Although mid-mounted engines had become the norm with supercars by the 1980s, Porsche decided to stick with a rear-engined configuration when it developed the 959. The move obviously had to do with the fact that Stuttgart’s first supercar was based on the 911. It took Porsche until 1996 to build its first road-going mid-engined supercar, the 911 GT1 Strassenversion, but only because it needed it to homologate the race car with the same name. It was only eight years later, in 2004, that the German brand finally launched its first street-legal supercar with the powerplant mounted behind the seats: the Carrera GT.

Built until 2006, the Carrera GT was Porsche’s last supercar until the 918 Spyder was introduced in 2013. Much like its successor, the Carrera GT was one of the very few available products that rivaled Ferrari’s top supercar at the time, the Enzo. Although it wasn’t meant to become the most powerful or fastest road-legal supercar, the Carrera GT lived on as one of Porsche’s finest efforts in the business and one of the best supercars of the 2000s.

Continue reading to learn more about the Porsche Carrera GT.

  • 2004 - 2007 Porsche Carrera GT
  • Year:
    2004- 2007
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    V10
  • Transmission:
    6-Speed Manual
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    612 @ 8000
  • MPG(Cty):
    10
  • MPG(Hwy):
    16
  • Torque @ RPM:
    435 @ 5750
  • Displacement:
    5733 L
  • 0-60 time:
    3.8 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    205 mph
  • 0-100 time:
    6.9 sec.
  • Price:
    440000
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Exterior

2004 - 2007 Porsche Carrera GT High Resolution Exterior
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2004 - 2007 Porsche Carrera GT High Resolution Exterior
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2004 - 2007 Porsche Carrera GT High Resolution Exterior
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The Carrera GT ditched the 911 styling Porsche had previously used for just about any other road car and most racers. Although the front bumper did resemble the 911’s, everything else was unique to the Carrera GT. The headlamps were larger and the nose was longer and flatter.

Although the front bumper did resemble the 911's, everything else was unique to the Carrera GT.

Around back, the GT had a flat deck toward the rear fascia, while the taillights were incorporated into the raised fenders. An active rear wing connected the rear top of the fenders for yet another trademark design feature. Down below, the rear bumper was also similar to the 911’s, but the wide diffuser that also incorporated two massive exhaust pipes set it further apart.

When viewed from the side, the Carrera GT also showcased a unique design. Its flat body, long rear deck, the sculpted door panels, and shorter rear overhang removed all doubts that it had been based on the 911. Designed as a spyder model only, the Carrera GT came with two carbon-fiber panels for closed-top driving. The panels weighed only 6.4 pounds each and were small enough to be stored in the front luggage compartment.

Porsche offered the supercar in five standard colors only, including Guards Red, Fayence Yellow, Basalt Black, GT Silver, and Seal Grey. However, customers had access to custom colors via the options list.

Exterior Dimensions

Length 4,613 MM (181.6 Inches)
Width 1,921 MM (75.6 Inches)
Height 1,166 MM (45.9 Inches)
Wheelbase 2,730 MM (107.5 Inches)
Track front 1,612 MM (63.5 Inches)
rear 1,587 MM (62.5 Inches)

Interior

2004 - 2007 Porsche Carrera GT High Resolution Interior Drivetrain
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2004 - 2007 Porsche Carrera GT High Resolution Interior
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2004 - 2007 Porsche Carrera GT High Resolution Interior
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Much like the exterior, the Carrera GT’s cockpit had very little in common with the 911. In fact, the steering wheel was the only component taken from the 911, making the Carrera GT one of the very few supercar not to feature an F1-style, multifunction wheel. Now that’s an old-school approach!

While the 911s of the era featured wide, cluttered center consoles and stacks, the Carrera GT's employed a simpler, cleaner design that occupied less space between the seats.

While the 911s of the era featured wide, cluttered center consoles and stacks, the Carrera GT’s employed a simpler, cleaner design that occupied less space between the seats. On top of the center console there was a light magnesium case housing all buttons and switches, while the gearshift lever, which was positioned far up on the console, had an ball-shaped knob made of laminated birch wood that paid homage to the 917 race car.

