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September 15, 2017
Driving Dynamics
Pure perfection
2008 Porsche 1144 911 17616 294297
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Jim McCraw
powered by New Car Test Drive
Porsche has been refining, redesigning and updating the basic shape of the 911 sports car for more than 40 years, with versions such as the removable-roof Targa, the cabriolet (convertible), the four-wheel-drive 4S, the awesome Turbo, and high-performance versions called GT2 and GT3. The engine has gone from a VW-based four-cylinder opposed air-cooled engine in the first 911 to a Porsche-designed, liquid-cooled six-cylinder, twin-turbocharged in some models, but always nestled behind the rear window.

The 2008 Porsche 911 GT2 is the latest model added to the 911 model range, already the broadest ever offered. The addition of the GT2 marks the third time the 911 has been offered in GT2 form.

The 2008 GT2 is the quickest and fastest Porsche 911 ever built, capable of 0-60 mph acceleration times under 3.5 seconds and a top speed of 204 mph.

It also offers race-car agility. But the most amazing thing is there's no down side (other than the price, of course). It's quite easy to live with this car and it could even be a daily driver. That's in a car with performance that would have been competitive at Le Mans not too long ago.

Unlike some other models, like the GT3, which is intended for and homologated for, track racing, the 911 GT2 is a completely equipped, luxury-laden road car that just happens to be lighter, quicker, faster and more agile than the other 911 models.

In essence, the GT2 is a slightly stripped-down 911 Turbo with more power, lightweight components and without all-wheel drive. Its closest competitors in price would be a Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera or an Aston Martin V8 Vantage, both of which it can outrun easily. The GT2 costs a less than the Ferrari F430 and the Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione.

The 911 GT2 comes with a twin-turbocharged 3.6-liter flat six that generates 530 horsepower, 50 hp more than the Turbo, with 505 pound-feet of torque available from just above idle to 4500 rpm, making it extremely flexible and willing in any of its six gears. It gets the extra 50 hp by using its two turbochargers with a very clever new intake system. While most other 911 models are offered with a choice of transmissions, the GT2 is manual only.

Model Lineup
The 2008 Porsche 911 GT2 comes only one way, loaded, and ready for battle. Although the GT2 model has been deliberately and carefully lightened for better performance, it has all the standard equipment available on other 911 models, including all the usual power assists, windows, locks, mirrors, seats, air conditioning, cruise control, and an excellent AM/FM/CD/MP3 stereo system. Special high-grip Alcantara upholstery comes standard and is used on the seats, steering wheel and shifter.

Options include the Sport Chrono package ($690) that enables the driver to time laps from inside the car and download the data later, a 325-watt, 7-channel, 13-speaker Bose sound system ($1390), Park Assist ($530), and DVD navigation ($2110).

Safety features include six air bags, ABS, traction control and electronic stability control.

The current body and interior package of the 911 is known to enthusiasts as the 997, a longer, wider, lower and more flowing version of the previous 996 and its predecessor, the 993, which was the last 911 model to have round headlamps.

Just one look will tell you that the GT2 is something very special, a legitimate 200-mph car, but it is far less extroverted than the GT3 version. Like the GT3, the GT2 has intake and exhaust slots all over its body, but it doesn't carry around a huge fixed rear wing on its afterdeck. The GT2 has a rear spoiler that's much smaller than the GT3 wing, and it's bi-level, with the lower level containing air intakes for the engine's turbocharger intercooler.

Also like the GT3, the GT2 has a real, functioning grille opening at the front, just ahead of the trunk lid; these are the only two 911 versions that have this. This opening is used to channel air to the center radiator (there are three in the nose altogether) and to provide important front downforce at high speeds.

There are no front fog lights to get in the way of the air flow. The other openings in the nose serve to cool the front brakes and radiators, while the openings in the rear fenders feed fresh air into the engine and the slots in the rear panels exhaust hot engine air and provide rear downforce on the body.

The rear underbody of the GT2 has been made as flat and uncluttered as possible, to control airflow and add high-speed stability as well.

Don't look for a lot of fancy polished wood or chrome inside the GT2, because there isn't much. And there isn't even a pretense of a rear seat like other 911s have. Just an upholstered area behind the seats, to keep the weight down. This is strictly a two-seater. And there is provision in the rear compartment to bolt in an aftermarket rollbar for racing use.

