First Drive Twofer: Porsche 911 GT2 RS and BMW M3 GTS

Greg Pajo

One last time, we go out to explore our mutual limits. In more ways than one, the GT2 RS reminds me of the old Ferrari F40. Raw, extreme, basic, and yet very high-tech. In the F40, massive turbo lag followed by a mighty underhood explosion was what kept deflecting the line in heart-stopping fashion. In the GT2 RS, the flows of power are much more subtle. The two chargers work together, not in sequence. Throttle lag has been superseded by telepathic obedience. The torque curve is now shaped like a low, long plateau.

What does this mean to the captain at the helm? That he has even less time to respond, that the forces are even more brutal, that catch and release has turned from routine to a form of art. If you can find a reasonably smooth surface, a late sidestep followed by a brief correcting flick at the wheel is about as much drama as you want to induce. But those long slides that used to paint an unforgettable smile on one's face are much harder to ride out in this 911, which is always ready to bare its teeth. Although carefully massaging the throttle sounds like the easiest trick in the book, the ultrawide rear tires keep fighting the torque wave because their goal in life is to slice, not to slide.

I'm not sure if there exist enough rich Walter Rohrl-like bravados to fully relish the true potential of the ultimate rear-wheel-drive 911. Although I did approach the car with more respect than any other Porsche currently in production, my awe for the wild thing kept growing in the course of the day, and by evening, I handed back the key with a mix of relief and reluctance: Relief, because we have all the photos in the can and the car went back unscratched. Reluctance, because I could not pluck up enough courage, competence, and confidence to work this car through its paces and stay on top of the game at all times. It's not just the random snap oversteer that makes gray hair go white, it's also the almost forgotten counterswing that follows which proves that some skills don't age nearly as well as red wine. On a track, this is bound to be an almost invincible tool for the brave and gifted. On the autobahn, the GT2 RS has all the go one could ask for but not enough refinement so that one would be comfortable relaxing. On secondary roads, the most venomous 911 this side of the various Clubsport editions has got what it takes to throw down the gauntlet to any Ferrari, Lamborghini, or Bugatti. Except, perhaps, an adequately talented driver.

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