From £107,4059
Perhaps not the very sweetest-handling 911 of the crop, but has outstanding dynamic versatility and body control, big-hitting real-world performance and, finally, a reason for being

What is it?

It’s now more than a decade since the latest extra-special Porsche 911 derivative, the Porsche 911 GTS was produced – although you might wonder whether anyone, besides those who actually bought and sold them, really noticed at the time.  There were modern GTS models before the ‘997’, of course, in the Porsche Panamera and Porsche Cayenne showroom ranges – and there have been others since among the firm’s Porsche Macan and Porsche 718 models; so this is a complicated equation to consider. But is the 911 GTS really “a thing” yet?

We anticipate and expect a new Porsche 911 GT3, don’t we – just as we do a Porsche 911 Turbo, or even a whole new 911 model generation debut. But a 911 GTS? It feels almost like a mid-range trim level.

Perhaps it won’t for very much longer, because Porsche has set about this new ‘992’ GTS with a good deal more intent than it did either of its predecessors. Just as before, there are new GTS versions of both the Carrera Coupe and Cabriolet, and of the Targa bodystyle. You can have one with either one driven axle or two; and eight automatically selected ‘PDK’ gear ratios or seven manually-shuffled ones for the same price.

But while the last Porsche 911 GTS was mechanically hardly any different than a Carrera S with optional ‘PASM Sport’ suspension and an engine power upgrade kit, the new one has upped its game, its price and its suspension specification each by notable hikes.

Porsche 911 gts badge

What's it like?

In the engine compartment the GTS uses an uprated version of the 3.0-litre turbocharged flat six that powers the regular ‘992’ Carrera; one developing an extra 30 horsepower over a standard Carrera S, and with a similar advantage on torque. That engine blows through a specially tuned active exhaust, and makes its presence heard in the cabin thanks to the removal of much of the noise insulation of the regular model.

But it’s the suspension specification that’s the biggest departure; because rather than starting with Carrera S axles and working upwards, Porsche based this GTS on the suspension hardware and running gear of the more powerful Turbo and rowed back. That means the GTS rides 10mm lower than a Carrera S, and uses the same width body rather than the wider body of the Turbo; but it also has Turbo-grade, mixed-width 20- and 21in ‘centrelock’ alloy wheels, Turbo-specification uprated iron brakes, and Turbo-derived suspension with helper springs on the rear axle and all-new ‘PASM’ adaptive dampers at all corners. The word is those dampers will be rolled upwards onto the Turbo and Turbo S lines as part of their next model-year revisions, by which you can already surmise that they must be pretty darned good.

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The new GTS’s exterior identifying features are familiar from the last one: think black badges, black alloy wheels and plenty of oh-so-2021‘dark chrome’ styling features. The Targa gets a darkened faux rollover hoop too, if you like that sort of thing. On the inside you get a GT-specification steering wheel, lots of ‘Race-Tex’ suede upholstery, some new trim décor options and – if you go for a manual rather than a two-pedal ‘PDK’ car – a slightly stubbier gearlever than an equivalent Carrera S gets, for a shorter, quicker shift action. There’s also an all-new ‘Porsche Communication Management 6.0’ infotainment system which comes with deep integration of Apple Music and Podcast services, as well as wired smartphone mirroring for Android handsets (at last).

Porsche offers the usual raft of dynamics-enhancing options, among them lightweight carbon-ceramic brakes, active anti-roll bars and four-wheel steering. Go for a GTS Coupe, though, and you can have the four-wheel steering thrown in as part of Porsche’s Lightweight Package; it cuts 25kg from the GTS’s homologated kerbweight via the fitment of carbonfibre bucket seats, lightweight glazing, a lightweight 12-volt battery, and by the jettisoning of the car’s occasional back seats – and it also adds a few aerodynamic tweaks to the car’s bodywork. Our test car had that package, and among many other things was a reminder that Weissach’s buckets might be the most comfortable fixed-backrest sports seats of their kind that you’ll find in any comparable car in the world. They look quite hardcore, but you could genuinely do 500-mile days in them without the slightest complaint.

