The flagship of any car range is rarely the best of the bunch. The sweet spot invariably falls around the middle, where there’s neither too much flash nor cash. There certainly aren’t any duff Porsche 911s lurking in the price lists, but a new addition to the range might just be the one to go for.
The GTS tag has arrived on the latest-generation 991-series 911, following a successful appearance on the Boxster, Cayman and Panamera already in 2014. As with most 911s, it’s all about the specification. A 911 Carrera GTS can be had as a coupe or convertible and with two or four-wheel-drive; this two-wheel-drive coupe with the manual gearbox would cost you £91,098.
That’s a premium of £7,500 over the equivalent Carrera S, for which you get a number of things thrown in. Firstly the GTS has a take on the 911 all of its own; there’s a Turbo-look front bumper, the wider rear end found on Carrera 4 models, Sport Design door mirrors and best of all 20-inch satin black alloy wheels with centre-lock hubs. They’re minor changes of course, but added together they give the GTS a better stance and a dash of menace to boot.
There’s more good news, as the GTS gets a sizeable engine upgrade, too. Essentially it adds the Powerkit option from the Carrera S price list, which brings with it a new cylinder head, a sports exhaust, active engine mounts and an extra 30bhp. To that you can add Porsche Active Suspension Management, torque vectoring and a unique suspension tune.
The GTS wears its exterior tweaks very well. The 911 is all about that classic shape, so once you start adding silly wings the magic is lost. Here you get a bit more width and the subtle effect of those dark alloy wheels is to make them look bigger than they really are. You might get more attention in a GT3 or a Turbo but it might be the wrong kind of attention.
Slide into the familiar interior and there are a couple of key improvements, namely the excellent sports seats fitted as standard. There’s also plenty of Alcantara in here, crucially wrapped around the standard Sport Design steering wheel, all of which make it clear that this 911 is a serious driving tool.
Not that you’ll be having your teeth rattled from the off. With the exhaust in its quiet mode and the suspension in its standard setting, the GTS is as civilised as any other “normal” 911.
The controls are weighty but not heavy, you can hear the engine’s cultured thrum but it never intrudes and the ride is acceptably comfortable on poor roads. Tick the option for the PDK gearbox and traffic jams will present no problem at all. Even if it only gets thrashed at weekends, the day-to-day stuff is handled with no trouble at all.
But don’t waste the fine engineering beneath its skin. The sports exhaust button should be pressed as a matter of course; do so and you get access to the engine’s glorious vocal range. The PDK gearbox works very well as an automatic but you need to shift using the well-sized paddles behind the wheel for the full effect.
That 30bhp increase is modest and if you currently own a 911 Carrera S you may wonder what the fuss is about, but everyone else will enjoy the deliciously linear power on offer. It lugs happily from low revs in a high gear yet it’s just as keen to rip round to 7,500rpm, snarling as it does so. The key 0-62mph sprint is despatched in a mere 4.0 seconds and it will run on to 189mph.
Despite the searing speed it is through the bends that the 911 – and the GTS in particular – reveals the ace in its hand.
That weighty steering becomes ever more rewarding of accuracy as the speed increases, and it is a delight to feed the GTS through a bend because of its composure and balance. Play the hooligan and it will oblige, but there’s more pleasure to be had in enjoying its sharpness.
It’s not difficult to make a compelling case for the 911, and in GTS form it even makes sense on paper over the Carrera S. It’s mad enough to be enormous fun but sensible enough to live with. Maybe save the GT3 for the weekends.
0-62MPH: 4.0 secs
TOP SPEED: 189mph
CO2 G/KM: 202g/km
MPG COMBINED: 32.5mpg
VALUE FOR MONEY: ★★★☆☆