$270,100 . . . but it’s a bar­gain

Porsche’s Car­rera GTS is big on more power and ex­tra value, writes Paul Gover in Palm Springs

Herald Sun - Motoring - - First Drive -

ABLUE-LIGHT spe­cial of a dif­fer­ent kind will dom­i­nate Porsche sales in Aus­tralia next year. The new item in aisle 911 is a tweaked and tizzied Car­rera GTS model that does two jobs: farewelling the cur­rent 997-se­ries 911 and point­ing to the sort of value and stan­dard equip­ment that will come in the next all-new 911 in 2012.

The new­comer is priced from $270,100 — a lot of money for most new-car buy­ers in Aus­tralia but a rel­a­tively bar­gain price for a Porsche com­pared with its ri­vals.

The up­grade pack for the GTS starts with more power and big­ger wheels, runs to the wider body from the Car­rera 4 and in­cludes a classy al­can­tara leather in­te­rior.

Euro­pean cars lose the back seats to save weight and can be or­dered with an op­tional 90-litre tank.

But Aus­tralian buy­ers are ex­pected to spec­ify four spots in the cabin and the tank does not fit for right-hand drive.

‘‘The GTS is a stand-alone model. It fills the gap be­tween the Car­rera S and GT3 and is for peo­ple who like the stan­dard com­fort fea­tures but crave GT3 per­for­mance, so it’s a step up from the S,’’ Porsche Cars Aus­tralia man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Michael Win­kler says.

‘‘There is noth­ing cyn­i­cal about it. It’s stuff we’ve wanted to do for a while. The minute you launch one car the en­gi­neers are a fair way down the path on the suc­ces­sor.’’

Value

THE GTS starts from $270,100 as a coupe and $288,700 as a cabri­o­let, and will land in Jan­uary.

There is ob­vi­ous me­chan­i­cal stuff to jus­tify the hike over a reg­u­lar Car­rera S and some mi­nor cos­metic tweak­ing in­clud­ing badges and trim­ming.

But Porsche says the price in­crease is far less than it would cost to up­grade an S.

‘‘If you took a nor­mal S and added all the fea­tures you’d end up at a price that’s slightly higher than the cost of the equip­ment,’’ Win­kler says.

‘‘But you’re not just get­ting that . . . you’re also get­ting all the im­prove­ments to the body and en­gine. The stan­dard S costs about $245,000, so the GTS is about $25,000 ex­tra.

‘‘But it’s be­tween $35,000 and $40,000 bet­ter value.’’

Win­kler says it will fun­da­men­tally con­sol­i­date the per­for­mance of the 911 seg­ment.

‘‘We’ve ba­si­cally man­aged to come out of the global fi­nan­cial cri­sis un­scathed,’’ he says.

‘‘We’re now in a life-cy­cle sit­u­a­tion where the 911 is close to the end, and this model will keep it fresh.’’

Technology

THE ob­vi­ous change to the GTS is the tweak­ing of its 3.8-litre flat six to take power to 300kW.

It’s done with a new vari­able in­take sys­tem that moves the peak from 6500 revs in the S to 7300 revs, as well as boost­ing torque by 6 per cent in a fat­ter spread from just over 1500 revs.

Porsche says the ben­e­fits of the en­gine work mean more power in the medium speed ranges and fewer gear changes.

The 0-100km/h time is trimmed slightly to 4.6 sec­onds— or 4.2 with PDK and Sport Chrono pack­age — and fuel econ­omy is not af­fected.

The sus­pen­sion picks up wider front and rear tracks with the Car­rera 4 body.

The tyre pack­age is up­graded to 235x35 at the front and 305x30 at the rear, run­ning on unique 19-inch al­loy wheels.

And there is a switch­able sports ex­haust.

Power at play: the GTS looks more ag­gres­sive and has big­ger wheels.

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