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Think the 911 Turbo is for soft lads? Image by Porsche.

Think the 911 Turbo is for soft lads?
Porsche's flagship 911 GT2 returns with more power, less weight and the same fearsome reputation as its predecessor.

 



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| First Drive | Bremen, Germany | Porsche 911 GT2 |

Walter Rohrl smiles; I hang onto the 911 GT2's passenger grab handle and push my feet with all my strength against the bulkhead to keep me from slipping out of the deeply sculpted lightweight sports seat. There's no man to better demonstrate the GT2's ability around this airfield track. And he does, chucking the £131,070 GT2 around with such phenomenal skill that he looks like he's not trying at all. But then, as he's taken a GT2 around the Nurburgring in just 7 minutes and 32 seconds, the huge expanse of tarmac holds no fear for Porsche's in-house hand. However, even Walter admits to being a little scared when he set that Nordschliefe lap time, figuring that a 7 min 34 second lap is so much easier. Sure Walter; I'm too busy trying to wrench the grab handle from its roof mounting to really register what he's saying.

7 minutes 32 seconds - that's loony fast. But Porsche's GT2 has always been a bit of a bonkers machine. I can't say I've ever gotten into a 911 Turbo and thought it needed more power and that the four-wheel drive transmission should be binned. But some people do, explaining why Porsche does just that. The original 993 GT2 had its roots in racing, selling in tiny numbers for road use. Somebody at Porsche decided that a 996 version, even without the pedigree of racing, might sell. And it did, some 1,300 of them finding homes and garnering a fearsome reputation to boot.

A 997 GT2 was the obvious next step, so Porsche has built one. Like its predecessors the front driveshafts have been binned, along with the rear seats, Porsche 'adding' lightness with trick kit like a titanium exhaust, carbon-fibre sports seats and carbon ceramic brakes. Combined, they create a car that's 145kg lighter than the Turbo, faster than the Turbo, and a good deal more expensive than the Turbo too.

Obviously there's more power, the 480bhp of the Turbo increasing to 530bhp via a clever new expansion air intake system, a freer breathing exhaust and revised turbochargers with increased boost pressure. The result is savage acceleration, the GT2 exploding to 62mph in just 3.7 seconds and onto a 204mph potential maximum. Perhaps with the previous GT2's oft uttered 'Widowmaker' tag in mind Porsche has added some electronic traction and stability devices to the GT2, but there's an off switch for both should anyone question your ability to tame the beast. The GT2 also features PASM (Porsche Active Suspension Management), but you'll never find a road where you'll want to switch it to the stiffest setting. Save that for the track - not the Nurburgring mind, Walter setting his lap time with the suspension on the normal road setting.

And tracks are where Porsche expects its customers to use the GT2. More than merely a lighter, boosted Turbo, both the suspension and gear ratios can be adjusted to set them up for particular circuits. Every GT2 body-in-white also leaves the production facility with the strengthening plates for fitting a full roll cage pre-installed. Most will opt for the Porsche's Clubsport package with its half cage than the full monty, but it's nice to know you can... The engineers haven't stopped there either; the areas around the engine mounts have been strengthened to help prevent the engine moving about and upsetting the GT2's balance when cornering.

I can't say it is the engine moving about on its mounts that's top of my list of concerns; it's the 530bhp and thumping 501lb.ft of torque controlled by my right foot. It's stupidly, intoxicatingly fast, the engine's ferocious performance having the new shift light flashing like a council house at Christmas. The flat-six devours the six-speeder's longer ratios as quick as you can dish them up from the gearbox's shortened throw. On the autobahn it's phenomenal in-gear pace has it spearing forward with such ferocity that I see 185mph only moments after spotting a gap in the traffic.

It all feels so natural when doing so, the GT2's enhanced aerodynamics making it feel tremendously secure en route to its double ton maximum. The steering has the 911's typical clarity, it not far off the benchmark GT3 for feel. But off the autobahns the GT2 feels like a blunter instrument than either the GT3 or Turbo. Push the accelerator and there's a slight pause before the heavily boosted engine delivers its monumental grunt, and the traction and stability controls are often called in to sort things out unless you're perfectly measured with every input. It never feels quite like it's working with you like a GT3 does, and switch off the electronics and it's only a hugely talented driver who'll tame a GT2.

That's unquestionably part of its appeal, along with its exclusivity. Only around 50 GT2s will ever make it to the UK for a bunch of Porsche customers who demand the hardest charging, fastest and most extreme 911 possible. They'll find all that with the GT2, but it's not the best car in the 911 line-up.

Kyle Fortune - 5 Oct 2007









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2007 Porsche 911 specifications:
Price: £131,070 on-the-road.
0-62mph: 3.7 seconds
Top speed: 204mph
Combined economy: 22.6mpg
Emissions: 298g/km
Kerb weight: 1440kg

Full technical specifications

2007 Porsche 911 GT2. Image by Porsche.2007 Porsche 911 GT2. Image by Porsche.2007 Porsche 911 GT2. Image by Porsche.2007 Porsche 911 GT2. Image by Porsche.2007 Porsche 911 GT2. Image by Porsche.

2007 Porsche 911 GT2. Image by Porsche.2007 Porsche 911 GT2. Image by Porsche.2007 Porsche 911 GT2. Image by Porsche.2007 Porsche 911 GT2. Image by Porsche.2007 Porsche 911 GT2. Image by Porsche.



2007 Porsche 911 GT2. Image by Porsche.
 

2007 Porsche 911 GT2. Image by Porsche.
 

2007 Porsche 911 GT2. Image by Porsche.
 

2007 Porsche 911 GT2. Image by Porsche.
 

2007 Porsche 911 GT2. Image by Porsche.
 

2007 Porsche 911 GT2. Image by Porsche.
 

2007 Porsche 911 GT2. Image by Porsche.
 

2007 Porsche 911 GT2. Image by Porsche.
 






 

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