschleife than any other production car, including the Lamborghini Huracan Performante and Porsche’s own 918 Spyder hypercar.
What’s the difference between this new 991.2 generation GT2 RS and a GT3?
At a basic level it runs a tuned version of the 911 Turbo’s 3.8-litre 533bhp flat six instead of the GT3’s naturally aspirated 493bhp 4.0 motor. Peak power is 690bhp and there’s 553lb ft of torque.
But obviously there’s a whole lot more to it than that. The GT2 comes with a magnesium roof panel to save weight, rose-jointed race-style suspension, a carbon bonnet and a special thin glass for the rear screen that wobbles like a phone screen protector after you’ve peeled the backing away.
And obviously all of this engineering costs, which leads us to one other key difference between GT2 and GT3: price.
A GT3 is a relative bargain at £111,000, but you’re looking at £207,000 to get into a GT2. Go for the Weissach pack (carbon roof and anti-roll bars, magnesium wheels and stripes) and you’ll chop another 30kg off the 1470kg kerbweight, but add £21,042 to the price.
Crikey, that’s, er, er, almost £230,000! For a 911?
Drive it and it’s pretty easy to banish any of those doubts. And we say that having spent a couple of weeks in both manual and PDK versions of the GT3 immediately before jumping into the GT2.
Obviously there’s the extra pace, which scrambles your brain with its ferocity, but the low level of turbo lag is impressive too. Okay, so we’re not talking GT3-like throttle response, but we’re not talking McLaren-like pauses either. Get the turbos blowing and the pull is beautifully linear all the way to the 7000rpm redline, by which time, you’re actually quite happy not to have to deal with a manual ’box (the GT2 is PDK-only) because it’s all got rather busy at the side windows.
The Turbo and Turbo S sound pretty dull, but the GT2 has a real evil sound to it. Again, it’s nothing like the shriek of a GT3, which winds 2000rpm higher, but it’s definitely got some character.
Join Georg Kacher on a wild ride in a prototype Porsche 911 GT2 RS
But nothing compared to the chassis. By normal standards the GT3 is a sensation. Bit of a dead spot at the centre of the steering, but otherwise a masterclass in how to entertain and engage a driver. The GT2 makes it feel almost ordinary. The steering is sublime – and this is an electric rack, remember. And what you feel through the Alcantara rim (and the seat of your pants) is huge grip at the front from Michelin Cup tyres that gently erodes into understeer on tighter corners.
On the quicker stuff you can get the rears to do the same, but it never feels scary thanks to the stability of the four-wheel steer system and the lenient, but subtle ESP system.
Presumably the GT2 RS is a pig to use when the red mist abates?
There’s no doubt about it, the GT2 is far less refined than other 911s, including the GT3. Those fancy suspension joints might make for sublime handling and feedback, but they allow plenty of noise and vibration into the cabin. And the minimal sound-proofing and bass-heavy turbo engine note can become wearing.
It’s still usable on the road though – this is a 911 after all. The visibility is good, the front boot big and you still get a multimedia system and air-con unless you’re daft enough to opt out. And the combination of the PDK ’box and a mountain of mid-range torque means you can go really quick without trying. But a standard GT3 delivers a much more even balance of comfort and engagement.
Is it really worth £100k more than a GT3? We can imagine plenty of people saying so. This is as close to a proper racing 911 you can buy and still legally use, it steers and handles noticeably better than a GT3, communicates more clearly and is still relatively useable.
It’s an incredible machine, but in a way it inadvertently shines a light back on the GT3. Pace aside, the GT3’s engine is so much more exciting and involving, you have the option of a manual transmission and you save a packet.
They feel like very different cars, though. The real test will come in 2018, when the revised 991.2 GT3 RS arrives offering all the serious chassis and body tweaks of the GT2 but with less weight and a 9000rpm naturally aspirated sting in the tail. It could well be the best of the lot, though by then, the GT2 will likely have sold out.
More Porsche reviews by CAR magazine