More magnesium was used in the dashboard, with large pieces inserted both at the top and bottom. The top element extended downward at each side and toward the door panels, creating a wrap-around effect. Although the concept car featured an LCD screen, the production version received a classic Porsche instrument cluster.

Most surfaces that weren’t magnesium were either leather or carbon-fiber. The Carrera GT was the first production car in the world with seats made from carbon-fiber combined with Kevlar. Tipping the scales at only 22.7 pounds, a Carrera GT seat weighed about half the weight of a standard Porsche seat.

Air conditioning was offered only as an option, as was the Bose stereo system.

Drivetrain

2004 - 2007 Porsche Carrera GT High Resolution Drivetrain
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2004 - 2007 Porsche Carrera GT High Resolution Drivetrain
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2004 - 2007 Porsche Carrera GT High Resolution Drivetrain
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The Carrera GT used a 5.7-liter V-10 engine initially designed for the LMP2000, also known as the 9R3, a Le Mans prototype developed between 1998 and 2000, but never raced. The powerplant was actually designed around a modified version of Porsche’s 3.5-liter V-10 originally designed for Formula 1 in 1992.

The powerplant was actually designed around a modified version of Porsche's 3.5-liter V-10 originally designed for Formula 1 in 1992.

In its new configuration, the powerplant delivered 612 horsepower at 8,400 rpm and 435 pound-feet of torque at 5,750 rpm to the rear wheels through a six-speed manual transmission. It is here that the Carrera GT featured another world-first component in the Ceramic Composite Clutch, which was not only compact, but helped give the engine and transmission a very low center of gravity as well.

Moving over to performance, the Carrera GT needed 3.8 seconds to hit 60 mph and 6.9 ticks to reach 100 mph. Top speed was rated at 205 mph. While each of these figures were impressive for the mid-2000s, the Porsche was significantly slower than the Ferrari Enzo, which took only 3.14 seconds to hit 60 mph on its way to a top speed of 221 mph.

Even though it was believed that the Carrera GT would be able to outgun the Enzo at the track due to its massive downforce, the German supercar lost the Nurburgring battle with the Ferrari. The Carrera GT initially lapped the "Green Hell" in 7 minutes and 28 seconds in 2004, with Walter Rohrl behind the wheel. Four years later, Evo Magazine took both the Porsche and the Ferrari to the ’Ring. While the Carrera GT lapped the track in about the same time, the Enzo completed the course in 7 minutes and 25 seconds, which made it three seconds faster.

Drivetrain Specifications

Power unit V10 normal-aspiration engine
Bore 98 mm (3.86")
Stroke 76 mm (2.99")
Capacity 5733 cc
Compression ratio 12.0 : 1
Engine output 612 HP @ 8,000 RPM
Max torque 435 LB-FT @ 5,750 RPM
Output per liter 78.5 kW (106.73 bhp)
Max engine speed 8400 rpm
Top speed 330 KM/H (205 MPH)
0 - 100 km/h (60 mph) 3.8 seconds
0 – 160 km/h (100 mph) 6.9 seconds
0 – 200 km/h (124 mph) 9.9 seconds

Chassis, Suspension and Brakes

2004 - 2007 Porsche Carrera GT High Resolution Drivetrain
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2004 - 2007 Porsche Carrera GT High Resolution Exterior
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2004 - 2007 Porsche Carrera GT High Resolution Drivetrain
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The Carrera GT was the first production car in the world with a monocoque chassis and module frame made of carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic, now a more common technology in the automotive industry.

The chassis and module frame layout was paired to a race-spec underfloor, which interacted with the rear diffuser and airflow channels, generating a suction effect usually found in full-fledged race cars.

Borrowed from racing, the chassis and module frame layout was paired to a race-spec underfloor, which interacted with the rear diffuser and airflow channels, generating a suction effect usually found in full-fledged race cars. As a result, the supercar developed a downforce of about 900 pounds at 205 mph.

For the suspension, Porsche turned yet again to motorsport, fitting the Carrera GT with spring and damper elements operated by stainless-steel pushrods and pivot levers mounted within the chassis structure.

