Porsche 911 GT2 RS (991) | PH Used Buying Guide
A 700hp, two-wheel drive 911 sounded like trouble – the reality, to drive and to own, was anything but
By Tony Middlehurst / Sunday, 19 February 2023 / Loading comments
- Available for £310,000
- 3.8-litre flat-six petrol twin-turbo, rear-wheel drive
- Fabulously engineered adults’ supercar
- Tailor it to your skill level, and learn from it
- No evidence so far of any common faults
- Is there a better performance package for the money?
Officially launched at the 2017 Goodwood Festival of Speed, sort of (its premiere was actually in Forza 7 on the Xbox) the 991.2 GT2 RS was the ultimate extension of the 911 Turbo. It arrived two years after turbocharging had been established as the default power supply method for all 911s bar the specialist GT3, GT3 RS and Speedster models, which ran with Porsche’s naturally aspirated 4.0 six.
The base Carrera 991.2 unveiled at Frankfurt in 2015 put out 370hp and the Carrera S 420hp, both creditable amounts in their own right but puny against the 700hp sledgehammer heft of the GT2 RS. Porsche dubbed the GT2 RS ‘road-approved but racetrack-ready’. It was the sort of claim that, coming from other manufacturers, might have been derided as overblown. Coming from Porsche, a company not given to overstatement, it sounded ominously likely.
And so it proved. The powertrain was a masterpiece. We’ll get into that in more detail in the Engine & Gearbox section. At the moment let’s just say that it was quite different to the preceding 3.6-litre 997.2 GT2 RS, both in the sound it made and the linear fashion in which it dished out its power. Of which there was plenty. Both cars had twin-turbo flat sixes but the 991.2 RS that we’re looking at here churned out 700hp from its water-injected 3.8, a meaty 80hp more than the 997 RS’s 3.6, 120hp more than the Turbo S, and a new power record for a production 911.
The new RS was up on torque too, by 37lb ft, recording a figure of 553lb ft. Porsche said that the torque boost necessitated a switch from a manual gearbox to a 7-speed PDK double-clutcher. Even if the PDK wasn’t actually stress-mandated (and we’re not saying it wasn’t), and even if it did contribute to the 991’s reputed weight gain of 175kg over the manual 997 (which it undoubtedly did), the huge chop in the 0-62mph time from 3.5sec to 2.8sec and the full second that the PDK helped to knock off the 0-100mph time (down to 5.8sec) surely justified the switch. Frank Walliser, VP of Porsche Motorsport and overseer of the project, was matter of fact about it. ‘We never thought of a manual for this car,’ he said. ‘It was only ever going to be PDK.’ Good.
The GT2 RS was just as magnificent on the chassis side. It had the same rear-wheel steer and rose-jointed rear suspension as the naturally aspirated GT3 RS, but with slightly firmer settings to handle its extra weight. The RS’s top speed of 211mph could have been 223mph if Porsche had developed a tyre capable of handling those speeds, and if they hadn’t wanted to take even more of the spotlight off Porsche’s halo 918 Spyder that maxed out at 214mph. In the hands of Porsche test driver Lars Kern the RS became the fastest production car around the Nürburgring. Kern’s 6m 47.3sec was five seconds quicker than the time that Lamborghini’s equivalent of him had set in their headline car the Huracan Performante. The 991.2 RS was also ten seconds quicker than the 918 Spyder (which it also bested around other tracks) and a full half-minute quicker than the 997.2 GT2 RS. For comparison, the 2017-on GTS (which was regarded as the best ‘regular’ 991.2) went round the ‘Ring in 7m 22sec on P Zero Corsa tyres.
Lamborghini put out a bigger gun, the Aventador SVJ, to narrowly nab the record off Porsche, prompting Manthey Racing (51 percent owned by Porsche) to release an MR model that easily took it back, cutting a chunky 7 seconds off Kern’s 6m 47.3s time. All with two-wheel drive, remember. Porsche did consider AWD early on in the RS project but soon dismissed it as unnecessary given the prodigious grip and traction that was available from the standard – and obviously lighter – 2WD chassis.
