2011 Porsche 911 GT2 RS – Driving Impressions

The most powerful road-going Porsche ever!

By Patrick Hong July 27, 2010

Baden-Baden, Germany—It’s hard not to get excited about getting behind the wheel of the most powerful road-going Porsche ever. At first look, like the standard GT2, the speedy new Porsche can be mistaken for just another 911 variant. But the RS takes the GT2 to an entirely new level, both in appearance and performance.

Get closer, and you’ll see that the RS is differentiated from its siblings by generous use of carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic (CFP) throughout the car, most notably on the front hood and fenders, the side mirrors, the rear air intakes and the lip spoiler. Compared to the stock GT2, the RS has a 12 mm wider front track, 5 mm lower ride height, and the center-locking Speedline wheels make for a more aggressive stance.

Armed with a race-bred engine originally designed for the 24 Hours of Le Mans but now brought to life in a production car as a 3.6-liter twin-turbo flat-6 with variable turbine geometry (VTG), the GT2 RSsends all of its 620 bhp and 516 lb.-ft. of torque via a 6-speed manual to the rear wheels. According Porsche, zero to 60 mph takes only 3.4 sec, and the 205-mph top speed is limited only by gearing. Andreas Preuninger, Project Manager for Porsche’s motorsport-derived road cars, noted that the RS is designed not just for acceleration, but also ultimate speed and handling on a race track. In fact, the RS was born when Porsche engineers were fine-tuning the GT2, and came up with a wish list of how that car could be further improved. It’s really no wonder, then, that the RS can lap the famed Nürburgring Nordschleife in just 7 minutes and 18 seconds, besting the Corvette ZR1Dodge Viper ACR and Nissan GT-R.

Despite rain showers that drenched the roads during our drive, the GT2 RS still managed to shine. Porsche engineers paid much attention to making the car ultra responsive to driver input, and it shows. In addition to carbon-fiber body panels, other weight-saving features include the single-mass flywheel that allows the engine to freely rev up to its 6750 redline and deliver endless punch. In the handling department, ball-joints are now on duty at all connection points—the front toe links being the only exception—allowing the suspension components to better maintain their geometry under load. More suspension rigidity also means that the RS can fully exploit its Michelin Pilot Sport Cup N1 spec (front) and N2 spec (rear) tires, and generate a Porsche-claimed 1.5g of lateral grip. Through Germany’s Black Forest, the car feels right a home, with precise steering feel and confidence-inspiring rear grip, even in the wet. And despite the firmer springs coupled to adjustable dampers, the ride is never choppy and feels quite compliant.

With the less-than-ideal driving conditions on public roads, we were given the chance to ride with former World Rally Champion and road racing pro Walter Röhrl in the GT2 RS on a closed race track to fully explore its limits. Lap after lap Röhrl ‘s mastery at the wheel is impressive. His silky smooth steering inputs toss the car through the corners with precision. And his exact throttle inputs power the car out with just the right amount of rear side-stepping, enough to give passengers (like me!) an unforgettable thrill ride. Asked how he likes the GT2 RS compared to the normally aspirated GT3 RS, Röhrl said he prefers the consistency of the power delivery from the non-turbo car. But when compared to the Porsche Carrera GT supercar, he said the RS handling behavior is much more progressive, largely due to the better tire technology today.

The 911 GT2 RS is for the hardcore enthusiast who seeks the ultimate Porsche driving experience; casual fans need not apply. There will only be 500 GT2 RSs produced worldwide, each with a starting price of $245,000. Expect about 135 copies to come to the US. Cars will be available starting October. So get your orders in now!

Porsche 918 Spyder gets green light

Porsche 918 Spyder

It’s official, Porsche’s plug-in hypercar has been confirmed for production!

Porsche’s eco-friendly hypercar has been given the green light! In a shock announcement, the German firm’s board of directors has revealed that a production model based on the 918 Spyder concept car will enter series production – in response to an overwhelming reaction from the public.

Michael Macht, President and Chairman of the Board of Management of Porsche AG, said; “Production of the 918 Spyder in a limited series proves that we are taking the right approach with Porsche Intelligent Performance featuring the combination of supreme performance and efficient drivetrain concepts.”

The concept car uses a mid-mounted 493bhp 3.4-litre V8 derived from the firm’s Spyder racing car, capable of revving to 9,200rpm, plus two electric motors, which add a further 160kW (215bhp). Around town, an E-drive mode allows the car to travel up to 16 miles on electricity alone before switching to Hybrid mode, which uses both power sources in moderation. This gives claimed economy figures of 94mpg and 70g/km of CO2.

