Porsche 911 GT2// $198,875 (as tested) // Lap Time: 1:47.9
Stuttgart's latest rump-shaking tour de force is the fastest and most powerful roadgoing 911 to date, the most expensive new Porsche you can buy, and one of the most remarkably talented rear-engine cars ever built. It catapults itself to 60 mph in just 3.9 seconds. It produces an absurd amount of power and torque (530 hp and 505 lb-ft, since you asked). And if you give it a long enough piece of pavement, it will clock a scenery-melting 204 mph. (Porsche claims that the discontinued Carrera GT is the fastest street car in the company's history - its top speed is a token 0.6 mph higher than that of the GT2. I recently asked Hartmut Kristen, head of Porsche's motorsport department, if this was done on purpose. He shrugged sheepishly and said, "Er, yes.")
For all intents and purposes, it's best to think of the GT2 as the love child of a 911 GT3 and a 911 Turbo. Like the 3075-pound GT3, it's blessed with extensive weight savings - model-specific sound deadening, a titanium exhaust, carbon-ceramic brakes, carbon-fiber front seats, and deleted rear seats - and rear-wheel drive. Like the Turbo, it has an intercooled and twin-turbocharged 3.6-liter flat six, although the GT2 produces 50 more hp. The curb weight is 3300 pounds, or 280 pounds less than that of the Turbo.
On the track, the GT2 behaves like a typical 911. The usual Porsche pluses are all here: Fantastically weighted, remarkably delicate steering. Amazing rear traction. An impressively communicative and nimble chassis. The standard carbon-ceramic brakes resist fade endlessly, and they'll repeatedly haul you down from triple-digit speeds with rock-solid pedal feel and zero increase in pedal travel. Once you get your head around the huge, linear thrust - thrust that arrives with only a beat's worth of turbo lag if you're above 4000 rpm - the GT2 shrinks around you, becomes less manic, and reveals its true nature: in spite of the intimidating specs, it's a sweetheart.
As is the case with all 911s, big doses of early-corner throttle tend to unload the front axle, and it's easy to bang your head against the understeer wall if you're impatient with your right foot. Patience is required from corner entry to apex, but if you treat it right, the GT2 simply steamrolls its way through the second half of slow corners. Faster corners - i.e., anything above 80 mph - have the back end slithering once the tires get hot, but as long as you keep your foot in it, the rear tires stay behind you. As road test editor Marc Noordeloos aptly pointed out, "This car reminds me of that old line about 911s: They always do exactly what you ask of them, even if it's the wrong thing."
The GT2's street behavior is just as docile. The nonadjustable, shell-type folding seats are surprisingly comfortable and very supportive, even over drives lasting several hundred miles. You won't mistake the ride for a Cadillac's, but it's comfortable enough to keep you from screaming for mercy. Big speeds and lumpy pavement see the steering lighten and the chassis move around a bit, but as long as you keep your foot down and let the car have its head, you're fine. And while you don't hear much of the engine's cry (save the odd closed-throttle wastegate whistle) from inside the car, anyone on the outside - and within a half-mile radius - gets assaulted with a strange, compressed, turbine-ripping-air kind of sound. It's alien and slightly creepy but ultimately very cool.