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Saturday, 12 March 2011

Supercar Saturday!!

The Widow Maker's evil-er twin.
This Saturday, it's time to run inside and lock all the doors... because a GT2 is here.

The Porsche 911 has been available in many iterations over the years, ranging from cabriolet and Targa-tops to turbocharged and track-spec versions, with the most extreme version being the GT2. First appearing in 993 guise, the twin-turbocharged GT2 was originally made to homologate the FIA GT2-class racing version of the ordinary 911, essentially making it a tamed racing car. Well, slightly tamed. After a switch of focus to GT3 racing, Porsche designed the follow-up 996 GT2 with to be an extreme road car, rather than a barely-tamed racer. That didn't stop it from being dangerous, though. The deadly 996-generation GT2 earned the nickname "Widow Maker", because while it had more power than the flagship 911 Turbo, it had less control thanks to that 475hp spinning the rear wheels, rather than all four. It's also much lighter than the Turbo on which it's based, making it more agile. All this coupled with the traditional 911 "pendulum effect" of that rear-mounted engine swinging out in fast corners adds up to a very scary car.

See? Scary.
The 997 GT2 that followed moved the game on further, and was the first production Porsche 911 to exceed 200mph, a milestone in the car's long evolution. Clearly though, that 530PS monster of a 911 wasn't monstrous enough...

For the first time, Porsche has released a hardcore version of the most hardcore 911 around: the GT2 RS. Previously the preserve of track-friendly GT3s, the 'RS' moniker (meaning RennSport, German for motorsport) signifies a stripped out, more focussed version, usually with a rollcage, little or no interior comforts or gadgets, and perhaps a dash of extra power. In this instance, it means  
turning the variable-geometry ceramic turbochargers up to 11 (1.6 bar to be precise, or twice the boost of a 911 Turbo), as well as adding a lightweight exhaust to make that 3.6 litre flat six produce an eye-watering 620PS and 516lb/ft of torque. That's a huge 90 horsepower increase over the GT2, in a car that weighs 70kg less (thanks to liberal use of carbon fibre, some of which goes unpainted to prove it). Now THAT's hardcore. This new found turn of speed means that this limited-run car hits 60mph in just 3.4 seconds (down from 3.6). More impressively though, the 205mph GT2 RS can accelerate from 0-200km/h (0-124mph) in less than 10 seconds, something few other cars can match. This is partly due to those twin VG turbos keeping the engine at peak torque from 2250-5500rpm, basically meaning there's brutal acceleration at any point in the rev range, up to the 6750rpm redline. This also means it'll happily cruise in 4th gear, be it at 40 or 140mph, meaning less gear changes when joining the motorway and slightly better fuel economy (on that note, the RS is somehow more efficient than the less powerful GT2, managing 23.7mpg, up from 22.6).

That should all add up to make this the scariest car ever, the Grim Reaper's daily driver. Alas, according to reviews, it isn't as bad as all that. Yes it'll punish you for driving like an idiot, but the chassis is apparently tuned to handle that monsoon of power, so it's surprisingly docile. Only those who've driven one are the ones not scared by it. That's the way it should be.



Basic Specs

Acceleration:
     - 0-60mph: 3.4 seconds
     - 0-100mph: 6.8 seconds
     - 0-125mph: 9.8 seconds
     - 0-186mph (300 km/h): 28.9 s

Top Speed: 205mph

Engine: 3.8 litre Twin-Turbo Boxer-6

Power/Torque/CO2: 620PS (612bhp) @ 6500rpm / 516lb/ft @ 2250-5500rpm / 284g/km

Weight: 1370kg

Price (UK): £164,000 (Limited Edition of 500 cars globally)

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