2008 Porsche 911 GT2 Review

Sajeev Mehta
by Sajeev Mehta
2008 porsche 911 gt2 review

There I was cutting, clipping and carving corners in the ultimate Porsche 911, balancing the need for speed with self-control. I felt like an Olympic skier or Iron Chef. But there was an element missing from the GT2 experience, a deficiency that niggled like a loose ski boot or a nicked Shun Santoku. Torque. As in instant-on shove. Porsche's brilliant 3.6-liter boxer engine has too much boost and not enough low-end grunt. But isn't perfection standard in a Porsche, especially for one that costs $197,000?

Aesthetically, the GT2 is equally close to flawless. It's no lime green Gallardo South Beach Stunta; the top-of-the-line 911 is more like the Armani-wearing MBA who heads to the gym after work. Witness the GT2's curvaceous fender flares, ram-air equipped whale tail and fierce 19" wheels. The "regular" speed bits from the Turbo keep the GT2 grounded in reality, especially when finished in Carrera white.

Too bad the GT2's macho front clip's smiley speed hole gives the uber-coupe a steroid-infused Pokemon-on-wheels persona. As the umpteenth Cayenne snout indicates, The Sultans of Stuttgart need to hire a designer with a talent for rhinoplasty, stat.

Inside, Porsche turned to Isaac Hayes' suede-lined Superfly Caddy for inspiration. Decadent Alcantara is the dominating theme of this big-body Porker. Velvety goodness envelops everything: the wheel, shifter, seats and door panels are draped with the goods. The kids may cry pimp, but the GT2's interior upgrades foreshadows the grippiness to come. The unique carbon fiber seat frames make for God-like thrones worthy of adolescent admiration.

Otherwise, the GT2 is your run of the mill Porsche 911, albeit one loaded-up with a decent BOSE blaster, straightforward satellite navigation and an insightful Sport Chronograph atop the dash. The integrated package- toy-laden, high dollar luxo-street whip seamlessly blended with a purpose built racer– extends and maintains Porsche's rep as THE everyday supercar.

Appearances do not deceive. The GT2's easy action clutch, informative but effortless tiller and compassionate suspension tuning works wonders on the street. Road noise is minimal, even with barely legal Michelins underfoot. The ride's so compliant that Porsche engineers obviously bribed the laws of physics with their PASM active suspension dampening. All of which translates into a trip to Costco with the almighty Camry's spiritual blessings. That is, if you were so blasé about the affair.

Bring Zuffenhausen's famous soldier to attention and things get serious.

The steering is the GT2's trump card. As the speed increases, the helm transforms from tame to tango. While there's nothing particularly wrong with the Turbo's tiller, everything's right with the GT2's steering. Sublime is just a word. If you can't feel exactly what the wheels are doing, check your arms for needle marks. Credit weight savings from the GT2's rear wheel drive configuration.

Cornering is predictable to the limit– which you have no business breaching on a public road. The supple ride masks the GT2's lack of appreciable body roll. Even with rear-wheel-only motivation, the Porker's foot-long Michelin rubber has Quattro-esque stick. The GT2 rockets out of the hole like a drag star, holding your conscience in automotive arachibutyrophobia.

The launch is soft, but the tach jumps when the turbos kick out the jams. All wheel-drive be damned; a trip to sixty takes all of 3.6 seconds. Quick up shifts and the nicely spaced gearing keeps the GT2 in boost country, provided one's state of mind is as track-ready as the car. And there's no running out of breath to the (advertised) 204 mph top speed.

The GT2 absolutely begs to be driven faster, rewarding the driver with smooth throttle and steering inputs. Friction-friendly ceramic brake rotors ensure the same feeling, just in a different direction. Most importantly, in classic 911 fashion, the GT2 feels happy at any speed. This is classic Porsche engineering, something its Italian counterparts just don't understand. And probably never will.

There's no doubt the 911 family is a polished grouping, with the stones to justify its price tag. Expect for maybe its commander-in-chief. The sky-high GT2 begs the question: what's in it for me? The GT2's exclusive titanium exhaust is a long-standing Z06 hallmark; its performance gain over the ultimate Chevy is mostly from super gooey tires. Plus, there's no turbo lag with a 7.0-liter torque monster.

And, near Ferrari's price point, paying 60 grand over a 911 Turbo for flared fenders, two fewer driven wheels and a modest power bump doesn't jive. The comparable F430 amazes. 911 loyalists always counter with the magic Porsche factor: inspiring intangibles attributes that turn the faithful into blind worshipers, and everyone else into respectful admirers of limited production and fat fenders.

Then again, what's wrong with that? Not much to me, since the 911 GT2 makes a strong case for less being (worth) more.

(Special thanks to Mr. Steve Cela for seat time)

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2 of 41 comments
  • Hondagirl Hondagirl on Jul 15, 2008

    BEAT, You know what they say: There's nothing more expensive than a cheap Porsche.

  • Lmanier Lmanier on Dec 27, 2012

    You people who are overly concerned about the beauty of Porsches no doubt are not Porsche purists. My knowledge of Porsche purists suggests they love this car for it's performance first. You know -- form follows function.

  • Sayahh Is it 1974 or 1794? The article is inconsistent.
  • Laura I just buy a Hyndai Elantra SEL, and My car started to have issues with the AC dont work the air sometimes is really hot and later cold and also I heard a noice in the engine so I went to the dealer for the first service and explain what was hapenning to the AC they told me that the car was getting hot because the vent is not working I didnt know that the car was getting hot because it doesnt show nothing no sign no beep nothing I was surprise and also I notice that it needed engine oil, I think that something is wrong with this car because is a model 23 and I just got it on April only 5 months use. is this normal ? Also my daughter bought the same model and she went for a trip and the car also got hot and it didnt show up in the system she called them and they said to take the car to the dealer for a check up I think that if the cars are new they shouldnt be having this problems.
  • JamesGarfield What charging network does the Polestar use?
  • JamesGarfield Re: Getting away from union plantsAbout a dozen years or so ago, Caterpillar built a huge new engine plant, just down the road here in Seguin TX. Story has it, Caterpillar came to Seguin City council in advance, and told them their plans. Then they asked for no advanced publicity from Seguin, until announcement day. This new plant was gonna be a non-union replacement for a couple of union plants in IL and SC, and Cat didn't want to stir up union problems until the plan was set. They told Seguin, If you about blab this in advance, we'll walk. Well, Seguin kept quiet as instructed, and the plan went through, with all the usual expected tax abatements given.Plant construction began, but the Caterpillar name was conspicuously absent from anywhere on the site. Instead, the plant was described as being a collective of various contractors and suppliers for Caterpillar. Which in fact, it was. Then comes the day, with the big new plant fully operationa!, that Caterpillar comes in and announces, Hey, Yeah it's our plant, and the Caterpillar name boldly goes up on the front. All you contractor folks, welcome aboard, you're now Caterpillar employees. Then, Cat turns and announces they are closing those two union plants immediately, and will be transporting all the heavy manufacturing equipment to Seguin. None of the union workers, just the equipment. And today, the Caterpillar plant sits out there, humming away happily, making engines for the industry and good paying jobs for us. I'd call that a winner.
  • Stuki Moi What Subaru taketh away in costs, dealers will no doubt add right back in adjustments.... Fat chance Subaru will offer a sufficient supply of them.