Is the new GT2 RS that much better?

The GT2 has been the range-topping model of the 911 range for nearly 25 years now, having been introduced in 1993. However, Porsche’s hardcore sports car hasn’t been around for every model year, with each generation discontinued after a short while on the market. So while the GT2 nameplate turns 24 in 2017, it was actually in production for some 12 years before the fourth-generation model arrived. Not only that, but it was also built in limited numbers that sold out extremely quickly, especially in recent years. All told, it’s not surprising that the latest GT2 RS was so anticipated and that its unveiling at the 2017 Goodwood Festival of Speed created so much fuss.

But is the new 911 GT2 a significant improvement over its predecessor? Given that it’s based on the latest-generation 911, it’s safe to assume that the answer is yes, but is it notably different or are wee looking at a revised design with a more powerful engine? We will find out just that in the comparison below, where the 997- and 991-generation GT2 are going head to head for the ultimate 911 face-off.

Continue reading for the full story.

Design

2018 Porsche 911 GT2 RS Exterior High Resolution
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2011 Porsche 911 GT2 RS
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New vs Old 911 GT2 RS.

The latest GT2 RS is obviously the more aggressive car.

Before we proceed any further, we need to acknowledge that the latest 911 has a rather evolutionary design that doesn’t make it radically different than its predecessor. There are a few notable changes, but overall, the 997 and 991 are very similar. The same can be said about their GT2-badged cousins, which don’t really seem to be almost 10 years apart as far as styling goes.

So what makes them different?

Well, the latest GT2 RS is obviously the more aggressive car. The side vents in the front bumper are larger, as is the splitter, which extends toward the wheel arches. Onto the sides, we can see slightly larger outlets on the rear fenders, revised side skirts, and obviously new wheels. Arguably the most noticeable improvement is the addition of new vents atop the front wheels, which give the 991-gen GT2 a more motorsport-inspired look.

2018 Porsche 911 GT2 RS Exterior High Resolution
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2011 Porsche 911 GT2 RS
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New vs Old 911 GT2 RS.

The rear is where the new model stands out even more, due to the massive wing atop the engine lid.

The rear is where the new model stands out even more. Not because of its slimmer, modern taillights and more aggressive diffuser, but due to the massive wing atop the engine lid. Historically, the GT2 has had a smaller wing than the GT3, but this changed in 2017 when the GT2 came with a huge aero element that reminds of full-fledged race cars. The exhaust pipes are also larger, while the side vents have a fine mesh instead of the more traditional gills. But even though I find the new GT2 RS design to be more exciting, I actually miss the rear bumper gills of the previous model.

Still, the fact that the GT2 RS finally looks more radical than the GT3 is a big step forward. After all, the GT2 was always the more powerful car, it was about time it become more aerodynamic, too.

Interior and Technology

2018 Porsche 911 GT2 RS Interior High Resolution
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2011 Porsche 911 GT2 RS
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New vs Old 911 GT2 RS.

Comparing two interiors that were designed so many years apart is like comparing apples to cherries, but it's a good way to highlight progress.

If you ask me, comparing two interiors that were designed so many years apart is like comparing apples to cherries, but it’s a good way to highlight progress. The first thing that comes to mind while looking at the 997 GT2’s interior is that it’s significantly more rugged. It’s also pretty cramped, too, with the center stack being a complete mess of buttons and knobs. Naturally, the display is way smaller and the graphics are laughable for today’s standard. By comparison, the new GT2 RS’ dashboard is better organized, the center console adopted many buttons so that the center stack is clutter free, and the new infotainment system is as modern as they get.

The instrument cluster is much simpler, too. While on the 997 the dials were pretty much a rainbow when the car was running, things are simpler on the 991. It’s also pretty cool that you can have the main dial in white or red. Speaking of that, the latest GT2 RS is significantly more customizable, which, again, is far from surprising given that the standard 911 evolved in this department, too. The no-cost bucket seats and the enormous amount of carbon fiber and aluminum upgrades you can have nowadays make the new GT2 RS a much more appealing proposition for the modern driver.

Drivetrain

2018 Porsche 911 GT2 RS High Resolution Exterior
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2011 Porsche 911 GT2 RS High Resolution Exterior
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New vs Old 911 GT2 RS.

While the previous GT2 RS needed 3.4 seconds to hit 60 mph, the new GT2 RS achieves the same benchmark in a scant 2.7 ticks.

Before we jump into specifics, it’s important to note that unlike the new GT2, the 997 model came in two guises: the GT2 and the GT2 RS. Specifically, while the current version is a full-blown RS only, the previous GT2 received an RS upgrade after two years on the market. The twin-turbo, 3.6-liter flat-six in the 997 GT2 was good for 523 horsepower and 505 pound-feet of torque, while the RS upgrade increase output to 612 horses and 516 pound-feet. That’s a significant 89-horsepower hike and the reason why Porsche had a lot of work to make the 991 GT2 RS matter in terms of performance.

But at 700 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of twist, it’s safe to assume that it succeeded. 88 extra horses and 37 extra pound-feet are nothing to sneeze at, even though the new GT2 RS has a larger, 3.8-liter engine and more modern turbochargers. Performance is astoundingly better, as well. While the previous GT2 and GT2 RS needed 3.8 and 3.4 seconds to hit 60 mph, the new GT2 RS achieves the same benchmark in a scant 2.7 ticks. That’s just a tad slower than the 918 Spyder supercar! Top speed is significantly better, having jumped from 205 to 211 mph.

2018 Porsche 911 GT2 RS Exterior High Resolution
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The new drivetrain is backed by an equally track-prepped chassis. The new underpinnings are obviously more advanced than the 997 GT2, making the RS a more agile car. It also has a ton of additional driving aids, high-performance tires, and more importantly, rear-axle steering. I do agree that the 997-gen model is more of a driver’s car, but you have to keep up with the times in order to remain relevant and that’s exactly what Porsche did with the latest GT2 RS.

Drivetrain Specifications

2018 Porsche 911 GT2 RS Old Porsche 911 GT2 RS
Engine twin-turbo 3.8-liter flat-six 3.6-liter flat-six
Horsepower 700 HP @ 7,000 RPM 612 HP
Torque 553 LB-FT 516 LB-FT
Transmission PDK six-speed manual
0-to-60 mph 2.7 seconds 3.4 seconds
Top Speed 211 mph 205 mph

Conclusion

2018 Porsche 911 GT2 RS High Resolution Exterior
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2011 Porsche 911 GT2 RS High Resolution Exterior
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2018 Porsche 911 GT2 RS High Resolution Exterior
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2011 Porsche 911 GT2 RS High Resolution Exterior
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New vs Old 911 GT2 RS.

There is no doubt that the 991-generation GT2 RS is the better, but it’s exactly how it’s supposed to be. Technology has improved dramatically since the previous GT2 RS was discontinued in 2012 and Porsche made solid developments in the performance and aerodynamics department. In an era when sports cars become increase lighter, faster, and more powerful, it’s only natural for the new GT2 RS to trump its predecessor in every department. That’s not to say that the 997-gen car is dull and slow. On the contrary, it’s one of the most sought-after Porsches on the used sports car market, but if you want the best GT2 ever made, the new RS is the answer.

New Porsche 911 GT2 RS

Old Porsche 911 GT2 RS

What do you think?
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