Blast-off in wild Porsche 911 GT2 RS

FIRST DRIVE We get be­hind the wheel to tame 690bhp mon­ster

Auto Express - - Contents - Kyle For­tune

PORSCHE’S lat­est and mad­dest 911 is a bit of a hy­brid – not in the elec­tri­fied sense we’re used to now, but be­cause it’s a cross­breed with el­e­ments of the 911 Turbo S and the GT3 RS.

There’s a 3.8-litre flat-six tur­bocharged en­gine in the back, driv­ing through a seven-speed PDK pad­dle-shift au­to­matic trans­mis­sion and pump­ing out 690bhp – or al­most 120bhp more than a 911 Turbo S.

What’s more, be­ing a GT2 RS, the new car drives through just two wheels, but it still has enough trac­tion to get from 0-62mph in 2.8 sec­onds, and to dou­ble that speed in 8.3 sec­onds. It’s also light, weigh­ing 1,470kg, and you can drop 29kg off that again if you add the Weis­sach Pack. Do that and you’ll lighten your bank bal­ance by just over £21,000, which is about 10 per cent on top of the £207,000 list price.

The stan­dard spec in­cludes mag­ne­sium wheels, a lighter ti­ta­nium roll cage and a car­bon fi­bre roof panel and bon­net. The cabin gets six-point har­nesses on the seats; out­side, you’ll be able to spot a Weis­sach Pack-equipped car eas­ily enough, be­cause that op­tion brings a body-coloured stripe over that com­pos­ite bon­net and roof. It also adds a mas­sive Porsche script on the top sur­face of the size­able back wing.

Not that you could be left in any doubt on what it is. The GT2 RS is de­lib­er­ately overt, ap­peal­ing to a cus­tomer who wants to be seen. While the aero­dy­namic el­e­ments are largely shared with the GT3 RS, they’re even more ob­vi­ous, al­low­ing 340kg of down­force at the car’s 211mph top speed. But that in­creases that to as much as 450kg if you tweak the ad­justable wing.

It’s an RS, and there­fore it’s a PDK au­to­matic, sim­ply be­cause it’s the fastest way of shift­ing. The box clearly works, be­cause Porsche’s hot-shoe rac­ers took a GT2 RS round the Nür­bur­gring in a pro­duc­tion car record-break­ing six min­utes

47.3 sec­onds, which was a great deal faster than even Porsche had ex­pected.

Ev­ery con­nec­tion in the fully ad­justable sus­pen­sion is, bar a sin­gle one for the rear­wheel steer­ing, ball-jointed, giv­ing the GT2 RS a sin­gu­lar­ity of pur­pose. That should, in the­ory, make it a hard-rid­ing dis­as­ter on the road. The rev­e­la­tion is that it sim­ply isn’t.

We rode in a pro­to­type a few months back in Ger­many (Is­sue 1,476) and were im­pressed. Hav­ing driven it now on fa­mil­iar Bri­tish roads, it’s clear that Porsche has achieved an in­cred­i­ble blend of taut con­trol al­lied to a ride qual­ity that’s un­set­tled by only the very harsh­est of sur­faces.

The damp­ing is su­perb, and this al­lows the en­gine’s huge per­for­mance to be read­ily ex­ploited at will, mean­ing you’ll pass the le­gal limit well be­fore the sus­pen­sion starts to run out of ideas.

The steer­ing is the best yet in a mod­ern 911. Its ea­ger­ness is aided by the rear axle, its weight­ing is beau­ti­fully judged, and the turn-in is im­me­di­ate and ac­cu­rate. This means that the GT2 RS builds on the al­ready-lofty heights of the GT3 RS. Grip from the Miche­lin Pi­lot Sport Cup tyres is huge, the trac­tion is mighty and aided by a fully vari­able lock­ing dif­fer­en­tial whose con­trol is, in turn, as­sisted by Porsche Torque Vec­tor­ing Plus.

All of this means in­cred­i­ble speed, to the ex­tent that the GT2 RS’S ca­pa­bil­i­ties are way beyond what’s pos­si­ble on the road. Even so, it’s a thrilling, vis­ceral car to drive.

If the en­gine is lack­ing any­where, it’s in voice. The huge shove that the turbo brings be­tween 2,500rpm and 5,000rpm comes with an au­ral penalty. The bassy tones it gen­er­ates lack the ex­otic fre­quen­cies of the GT depart­ment’s nat­u­rally as­pi­rated 911s.

Of course, most GT2 RS cus­tomers will have both types of ve­hi­cle. And they’ll buy this car be­cause it’s the fastest, most pow­er­ful 911 ever. Even if, ul­ti­mately, it’s not the GT depart­ment car we’d choose.

“Porsche’s hot-shoe rac­ers took it round the Nür­bur­gring much quicker than they ex­pected”

NEED TO KNOW GT2 RS uses a wa­ter spray to help lower the air in­take tem­per­a­ture; it’s fed by a five-litre tank

IN­TE­RIOR Ev­ery­thing about the GT2 RS is de­voted to mak­ing it faster: the grippy steer­ing wheel, car­bon fi­bre parts and, yes, the PDK dual-clutch au­to­matic gear­box

RIDE Ev­ery­thing about the GT2 RS sug­gests that it’ll be too much of a race car to work on the road. In fact, it is far more com­pli­ant than any­thing this dy­nam­i­cally ca­pa­ble has a right to be

EQUIPMENT You pay more (a lot more) for less when you buy a GT2 RS. The stripped-out in­te­rior fea­tures this hard­core ti­ta­nium roll cage and not a great deal else

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