There are no details yet on the powertrain for the production 918, but the announcement is yet another sign of Porsche’s commitment to electric and hybrid power. It recently announced that anelectric Boxster is under developmentand we’ve alreadydriven the GT3 R Hybrid race car.

Porsche Cayman Club Sport Gets Green Light!

The Cayman CS or “Club Sport” will be shown at the Los Angeles auto show later this year and go on sale in 2011 as a 2012 model. The CS will receive some of the same treatment given to the recent Boxster Spyder such as lighter weight components, fabric door pulls, and a uniquely styled set of lightweight wheels modeled after those on the GT2 RS. Recent press reports indicated that this new variant was shown to Sales Managers in US and Europe at recent internal Porsche meetings and given the positive response from their dealership network Porsche has chosen to move forward with production.

Ruf RGT-8 is a V8-powered, 550-hp 911

Over the last decade, Ruf has created two versions of the Porsche 911 bearing the RGT moniker. The first was a 385-hp, 3.6-liter 996 and the second was a 445-hp 997. Now, the supercar manufacturer (don’t call ’em a tuner) has created its third iteration, the RGT-8, and it’s the firm’s most impressive engineering feat to date.

Nestled within the back of Stuttgart’s finest, Ruf has managed to squeeze in a 4.5-liter V8 putting out 550 horsepower at its 8,500-rpm redline and 367 pound-feet of torque at 5,400 rpm. The 180-degree, flatcrank V8 is apparently custom designed by Ruf and comes complete with titanium connecting rods, a dry-sump lubrication system and spherical heads. And not only does it meet both U.S. and European emission standards, the whole swap is reportedly 80 pounds lighter than the 3.8-liter boxer-six it replaces.

A custom interior, integrated roll cage, 19-inch Ruf wheels (wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport Cups) and carbon ceramic brakes (among a host of other mods) round out the package. Although Ruf isn’t quoting performance figures or putting a sticker on the RGT-8 yet, we’ve gotten word that production is set to begin in 2011 and orders are currently being booked. We’re buying a lottery ticket in Lausanne right now.

Porsche 911 GT2 RS

Flat out in the fastest 911 ever. Chris Harris drives Porsche’s 611bhp, 205mph rear-drive GT2 RS

Text: Chris Harris / Photos: James Lipman

What is it?

Porsche 911 GT2 RS front corner tweak

A £164,107 Porsche 911, with 611bhp and 516lb ft. It is the fastest 911 ever to leave the factory. Its sole aim appears to be putting every Porsche tuner out of business – I mean how much more power do you really need?

Technical highlights?

The base engine is identical to the 997 GT2 (which is no longer built), but runs different turbochargers, new intercoolers, new pistons and a new engine management system to run 1.6 bar of boost, over the last cars 1.4bar. Claimed performance is of the ‘what-the-hell’ variety with 0-62mph in 3.5sec, 0-100mph in 6.8sec and a ‘Ring lap of 7min 18sec.

The chassis is basically slightly up-rated GT3 RS, which is a pretty solid base. There are a few adjustments to fit this turbo application and for even better response the rear axle has more solid linkages than the GT3 RS.

Aerodynamically, it’s quite similar to the 997 GT2, but runs a new splitter, new rear diffuser and an extra gurney on the rear wing. Doesn’t sound like much, but it nearly has as much downforce as the GT3 RS. All that carbon, plus plastic rear and side windows shave 70kg over the last GT2.

What’s it like to drive?

Comedy fast. I jumped out of a new 997 Turbo S into this thing and, at first, wondered what the fuss was all about. Being turbocharged, it doesn’t make much noise and it’s so easy to drive at low speed, rides so well, that you treat it like any normal 911.

The fixed buckets are identical to the GT3 RS’s, the dash is plain 911, there’s far less induction noise than you get in the normally aspirated cars. It’s actually all a little disappointing until you open the taps in third and the car drags the horizon onto your forehead.

There’s no PDK option, just a robust, short-throw manual. The clock would have you believe that a Turbo S is quicker to 62 and as fast to 100mph, but, as ever, the clock lies. This car is different-world fast to the Turbo S.

