There’s a flavour for every type of driver in Porsche’s GTS lineup
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.
The Porsche 911 Targa 4 GTS is both exotic and expensive.