What: Porsche 911 Carrera GTS Coupe
Where: Norwell Motorplex, Queensland
Conditions: Dry, sunny and cool
What is it?
Porsche likes to call it the ‘sweet spot' of the range, striking a balance between performance and everyday comfort that stands a cut above the already impressive Carrera S but without the extreme nature of the GT3.
Porsche will offer the GTS specification with coupe, Cabriolet and Targa variants, with the choice of rear- or all-wheel drive available. Our test drive was limited to the coupe so we'll be focused on that in this review
Why does it deserve a track test?
Because any 911 needs to be put through its paces on a racetrack, but the GTS was designed for racing so it makes it even more pertinent. The original Gran Turismo Sport was the 904 GTS, which Porsche built for the 1964 Targa Florio. The gruelling road race required both a fast car but one that was comfortable enough to keep the drivers fresh.
While it's clearly not as track-focused as the GT3, any owner of a GTS should be capable of hitting a track day or similar event to see what their car is ultimately capable of.
What's it like inside?
Unlike the GT3 which misses out on back seats and can come fitted with a partial roll-cage, the GTS is much closer to the Carrera S in terms of its interior design. That means you still get the ‘only-in-emergency' back seats but the front Sports seats are comfortable and supportive.
The seats – along with the steering wheel, gear lever and doors – are all trimmed in Race-Tex, Porsche's faux-suede. This replaces the typical leather trim and adds a very sporty feeling to the GTS.
How's it go down the straights?
The GTS misses out on the naturally-aspirated 4.0-litre flat-six from the GT3, but it does get an uprated version of the 3.0-litre twin-turbo six-cylinder engine in the Carrera S. It's tuned to make 353kW of power and 570Nm of torque, which is a meaningful boost over the Carrera S that makes 331kW and 530Nm.
It's paired to an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission, but in a nod to its role as a ‘driver's choice' the GTS is the only member of the 911 family available with a seven-speed manual gearbox as an option (a six-speed manual is an option for the GT3 too, the only other manual 992 generation variant). This gearbox is only available on the GTS Coupe rear-wheel drive, with the rest of the range exclusively available with the auto ‘box.
Whichever transmission you go with the GTS feels suitable rapid down the straights, with plenty of punch out of the corners thanks to peak torque coming on stream as low as 2300rpm. It may not be the fastest or most powerful sports car on the planet, but there's no doubt the GTS is a seriously quick car in a straight line.
For the record, its 0-100km/h claim is 3.4 seconds with the auto and 4.1 seconds with the manual. While we didn;'t get a chance to test this ourselves, past on past evidence Porsche is typically genuine (or even a touch pessimistic) about its claims.
What's it like in the bends?
While perfectly capable and very quick down the straights, the corners are really where the 911 GTS shines.
To ensure its handling is razor-sharp, Porsche starts with the 911 Turbo chassis and makes some unique adjustments for the GTS. It begins with the ride height, which is 10mm lower than the Carrera S. Porsche also fits the GTS with its latest iteration of the Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) system with adaptive dampers, as well as the 911 Turbo's ‘helper spring' system that helps keep the rear suspension springs under tension for improved rebound when cornering.
What this all means on the track is a car that feels taut and responsive but never highly-strung or fussy. Instead, it always feels well-controlled and predictable, even when the back end starts to slide around anyone with even modest track skills will be able to catch it and feel like they can play with it.
The steering is a typical Porsche highlight, with rear-wheel steering also available as an option for even greater turn-in precision.
Braking is handled by impressive 408mm rotors and six-piston calipers at the front and 380mm discs with four-piston calipers at the rear. And if you want even more stopping power you can option Porsche Ceramic Composite Brake (PCCB).
Is it a front-runner or backmarker?
To the untrained eye the GTS may seem like an odd addition to the range, costing more than $35k more than the Carrera S (at least in coupe form) while seemingly offering only minor changes.
But when you experience the upgrades Porsche has made you're left with the overwhelming impression that the 911 GTS is not just a step up from the already-awesome Carrera S, but is simply a brilliant car in its own right.
It manages to bring extra performance, especially on the track, without restoring to the extreme measures of the 911 GT3.
It's most definitely a front-runner and a very worthy addition to the 911 range.
2022 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS Coupe price and specifications
|From $314,800 plus on-road costs
|3.0-litre six-cylinder twin-turbo petrol
|353kW at 6500rpm
|570Nm at 2300-5000rpm
|Eight-speed dual-clutch auto or seven-speed manual, rear- or all-wheel drive
|20-inch alloys (front), 21-inch alloys (rear)
|245/35 ZR20 (front), 305/30 ZR21 (rear)
|3.1 seconds (claimed)