There are few cars that conjure up fear and trepidation like the latest incarnation of the Porsche GT2 RS.
For starters, it’s the most powerful production-series 911 ever built and harnessing massive reserves of turbo-driven grunt – like 515kW and 750Nm of torque from its flat-six.
It’s a potent bit of kit and clearly the kingpin of the brand’s production-series range. On paper, its performance is even more impressive. It can smoke the benchmark 0–100km/h sprint in just 2.8 seconds, while 200km/h comes up in a no less staggering 8.3 seconds before topping out at a ballistic 340km/h.
What’s more, on September 20, 2017, the GT2 RS lapped the infamous Nürburgring Nordschleife in Germany in six minutes and 43 seconds – the lap record for road-going sports cars before it was recently pipped by the V12-powered Lamborghini Aventador SVJ.
And while these are truly impressive numbers by any measure, Porsche is widely known to understate its performance claims – by as much as three-tenths.
It also comes as no surprise that this level of performance almost never comes cheap. Even without the usually mandatory Weissach package that adds a bunch of extra lightweight kit to the car, our GT2 RS still wore a stratospheric $645,400 price tag – and that’s before options, stamp duty, CTP, registration and dealer delivery.
Add all that together and we’re most likely talking an on-road figure not far off 800 grand. That’s seriously heady stuff.
So, you can imagine my surprise when I got a call from Alborz, and he's on the way over to my place to pick me up for lunch in something special. Although at that stage, I had no clue it would be this road-racer from Porsche.
However, I figured it had to be something from the exotica pool, because these days Borz (as he’s more affectionately known by here at CarAdvice) is rarely seen behind the wheel of anything with a price tag less than a few hundred grand, so I half-expected a Lamborghini, this being his favourite badge from way back.
That said, it was a bit of a shock when I hit the garage remote, only to reveal a spanking new GT2 RS in Silver Metallic sitting at the end of the driveway.
While we might get to drive our fair share of exotica over the course of the year, it’s not every day you get to pilot what is arguably the most iconic and sought-after Porsche on the planet. Especially as it involved a drive to a mystery restaurant for what promised to be a spectacular location for some great local fare.
Up close and in the metal, the GT2 RS simply doesn’t look road legal – it just doesn’t.
The ground-hugging front splitter is kissing the road and looks to be taken straight from a 911 Carrera Cup car. Likewise with the huge fixed rear wing in a carbon-weave finish. Again, it looks to be lifted directly from the purebred racing versions.
You can’t help but notice the humongous 325/30 rear tyres. They’re the top-of-the-line Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2s, but these are unlike any version we’ve ever seen – hardcore semi-slicks with a distinct bias for the track, no doubt. What’s more, they look brilliant on the forged alloy centre-lock wheels painted in White Gold Metallic.
Huge carbon-ceramic brakes are standard issue, and at 410mm (front) and 390mm (rear) they’re substantially larger than the herculean-powered Bugatti Veyron's, despite tipping the scales at just 1470kg – nearly 420kg less.
Everything about this car is intimidating. Especially the fact that it's rear-wheel drive as opposed to its more civilised twin, the 911 Turbo S, with which it shares its 3.8-litre twin-turbo engine – albeit with a shed-load more power thanks to bigger turbos and more sophisticated cooling tech.
Its reputation as a ‘widow maker’ stems from the original Porsche 930, more commonly known as the 911 Turbo. It used a single KKK turbocharger and the sudden (and significant) boost delivery could make the car a bit of a handful in certain conditions.
This latest version is no less scary, but the GT2 has come a long way with infinitely more refinement. That’s largely thanks to Porsche’s sublime PDK (auto) transmission that has effectively signalled the end of the manual transmission, at least for this herculean-powered monster.
Its twin-turbo flat-six is simply a masterpiece of go-fast technology and engineering, not only for its astonishing output from a six-cylinder powertrain, but for its complete elimination of turbo lag regardless of how quick you can jump on the throttle.
On top of that, mid-range thrust feels like it’s in the Veyron league – scary fast and it just never lets up. Never. Here in Australia, the GT2 RS is always on a tight leash because you could break the national speed limit in first gear. Its natural habitat is clearly a German autobahn at four in the morning – if only we were so lucky.
What’s worse, though, is that it would be a while before I got behind the wheel, and I’m never a good passenger, especially with Alborz driving. Still, there’s no better way to properly assess ride comfort than riding shotgun.
Inside, it’s just as spectacular with carbon-fibre racing-style buckets, a half-cage and plenty of bright-red accents (too much for our liking), including the six-point racing harnesses, which were thankfully bypassed for this particular drive.
Despite the pronounced bolster, though, they offer relatively easy entry and exit, and are sufficiently padded for reasonable comfort – even after a few hours of seat time.
The cabin is a mix of soft leather and a ton of Alcantara for a premium feeling, but without the luxury you might expect of a car with such an enormous price tag. But then, that’s also the appeal of a car like this, too.
And, given its hardcore track focus, we half-expected a bone-crushing ride from the GT2 RS, but that’s just not the case. Like every Porsche we’ve ever driven, no matter what its positioning, suspension pliancy is remarkable (especially given this car’s bespoke wheel and tyre package) in its ability to absorb the bumps and keep the car in check.
We were headed south through the national park, over the famous Sea Cliff Bridge and on to lunch at the Scarborough Hotel with its spectacular clifftop positioning and great local produce – according to Borz.
Mid-week, the national park offers near-deserted roads with plenty of flowing bends to enjoy, though after seeing the scant tread on those rear tyres and its reputation for being a handful under all that power, I don’t mind saying I was a tad tense – in the passenger seat.
