2017 Porsche 911 Car­rera GTS

From Out of Nowhere

Automobile - - All - Stars 2018 -

The amus­ing thing is, we didn’t plan to in­vite the 2017 Porsche 911 Car­rera GTS to this year’s edi­tion of All-Stars. We wanted the lat­est GT3 and be­lieved we had it locked in. But a rip­ple in Porsche’s test-ve­hi­cle pool meant the car orig­i­nally ear­marked for our eval­u­a­tion was sent pack­ing back to the mother ship in Ger­many, leav­ing us empty-handed.

“But wait,” Porsche Cars North Amer­ica in­quired. “Would you like us to send the new GTS?” We looked at each other for a brief mo­ment, hud­dled to­gether, and re­viewed this 911’s case for at­tend­ing. We re­mem­bered how we laughed last year when we re­al­ized this 450-horse­power, tur­bocharged, rear-drive Car­rera is much faster than the tur­bocharged, rear-drive 993 GT2 of the 1990s, a car that col­lec­tors have re­cently paid mil­lions for. We considered the fact Porsche po­si­tions the GTS be­tween the stan­dard Car­rera and the “real” 911 Turbo with­out be­ing as hard-edged as the GT3. “You know,” one of our staffers whis­pered, “this might be the best 911 Porsche builds right now. Pos­si­bly?” Hm­mmm. So we picked up the phone and di­aled PCNA in At­lanta. “About that GTS … ”

An­other funny thing: Half­way through our All-Stars pro­gram, you would have thought no one was pay­ing at­ten­tion to this white coupe. The GTS uses larger tur­bocharg­ers and a lit­tle more boost than the Car­rera S, giv­ing it an ad­di­tional 30 horse­power and 37 lb-ft of torque in com­par­i­son. It comes stan­dard with Sport Chrono and the dif­fer­ent drive set­tings the pack­age in­cludes. Dual-clutch-equipped ver­sions such as this one also fea­ture Porsche’s Sport Re­sponse “push-to-pass” in­stant- power but­ton on the steer­ing wheel. Then there is a sport ex­haust com­bined with less sound dead­en­ing to turn up the vol­ume, plus those cool cen­ter-lock wheels. Not to men­tion a lower sport sus­pen­sion setup (op­tional on Car­rera S) and the mean-look­ing wide-body shell ev­ery­one loves on the Car­rera 4; this and the GT3 are the only rear-drive 911s to re­ceive it. Ad­di­tion­ally, this test car came well-equipped to the fight, car­ry­ing both the op­tional car­bon­ce­ramic brake and rear-wheel-steer­ing pack­ages, as well as Porsche’s ac­tive anti-roll bar setup.

Yet for the first day or two, lit­tle was said about the GTS as our driv­ers ran it up and down Mount Charleston. The same proved true at Speed­ve­gas. For some bizarre, un­spo­ken rea­son, our driv­ers ap­peared to have struck a deal to keep what­ever ex­cel­lence they found in the GTS to them­selves. Yet when the fi­nal dis­cus­sions and vot­ing for this year’s All-Stars be­gan, the flood­gate of pos­i­tiv­ity burst open.

“This car can­not be faulted and may in fact be the best-value, all-around stree­to­ri­ented 911 sports car op­tion,” Pil­grim de­clared. “Sick brakes, too.” OK, no one ever rolls up to an­other car at a stop­light, looks over, and chal­lenges, “I bet I can out­brake you,” but his point was well taken: The GTS does ev­ery­thing well. Some felt the ac­tive anti-roll bars were overkill, per­haps di­lut­ing some of the chas­sis feel, but more mem­bers of our team could not have cared less. “This is some of the best steer­ing on the planet, a chas­sis that’s hard­wired to your back­side, brakes that never say ‘un­cle,’ and speed you lit­er­ally have to see on the speedo to be­lieve,” edi­tor-at-large Arthur St. An­toine said. “And the thing just reeks of qual­ity. Prob­a­bly the best all-around 911 ever.”

Amaz­ingly for our group of wags, those sen­ti­ments were al­most unan­i­mous, mak­ing the GTS a clear All-Star. Ev­ery­thing about this Car­rera whis­pers bal­ance, the kind that makes it a joy to drive even moderately fast. “Porsche’s decades of re­fine­ments come through per­haps most clearly in this model, which pro­vides just enough edge with­out abus­ing or over­stay­ing its wel­come,” con­trib­u­tor Basem Wasef con­cluded. “Short jaunt or long road trip, the GTS is equally adept at ei­ther.” No one was com­pelled to ar­gue with him.

Does that make it the best new

911 avail­able? With no less than 23

911s to choose from, a for­mula for al­most any­one’s taste, it’s im­pos­si­ble to un­equiv­o­cally hand the Car­rera GTS that ti­tle. But we’ll be hard-pressed to de­bate for long with any­one who reaches such a con­clu­sion. As for why our crew kept its praise to it­self un­til the end of our ALL­STARS event? The only ex­pla­na­tion we’ve come up with says that af­ter count­less com­bined years be­hind the wheel of 911s, no one ex­pected any­thing less. AM

BY MAC MOR­RI­SON

PRICE: $120,050/$151,995 (base/as tested) EN­GINE:

3.0L twin-turbo DOHC 24-valve flat-6/450 hp @ 6,500 rpm, 405 lb-ft @ 2,150-5,000 rpm TRANS­MIS­SION: 7-speed dual-clutch au­to­matic

LAY­OUT:

2-door, 4-pas­sen­ger, rear-en­gine, RWD coupe EPA MILEAGE:

20/26 mpg (city/hwy)

L x W x H:

178.3 x 77.9 x 51.0 in WHEEL­BASE:

96.5 in

WEIGHT:

3,241 lb

0-60 MPH:

3.5 sec

TOP SPEED:

192 mph

Some­times, when you think you’re ready to move on to the lat­est and great­est, an old friend turns up to re­mind you that there are few sub­sti­tu­tions for the one you’ve grown to love over so many years.

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