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.
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.