Pure Gold

Also from Issue 200

  • Short Test: Panamera GTS
  • Jerry Seinfeld's 550-03
  • 991 across America
  • Bandido: Hot-rod 356 Speedster
  • Peter Schutz looks back
  • 2011 Rennsport Spyder
  • In aluminum: 356 Abarth GTL replica
  • Swap meet Speedster
  • 362,470-mile, one-owner 912
  • Fairy tale 24: Daytona 2012
  • The Longest Day, 1982
  • Stolen! Is your Porsche safe?
  • Tech Forum: Inside the 911 R
  • Interview: Dennis Aase
  • Smart Buy: 912
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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.

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