2008 Porsche 911 GT2 Review

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 [s]intangibles[/s] 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.

  • FreedMike Back in the '70s, the one thing keeping consumers from buying more Datsuns was styling - these guys were bringing over some of the ugliest product imaginable. Remember the F10? As hard as I try to blot that rolling aberration from my memory, it comes back. So the name change to Nissan made sense, and happened right as they started bringing over good-looking product (like the Maxima that will be featured in this series). They made a pretty clean break.
  • Flowerplough Liability - Autonomous vehicles must be programmed to make life-ending decisions, and who wants to risk that? Hit the moose or dive into the steep grassy ditch? Ram the sudden pile up that is occurring mere feet in front of the bumper or scan the oncoming lane and swing left? Ram the rogue machine that suddenly swung into my lane, head on, or hop up onto the sidewalk and maybe bump a pedestrian? With no driver involved, Ford/Volkswagen or GM or whomever will bear full responsibility and, in America, be ambulance-chaser sued into bankruptcy and extinction in well under a decade. Or maybe the yuge corporations will get special, good-faith, immunity laws, nation-wide? Yeah, that's the ticket.
  • FreedMike It's not that consumers wouldn't want this tech in theory - I think they would. Honestly, the idea of a car that can take over the truly tedious driving stuff that drives me bonkers - like sitting in traffic - appeals to me. But there's no way I'd put my property and my life in the hands of tech that's clearly not ready for prime time, and neither would the majority of other drivers. If they want this tech to sell, they need to get it right.
  • TitaniumZ Of course they are starting to "sour" on the idea. That's what happens when cars start to drive better than people. Humanpilots mostly suck and make bad decisions.
  • Inside Looking Out Why not buy Bronco and call it Defender? Who will notice?