Worse still, Borz was starting to come to grips with the power delivery and the tyres were warm – meaning we were carrying good speed into the corners and the grip levels were surprisingly good. That said, if you got on the gas too enthusiastically on corner exit, the rear end would move around a bit, but not enough to incite any panic, mind you.
That didn’t stop me feeling decidedly queasy, but thankfully we had reached the Sea Cliff Bridge within no time at all and it was time to eat.
If you haven’t been to the Scarborough Hotel, put it on your weekend to-do list. It’s a beautiful old pub that sits perched on a clifftop, with tables and chairs spread comfortably apart on a large grassy area and an ocean view to die for.
It’s both unexpected and spectacular at the same time, because the pub itself sits on the main road, but then it opens up into this magnificent ocean-blue panorama.
It might be a 911, but the GT2 RS is a sure-footed crowd-puller. Especially when Paul, the owner, opened up the main gate and allowed us to drive the car to our reserved table. That was a first for us.
Michael is the head chef and hails from Italy, and uses Australian produce to create a delicious range of dishes while covering off gluten-free and vegetarian.
I went for a pan-fried QLD saltwater barramundi with a lemon and grapefruit sauce, while Borz chose a grass-fed sirloin with a salsa verde sauce and chips. Both meals were superb and under $35.
We thought we were too full to move, but the homemade panna cotta with a citrus-based sauce is a must.
Even in winter this place is spectacular, particularly in the afternoon sun – you could sit there all afternoon and get ready for dinner, if you wanted. It’s that good.
However, Alborz had secretly booked Sydney International Dragway for a few runs in the Porsche before the Wednesday-night drags got under way, so I was on a mission. But, now it was my turn to get behind the wheel and I couldn’t wait to get going.
The point-to-point speed this thing is capable of is massive, but again, the grip from the Michelins is mind-blowing. That said, you still need to be delicate with the throttle on corner exit, but that’s not hard given the lag-free response.
Mind you, it’s not scalpel-sharp like its naturally aspirated twin – the GT3 RS – and inspires less confidence (because the GT3 RS is from another planet when it comes to sheer cornering grip), but it’s surprisingly easy to come to grips with, even when driven in anger.
It’s also best enjoyed in its most aggressive setting, with the PDK transmission in full-manual mode and using the paddles. It’s an exhilarating driving experience as the car piles on speed like no other, yet it still feels like you’re doing all the work. There seems to be very little in the way of electronic nannying. At least, that’s what it feels like behind the wheel.
While it sounds menacing, even on start-up, with a deep thrum to the exhaust note, the turbos rob this flat-six of that intoxicating howl you get from the GT3 RS at full cry.
As we finally arrived at the Dragway, Borz had me pull up behind a Golf GTI – not any GTI mind you, this was our own CarAdvice car. Apparently it was there purely to demonstrate just how quick the Porsche was off the line.
We didn’t play with tyre pressures and launched it at 4000rpm and still managed 10.6 seconds on the first run. To be honest, we thought it would do low 10s, but as the tyres got more heat into them and pressures rose, off-the-line grip suffered and those rears moved around a bit.
The GTI could only manage 14.2 seconds (at least it was consistent), which felt like an eternity alongside the Porsche, but I suppose that was to be expected.
Then again, you could buy 20 GTIs or three Porsche Carreras to one GT2 RS. We’d still buy a GT3 RS and pocket the rest. That said, driving a GT2 RS is a genuine bucket-list item, and now we’ve both ticked that box. What a day.
But let's hear what Alborz has to say about his experience with the GT2 RS...
Alborz: Look, I love this car. I really do, and Tony is right about all that he has said above with regard to how amazing it is. It truly is very fast and so brutal, but if it were my money, I would just buy a 911.2 GT3 RS instead.
But before we get really into it, let us go back a bit and let me tell you some personal history with me and the new GT2 RS. Up until a month ago, I had two deposits down on a GT2 RS. Post driving it, I have since cancelled one and need to cancel the other.
The first one I placed in 2016, when talk of the GT2 RS was of it being a super-limited Porsche to rival that of the 911 R and previous widow makers. I was so committed to the cause of owning this car long term that I even own the ‘WIDOMKR’ plates in QLD. Talk at Porsche was that only a dozen of them would head to Australia, at most.
So, what made me change my mind? Multiple reasons, none of which has to do with how awesome the car is. Firstly, this is not a limited production run model, it’s being treated in the same manner as the GT3 RS, which means it will be basically mass produced to the extent that is possible in a given period of time. It’s likely that 75 or more of these will eventually make their way to Australia; a lot more than the dozen that was initially thought of.
Secondly, with the Weissach pack – which for some reason was missing here, and is basically a mandatory option – we are talking about a car that is close to $800K on-road. That puts it in a stratosphere that is well and truly outside of where Porsche has historically been with the 911. It’s expensive. That’s what I am trying to say, and given it’s not exclusive like the 911 R or previous GT2 RS models, its price is harder to justify.
Think of it this way: you can buy a Lamborghini Huracan Performante, on-road, with a very low five in front of it. How you go about justifying the extra $250K is hard to substantiate unless you are an absolute Porsche purist. Also, if you can get yourself a Ferrari 488 Pista, it’s about the same price and arguably a little bit more special… Arguably.
Thirdly, and perhaps most controversially, it’s without the drama of the GT3 RS. It’s fast in every measurable manner, but I don’t love to rev it out and drive it at full blast. In many ways, I actually enjoyed driving the GT3 more than this, because it revved so cleanly and it always inspired me with confidence.
Sure, this is no doubt much faster on a racetrack, but to truly tame it, you need to be willing to commit to corners at speeds that leave very little room for error. The GT3 and GT3 RS are so much more forgiving and – in my opinion at least – more fun to drive.