First Drive Porsche 911 Carrera GTS

The Carrera GTS fills a gap in the 911 range you might not have realised existed

The Carrera GTS fills a gap in the 911 range you might not have realised existed

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No GAP is left unfilled in the Porsche range, which is why the 911 GTS has been introduced. But is it a model too far for a comprehensive range?

At first glance, the 911 GTS might look very familiar but this particular variant is all about the details. In the grand hierarchy the GTS, it sits between the quickest “normal” variant – the Carrera S – and the precision track instrument that is the GT3. Not only does the GTS fill this gap for buyers who want something a little madder but not bonkers, it also bridges a significant price void too.

So your GTS comes with a more powerful 3.8-litre engine, unique suspension tuning, the choice of two or four-wheel-drive, coupe or convertible, Turbo-look front spoiler, gorgeous centre-lock wheels and the wider body. Added together, these additions would cost more from the options list so you’re getting a little something for nothing.

Although the basic shape is the same, the 911’s looks depend very much on the model you choose. The GTS has that bigger Turbo front bumper with bigger scoops which makes it look more aggressive, but this is balanced by the wider body at the rear. Add in those beautiful centre-lock alloy wheels and, depending on the colour, it does look superb. A Carrera S looks a little more pure but it’s less fussy than the full-on Turbo.

The GTS badge also has kudos of its own amongst 911 fans; it’s not just another special edition and it demands respect.

The 911 in any guise is still a relatively compact car and sticks with the so-called 2+2 arrangement. That means two proper seats in the front and occasional seats in the rear, although the GTS does give you the option to delete the rear seats if you wish. It’s the front seats you want to be in of course, and you get leather-trimmed sports seats as standard that are very comfortable and supportive.

Being rear-engined, the boot is in the front but it’s actually quite spacious, and the space is a sensible shape. Storage space inside is a little more tight however.

The key mechanical changes to the GTS make themselves felt as soon as you drive away. With a unique suspension tune and one that is a little stiffer than the Carrera S, the GTS is clearly more focussed. However the standard-fit Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) means you can dial up three different suspension settings to suit the conditions. That means it’s still capable of being used every day without causing you grief.

But it’s when it is being stretched that the GTS comes into its own. The stats show it is more powerful and faster than a Carrera S, but as the driver all you know is that it is a sensationally quick car. The engine crackles away (helped by the standard sports exhaust) as the revs rise, and it feels so torquey and unburstable you can rev it hard or make it slog.

When driven hard, the GTS’s class shows; sharp and communicative steering, unshakeable brakes and beautiful poise. It’s hard to want for anything more.

All versions of the GTS bar the four-wheel-drive Cabriolet check in under £100,000, which is still a lot of money. But compared to the Carrera S, the amount of standard kit added for the modest price increase is well worth it; it’s also significantly cheaper than the more desirable but harder to live with GT3.

There are plenty of people out there who want to buy a 911 or are about to, so there’s no shortage of potential. However, with the range now encompassing 12 models before you even get to the Turbos and the GT3, you could argue that there’s too much choice. But the GTS is the sweet spot in the range; it’s fast without being silly, easy to drive yet fun to drive hard, and it looks great without lurching into overkill.

VITAL STATS

Car Porsche 911 Carrera GTS

Price £91,098

Engine 3.8l, 6 cyl, petrol, 424bhp

Transmission 7-spd dual-clutch automatic, RWD

Performance Top speed 189mph; 0-62mph 4.0 seconds

Fuel economy 32.5mpg

CO2 emissions 202g/km

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