The main body of the 991 GT2 RS was usual 911 Turbo fare, i.e., an aluminium-steel composite, but carbon fibre reinforced plastic was used for the front wings, wheel arch vents, door mirror caps, rear side air intakes, parts of the rear end and the bonnet, which for the first time in a series-produced Porsche featured NACA ducts to help cool the brakes.
The Clubsport package – bolted-in steel roll cage, six-point belt in in red for the driver, fire extinguisher and prep for a main battery switch – was standard on the GT2 RS. The Weissach package was not. That cost £21,000 but it did remove 30kg out of the car through its more extensive use of carbon fibre, most notably for the roof panels (carbon replacing the standard magnesium) and the rear wing, and through other measures such as the switch from steel to titanium for the roll cage (a 9kg saving). The carbon front and rear ARBs and coupling rods saved another 5kg, and a lovely set of magnesium centrelock wheels in satin-finish White-Gold cut just over 11kg unsprung weight. The weave was exposed in some areas to signify the owner’s selection of the £21,000 Weissach pack, with carbon steering wheel trim and gearshift paddles and Weissach circuit scripts on the headrests and the cupholder trim plaque to remind you of your extra investment.
Even on non-Weissach cars plenty of effort was put into keeping weight to a minimum. Carpets, wing supports, intercooler brackets and even wiring harnesses were trimmed down and the door pulls were fabric rather than metal or plastic. To axe more weight, you could order your GT2 RS minus its audio and air-con. To put a bit of weight back you could buy the special Porsche Design Chronograph GT2 RS watch. It wouldn’t be a lot though because it was made of lightweight titanium. The 42mm manual wind watch cost around £8k in 2018 and mint examples are worth about the same today.
A thousand 991 GT2 RSs were meant to be built. Four were lost at sea in March 2019 en route to their owners in Brazil. Ever the perfectionists, Porsche restarted the line to take the number back up to 500. Some sources however suggest that the final number built was a bit more than 1,000, because production was never fixed in the way it was for cars like the Speedster, but the GT2 RS is certainly a rare 911. It’s believed 131 came to the UK.
The new GT2 RS price in 2017 was £208,000, which considering what you were getting in terms of the outlandish track and acceleration times and all-round deliciousness was the bargain of the century if you were one of the favoured few with their name on the list. The intrinsic value of the car has become pretty clear now, four years after Porsche stopped building them. At the time of writing (February 2023) the most affordable used example available in the UK wore a £310,000 price tag. There were a couple of other cars for under £330k, but most were sitting between £360k and £380k.
Even at these exalted prices, a ten-minute drive might be all it would take to convince even the most sceptical that a 991.2 GT2 RS is well worth the money. These are special cars. It’s hard to see what else you could buy for the same sort of money that would be demonstrably superior to it. If they’re not special enough for you, you could always try to track down one of the thirty circuit-only GT2 RS Clubsport 25 cars that were built by Porsche in 2021 at 525,000 euros a pop (plus local taxes). Here’s the PH story on that.
Normally with these guides we tell you about any issues you might encounter as an owner, but rarity and low mileages have conspired to prevent us from finding any common problems with the 991.2 GT2 RS. There are none mentioned on the model-specific owners’ group FB page. If you’d like to read about some of the generic issues that have come to light with the regular 991.2 911s allow us to point you in the direction of the buyer’s guide that we put together on these cars in mid-2022. There’s no suggestion that the RS will be any more or any less susceptible than ordinary 991.2s to the issues mentioned in that story. If we had to bet on it however, based on the strong likelihood of the pride with which GT2 RSs would have been constructed, we’d put our money on less susceptible.
SPECIFICATION | PORSCHE 911 GT2 RS (991) (2018-19)
Engine: 3,800cc flat six 24v twin-turbocharged petrol
Transmission: 7-speed PDK twin-clutch auto, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): [email protected],000rpm
Torque (lb ft): [email protected],500-4,500rpm
0-62mph (secs): 2.8
Top speed (mph): 211
Weight (kg): 1,545
MPG (official combined): 23.9
CO2 (g/km): 284
Wheels (in): 9.5 x 20 (f), 12.5 x 21 (r)
Tyres: 265/35 (f), 325/30 (r)
On sale: 2017 – 2019
Price new: £207,506
Price now: from £310,000
Note for reference: car weight and power data are hard to pin down with absolute certainty. For consistency, we use the same source for all our guides. We hope the data we use is right more often than it’s wrong. Our advice is to treat it as relative rather than definitive.
