What is it?
The 911 GTS is the latest addition to the fabled Porsche 911 family, recently arrived on UK roads. It joins equivalents in the company’s Cayman, Boxster, Panamera and Cayenne ranges and plays yet another distinct role within a 911 model range already crowded with bit-parters.
Slotting in on price, performance and sporting purposefulness between a normal Carrera S and the full-blooded GT3, the GTS is Porsche’s new medium-hot, medium-affordable derivative. Moreover, its identity is allegedly that of the everyday-use, highly developed road-going performance special.
That’s as distinct from the comfy one (Targa), the fast one (Turbo), the trackday one (GT3) and the upcoming even more specialised trackday one (GT3 RS) – and it’s not counting coupés and convertibles, rear-drive and four-wheel-drive variants, normal and ‘S’ models or special editions separately.
So on the face of it, this is a car that seems to answer absolutely no need whatsoever. However, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Cars like the 911 subsist on a fairly modest customer base, and with the current 991 generation now approaching middle age, Porsche needs something to lure owners back into the showroom.
With the awesome GT3 now all but sold out, the company also needs a more pragmatic counterpoint to offer customers clearly not in the market for the imminent GT3 RS. That, in a nutshell, is the GTS’s raison d’etre: to add spice to the model range, but at a level that isn’t too rarefied.
What's it like?
It’s very good – mainly because it’s a Porsche 911 sprinkled with go-faster dust, when normal 911s are already pretty special devices. But when you strip away what it really is, the GTS actually appeals more as a shrewd buy than as some kind of idealised sweet spot on the 911 ownership ladder.
Porsche has simply taken a regular Carrera S, thrown into the mix the wider body and axle tracks of the Carrera 4 and the engine upgrade of the optional ‘powerkit’, and likewise included some items of drivetrain and chassis equipment as standard that you’d otherwise have to pay extra for. So the GTS gets Porsche’s Sport Chrono Plus package with sports exhaust and dynamic engine mounts, its torque vectoring set-up with the limited-slip diff and its actively damped PASM adjustable suspension thrown in.
It doesn’t have Porsche’s PDDC active anti-roll bars, but conveniently you wouldn’t want them. However, were you to order the car’s standard specification on a normal Carrera S, you’d get within £2000 of the GTS’s list price - not counting the leather/alcantara interior, wide body or the powerkit upgrade. Easy sell, then.
Added to that, there are one or two ways in which the GTS’s mechanical specification is genuinely new. The suspension and steering have been retuned for greater dynamic poise and feedback, with 10mm of ride height having been taken out of the former compared with the PASM set-up on the Carrera S.
The GTS is also the first 911 to benefit from a retuning of the 991’s standard seven-speed manual gearbox for better shift quality. While it was a popular opinion, I’ve never had a problem with the way other manual 911s change gear. Nor did I lose sleep when the GT3 switched to PDK-only.