THE SWEET SPOT

Quicker, louder and more ex­pres­sive than a 911 Car­rera S, but far cheaper than a Turbo, the GTS is an ex­pert jug­gler of abil­i­ties

Car (South Africa) - - DRIVE - PORSCHE 911 CAR­RERA 4 GTS COUPÉ PRICE: ETA:

Snick, snick, snick… The stubby lever slots into each of the seven gears with the pre­ci­sion of a hunt­ing ri­fle’s bolt ac­tion. This is the first time I’ve driven a Porsche 911 with an ana­logue gear­box, and I re­peat­edly revel in the smooth­ness of the ac­tion and the brev- ity of the travel across the gate. Why would any­one or­der a 911 GTS and tick the less in­ter­ac­tive PDK op­tion?

Of course, the bulk of Porsche buy­ers do ex­actly that. And with good rea­son: the mod­ern-day 911 has mor­phed into a com­fort­able, re­fined sportscar that is en­tirely use­able day to day. And that means get­ting stuck in traf­fic, where Porsche’s slick du­al­clutch trans­mis­sion re­moves the strain of stomp­ing a fairly heavy – though per­fectly pro­gres­sive – clutch pedal.

But back to that man­ual car… It’s a Car­rera 4 GTS Coupé – which, un­like the Cabri­o­let and Targa mod­els, is fit­ted ex­clu­sive- ly with the PASM sport chas­sis and I’m at Kil­lar­ney Race­way fol­low­ing 2016 Le Mans class win­ner Marc Lieb, who’s snatched him­self the key to a Turbo. I should have learnt my les­son last month when I ner­vously trailed Bernd Sch­nei­der around Por­timão in a Mercedes-amg GT R. Rac­ing driv­ers, as af­fa­ble as they are out­side the car, seem un­able to slacken the pace when a race­track is at their dis­posal. Marc’s on it, but thank­fully I know Kil­lar­ney well and so feel com­fort­able push­ing the GTS.

Through turn one, the 44 mm broader rear track (made pos­si­ble by the stan­dard-fit­ment, wider Car­rera 4 body) means the ve­hi­cle feels poised and grippy.

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