And of course it’s a challenge for the driver. No other turbocharged 911 comes close to offering the chassis balance that this car does. It has monster front–axle grip and it doesn’t set to that initial understeer that used to plague the 996 GT2. You turn, it grips, the motor lunges, the front axle grips more, then the crazy traction takes-over on the exit of turns. The steering is stunning. Drive it fast, use its potential for a few minutes and you have to back-away before the numbers get silly. The traction and stability control calibration is a masterstroke: you can use so much of the performance, so much of the time.

It’s freakishly comfortable too. Occasionally a low speed bump elicits a creak from those rear rose-joints, otherwise it rides no more harshly than a Carrera on sports suspension. In fact it might just be more supple.

I saw 334kmh on the speedo, and it was still pulling like a mentalist.

How does it compare?

It’s faster, more useable and far cheaper than a 599 GTO. But then it doesn’t feel as special, isn’t lathered in as much carbon and is virtually mute compared to the musical Fandango. Neither the Lamborghini LP670 SV or LP570-4 SL are as quick or as capable. But again they both trounce the GT2 RS for sheer drama.

Anything else I need to know?

Those front wings are new for this car. Instead of the GT3 RS’s ugly extensions, they’re one-piece items, albeit an optional one. It’s very expensive and doesn’t sound as good as the GT3 RS, and they should be making 300, not 500. But this is a remarkable car. Veyron aside, it’s the fastest road car I’ve driven – but it’s completely useable and it still involves you in the process. Want.

Porsche 911 GT2 RS panPorsche 911 GT2 RS speedo!

Porsche 911 GT2 RS engine

Porsche 911 GT2 RS rear corner

Porsche 911 GT2 RS rear corner

Porsche 911 GT2 RS rear corner

Porsche 911 GT2 RS rear corner

Porsche 911 GT2 RS front corner tweak

Porsche 911 GT2 RS static

Porsche 911 GT2 RS front corner

Porsche 911 GT2 RS front corner

Porsche 911 GT2 RS front corner tweak

Porsche 928 is fronting up!

Get ready for a blast from Porsche’s past! The German firm is developing a luxurious, front-engined grand tourer – a spiritual successor to the 928 built between 1977 and 1995. The ‘new 928’ will be a fifth model line, and is designed to sit above the sportier 911 in the range.

With the compact Boxster and Cayman, the 911, the Cayenne SUV and four-door Panamera, Porsche would appear to have most bases covered. But it’s notable for its absence in the front-engined GT segment. The newcomer will allow the brand to take on rivals such as the Ferrari 599 GTB, Bentley Continental GT and Aston Martin DB9. And our exclusive pictures show exactly why the curvy, Panamera-based coupé is set to stun the competition.

Essentially it’s a two-door, short-wheelbase version of the Panamera, which will help to spread the £1.1billion development costs of that model. Its front-engined layout has a number of inherent benefits, too.

A rear-engined 911 has barely more than 100 litres of luggage space, but a similarly sized GT with its motor up front would offer a useful 320 litres – a vital attribute if the new 928 is to be taken seriously as a grand tourer.

While the nose is virtually identical to the Panamera, the shortened wheelbase and 2+2 layout mean the 928 features far smoother lines at the back. One of the major criticisms levelled at the four-door Panamera was its bloated rear, but this model’s muscular haunches and neater proportions should attract a new wave of style-conscious customers.

As you’d expect from Porsche, though, driver appeal remains a top priority. The engine line-up will mirror that of the Panamera, so a 4.8-litre V8, with or without a turbocharger, producing 500bhp or 400bhp, will be available. The naturally aspirated variant is set to come with four or rear-wheel drive, while the range-topping turbo model will be 4WD only.

Thirsty V8s aren’t the only power units on the agenda. The Cayenne SUV hybrid is ready to go on sale next year, with a petrol-electric version of the Panamera following closely behind. As the new 928 shares the latter’s platform, it’s sure to get the hybrid drivetrain, too.

An Audi S4-sourced 369bhp 3.0-litre supercharged V6, coupled to a 38kW electric motor, will give the hybrid 928 fuel economy that breaks the 30mpg barrier. That will make it the most frugal petrol-powered Porsche ever, while still providing hair-raising performance.

The 928 will slot into Porsche’s pricing line-up somewhere between the 911 and Panamera. The four-door ranges from £70,000-£95,000, while the 911 starts a little lower, at just over £60,000, but stretches to £128,000 for the GT2.

With this is mind, expect the 928 to be pitched between £65,000 and £90,000 – enough to safely undercut its Ferrari and Aston rivals when it goes on sale in 2012.