The Porsche 911 GT2 RS Is a 2019 Automobile All-Star
If we could choose only one supercar, this would be it.
I've noticed something. Once someone drives a 2018 Porsche 911 GT2 RS, they change. Expressive faces freeze, talkers become mute, the silent bark like dogs. You doubt me? Then I suspect you haven't driven one.
I previously tested a GT2 RS before All-Stars, so it came as zero surprise to me that this weapon scorched its way to becoming a crowd favorite at our annual shootout. Why? Because it's a completely correct, no-apologies, lap-record-breaking missile of a car that also happens to work on the street.
My impressions have good company. "Such an intuitive, bogglingly powerful, and ultimately satisfying car," contributor Basem Wasef said. Art St. Antoine, also impressed, enthused: "Dayum! Just so compelling—blistering speed, sensational steering, massive grip, and importantly, utter poise." One word from senior editor Aaron Gold does a great job of summing things up: "Magical."
To produce a GT2 RS, imagine a Porsche 911 Turbo S given liposuction (removing excess weight and the front drive axle) and a high-dose steroid IV drip. If we include the Weissach package (chosen by 90 percent of RS owners), the GT2 RS weighs in at 300 pounds lighter while corralling 120 more horses than the all-wheel-drive Turbo S—a vehicle with its own very serious capabilities.
From the driver's seat, the RS looks and feels like other 911s—essentially an excellent place to enjoy driving. There is nothing on the steering wheel to toggle, press, twist, talk to, or distract your eyes. Amen to that. Fabric interior door pulls add yet more commitment to enthusiastic weight savings.
All is not peaches and cream, however. The non-reclining, height-only adjustable sport bucket seats do not suit everyone. Online editor Ed Tahaney was quite clear: "The seats are as hard as a rock, and I think it's a brilliant car for sadists." This was seconded by Gold, who said the shell seats gave him a backache. For most of us, though, the seats work fine. I sat in them for 13 hours while driving 940 miles recently, with no hint of a butt-cheek shuffle. Can't please everyone.
Porsche uses carbon fiber copiously on the exterior, and not only to save weight. Each piece is cleverly engineered to manipulate the air, creating gobs of cooling or downforce—all this while staying true to classic 911 lines is not an easy thing to do.
Wings on street cars seem to be a thing with journalists and buyers alike. Despite the obvious track focus and the unquestionable necessity of the GT2's rear wing for aero balance, Detroit editor Todd Lassa wasn't buying in. "I felt like someone was right behind me all the time until I figured out it was the huge, unsubtle wing," he said. St. Antoine took the pragmatist road: "I could even live with the towering rear wing to enjoy a car this good."
The RS's chassis and suspension setup is something special. On track, the 911 shows sensational control and accessibility. It has a ludicrous ability to turn GT race car-like lap times by producing effortless downforce, almost 500 pounds of which comes at a very track-usable 124 mph.
Street driving is usually not something track-focused cars do well, but the RS is different. Contributor Marc Noordeloos was measured, saying, "It's decent on the road, very usable, especially considering the track performance." Fellow contributing writer Jethro Bovingdon waxed lyrical: "How can an extreme track car work so well on the road? It literally defies logic, and it's utterly immersive, impossibly exciting." That the RS comes with solid suspension bushings makes these comments even more extraordinary. For the record, the Porsche fires up in its most compliant suspension mode; I left it there and found it all-day-driving comfortable. I even negotiated snow, slush, and ice one morning with no issues.
The handling and drivability are so good that it's easy to forget how quick this car really is. Top speed is 211 mph, zero to 60 mph happens in just 2.7 seconds, and the quarter-mile rips by in 10.5 seconds. If anything, it all feels even quicker. The 3.8-liter twin-turbo flat-six pushes out 690 hp with 553 lb-ft of torque, and Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 R tires provide mind-bending grip.
The GT2 RS is certainly not cheap, but look at it this way: Plenty of real GT race cars are no faster around a track, they cost way more money, and they don't come with a four-year, 50,000-mile warranty. A less expensive production car that can also rip a faster lap time doesn't exist. For many, those attributes alone define value and bragging rights. But wait, you can also drive it to work. "Short of something costing close to $1 million or more," executive editor Mac Morrison enthused, "this is the best, most capable supercar on the planet as of now." Game over.
2018 Porsche 911 GT2 RS Specifications
|PRICE||$294,250/$328,880 (base/as tested)|
|ENGINE||3.8L twin-turbo DOHC 24-valve flat-6; 690 hp @ 7,000 rpm, 553 lb-ft @ 2,500-4,500 rpm|
|TRANSMISSION||7-speed dual-clutch automatic|
|LAYOUT||2-door, 2-passenger, rear-engine, RWD coupe|
|EPA MILEAGE||15/21 mpg (city/hwy)|
|L x W x H||179.1 x 74.0 x 51.1 in|
|0-60 MPH||2.7 sec|
|TOP SPEED||211 mph|