Comparison: Ferrari 599GTO vs. Porsche 911 GT2 RS

Chris Harris
James Lipman

The Porsche is the polar opposite. It sounds no more engaging than a hedge trimmer, but it is one of the last great analog driving experiences. Yes, Por-sche has now seen fit to equip the GT2 with traction and stability control systems, but they can be completely disabled, at which point you're left with a metal box containing a monstrous powerplant, a stick between the seats, three pedals, and a lingering doubt as to the real size of your testicles.

And the Porsche really does communicate. Its steering is slower, but the wheel tightens and unloads according to road camber, vehicle yaw, and pitch. It feeds information back to you in the hope that you'll have time to do something with it before the turbos go native again. And, of course, configured like this, the GT2 RS is only as good as the hands and feet (and testicle size) of the operator in charge. You drive the GT2 RS with your hands, your shoulders, and, at times, seemingly every muscle in your body. You either admire the simplicity of that approach or wonder whether Porsche has overestimated the abilities of the ├╝ber-rich.

No amount of carbon-fiber trim on the GT2 RS can hide the fact that this is, after all, a 911, a car that costs $78,750 in basic form. Next to the Porsche, the Ferrari looks, feels, and even smells more expensive. Objectively, it's impossible to justify the GTO costing twice as much, but poke around in the respective cabins and compare the little mailbox of an engine-viewing platform on the Porsche to the piece of crackle-red installation art wedged behind the front axle line of the 599, and you could be forgiven for thinking that they don't belong in the same test. Still, any 911 that has a carbon hood and a sticker to save weight carries with it the coolness of the philosophy wrought since the 1967 911R; these lightweight Porsches, even the modern ones, are already legendary.

And so what emerges from this exercise is a pairing that exposes both the benefits and compromises of the two cars: what the Porsche would give to have just a smidge of that extra turn-in speed, and what a difference to the GTO some 911 traction would make. But the bottom line is that the Porsche is the more effective machine around the N├╝rburgring: it is deflected less by bumps, matches the GTO in the braking zones, loses a little between turn-in and apex, and from there disappears up the road in a gnashing of turbocharger whoomph.

Love the article. To me, it reinforces my belief that there is no "best". Just different ways to make you grin hard enough to break your face.
A comparison test to be remembered for generations to come.

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