Porsche 911 GT2 RS (2010) CAR review

Published:22 December 2010

Porsche 911 GT2 RS (2010) CAR review
  • At a glance
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  • 5 out of 5

By Ben Pulman

CAR's editor-at-large, co-ordinator, tallboy

By Ben Pulman

CAR's editor-at-large, co-ordinator, tallboy

This is the Porsche 911 GT2 RS, not just the most powerful 911 that Porsche has ever built, but also the company’s most powerful road car period. It has 611bhp from its twin-turbocharged 3.6-litre flat six, and for the facelifted 997 911 Porsche hasn’t bothered building a regular GT2 but skipped straight to this RS-spec car. It costs £100k more than an entry-level 911, but is it worth the cash? Read on for CAR’s first drive review of the new Porsche 911 GT2 RS.

So just what exactly is a Porsche 911 GT2 RS?

Think of it as the raucous outcome of a one-night stand between the sensible four-wheel drive and turbocharged 911 Turbo, and the race-ready GT3 RS: you get forced-induction power mixed with a stripped interior, big wings and Porsche Motorsport pedigree.

It’s not quite as simple as mixing the two together though. While the Turbo has a 3800cc flat six with direct injection, the GT2 RS sticks with the tried and tested 3.6 that has Le Mans race heritage dating back to 1998. And while the top-spec Turbo S has 523bhp, the GT2 RS has 611bhp. Then there’s 516lb ft from 2500-5500rpm as well. And did we mention there are no front driveshafts – this thing is rear-wheel drive only.

As for the RS side, you get a manual gearbox, wider front and rear tracks, lots of carbonfibre (bonnet, front and rear spoilers, air intakes), ceramic brakes, aluminium doors, and centre-lock wheels shod with dry weather-optimised Michelin Cup tyres. In total the GT2 RS weighs just 1370kg, exactly the same as the naturally aspirated GT3 RS.

What’s the 911 GT2 RS like to drive?

You squeeze yourself into a tight bucket seat, survey a bare dashboard, twist a key and wait for the flat six to chunter into life, and then struggle to push home first with the recalcitrant Motorsport gearbox. In any other car you might twiddle with the radio or sat-nav to distract yourself, but as you move off in the GT2 RS you’re suddenly aware that you are very much alone in this bonkers 911.

However, like all modern day 911s it makes things effortless: visibility is great, it’s easy to place and park, the steering is beautifully detailed, the clutch isn’t ‘80s supercar heavy. As your confidence starts to build you start to think that it’s only the idea of a rear-drive, turbocharged, 611bhp GT2 that’s scary and it’s the reality that isn’t. To some extent that’s true, and you can dawdle around in it with next to no fuss, drive it reasonably briskly without scaring yourself, and even take it out in the damp without killing yourself.

But if I want to dance with death in the GT2 RS?

But push a step further and you will indeed have a fright. Don’t wimp out and dawdle around below 3000rpm, but keep it on boost and bury the throttle and it goes bloody nuts, smacks you in the guts and charges forward with awe-inspiring speed. The first time this happens you won’t grab another gear, but lift off, brake and take a deep breath. Problem is, it’s an instant adrenalin shot and you’ll want more. Go again, make absolutely sure your foot’s flat, change gear, feel your eyes go wide, utter an expletive. BRAKE! for the rapidly approaching bend.

The GT2 RS is a delight to drive quickly, diving instantly into corners, finding immense traction out of them, but when its GT3 RS sister is so sublime you start to notice a few faults. Like the lack of noise or delicacy versus the GT3 RS. The right pedal and the 3.8-litre naturally aspirated engine in the GT3 are perfect companions, but in the GT2 you have to be seriously careful, picking and choosing when you floor it, finding the straights to blast along, and then using those ceramic brakes to slow you down and take it a little cautiously through the corners. It’s so fast that so much of your brain power is spent keeping up with it when you accelerate, and then making sure you’ve got it slowed down again, that’s it hard to make it all flow as sweetly as its sibling. To get the most from the GT2 RS you need lots of space and even more skill, and there’s not many people on the planet that are up to the job. You can go fast, but never, ever kid yourself that you’re in charge.

That our car didn’t have air-con didn’t help either, and as if everything else wasn’t enough to get you worked up into a sweaty mess, soaring cabin temperatures only make matters worse.

Verdict

Porsche’s 996 generation GT2s never found much favour with the media but the first 997 GT2s were brilliant, and the new RS version is better than ever. It still has all those wonderful 911 qualities like interactive steering and immense traction, but mixes GT3 RS dynamism with Turbo-humbling punch. Just be careful: you can enjoy the GT3 RS, even relax with it, but the GT2 RS always demands respect.

Specs

Price when new: £164,107
On sale in the UK: Now (but all 500 are already sold)
Engine: 3600cc 24v twin-turbo flat-six, 611bhp @ 6500rpm, 516lb ft @ 2500-5500rpm
Transmission: Six-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Performance: 3.5sec0-62mph, 205mph, 23.7mpg, 284g/km CO2
Weight / material: 1370kg/steel
Dimensions (length/width/height in mm): 4469/1852/1285mm

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  • Porsche 911 GT2 RS (2010) CAR review
  • Porsche 911 GT2 RS (2010) CAR review
  • Porsche 911 GT2 RS (2010) CAR review
  • Porsche 911 GT2 RS (2010) CAR review
  • Porsche 911 GT2 RS (2010) CAR review
  • Porsche 911 GT2 RS (2010) CAR review
  • Porsche 911 GT2 RS (2010) CAR review
  • Porsche 911 GT2 RS (2010) CAR review
  • Porsche 911 GT2 RS (2010) CAR review
  • Porsche 911 GT2 RS (2010) CAR review
  • Porsche 911 GT2 RS (2010) CAR review

By Ben Pulman

CAR's editor-at-large, co-ordinator, tallboy

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