Wide-bodied, rear-drive model is one of the sweetest of all 997-edition 911s

Our Verdict

Porsche 911 Carrera GTS
Porsche 911 Carrera GTS bridges the gap between Carrera S and GT3

New upper-mid-range 911 is as notable for its value as its performance credentials; both are very good

What is it?

It is, if Porsche’s new boss Matthias Muller has got his head around the product plan during his first six weeks on the job, the last of the 997-generation 911s before the next model arrives in the autumn of 2011.

In fact, other Porsche insiders suggest there may yet be one or two more editions to come but either way, this model, called Carrera GTS has the potential to be one of the sweetest 997s, period.

It takes the wider track and shell of the four-wheel-drive Carrera 4S but drives the rear wheels only. The 3.8-litre engine has the power kit installed, so it has six per cent more power than a Carrera S (now 402bhp), produced slightly further up the rev range (now 7300rpm). There’s a 4.6 per cent more torque, too (at 310lb ft), and its peak is available slightly earlier, at 4200rpm. The sports exhaust system comes as standard, incidentally.

The wider track (by 2mm at the front and 32mm at the rear) has allowed some suspension reprofiling, so you get stiffer springs and anti-roll bars. The 19in rear tyres are wider too, at 305/30. Porsche claims the GTS is “more neutral” than the Carrera S.

Cosmetically the car gets a GT3-esque, Alcantara-coated steering wheel; the material is used on the gearlever and handbrake. You lose the rear seats in the coupe, saving helping a GTS to weigh 5kg less than a Carrera S, although you can still have the rear accommodation as a no-cost option.

External styling features include a front splitter and side skirts, logos on the doors, black-painted, centre-hub wheel and similar-coloured exhaust pipes at the rear. You can also spec a 90-litre fuel tank as a no-cost option, as with the GT3.

For all this you’ll pay just under £77k in the UK, around £11k less than a GT3.

See pics of the Porsche 911 Carrera GTS in action

What’s it like?

Sublime. The first thing that strikes you is just how great the car is at being docile. Pock-marked, urban roads don’t seem to trouble its suspension set-up (we’d think long and hard before choosing the optional sports chassis with limited-slip diff), and the engine’s flexibility allows you to cruise with ease.

Show the GTS a bit of open road, though, and it has more than enough dynamic ability to put a smile on your face. The steering is wonderfully direct, with excellent initial bite and great feeling. And while the eventual trend is towards understeer, the chassis does feel like it wants you to lean on it through every corner. It’s perhaps not quite as light on its feet as a GT3 - but hey, it does weigh 25kg more.

The power kit makes its presence felt, but you’re more likely to feel it on a racetrack. That’s because while there is indeed a small increase in torque lower down the revs, as if the engine is breathing slightly more freely, the bigger gain comes beyond 6200rpm, when the motor feels like a completely different powerplant.

The air intake system suddenly opens an extra inlet to each cylinder, freeing up a few more horses and making a noise like a pure racing engine. Your only regret will be that it doesn’t sound like this at 4000rpm, because you need to be pushing on to hear it.

Our test car had Porsche’s carbon composite brakes fitted. An expensive option, they have terrific feel and they proved resistant to fade on even a long mountain descent. But we see little to worry about on the regular spec, which we tried in cabriolets on similar roads.

Should I buy one?

Absolutely. If you frequently want to get from A to B in appalling weather, by all means stick with a Turbo. If you’re a regular on the track day scene and want to take everything to extremes, you can still sign up for a GT3 RS.

But if you want an intoxicating blend of everyday usability, the throttle response of a naturally aspirated engine, communicative steering and enough performance to thrill you on any B-road, you shouldn’t look past the GTS. It is quite possibly all the 911 you’ll ever need.

John McIlroy

Porsche 911 Carrera GTS

Price: £76,758; Top speed: 190mph; 0-62mph: 4.6sec; Fuel economy: 26.6mpg (combined); CO2: 250g/km; Kerb weight: 1420kg; Engine 6 cyls, 3800cc, petrol; Power: 402bhp at 7300rpm; Torque: 310lb ft at 4300rpm; Gearbox: 6-spd manual

Join the debate

Comments
24

20 November 2010

Sounds fantastic and also a bargain. At this price point I can't think of anything I would rather have

20 November 2010

[quote ischiaragazzo]At this price point I can't think of anything I would rather have[/quote] I can - Nissan GT-R.........oh wait, that's 10% less expensive ;) Well done, Porsche but Nissan had this car beaten even before it ever reached tarmac.