Almost the entire system was carried over from the Le Mans-winning 911 GT1, but tuned to deliver optimum spring balance at both low and high speeds and a more comfortable ride on public roads.

Stopping power was provided by ceramic disc brakes, which Porsche introduced for the first time in 2001, on the 911 GT2. For the Carrera GT, the company’s Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes were optimized and enlarged, front and rear. The units were about 50 percent lighter than grey cast-iron discs of the same size.

Prices

2004 - 2007 Porsche Carrera GT High Resolution Exterior
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When launched in 2004, the Carrera GT had a starting price of $444,400 for the U.S. market, which made it significantly more affordable than its main competitor, the Ferrari Enzo, priced from $659,330. Although original production plans included 1,500 cars, in 2005 Porsche announced that it would not continue production of the supercar through to 2006, citing the discontinuation was due to changing airbag regulations in the United States.

Despite the small production run and its popularity when in production, the Carrera GT has gained very little value since it was discontinued.

By the end of production on May 6th, 2006, Porsche had assembled 1,270 Carrera GTs, 604 of which were sold in North America. Interestingly enough, nearly half of them were painted GT Silver, while 14 percent were black. About 6.5 percent were finished in various color-to-sample hues such as Carrara White, Polar Silver, Gulf Blue and various shades of red other than the standard Guards Red.

Despite the small production run and its popularity when in production, the Carrera GT has gained very little value since it was discontinued. Two examples were auctioned for around $360,000 in 2013, while a Fayence Yellow car with less than 700 miles on the clock changed owners for $478,500 in 2014.

Jay Leno, Jerry Seinfeld and Tiger Woods are among celebrities that purchased a Carrera GT. In 2013, American actor Paul Walker, mostly known for playing Brian O’Conner in "The Fast and the Furious" films, died in a Porsche Carrera GT driven by Roger Rodas.

Competition

Ferrari Enzo

2003 - 2004 Ferrari Enzo High Resolution Exterior
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Arguably the most coveted supercar of the early 2000s, the Enzo went into production in 2002 and discontinued in 2004 after only 400 units were built. A lot more exclusive than the Carrera GT, the Enzo was also the more exotic proposition, featuring an array of electronic systems, three driving modes, and a computer-controlled, six-speed sequential transmission.

Unlike the Carrera GT, the Enzo has nearly doubled its value in more than a decade, fetching more than $1 million when sold at auctions.

Read more about the Ferrari Enzo in our full review here.

Lamborghini Murcielago

2007 Lamborghini Murcielago LP640
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The Murcielago was Lamborghini’s range-topping supercar from 2001 to 2010. It replaced the iconic Diablo and preceded the Aventador. Offered in many versions throughout its production, the Murcielago used at 6.2-liter V-12 rated at 572 horsepower initially. This unit made it slightly quicker than the Carrera GT with a 0-to-60 sprint of 3.7 seconds.

The fastest Murcielago was the SuperVeloce (SV), which employed a 6.5-liter V-12 with 661 horses and 490 pound-feet of twist. Limited to just 350 units, it was able to hit 60 mph in only 2.8 seconds on its way to a top speed of 212 mph. However, the Murcielago SV arrived in 2009, three years after Porsche had discontinued the Carrera GT.

Overall, the Murcielago was less exclusive than the Carrera GT, as production included 4,099 examples.

Find our more about the Lamborghini Murcielago LP640 here.

Conclusion

2004 - 2007 Porsche Carrera GT High Resolution Exterior
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The Carrera GT is not just a rare vehicle, but also part of a rare breed of Porsche-badged supercars. It was less exclusive and less powerful than the Enzo, but it was built with a more driver-oriented philosophy in mind. Essentially stripped down to basic performance devoid of many of the nannies found in the Enzo, the Carrera GT blended racing technology with day-to-day usability in a manner very few supercars were able to. In some ways, the Carrera GT was the McLaren F1 of the 2000s.

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    • * Not as exclusive as the Ferrari Enzo
    • * No racing version
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