3. Porsche 911 GT2 RS
Did you take your bastard pills this morning?
This car scares me. Badly. When I first drove the GT2 RS, in the wet and for a series of cornering shots, I spun the beast twice, thankfully damaging only my ego. Of course, I don't blame the Porsche -- this was a blatantly obvious case of driver incompetence. You see, unlike the Carrera S, which will dance through hairpins without ever putting a tire wrong, the GT2 RS is like jumping from a very easy to a very difficult level of sudoku. Suddenly, everything is less relaxed and more serious. There's the track-oriented livery with its countless air deflectors, spats, flaps, and diffusers. The stripped-out interior with its carbon-fiber trim and barren surfaces differs dramatically from the usual leather and aluminum mix. The seats feel like screw clamps even without the red, bondage-style, five-point safety harness. And then, of course, there's the noise, which is so omnipresent, so intense, and also so dependent on what you touch and move and engage. The tiny flywheel, the evil race clutch, the sticky throttle, and the gearbox seemingly filled with Swabian maple syrup make it crystal clear that this is going to be a very physical drive. If you think the GT2 RS is simply a GT3 with a bit more poke, then think again. Think 620 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque fed to the rear wheels only; think of a limited-slip differential that cuts in like an axe; and think of a sport suspension featuring arm-thick antiroll bars, springs made of cast iron, and dampers filled with quartz sand. But then, halfway through day two, at long last something like confidence started to weave a thin ribbon between car and driver. It may take longer than expected to become familiar with this animal and its impossible weight distribution, and it takes coconut-size cojones to go exploring the limit in it, but once you've found the right rhythm, the right attitude, and the right timing, you can actually start working this 911 a little harder without getting stung. What always remains in the back of my mind, though, are the wayward directional stability, the sometimes-frightening load transfer, and the zero-tolerance steering. Call me a wimp, but I would rather have a Turbo S any day of the week.
On the track: Excessive blood pressure, dangerous pulse rate, embarrassing perspiration.
On the road: Less of the above, but not significantly so. Particularly careful surface reading, conscientious gearshifts, and thoughtful throttle inputs are essential to cast a favorable horoscope.
Porsche 911 GT2 RS
Base price $245,950
Engine 24-valve DOHC twin-turbo flat-6
Displacement 3.6 liters (220 cu in)
Power 620 hp @ 6500 rpm
Torque 516 lb-ft @ 2250 rpm
Transmission 6-speed manual
Steering Hydraulically assisted
Suspension, front Strut-type, coil springs
Suspension, rear Multilink, coil springs
Brakes Vented carbon-ceramic discs, ABS
Tires Michelin Pilot Sport Cup+
Tire size f, r 245/35YR-19, 325/30YR-19
L x W x H 175.9 x 72.9 x 50.6 in
Wheelbase 92.5 in
Track F/R 59.4/61.2 in
Weight 3177 lb
Weight dist. 38/62%
Fuel mileage 16/23 mpg
0-62 mph 3.5 sec
Top speed 205 mph
Top speed in lap