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997 GT2 Review

Today, OCD reviews the 2008 Porsche 911 GT2. To say we liked it would be an understatement. "Imagine a Porsche that combines the blown thrust of the 911 Turbo, the tango-champion agility of the 911 GT3, and an extra-generous seasoning of Zuffenhausen alchemy-that's the £150,000 GT2."

Take a moment, catch your breath, and hold onto your seats. What follows is the very first U.S. instrumented test of Porsche's newest, wickedest-ever 911, the 2008 GT2. The numbers will astonish you. They astonished us, and we've driven a few fast cars before.

"At around 5000 rpm the world as you've always known it explodes, your innards tumble as if you've just stepped out of an airplane, your eyeballs churn into marmalade. Five quick manual shifts, and you're catching the horizon at more than 200 miles per hour, the audio system playing a Bartok string quartet, your cerebrum struggling to believe it's all real.

On our exclusive figure-eight test, the GT2 left us awestruck, circling the course in only 22.9 seconds. That's quicker than the Carrera GT. Quicker than the Ferrari Enzo. Quicker, in fact, than any street-legal car we've ever tested. Yet for all of its incomparable performance, the GT2 is as docile as a golden retriever puppy. Drive it around town, and it never complains, never demands special care. The Carrera GT was fast but peaky, with a finicky, light-switch clutch. The GT2, in contrast, effortlessly surfs waves of torque, and its control efforts are fluid and easy-at modest speeds, it drives like any other 911. Ride quality in either mode is pain-free (our long-term Mini Cooper S, to name one, is far harsher). The leather seats (there are only two) are wonderfully deep, backed with carbon fiber, and trimmed with rich Alcantara (as is much of the rest of the cabin). Navigation and Bose surround sound are optional. The GT2 even returns 22 mpg on the highway and qualifies as a LEV-II on emissions.

Further enhancing its swiftness, the GT2 is some 225 pounds lighter than the all-wheel-drive Turbo (it's just a few pounds heavier than the normally aspirated, 415-horse GT3). More power. Less weight. Hang on.

As in the 480-horsepower 911 Turbo, the stinger in the GT2's tail is a twin-pressurized, 3.6-liter flat-six that uses variable-vane turbos to hypercharge the incoming exhaust gases, producing an almost instantaneous burst of power whenever your right foot heads south. Yet the GT2's six is even more insane, breathing a cooler intake charge through an exclusive manifold and exhaling through a lightweight, titanium exhaust system (among other refinements). The result is a blistering 530 horsepower and 505 pound-feet of torque.

Launch control is standard on the GT2, so maximum-performance starts await novices and pros alike. Press the button, mash the throttle to the floor, wait for the revs to stabilize at about 5000 rpm, then drop the clutch. And. You. Disappear. The 325/30ZR19 rear Michelins skip a beat or two when assaulted with the engine's full fury, but once they hook up, watch out. The GT2 scorches to 60 mph in only 3.4 seconds. That's quicker than the 605-horsepower Carrera GT, which we timed in 3.6 seconds (October 2004). The GT2 is equally mind-blowing in the quarter mile, tripping the lights in just 11.4 seconds at 127.9 mph. The engine doesn't feel turbocharged; rather, as the revs rise it seems to come on cam, the power delivery linear and seemingly limitless.

The digits on the opposite side of the friction circle, and the GT2 rules there, too. The huge carbon-ceramic binders-15-inch discs with six-piston calipers in front-and sticky Cup tires combine to produce stops from 60 mph in a lung-crushing 98 feet.

2008 911 GT2 The GT2 is clearly a 911, but a closer inspection reveals unique details. The front air dam is devoid of foglamps, leaving a purer, more appealing prow. Replacing conventional front signal lamps are Audi R8-like LED light bars, a fabulous touch. Sprouting from each side of the rear wing, integrated oval ducts feed fresh (and usually very fast) air to the twin intercoolers beneath. More evidence of GT2-ness lies easily visible inside the 19-inch alloys: yellow calipers denoting the standard carbon-ceramic brakes. The GT2 also wears huge shoes, its high-grip Michelin Pilot Sport Cup tires dwarfing the standard rubber on both the GT3 and the Turbo.

Like the GT3, the GT2 features standard Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM), with driver-selectable normal and Sport modes. Also standard is the first Porsche Stability Management (PSM) system on a 911 GT model. Tuned for track driving (the GT2 includes standard cockpit mounts for adding a roll bar), PSM allows a helpful amount of rear rotation before stepping in, and then only enough to bring the car back in line. Maximum grip is a neck-wrecking 1.1 g-race-car territory (and easily topping the mid-engine Carrera GT's 0.99 g). The GT2 is unfailingly poised, too, an amazing achievement for a 530-horse beast with 62 percent of it weight balanced on the rear axle.

So, certainly, you're looking at the finest Porsche road car of all time. And at one of the greatest sports cars the world has ever seen."

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