Shoppers who have about $440,000 to spend might wish to get their checkbooks ready. Porsche started launching a modest-sized batch of race-bred mid-engine Carrera GT roadsters. Each holds a new 5.7-liter V-10 engine that whips up 605 horsepower.
Unveiled at the 2003 Geneva International Motor Show and introduced at the 2004 North American International Auto Show, the Carrera GT is trickling into U.S. dealerships. Porsche claims the Carrera GT will yield “a full-blown racetrack experience on the road.” Lightweight construction is paramount. The monocoque structure and subframe of the Carrera GT are made of carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic. The car has a flat bottom and a rear diffuser.
Not only will the Carrera GT accelerate from zero to 62 mph in less than 4 seconds, but it can also reach 125 mph in 9.9 seconds due to a specially developed six-speed-manual gearbox. Specially forged, extremely lightweight magnesium wheels are said to be a production car “first,” according to Porsche. The front tires measure 19 inches in diameter, while larger 20-inchers are fitted at the rear.
The roadster’s roof consists of two individual carbon-fiber shells that can be stowed in the front compartment. Each weighs 5.3 pounds. Porsche builds the Carrera GT in Leipzig, Germany.
Looking the part of a supercar, the Carrera GT is easy to spot with its deeply scalloped bodysides that run from the trailing edge of each front fender, through the doors and just into the rear quarter panels. Projector-style headlights and a roll bar are installed. A gaping air intake sits low on the front end. Long nacelles are positioned to the rear of each seat.
Measuring 181 inches long overall and riding on a 106.8-inch wheelbase, the Carrera GT is 75.6 inches wide and 45.9 inches tall. The underbody is fully cased in carbon fiber, which provides an additional suction effect thanks to the rear diffuser and flow channels. Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes and a Porsche Ceramic Composite Clutch are used. The Carrera GT weighs 3,043 pounds.
Two passengers fit inside the Carrera GT’s cockpit. Manually adjustable seats are finished in smooth leather on composite carbon shells. The console is made of composite materials and covered in galvanized magnesium. Fitted with a ball-shaped wood knob, the gearshift lever is positioned next to the steering wheel.
Air conditioning is standard, and the Carrera GT can have a navigation system and Bose audio. Porsche includes a five-piece set of leather luggage that matches the car’s interior color.
Under the Hood
The 5.7-liter V-10 engine in the Carrera GT is equipped with dry-sump lubrication and produces 605 hp at 8,000 rpm and 435 pounds-feet of torque at 5,750 rpm. Based on the 5.5-liter V-10 that Porsche developed strictly for racing, the engine works with a six-speed-manual gearbox. Porsche claims the Carrera GT can reach a track speed of 205 mph. Acceleration from zero to 62 mph takes 3.9 seconds.
The Carrera GT comes with traction control and front and side-impact airbags. Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes are equipped with an antilock feature. The seats can be fitted with six-point racing seat belts in place of the three-point belts.