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
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.