The Rt12R is a study in how to harness huge power. So good is it at turning torque into forward progress, one wonders what might have been had Porsche offered a GT-series Turbo derivative without deleting the all-wheel drive. The Rt12R’s uncanny, utterly predictable way of putting its power down on rougher roads is familiar for good reason: Its mechanical all-wheel-drive system is from the 996 Turbo, chosen over electronic 997 systems for its predictability. Though Ruf offers the Rt12R with rear-wheel drive, we’d have a hard time passing the all-wheel drive up.
While the Rt12R isn’t quite as sharp as a GT3 RS in handling terms — there is a cost for the Ruf’s extra pounds, after all — it offers another layer of reassurance. Our time with the car comes right after a drive in Ruf’s mid-engined CTR3 supercar, and, down the same bumpy roads, the Rt12R inspires more confidence despite its shorter wheelbase. Part of that may be down to the Rt12R’s familiarity as a 911, but its superior damping doesn’t hurt. The damping still falls short of brilliance, however — a situation Ruf says is fixed by fitting street tires in place of track-day tires.
Perhaps most impressive, the Rt12R is more than a “numbers car.” It’s a complete car, with impressive refinement. The steering is feelsome and precise. The brakes are easily modulated. The clutch is light and progressive. The six-speed manual is so well-weighted and adjusted it nearly guides your hand across the gate from second to third.
Then there’s its quality. The body features perfect paint over beautifully wrought fender-top intercooler intakes, peaked front fenders, and a simple, aggressive front bumper. Inside, a hidden roll cage, hand-stitched leather, and conveniences like A/C, a nose-lift system, sat-nav, and phone integration make it a car for more than track days and autobahn scare sessions.
Ruf has built four Rt12Rs so far, and says it will build just six more. Yeah, it’s a bit much in gold. But the color isn’t out of place considering the price tag — and cars as good to drive as this have a way of starting to look better and better just the way they are. And that’s proving true here.