We test drive the sweet spot of the Porsche 911 range, in the guise of the latest 911 Carrera 4 GTS Coupe.
The previous GTS version of Porsche’s iconic 911 was rated by many as the pick of the range but things are a tad tastier this time round. Porsche has decided to gift the GTS a more distinct and dynamic personality that can’t be duplicated via the Carrera S’s options list. You might get reasonably close, but the days of the DIY 911 GTS are essentially over. That said, the options list assigned to the GTS itself is so long that if you don’t exercise a little prudence in the ticking department, you could soon find yourself in 911 Turbo or even Turbo S territory price-wise.
For the 992 generation GTS, Porsche has pinched tech and components from above to fashion a more precisely pitched sweet spot that makes choosing a new 911, should you be in that fortunate position, a less binary and more finessed process. Think Turbo lite with the odd 911 GT3 flourish thrown in.
Slotting in neatly between Carrera S and Turbo, the GTS takes the S’s 3.0-litre flat-six turbo engine and boosts it by 22kW and 40Nm – taking its vital statistics to 353kW at 6000rpm and 570Nm at 2300-5000rpm. By default, the car comes with an eight-speed PDK dual-clutch automatic, but you can spec rear-drive models with a seven-speed manual at no extra cost. For those who do, the gear lever is 10mm shorter than in the Carrera S to enable snappier shifting. Snappier still, PDK takes the GTS from 0-100 km/h in just 3.3sec, doubtless a factor in the respectable Nordschleife lap time of 7:25 – some 4sec faster than the Carrera S and only 3sec slower than Turbo S.
Compared to the regular Carrera 4 S, the GTS sits 10mm lower on 20- and 21-inch Turbo S centre locking wheels. Its chassis is effectively that of the Turbo tweaked to suit the lighter demands of the GTS, but the braking system is lifted wholesale – 408mm discs at the front, 380mm rear – and the GTS retains the Turbo’s ‘helper’ spring at the rear which keeps the main springs constantly under tension for better rebound performance. PASM is standard, and options include rear-axle steering, PCCB ceramic composite brakes and a lift system that raises the nose slightly to negotiate vicious speed humps or an awkward driveway.
The visual differences, inside and out, between this car and a regular Carrera are subtle, but enough to appeal to Porsche aficionados. So the real magic has to come from gains in performance and dynamics.