Tasty treats

There’s a flavour for ev­ery type of driver in Porsche’s GTS lineup

Winnipeg Free Press - Section F - - FRONT PAGE - By Bren­dan Mcaleer

MALAGA, Spain – Con­sider the GTS badge to be Stuttgart’s ver­sion of crowd­pleas­ing Neapolitan ice cream. You got your ev­ery­day vanilla, your luxo-straw­berry, and that sweet, sweet track-day choco­late.

Like many things Porsche, there’s a rac­ing icon to fill out the back­story. In this case, it’s the 904 GTS, a pur­pose­built mid-en­gined rac­ing car from the 1960s. Small, light and fo­cused, just 106 road­go­ing ver­sions were pro­duced to fill ho­molo­ga­tion re­quire­ments.

A bet­ter his­tor­i­cal ex­am­ple of the breed might be found in the 928 GTS. As the sporti­est ver­sion of a very fast V8 grand tourer, it is far more like the mod­ern cars than the lad­der-frame, fi­bre­glass-bod­ied 904.

With any mod­ern Porsche, spend more and you’ll get both a longer recipe list on the back of your car and greater speed from it. Where the badg­ing be­comes faintly ridicu­lous — “Porsche 911 Targa 4 GTS” for in­stance — please note that mod­eldes­ig­na­tion delete is a no­cost op­tion.

The Targa is the lat­est ad­di­tion to re­ceive GTS tweaks, join­ing the Boxster and Cay­man twins, the Cayenne, the Panam­era and the 911 range. From the high craggy moun­tain peaks of South­ern Spain to the chal­leng­ing and tech­ni­cal Cir­cuito As­cari, all were put through their paces. Grab your­self a bowl and spoon; Here’s the scoop on the whole lineup.

2015 Porsche Cayenne GTS

A nar­row path through bro­ken rock, the road that cuts through Sierra de las Nieves Na­tional Park is ut­terly breath­tak­ing. In a nearly two me­trewide, 440-horse­power Ger­man SUV, things are even more gasp-in­duc­ing, par­tic­u­larly the bits where pass­ing de­liv­ery trucks make me re­flex­ively hold my breath.

When the way is clear, the Cayenne is like a rhi­noc­eros that ran away from the zoo and was adopted by a ballet troupe. Noth­ing this big should be this ag­ile, but the GTS ver­sion of the Porsche’s SUV is fast with a cap­i­tal F. On a wrig­gly piece of road, whose GPS nav­i­ga­tion out­line looks like a strand of cooked spaghetti stuck on a wall, it has lit­tle dif­fi­culty keep­ing up with a Boxster GTS.

Feed this bright red beast into a cor­ner and it slurps up the tar­mac like a noo­dle. Be­neath your seat you can feel the en­gi­neer­ing work­ing away, cor­rect­ing your mis­takes, fight­ing physics, shunt­ing power around through all-wheel drive, Porsche Ac­tive Sta­bil­ity Man­age­ment, and a torque-vec­tor­ing rear end.

You can al­most feel the lit­tle elec­tronic helpers scut­tling around deal­ing with any goofy thing you’d care to do. Full throt­tle mid-cor­ner? Sure, we can fix that. The ca­pa­bil­ity is im­pres­sive, the man-ma­chine bond less so.

The Cayenne S lost its V8 this year in favour of a more ef­fi­cient twin­turbo V6 and the Cayenne GTS is sim­ply an en­hance­ment of that ideal. You get the front-end off the Turbo with smoked head­lights, stan­dard air sus­pen­sion, eight-way sport seats with Al­can­tara pan­els, and a 20-horse­power bump for the 3.6-L twin-turbo V6.

Truth be told, it’s the least com­pelling of­fer­ing here. Some­thing like the diesel ver­sion might not have the raw pace, but would be more than enough for Canadian roads.

PHO­TOS BY BREN­DAN MCALEER / POST­MEDIA NET­WORK INC.

The Porsche 911 Targa 4 GTS is both ex­otic and ex­pen­sive.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.