Even so, the GTS’ recipe sounds very ‘mini-GT3’ – doesn’t it? And just when Porsche dealers needed something to offer buyers who weren’t fortunate enough to have been offered the hugely sought-after real thing: how convenient. On the road, though, the new car is a significantly milder-mannered, daily-drivable thing than Porsche’s latest trackday special; it can be that bit faster, flatter, grippier and more exciting than a regular ‘992’, but it’s also hardly any coarser or less supple-riding.

That it’s rawer-sounding and more dramatic than a Carrera S certainly ought to please those who have considered the regular ‘992’ a bit soft and unexciting hitherto. There’s perceptibly more urgency to the way the GTS accelerates through the mid-range, still lots of free-revving flexibility and stamina beyond 6000rpm, and a clearer and more compelling Porsche-typical turbine howl about the engine note when you’ve got the exhaust valves fully open and the throttle flexed. That’s all just the ticket. A little bit of turbo lag is apparent under big, sudden pedal applications, but only enough to add welcome spice to proceedings.

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Porsche’s chassis changes, meanwhile, give the GTS sharpened body control and boosted handling precision compared with a Carrera S, and particularly impressive high-speed vertical body control. At motorway speeds the car’s level composure is supremely good. It’s supple enough to absorb a fast, longer-wave lump, but so well damped that you feel almost no rebound whatsoever: the inputs just melt away. The car moves just enough to remind you where its weight is, but not an inch more; and never aggressively or repetitively. It’s brilliantly judged.

Porsche 911 gts rearcorner

Should I buy one?

If the GTS chassis has a fault it may actually be that it’s too serious: almost too grippy, precise and taut, and so it demands plenty of effort to find the limits of.

On the road, the car can take all the speed you dare throw at it without much troubling its stability control, or really beginning to move around much beneath you. On track, handling becomes more playful and characteristically vivacious as the tyres warm through, but not without plenty of commitment. The lower-speed, more accessible driver engagement you might expect of a lower-series performance derivative is in slightly short supply.

If you like really enigmatic, expressive, delicate handling from your 911, then, the GTS might not be the very sweetest model in the bunch – even though it’s a still car that can do an excellent job of entertaining you on the road, and could then put in a similarly world-class showing on a circuit when the occasion called.

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With Porsche’s 911 GT3 and Turbo models both having moved into more hardcore and rarefied notional territory than ever they’ve occupied before, however, there is definitely a place for a car of the first-rate performance, deep-seated composure and broad dynamic versatility of this GTS in the current 911 model lineup. There is now a need for the 911 GTS that didn’t exist a model generation ago, it could be argued; and, just like that, it’s become a car that's a little bit more clearly and carefully defined, which now deserves a particular following.

Porsche 911 gts pan


Matt Saunders

Matt Saunders Autocar
Title: Road test editor

As Autocar’s chief car tester and reviewer, it’s Matt’s job to ensure the quality, objectivity, relevance and rigour of the entirety of Autocar’s reviews output, as well contributing a great many detailed road tests, group tests and drive reviews himself.

Matt has been an Autocar staffer since the autumn of 2003, and has been lucky enough to work alongside some of the magazine’s best-known writers and contributors over that time. He served as staff writer, features editor, assistant editor and digital editor, before joining the road test desk in 2011.

Since then he’s driven, measured, lap-timed, figured, and reported on cars as varied as the Bugatti Veyron, Rolls-Royce PhantomTesla RoadsterAriel Hipercar, Tata Nano, McLaren SennaRenault Twizy and Toyota Mirai. Among his wider personal highlights of the job have been covering Sebastien Loeb’s record-breaking run at Pikes Peak in 2013; doing 190mph on derestricted German autobahn in a Brabus Rocket; and driving McLaren’s legendary ‘XP5’ F1 prototype. His own car is a trusty Mazda CX-5.

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Add a comment…
Iqrar Aabbas 28 September 2021
Naagin is a colors tv serial. 5 seasons of this magical show have been released.
caleighpacocha 22 September 2021

The Porsche 911 2021 has always maintained a modern design without "dissolving" into any contemporary trends. That is one of the factors that makes the Porsche 911 the luxury car standard that other competitors must respect

Just Saying 22 September 2021
Keep doing what you're doing Porsche. Nobody does it better!