ENGINE & GEARBOX
The engine wasn’t a blown version of the GT3 RS’s 4.0 unit. It was essentially a 911 Turbo S 3.8 with new charge-air coolers, pistons, reshaped carbon fibre intakes, a titanium exhaust that was 7kg lighter than the 911 Turbo’s standard pipework, water injection (a 911 first) and larger, twin variable-geometry turbos that puffed at up to 22.5psi, which was 24 per cent more pressure than the Turbo S. It redlined at 7,000rpm, which might have seemed low to those expecting the wildcat scream of the normally-aspirated specialist sixes, but the GT2 sounded great in its own way and very few drivers complained about a performance shortage. The power delivery was all but lag-free and the presence of over 550lb ft from just 2,500rpm meant you could be lazy and leave it in the higher gears and still enjoy electric urge without any of the range anxiety.
Looked at dispassionately, the 700hp power output could seem like a stupid amount in a two-wheel drive car, but its seamless deployment through those foot-wide back tyres was a huge tribute to Porsche’s ability to match up their engines to the equally fine PDK gearbox, regularly described in this GT2 RS application as the best paddle-box ever. Changes were practically instantaneous. Floor it in top gear and the box would instantly drop to second to fire you past anything you were overtaking. Which could literally be just about anything on four wheels. We mentioned the savage 0 to 62mph and 0-100mph times earlier. Almost more shocking than the times was how effortlessly repeatable they were.
Historically, GT2 RSs had a bit of a ‘widowmaker’ reputation. With the 991.2 version Porsche set out to offer the full-fat RS experience but with less of the laxative effect. The car’s chassis (built around adaptive MacPherson struts at the front and a multilink rear) featured firmer spring rates but softer anti-roll bars, dynamic engine mounts, bespoke traction and stability control systems, a torque-vectoring rear diff and rear-wheel steer. Ride height and camber were adjustable and sticky Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres were standard.
The GT2 could seem intimidating on the first encounter and maybe slightly twitchy and understeery at lower speeds or before you’d put some heat into the tyres, but it got very much better very quickly. Initial uncertainty soon gave way to a freakish confidence borne of peerless grip and tractability. The feeling was that you could venture deep into ‘the zone’ – a rarefied environment in a car this quick – with no expectation of ending up on a gurney in A&E. Its ability to nail itself down on even bumpy roads with such apparently small amounts of wheel travel was near-miraculous for something with 63 percent of its weight over the back wheels. The electrically assisted steering was equally baffling in its loveliness. How did Porsche do it? GT2 RS levels of brainpower, presumably.
The lighter magnesium wheels that came with the Weissach package made a noticeable difference to the feel of the car. The rear wing provided 340kg of downforce at the maximum speed of 211mph but it could be tuned to give 450kg for racing, which is the weight of five hefty blokes. Carbon ceramic brakes were standard, as you’d expect, with 410mm/six-piston discs at the front and 390mm/four-piston items at the rear. They stopped the car quickly.
You could make your GT2 RS life more exciting, though not necessarily in a good way depending on your talent pool, by disabling all the traction controls. You could do that in this car, using the two discrete buttons for ‘ESC Off’ and ‘ESC + TC Off’, but when they were off, so were all bets. The all-off setting was for people who really knew what they were doing. At the end of the day it was a two-wheel drive car and even driving gods were bound by the laws of physics.
Although it was gilled up to the max, all the vents of the GT2 RS were designed for function, not appearance. The roof was magnesium as standard to keep the centre of gravity as low as possible. The Weissach’s carbon roof lowered it still further. Some said that the rear window and rear side windows were made of polycarbonate but according to Porsche Germany they were made of glass, albeit a special brew that was as light as polycarb and a lot more resistant to scratches and breakages.
