The greatest Porsche 911 on sale; quicker and more usable than any previous GT2

What is it?

It’s the latest and certainly the greatest version of Porsche’s wildest road car (not counting the ultra-rare, ultra expensive Carrera GT, of course).

We’ve already driven the new 997 GT2 abroad, and even then we were knocked sideways – literally – by its astonishing blend of power, torque, performance and composure. But this is the first time we’ve been able to let rip in it in the UK. And you know what they say about UK roads being so different from those in mainland Europe…

We needn’t have worried because, if anything, the GT2 is even more impressive over our rough, oddly cambered, and sometimes deliciously inviting A and B roads than it is over a smooth German autobahn. And that’s a real first for the breed because previously the GT2 has not had the best of table manners. In fact, the Mk1 version, based on the 993, was such a scary thing to drive that one of its nicknames was ‘the widowmaker’.

This time the big difference is that the GT2 is an amalgam of both ordinary turbo in the engine department and GT3 in the chassis. The engine is essentially a mildly uprated, more powerful version of the Turbo’s and now has 523bhp at 6500rpm and a constant 502lb ft between 2200-4500rpm.

The chassis is a development of the GT3’s with a bespoke aluminium rear subframe, standard-fit carbon ceramic brakes and, being a GT2, no front drive shafts. Yes, each and every one of those 523bhp reaches the road via just two contact patches, courtesy of a pair of huge 325/30 19in Michelin Pilot Cup tyres..

What’s it like?

Well here’s a thing. Despite the fact that the GT2 can, according to Porsche, accelerate from zero to 62mph in 3.7sec, from zero to 100mph in 7.4sec and doesn’t run out of puff until a quite hilarious 204mph, the latest GT2 is actually something of a pussy to drive.

It’s way, way more sorted than the previous version in that you can actually use and, on occasions, abuse the performance without feeling that you are teetering on the brink of disaster.

It even rides quite well over half decent road surfaces, although having said that this is not what you’d ever describe as a comfortable car to travel in. It feels busy, alive and constantly active beneath your backside, and the level of tyre roar borders on the ludicrous, even on smooth-ish UK motorways.

But let’s be honest, you don’t buy a GT2 to wander down motorways in, relishing the refinement. You buy a GT2 because it goes like stink and looks as if it could tear your arm off at 50 paces. And because, hopefully, it’ll dust just about anything with number plates fitted around a circuit.

Unlike its predecessor the new GT2 delivers in pretty much all departments. It ‘s time-bendingly quick in a straight line, and the way the engine feels so primed off-boost is surpassed only by the way it fires you with such total conviction on-boost. Bugatti Veyron apart I reckon this is the best turbocharged engine installation there has yet been. But the best thing about the new GT2 is that the rest of the package is now so sorted you can actually use the performance on the road.

It steers beautifully, with just a touch of understeer to lean against through quicker corners and none of the lairy break away if you come out of the throttle when you shouldn’t. Porsche has tuned the PASM stability control to allow a small amount of slip under power but, overall, the system feels like it is working with you, rather than against you.

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You can tell as much if you switch the traction control and stability systems off and have a play. The car will move around, of course, but this time it does so with grace and precision; whereas last time it just felt like you were heading towards the scene of an accident.

Should I buy one?

This is where it gets a little tricky or, in fact, very straightforward indeed. Unless you are massively wealthy the GT2 will merely remain a thing of fantasy, a car to admire from afar. But if you are one of the fortunate few with £131,070 to spend on a toy, then the GT2 is virtually without rivals.

The new Nissan GTR might run it close around a circuit but in a straight drag race it wouldn’t see which way the GT2 had gone. Only the new Ferrari F430 Scuderia is in the same league overall – and that costs the price of a Boxster S more than the GT2. And it’s still not as fast as the Porsche.

Join the debate

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Broom Broom 9 August 2009

Re: Porsche 911 GT2

RobotBoogie wrote:
But then, the whole 911 thing is frankly bizarre - 50 years or more of huge industrial engineering talent thrown at solving a problem that could be removed completely by the simple expedient of not hanging the engine out over the rear wheels.

You don't understand the immense value of the 911 and its format; a "problem" that has been blithely solved in recent times, infinitely, by every other manufacturer apart from Renault - who delightfully created the problem again in the flawed but almost unique (and slightly crap) Alpine GTA.

It is sad that there are people so visionless that they can't see firstly what the configuration offers technically, and secondly how the way in which Porsche has honed this driving machine to exploit all its potential is something approaching sublime. Look how they have made the whole visceral experienced a balanced and beautifully engineered one: the braking power and stability combined with incredible feel, the usability of what was once a terrifying chassis, and the continual advancement of the ergonomics to make it a car that can be used regularly without too much pain.

And then, think about what is lost in the termination of a model devotedly developed over maybe 70 years with the engine rearwards of the rear axle: the most effective way of producing accelerative grip; the delicious quirk of a chassis that bites tenaciously out of corners in a way no other car can. The packaging also allows the car to be kept relatively small and therefore light, so that the performance figures, especially off the line, are astonishing.

You are yearning for a world full of anodyne and yielding solutions to selective questions. You don't appear to appreciate the profound statement of engineering, flair and genius that is made in the relentless 911 project.

If you have not seen it before, you might appreciate this, though:

I have always thought Clarkson was good (although sometimes an idiotic thug), but this was very good. Almost genius.

RobotBoogie 19 March 2008

Re: Porsche 911 GT2

justerino wrote:
By the sound of Sutcliffe's article, that should be used to be called the widowmaker...

One of the rules of motoring journalism is that each new generation of 911 is described as tame compared to the last, when said journalist then feels safe to admit that the previous model was still tail happy.

But then, the whole 911 thing is frankly bizarre - 50 years or more of huge industrial engineering talent thrown at solving a problem that could be removed completely by the simple expedient of not hanging the engine out over the rear wheels.

justerino 19 March 2008

Re: Porsche 911 GT2

65 AMG wrote:
I gues thats why its known as the widowmaker.
By the sound of Sutcliffe's article, that should be [i] used [/i] to be called the widowmaker...