THE GO TO SPORTS CAR

PORSCHE 911 CAR­RERA GTS

Driven - - Driven - Re­port and Im­ages by BERNIE HELLBERG

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.

GTS LOOK

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.”

GTS FEEL

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.

LAST WORD

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.

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