Comparison: Ferrari 599GTO vs. Porsche 911 GT2 RS

Chris Harris
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James Lipman

Speed accrual is even more of a problem than in the Ferrari and is further compounded by the need to downshift manually, leaving an awful lot to be done in a very short space of time. The upshot is that it is easy to fall into the trap of simply entering with too much speed: this car whooshes its way to 140 mph after just about every turn at the Nürburgring, and whereas your brain tells you from previous experience that you need to brake at a certain pressure and for a certain duration, in the GT2 RS it feels as if you're overstopping the car, even though this is the correct method.

Now the car clicks. The slow-in/fast-out mantra has defined 911 driving for five decades, and it still applies. There's no doubt that the GT2 loses ground to the 599 in those entry phases-it just doesn't have the same mechanical purchase on the surface -- and, of course, its less linear power delivery makes holding a stable throttle position through the turn more difficult, but when you release the steering angle and squeeze the right pedal to the floor, the combination of twin turbochargers and rear-engine traction are imperious. The GT2 RS flings itself from bends so aggressively that you wonder if Porsche shouldn't offer wheelie bars as an option.

In fact, had Ferrari and Porsche tried to create two more contrasting ways of arriving at similar levels of performance, they probably couldn't have given us anything more disparate than this pair. Beyond the obvious chasm that lies between their methods of power delivery and their weight distribution, there's a sensory mismatch at work, too.

Aurally, the GTO is perhaps the most communicative car extant: every millimeter of throttle travel alters the pitch from the intakes, but underneath the noise and the drama lie a set of controls that are at best subdued and at worst a touch numb. This begins with the steering, which is very fast and heavily assisted. Sure, it's very accurate, but there's little feel transmitted back through the Alcantara rim. The sense of disconnection continues with the transmission, which, despite being the best-ever Ferrari automated manual, removes the driver even further from the process of controlling the car's progress. The result is that, Airbus-pilot-style, you guide this big machine with your fingertips and palms. You are deliberately isolated from the mayhem of frictions being played out around you. How you view these conundrums -- whether a car with a GTO badge should be about outright speed and competence, whether notions of interaction should play a greater or lesser role -- will color your view of this Ferrari as much as its styling or performance.

artimusbill
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.
mo_pho
A comparison test to be remembered for generations to come.

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