This is a very sporty interior, mostly gray on our test car, with brushed finishes on most of the metallic elements. Our silver test car had a gray interior with two large central instrument pods displaying all the necessary data to the driver. The instruments are large, mounted high, and very easy to read, and there's an upshift light built into the tachometer warning you not to over-rev the engine

The seats in the GT2 are near race-quality bucket seats with the grippy suede-like Alcantara upholstery on the center sections, and the seat shells are made of very strong, lightweight carbon fiber, with the seatbelt provisions coming up through oval holes in the sides for a tighter fit. The driving position is excellent, and the carbon fiber seats are nothing if not supportive and huggy. We didn't get a chance to find out what the racy seats are like on a 500-mile trip, but we think they'd be comfortable all the way. Driver sightlines are completely clear out front.

Driving Impressions
The Porsche 911 GT2 is one of the quickest, fastest, most nimble cars available today, with a 0-60 mph time of about 3.5 seconds, 0-100 mph in 7.4 seconds, and 0-125 in 11.2 seconds.

The GT2 comes with continuously adjustable electronically linked shock absorbers that can be preset to one of three stages of hardness, plus traction control, a stability management system, and a launch control system that can have you perfecting drag-racing starts away from a stoplight with a minimum of tire spin.

It's an understatement to say this car handles well. The GT2 can change direction like a cheetah chasing a gazelle.

The short-throw shifter is very positive and precise, the clutch pedal is relatively light, and the steering, with all that weight taken off the nose and placed at the rear, is just perfect. And then there are those brakes.

All 911s are known for their braking prowess, but this car is 220 pounds lighter than a Turbo because it dispenses with all the axles and shafts and housings required for all-wheel drive and has a lot of lightweight components like a complete titanium exhaust system. The GT2 comes standard with Porsche's ceramic composite brakes or PCCB system, normally an $8000 option on other models, and it can stop from 60-0 mph in less than 100 feet, and keep doing it for years to come. No fade, no judder, just pure deceleration force, and lots of it.

Another side benefit of doing without the all-wheel-drive system is that there's room up front for a big fuel tank, almost 24 gallons, so you can drive (or race, on weekends) a long way between stops. This 530-hp car delivers an EPA-estimated 23 mpg Highway, so the GT2 can travel a theoretical 550 miles on one tank, and pays no gas-guzzler tax, perhaps the only 200-mph supercar capable of doing that.

This car is so bloody quick, so easy to drive fast, the ride so well controlled and the chassis so forgiving that it took us only a few familiarization laps around the long sports car course at Daytona International Speedway and we were going 170 mph on the front and back straights before braking and downshifting, snick-snick, for the infield turns. Yet, on the street, it's a pussycat, behaving for the most part like regular 911 except for the thundering exhaust note.

If we ever do hit the lottery, we would very much like to go down to the Porsche dealer and order one just like the one we drove in Florida, a stealthy silver one with a gray interior (how stealthy can a sports car be when it looks like the GT2?). Unfortunately, Porsche Motorsport is committed to build only 1500 of these cars for worldwide consumption, with only 300 of the cars headed for the U.S. market. There won't be another 1500 next year, either; 1500 is it, until Porsche decides to do a GT2 version of the next-generation 911, which could be years away, so hurry. You may find us racing you to the dealership! correspondent Jim McCraw test drove the GT2 at Daytona International Speedway and filed this report from Daytona Beach, Florida.

Model as tested
Porsche 911 GT2 ($191,700)
Basic Warranty
4 years/unlimited mileage
Assembled in
Stuttgart, Germany
Destination charge
Gas guzzler tax
Base Price
Price as tested
Options as tested
Sport Chrono Package ($690); DVD Navigation ($2110)
Model Line Overview
Model lineup
Porsche 911 GT2 ($191,700)
Safety equipment (standard)
frontal airbags, side-impact airbags; traction control; electronic stability control; ABS, EBD
Safety equipment (optional)
3.6-liter dohc 24-valve flat six, turbocharged
6-speed manual
Specifications as Tested
Alcantara upholstery, air conditioning, power windows, power locks, cruise control, AM/FM/CD
Engine & Transmission
3.6-liter dohc 24-valve flat six, turbocharged
Drivetrain type
rear-engine, rear-wheel drive
Horsepower (hp @ rpm)
530 @ 6500 rpm
EPA fuel economy, city/hwy
Torque (lb.-ft. @ rpm)
Brakes, front/rear
ceramic disc/ceramic disc with ABS, EBD
Suspension, front
independent, McPherson strut, stabilizer bar
P235/35-ZR-19 front; P325/30ZR-19 rear
Suspension, rear
independent, five link, stabilizer bar
Seating capacity
Head/hip/leg room, middle
Head/hip/leg room, front
Head/hip/leg room, rear
Fuel capacity
Trunk volume
Turning circle
Towing capacity
Track, front/rear
Ground clearance
Curb weight
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2008 Porsche 911
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