THE GO TO SPORTS CAR
PORSCHE 911 CARRERA GTS
SOMETIMES CRITICISED FOR BEING THE RUN-OUT MODEL FOR EVERY END-OF-LIFE PORSCHE RANGE, THE GTS BADGE IS BURDENED BY SOME HISTORICAL BAGGAGE. NOW, THE 911 CARRERA GTS HAS PROVEN THAT IT DESERVES ITS PLACE IN THE PORSCHE HIERARCHY, AND IS HERE TO STAY. BERNIE HELLBERG REPORTS.
There isn’t much to love about the Highveld in winter. Dry, brown, desolate, it is the place where nature’s beauty goes to die, before being reborn in September’s Spring. Although there’s nothing colourful about the landscape at 1,450 meters above sea level, it does provide a delectably stark background for photography, especially when your subject is a vivid blue Porsche 911 Carrera GTS.
Over the years I’ve driven many Porsches, from mild to wild, but few have left me with such a strong sense of want than the inevitable GTS versions that come around at some point or another during each Porsche’s model lifecycle.
ROARING INTO 2018
This year’s GTS gets red detailing inside and black trim outside, aggressive seats, adjustable suspension, large brakes, and Porsche’s 3.0-litre twin turbocharged flat six that has been fine-tuned to 331 kW and 550 Nm of torque.
The GTS treatment can be ordered as a Targa, coupé, or convertible, with all-wheeldrive or rear. Our test car was a coupé, fitted with Porsche’s super slick dual-clutch automatic.
The lightest variants will naturally be the quickest, but Porsche claims that every GTS 991.2 911 is good for a zero to 100 km/h sprint in less than four seconds and a top speed in the region of 310 km/h.
While the 3.8-litre flat six in the 911 Turbo S is most the most powerful in the lineup, direct injection twin turbo in the GTS produces 32 kW more 14 kW more than the previous GTS, thanks to a three-millimetre larger turbine in the twin turbos plus an increase in boost pressure.
MORE THAN A FASHION STATEMENT
The GTS sits 10 mm lower than the “standard” 911, and the rear width is increased by 44 mm to accommodate the massive 20” forged black alloy wheels.
In typical GTS style, the wheels have centre lock hubs at all four corners. The Sport Chrono Package is standard and includes the steering wheel integrated mode switch, allowing you to dial in your preference between Normal, Sport, Sport Plus, and Individual drive programs.
Although South African Porsches are brought in with PDK as standard, the manual transmission can be ordered as a no cost option with Porsche Torque Vectoring (PTV) and a mechanical rear differential lock. PDK-models get Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus (PTV+) and an electronically controlled rear differential lock.
Both systems provide targeted braking interventions on the inside rear wheel when cornering and improved traction when accelerating out of corners.
Again, Porsche has endowed the GTS with a unique look, this time in matte black. The standard Sport exhaust system has black tips. The headlight sprayer nozzles are matte black, and the headlights themselves get black bezels. Even the badges on the rear get the blackout treatment. The interior receives a similar blackening, and while there isn’t the twin row of control buttons on the centre console, just the basics, there is a special one – the GTS-specific engine and exhaust flap control for that GTS sound you just can’t hear anywhere else.
“FROM THE BURBLE OF THE EXHAUST DURING DOWNSHIFTS TO THE GEOMETRICALLY PROGRESSIVE BRAKES, AT EVERY CORNER, NO MATTER HOW TIGHT OR OFF-CAMBER, THE GTS COUPÉ SOAKED UP EVERY IMPERFECTION.”
Not surprisingly, the latest GTS drives a lot like a 991.2 911 S. That means it’s quick, the engine sounds great, the response is incredibly linear (despite the twin turbochargers), and feedback is great.
To enhance the experience, the GTS includes a standard Sport exhaust with GTS-specific tuning for the exhaust flaps, as well as “partially omitted sound insulation,” which makes it seem as though the guys at the factory put half of it in and changed their minds. Whatever the circumstances were, it gives the car feel rawer than the likes of the Carrera S, while managing to avoid sounding synthesised.
From the burble of the exhaust during downshifts to the geometrically progressive brakes, at every corner, no matter how tight or off-camber, the GTS coupé soaked up every imperfection.
The GTS drives big on a tight road – but will likely be less fussy on a track – although traditional 911 modus operandi dictates that the GTS should feel equally comfortable in either setting.
Given that Porsche has only added 911 models to the line-up in recent years, and not removed any, the 911 GTS has earned its place in the ranking and probably doesn’t threaten the existence of the slightly tamer 911 S, its main internal rival. In our opinion, the GTS is just that little extra little bit better than a 911 S, and as usual opting for the GTS makes sense if you were going to add Sport Chrono, Sport Seats Plus, the Sport Exhaust, and those centre-lock 20” wheels anyway. And if you like the blacked-out look of the GTS.