The GT2’s rear wing was wider than the GT3’s but it was also thinner and mounted higher that its predecessor’s, improving rear-view vision through the rear glass. The monogrammed front splitter was taken from the GT3 Cup race car. It sat very low but there was a front axle lift option that would help to get you over carelessly tossed matchboxes.
The Porsche badge on the bonnet was a sticker, again to save weight. Special paint like the Miami Blue on the UK press car registered 911 GB was £2,500.
Getting into a GT2 RS straight after something like an Aventador (other outrageous supercars are available) would immediately bring to light one 911 attribute: excellent visibility. Being able to see out of a car is a feature that’s often taken for granted, or overlooked altogether, but when you’re bashing into a blind bend at big speeds, acutely-angled A-pillars and shallow glass areas can suddenly feel like a liability. Underneath all the GT2 RS badges, grilles and wings there was a 911, an easy-going car in terms of see-outability.
The RS cockpit was agreeably analogue. Besides the usual track-biased metrics like boost and oil pressure, the gauge to the right of the speedo could present you with torque and power graphs, actual versus what you might be doing if only you were brave enough, a slightly de-trousering experience if your performance was miles off the car’s potential. Go on, have a go, you’ll be amazed at what you can do in one of these. Two cupholders were beautifully hidden behind a sliver of carbon ahead of the passenger. Carbon PDK paddles on Weissach cars added a sweet touch of racy exoticism. Pressing the Sport exhaust button to open the valves made a big difference to the sound in the cabin.
The intrusion of the roll cage meant that the front boot was your only luggage space, and it wasn’t exactly capacious at 115 litres, limited as it was by the presence of a carbon fibre distilled water tank for the injection system. Naturally you could delete the cage if tracks weren’t going to feature in your life.
If you were given the task of summing up the 911 GT2 RS in one sentence you might describe it as the maddest 911 engine in the maddest 911 chassis, but the 991.2 went a lot deeper than that. It was supercar motoring for real, not just for showing off on the mean streets of South Ken. Nico Rosberg described it as ‘a complete race car… really good fun.’ His ‘good fun’ is our ‘petrifyingly fast’. ‘This is a car for adults,’ mused Porsche Motorsport boss Frank Walliser. Yes, and you’ll certainly need adult-size pockets to get one in your garage.
Although the GT2 RS timeline, technically at least, was 2017 to 2019, all nine of the GT2 RSs on PH Classifieds at the time of writing were 2018 cars. This is because the production run started at the end of 2017 and ended in early 2019 (February), with just that brief restart to create four more cars after the ‘lost as sea’ episode. There weren’t many other RSs for sale in the UK outside PH but the ones that were were ’18 cars too. We believe that all 131 UK cars were 2018-registered.
Five of the nine cars on sale on PH at the time of writing were Weissachs. They’re really no harder to find or to buy than ‘ordinary’ GT2 RSs. As a percentage of the new car price of £206,000, £21,000 wasn’t seen as much of a hike, and as far as we can tell there was never any special premium value attaching to the Weissach. That seems to be confirmed by today’s used market where there’s very little price differential between Weissachs and non-Weissachs. New buyers who were on the list simply went for the spec that would be right for them. The use to which they put their RS would then be based on whether they wanted it to grow in value or blow their socks off on a daily basis. The mileages of the cars that are now for sale indicate that the vast majority of owners are choosing option one.
It’s almost certainly true that you could have your RS cake and eat it, i.e., put miles on without damaging its value. You might slow down the rate of appreciation a bit, but surely it’s worth sacrificing a few grands’ worth of profit in exchange for one form of motoring nirvana? What do we know though, we’re just dirty scribblers. The leggiest car among the nine on PH Classifieds cars had 16,000 miles on it, hardly massive for a four-five-year-old car but enough to ‘depress’ the price to £310k. This was the cheapest GT2 RS in the UK as we went to press. Given the generally low usage of 991.2 GT2 RSs in general, prices are more determined by how much the vendor thinks they can get for a car. So, the £365,995 delivery mileage car wasn’t the most expensive. That honour went to this 3,800-miler at £379,900. The most affordable Weissach was this 15,000-mile specimen at a fiver under £325k.
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