Trading a fancy folding roof and a pair of front driveshafts for no more than a third pedal in the footwell, this standard, rear-drive, manual 911 GTS coupé will always be the first choice of those who’ve always believed that, when it comes to 911s, simplest is best. This is the lightest GTS you can buy, weighing just 10kg more than a Carrera S and that only thanks to its Carrera 4-width body, and regardless of what figures enhanced by four-wheel drive traction or super-swift PDK shifts might claim for other GTSs, the fastest too. How fast? Well, it has a better power to weight ratio than that well known sluggard, the Mercedes-AMG GT.
It also has the full suite of GTS enhancements, including the most powerful version of the new 3-litre flat six twin turbo motor yet seen with 444bhp, lowered, sports suspension (not available on Cabriolet or Targa GTSs), reduced sound deadening, a sports exhaust, a limited slip differential, torque vectoring, bigger brakes with Turbo pads, 20in centre-lock wheels, active engine mounts and the option of rear-wheel steering.
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Outside there’s a minor aero tweak to front and rear spoilers and true to GTS form, the car’s gone all moody with black wheels, black exhausts, smoked tail lights and black GTS badges. Inside the familiar Alcantara theme returns on the steering wheel, gear lever, and seat centres. GTS badges are omnipresent, on the rev-counter, TFT centre screen, kick-plates, as an option on seats and as standard on the carpet for those who, for one strange reason or another, choose to spec their GTS without rear seats.
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What's it like?
You’d think it would be easy to tell. It’s like a Carrera S, only more so, surely? In fact it’s not nearly as simple as that. The cleverest thing Porsche has always done with what is now three generations of 911 GTS, is while appearing to do little more than a spot of choice plundering of the options list, produce a car with a character all of its own. And of the three of them, I’d say this one feels the most evolved.
Partly it is the extra power: right now this is the most powerful rear-wheel drive 911 on sale and, GT cars aside, the most powerful rear-drive 911 ever to come to market. But what brings the car alive is the deep down torque of motor with its new, larger turbochargers. It breathes life into the chassis, allowing greater than ever opportunities to tax the 911’s inherently fabulous traction at the exit of corners. Finally here is a 911 whose abilities in both straight lines and through corners feel perfectly matched, not fractionally favouring the chassis like a Carrera S, nor substantially the engine, as in a Turbo.
It seems improved in other areas that are more likely to be part of Porsche’s continuous improvement policy than simply being a GTS: its steering feels more lucid, its seven-speed gearbox more precise. And its poise through corners, the way it blends rock solid stability with a delicious degree of throttle sensitivity represents a new level for a modern 911 not born in the Motorsport department.
Should I buy one?
Of course. It’s as if this were the 911 that Porsche’s engineers designed first in this series, the one from which all others would be derived, only then to realise it was better even than they’d hoped, and must, therefore, be kept their sleeves for a while. So only once all the Carreras and Turbos were safely launched could it be unleashed.
All nonsense of course, cars aren’t designed that way, but that’s how it feels. The GTS is the best ‘normal’ 911 on sale, and the rear-drive coupe the best of the best. And it is every bit as good as that sounds.
Porsche 911 GTS Coupé manual
Location South Africa; On Sale Now Price £94,316 Engine Flat six, 2981cc, twin-turbo, petrol Power 444bhp at 6500rpm Torque 406lb ft 2150rpm Gearbox 6-spd manual Kerb weight 1525kg 0-62mph 4.1sec Top speed 193mph Economy 30.1mpg (combined) CO2/tax band 212g/km, 37% Rivals Jaguar F-Type R, Mercedes AMG GT