The detail changes even between GTS variants continues. If you spec a manual car, you get a mechanical limited-slip differential and Porsche Torque Vectoring (rear-wheelbraking). PDK models get an electronic limited-slip differential and PTV Plus. I swear there are as many Porsche initialisms as there are 911s. The ‘Plus’ bit means that the wheel braking is combined with control of the differential. And then you can have as an option Power Steering Plus, which makes the steering lighter at parking speeds and is fitted to this grey car; and active rear steering, which isn’t.
Phew. Keeping up? Good. Then I’ll continue: wheels are 20in centre-lock as standard, and 0.5in wider than usual, shod with 245mm-wide front and 305mm-wide rear tyres. The rear track is wider than the Carrera S’s, too, to encourage less body roll. Front brakes are up by 10mm in diameter and get larger 911 Turbo pads, with aluminium disc hubs. The 0-62mph time falls by at least 0.2sec and, in case you care, the Nürburgring lap time is, apparently, down by four seconds.
Inside? An Alcantara steering wheel is the highlight (because I love Alcantara wheels) and there are a few smatterings of GTS-labelled bits and bobs here and there, plus dark colours to make it a bit more moody and purposeful. But the devil is, as is so often the way with Porsche, in those technical details, intended, you suspect, to add just enough keenness and sharpness, hints of GT3, while staying road-sensible.
Quelle surprise, they work. Boy, do they work. A standard 911 S is still a terrific car – and because it retains six cylinders, unlike a Boxster/Cayman, the addition of turbos hasn’t spoiled the engine – but this GTS turns up the levels of interaction a bit further.
There’s no great reason it should be hugely different from a standard 911 – and, well, it isn’t – because you can have the equivalent suspension drop on the regular Carrera S. But there is a big enough difference in all the little details combined – the better feel offered by the steering wheel rim; the reduced unsprung mass at the front; the modest but noticeable difference in urgency; and the resistance to roll and enhanced traction given by the new rear geometry – that the GTS feels inherently keener, more engaged, and more willing than a regular 911.
It still rides, too, which is some going for a car with 35-profile front and 30-profile rear tyres. Even on Welsh hillside roads, you can flick the dampers into the Sports setting and not be bucked from one bump to another as you would be in a Nissan GT-R. It doesn’t have the magic floaty feeling of a McLaren 570S, but it settles impeccably quickly and its steering, meatily heavy, is quite possibly the most rewarding electrically assisted system on any current production car. It retains a usable roundness, but it feels inherently keener, more engaging, more focused. The engine sounds a touch zingier and has suffered no discernible loss in response. PDK is now superb and the handling is as secure, predictable and engaging as you could hope.