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First look: New Porsche 911 GT2 RS belts out 456kW

Piece de resistance: Porsche's rapid new GT2 RS completes the 997-series 911 model range.

Porsche reveals its wildest, most powerful road car ever - the 911-topping GT2 RS

12 May 2010

IT WON’T be Porsche’s quickest street-legal model ever – for now, that crown remains with the latest 911 Turbo – but the new 911 GT2 RS most certainly promises to be the wildest Porsche road car in history.

Packing no less than 456kW, or a cool 620hp in the old performance currency, the rear-drive 911 flag-bearer is 66kW more powerful than not only the 997-series GT2 it replaces, but the most powerful 911 to date - the 911 Turbo S all-wheel drive.

Like its predecessor and Porsche’s current 911 performance-leader, the Turbo S that emerges at Geneva two months ago, the GT2 RS will be an order-only proposition, with global production this time limited to just 500 examples.

Production of the outgoing GT2 ended in December 2008, with about 40 of the 700 examples built worldwide arriving here from March 2008. The previous 996-series GT2 found 27 homes Down Under.

Porsche’s latest RS, which is due to make its public debut at the Moscow motor show on August 25, has also been confirmed for release in Australia, with the first of “a small number” due for local delivery from September – the same month it hits Europe and a month before US deliveries.

Pricing is yet to be announced, but given the previous 911 GT2 was last sold at $447,500 and the new 911 Turbo S will cost $423,300 (coupe) and $442,800 (cabriolet) when 24 sold-out examples land here from August, expect the newly named GT2 RS that succeeds it to set a new 911 price benchmark by costing more than $450,000.

Amazingly, while no peak torque output is given (the new 911 Turbo and Turbo S pump out a walloping 700Nm), the latest GT2’s unrivalled specific power output of more than 126kW is generated not by a variation of the newest 911T’s larger 3.8-litre direct-injection twin-turbo boxer, which makes up to 368kW in the 911T and 390kW in the Turbo S.

Instead, the GT2 RS completes the upgraded 911 range – before the redesigned 998-series model appears in 2012 – by exploiting a heavily tweaked version of the old 911 Turbo’s ‘superseded’ 3.6-litre twin-turbocharged flat six, fitted with variable-turbine technology.

Given the old GT2 offered 390kW/680Nm, its successor’s employment of an even more highly-strung 450kW-plus iteration of the same twin-turbo 3.6 - instead of the 911’s first all-new turbo engine in 35 years - begs the question: how much road-legal power can Porsche’s bigger new direct-injection 3.8 twin-turbo six unleash? Like the 320kW/430Nm GT3 and its 331kW RS namesake – both of which ‘make do’ with a naturally-aspirated port-injection 3.8-litre engine because GT3-class racing regulations prohibit forced induction and direct-injection - the GT2 RS is a rear-drive coupe-only model available just as a manual.

However, that’s where the similarities end. Built purely for fun rather than to win races like the GT3, the GT2 RS can be described as either a 620hp GT3 or a rear-drive 911 Turbo with less weight and even more power.

25 center imageAccording to Porsche’s notoriously conservative performance claims, however, the more powerful GT2’s traction deficit – despite the fitment of specially developed 19-inch tyres with a staggeringly wide 325/30 profile at the rear – prevents it from outpacing the 911 Turbo’s standing-start pace – at least to 100km/h.

The GT2 RS comes with an official 0-100km/h acceleration claim of 3.5 seconds (0.2 seconds better than the discontinued GT2) meaning the upcoming 911 Turbo S (3.3 seconds for the PDK-only coupe) will remain Porsche’s quickest car to the national highway limit.

That is, at least until the plug-in hybrid 918 Spyder concept, which is said to sprint to 100km/h in less than 3.2 seconds with a combined output of 530kW from a racing V8 and front and rear electric motors, reaches production as a belated replacement for the long-lamented V10-powered Carrera GT hyper-car.

Of course, the 911 Turbo (3.4 seconds with the optional Sport Chrono package’s launch control) is also officially quicker to 100km/h than the GT2 RS, although GoAuto bettered the 911 Turbo’s claimed 0-100 time by two-tenths at the model’s Australian launch, where we recorded a scorching 3.23-second pass.

However, with a kerb weight of just 1370kg (70kg less than before), the GT2 RS hauls just 3kg for every one of its 456kiloWatts, which – according to Porsche - easily gives it the best weight-to-power ratio in the supercar class.

That also allows the RS to whistle to 200km/h in a claimed 9.8 seconds – significantly sooner than the 911 Turbo, in which we reached the same speed in just under 11 seconds during our record-breaking run.

Officially, the new GT2 can hit 300km/h in 28.9 seconds on its way to a stated top speed of 330km/h (3km/h faster than the last GT2), which Porsche says also makes it the fastest road-going sportscar it has ever built (presumably excluding its discontinued supercar flagship, the 350km/h-odd Carrera GT), and undoubtedly makes it the wildest 911 ride ever.

Underlining its imminent status as the most formidable 911 ever produced, the GT2 RS sets further benchmarks by lapping the lauded Nürburgring-Nordschleife road circuit in a claimed seven minutes and 18 seconds.

Crucially, that betters the best reported lap time set at the fabled German circuit by Nissan’s GT-R (7:26.7), which last year controversially lowered the previous GT2’s Nurburgring record of 7:32, set by Walter Rohrl on race-compound tyres in 2008.

Put into further perspective, it’s also more than 10 seconds quicker than the Carrera GT (7:28.7 in 2004) and the 918 Spyder’s estimated time of 7:30, as well as 20 seconds better than the 2010 911 Turbo (7:38) and Ferrari’s superseded 430 Scuderia (7:39).

Ferrari’s best production car time at the Nurburgring is understood to be held by the 2003 Enzo (7:25.3), but the Italian supercar brand recently claimed its 599XX experimental prototype lapped the 21km racetrack in less than seven minutes, narrowly bettering the fastest time ever recorded by an F1 car at the Nurburgring – 6:58.6, set by Niki Lauda and his Ferrari 312T during qualifying for the 1975 F1 GP.

The 911 GT2 RS might be 20 seconds slower than Ferrari’s finest competition cars at the Nordschleife, but Porsche’s newest road car returns combined average fuel consumption of just 11.9L/100km and CO2 emissions of 284g/km, making it about five per cent more efficient than the model it replaces.

The top-shelf 911 doesn’t just deliver more power though it also comes with Porsche composite ceramic brakes (PCCB), RS suspension tune with Porsche Adaptive Suspension Management (PASM), the 911 GT3’s dynamic engine mount system and a recalibrated iteration of Porsche’s switchable PSM electronic stability control system.

Apart from being wider, the new alloy wheels are centre-locking and spin beneath flared wheel-arches up front, and there’s also an upgraded front lip spoiler, 10mm-higher matt-black carbon-fibre-reinforced (CFR) rear wing and ‘GT2 RS’ badges adorning the doors and rear engine bonnet.

Differentiating the GT2 RS cabin are CFR-plastic seats, lightweight doors with straps instead of handles and red Alcantara fake-suede material gracing the seats centre sections, headlining, gearshifter and handbrake.

Yes, as with the GT3, a rollcage will be available for the GT2 RS, a large number of which are sure to do duty at racetrack drive days.

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