20 November 2010

[quote The Special One]Nissan GT-R[/quote]

Depends what floats your boat - the Nissan does nothing for me, so my money would go to the Porsche. Except I would have a Cayman instead. But like I said, whatever does it for you...

20 November 2010

For me,the Aston Martin V8 Vantage is a much better

car,but,as Disco Stu says,whatever floats your boat.

21 November 2010

[quote The Special One] I can - Nissan GT-R.........oh wait, that's 10% less expensive ;) [/quote]

In my opinion when you are paying 80 odd for a car 10% makes very little difference. I also think as an ownership proposition the Porsche will beat it hands down. Ring a Nissan dealer and ask how much a 20k service is. You will get a shock and a big one at that!

21 November 2010

[quote ischiaragazzo]when you are paying 80 odd for a car 10% makes very little difference.[/quote]Well said. And it's now ten thousand dearer in its "improved" version than when it first appeared.

The idiocy aside of claiming a personal preference supreme because you despise another brand, how easily we forget the cries of anguish when owners read the small print: warranty void if the driver switches off the VDC. Fantastic. A wee black box grasses to the manufacturer. And on its debut there followed photographs of owners on their knees picking up engine parts from the highway ... buy that over a car with forty-plus years of engine development? Reminds me of an old Monty Python sketch, "The BBC is a fine organisation. I'd gladly pay double for the licence ... in fact, I'd pay triple!"

21 November 2010

[quote Los Angeles]And it's now ten thousand dearer in its "improved" version than when it first appeared.[/quote]

Indeed. In fact this Datsun has been 'upgraded' at least twice hasn't it? Have you got your Smart yet by the way?

21 November 2010

[quote ischiaragazzo]got your Smart yet [/quote]Gosh, good memory; I can't recall who said what yesterday let alone weeks ago. Still looking as per budget - prefer old-cute version, with cc's that avoid congestion charge, and has paddle shift. Wider tyres help cure shoogly drive too.

22 November 2010

The combination of wider body and rear drive make it very desirable for me. If the price wasn't an issue I will probably buy one. But in these months I'm looking for a 2006-2007 997S and I tested some cars in very good shape that cost half the price. I don't think the power increase and the visual advantage is enough to justify 80k. The GT3, for instance, has a vastly superior engine and drivetrain.

The GT-R debate is a different thing. I've been in the passenger seat in a GT-R in a mountain road that I know well, there was no way you could keep up on that road with a standard 997, I've been very impressed by the GT-R, but it's not all about speed and grip. The ideal GT for me has still to be manual, rear drive and no turbo. Said so the GT-R is bloody fast and indeed low priced against the competition.

23 November 2010

[quote matsoc]The ideal GT for me has still to be manual, rear drive and no turbo.[/quote] Totally agree, these days of forced induction any good naturally aspirated engine could justify a pruchase. Now I'm still way off this market, but independently of money I would only go for naturally aspirated petrol powered models at all times. For me throttle response and soundtrack are the most important aspects of an engine - especially at this performance level. The Carrera GTS is indeed one of the finest car money can buy.

Pages

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Car review
    23 September 2016
    Aston kicks off its ‘second century plan’ with an all-new turbo V12 grand tourer
  • Ford Ka+ 1.2 Ti-VCT 85
    First Drive
    22 September 2016
    A rounded, refined and well-sorted bargain supermini – once you’re used to the confusing role redefinition imposed on the once-cheeky Ka
  •  Maserati Ghibli Diesel
    First Drive
    22 September 2016
    Maserati releases another range of updates for its range best seller, the Ghibli. We've driven the diesel version, but there's little improvement on before
  • Tipo Front
    First Drive
    21 September 2016
    New Fiat Tipo offers impressive space and practicality for a reasonable price. We try the 1.6 diesel on the demanding roads of North Wales
  • Seat Ateca 1.4 TSI 150
    First Drive
    20 September 2016
    The Seat Ateca 1.4 TSI 150 makes perfect sense: it's spacious, tidy to drive for an SUV and cheap to run