Porsche 911 GT2
latest news from Frankfurt Motor Show 2007
Just when it seems that Porsche might have lost its soul building SUVs and planning the forthcoming Panamera four-door, the company announces a car like the new 530-horsepower 2008 Porsche 911 GT2 and vividly reasserts its claim to being the best builder of sports cars in the known universe.
Based on the 911 Turbo but without its all-wheel-drive system, the new GT2 promises to be the quickest, fastest, most powerful 911 ever. Not only is it the first 911 certified by Porsche to have a top speed over 200 mph, but it also should get better fuel economy than the regular Turbo, too.
Resistance isn't futile. It's been obliterated.
One Soul, Cleverly Disguised as an Engine
Hanging out over the tail as no engine should, this is the most muscle-bound power plant Porsche has ever put into a 911. It's an intercooled, twin-turbocharged version of the classic 3.6-liter flat-6, rated at a wicked 530 hp at 6,500 rpm. To put this in perspective, it's almost 50 hp more than the previous 2002-'04 996-based GT2 and almost an incredible 300 hp more than the original 234-hp 1976 911 Turbo.
Torque production also borders on the insane. Porsche claims 505 pound-feet of torque is available at just 2,200 rpm, while the torque curve stays flat from there all the way to 4,500 rpm. Perfect for towing! Or at least hauling ass.
Powerful, Yet Efficient
To produce such ludicrous levels of power, Porsche has used carefully configured turbochargers with oversize compressor wheels and flow-optimized housings that also incorporate Porsche's Variable Turbine Geometry (VTG) technology. VTG is not exactly new (Porsche has been using it on the 997-based 911 Turbo since the car's introduction), but it's a critical contributor in getting such big turbos to work effectively with the modestly sized 911 six.
Those turbochargers feed what Porsche calls an "expansion intake manifold." By feeding oscillating air into the intake during the expansion phase, the compressed charge from the turbochargers is effectively cooled, increasing both charge density and all-around efficiency. The result, says Porsche, is a 15 percent improvement in fuel efficiency under full load conditions for this engine - despite its monstrous output - compared to the similar 480-hp engine in the 911 Turbo.
Future buyers of the GT2 can therefore legitimately claim they have bought this car in the interest of fuel efficiency.
Porsche has also equipped the new 911 GT2 with its first exhaust system (muffler and tailpipes) made from titanium. This cuts down the weight about 50 percent compared to the same components made from stainless steel. It should also give the GT2 a unique exhaust roar.
The only transmission offered is a six-speed manual. Those wanting a GT2 with a Tiptronic automatic should be ashamed of themselves.
Built for Speed
Porsche isn't building the GT2 for the shy. The tail features an enormous fixed biplane spoiler, while the front fascia has been modified to both feed the car's enormous appetite for air and also cool the standard composite carbon-fiber/ceramic-compound brakes. One of the more subtle additions to the GT2 is an air outlet just forward of the trunk's leading edge that adds downforce over the front wheels. Keeping the front wheels on the ground is, after all, a good idea when the car is traveling at its claimed 204-mph top speed.
Of course the GT2 also features the flared fenders and huge scoops that are part of the tradition of the Porsche 911 Turbo. And these fenders have to be wide, since they cover the largest wheels and tires ever fit to a 911. That's P235/35ZR19 front and P325/30ZR19 rear rubber on special lightweight wheels at the GT2's corners.
Some Tech, Pure Driving
Porsche hasn't diluted the new GT2 with layers of nanny technology. Of course, the brakes feature antilock braking control and there's Porsche's electronically controlled Active Suspension Management (PASM) aboard, but the essence of this car is its undiluted driving environment. Porsche has, for example, fit the car with its first "Launch Assistant," which builds boost up to the maximum 13 psi if the clutch and throttle pedals are fully depressed. When the clutch is released, the GT2 rockets forward at peak thrust. There's also an upshift light aboard to signal the driver when to shift in order to get optimal acceleration.
This isn't the 911 for everybody. The 2008 Porsche 911 GT2 is the 911 for the elite driver who wants a hard-core car with a sharp, even brutal edge. And that elite driver had better have the talent to handle it. Porsche is claiming a 0-60-mph time of just 3.6 seconds for the GT2 and a top speed of 204 mph.
All it will take to get a GT2 when it goes on sale in November will be $191,700 and a massive amount of courage.