UK Drive: Porsche's Carrera GTS aims for the sweet spot in the 911 range
Jack Evans has been out and about in the Porsche 911 Carrera GTS to find out what it’s like on UK roads
What is it?
The iconic Porsche 911 needs no introduction. However, the Carrera GTS model we have here does. Designed to be sharper, nimbler and faster than the standard Carrera, the GTS slots in between the regular car and the all-attack GT3. You can have it with four- or two-wheel drive, and a dual-clutch automatic or a manual gearbox.
Automotive purists rejoice, however, as our test car is a two-wheel drive, manual version – arguably the ‘driver’s’ choice. That said, there’s still enough room for luggage and – at a push – four people.
Visually, quite a lot. The GTS benefits from the wider bodywork that you’ll usually only find on four-wheel-drive 911s, while it also has adaptive dampers fitted as standard – something which will cost you extra on a regular Carrera.
You even get racing-style centre-lock wheels you’ll only find on the Turbo. It also benefits from more power than the standard Carrera, with a 30bhp power boost pushing the GTS’s total output to 444bhp.
What’s under the bonnet?
The GTS uses Porsche’s latest-generation turbocharged flat-six. This means 444bhp and 550Nm, making it the most powerful non-GT, rear-wheel-drive Porsche ever made.
Power is sent to the rear wheels via a seven-speed manual gearbox. As previously mentioned, you can specify the GTS with four-wheel-drive and a dual-clutch automatic PDK gearbox, though the true spirit of this car is only realised with two driven wheels and a ‘stick. Optional carbon-ceramic brakes are available, though our test car came with the standard aluminum ones, sat behind large 21-inch alloy wheels.
What’s it like to drive?
The GTS, in this layout, is pretty intoxicating to drive. Weighing in at 1,525kg, it’s lighter than the Turbo S (a portly 1,600kg thanks to four-wheel-drive and a dual-clutch gearbox) but down on power by around 120bhp. This may sound like a bad thing, but it completely transforms the driving experience. Whereas the Turbo is all about fast launches and quick but predictable handling, the GTS offers mid-corner adjustability that you simply can’t get from the more powerful car. The engine in the GTS prefers to be revved out too, rather than offering a huge lump of low-down shove. It makes for a hugely involving driving experience.
The steering is neat and accurate, and there’s plenty of weight to it, too. The adjustable dampers do mean you can firm things up should you want to, but in all honesty we found them best set to Normal for UK driving. We did find, however, that when pushing on the brakes don’t provide quite enough bite. Of course, for normal driving they’re more than adequate, but if you’re planning on using your GTS for more high-speed driving then we’d opt for the optional carbon-ceramics.
How does it look?
On the face of it, the GTS looks a lot like a normal 911. Look closer though, and you’ll see the wider arches from the Turbo, as well as range of styling touches exclusive to the GTS. These include darkened exhaust pipe tips, smoked rear and front lights and that all-important ‘look at me’ electric boot spoiler. In pictures it looks really rather good, and in the flesh even better – to our eyes, at least. It certainly grabs the attention of passers-by, with the added GTS touches giving it even more presence than ‘just’ a standard 911.
What’s it like inside?
There’s the mixture of the old and new inside the Porsche 911 GTS. You’ve got the large, analogue rev counter representing the former, with a high-definition TFT screen in the binnacle next to it bringing the latter.
It’s a classy cabin, there’s no doubt about that, with lots of leather used throughout and an Alcantara headlining finishing the whole impression off. Our car did develop a rattle during our few hundred miles of testing – annoying, particularly in a £95,000-plus car. However, it’s a small fly in a lot of ointment, as the rest of the GTS’s cabin is superbly well built.
What’s the spec like?
Let’s get the painful bit out of the way; our test car, including options, weighed in at a hefty £107,359. Granted, the base price for the GTS is £95,795, but throw a smattering of options its way and you’ll quickly trouble the six figure mark. Our car came with optional two-tone leather upholstery (£2,811), Porsche DynamicLight LED main headlights (£1,722) and Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control (£2,273) to name but three of the costlier options.
In our opinion, the GTS is a car best accompanied by fewer rather than more optional extras – though the dynamic chassis control is a box well worth ticking, as it makes the Porsche just a little more pliable over UK roads.
The Porsche 911 GTS is pretty much all of the sports car you could want. It’s fast, features deliciously sharp handling and, with its wide-arched Turbo bodystyle, stands out a little more than just a regular Carrera. It’s best suited in manual, rear-wheel-drive set-up where it offers the kind of stripped-back driving experience that keeps drivers coming back to Porsches time and time again.
FACTS AT A GLANCE
Model: Porsche 911 Carrera GTS
Price (as tested): £107,359
Engine: 3.0-litre turbocharged flat six
Max speed: 193mph
Emissions: 212g/km CO2
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