IT’S not often I get woken up to the deep rumbling sound of a flat-six engine firing up but it certainly makes a change from my 16 month-old daughter singing and it’s almost as delightful in its way, even before coffee at 7.30am.
It’s the sound of a Carrera GTS, the latest in the 911 range, a range that encompasses 22 models, now that Porsche has added a new GTS coupe and GTS cabriolet to its Carrera offering. Twenty-two different 911s with prices that more than double from the entry level Carrera to the most expensive GT2 RS. It’s a range with such a variation in model and price that the 911 is now effectively its own brand. Which begs the question: does Porsche really need another 911 model?
It would seem so. The Carrera GTS has rear-wheel drive only but this time it’s housed in the widest 911 body Porsche makes, the one usually reserved for the RS or all-wheel drive 911 models. Porsche has developed the GTS for potential Porsche buyers who may think the Carrera S isn’t hardcore enough for their needs but for whom the RS3 is just too difficult to live with as a daily car.
PORSCHE 911 CARRERA GTS
TOP SPEED: 190mph
CO2 G/KM: 242G/km
MPG COMBINED: 27.4mpg
VALUE FOR MONEY
The Carrera GTS is available with a six-speed manual or seven-speed PDK transmission. I drive both but it’s the GTS coupe with the manual gearbox I prefer although the PDK is slightly quicker. Stepping in to the cockpit, the car promises to be a “proper 911”, thanks to its thick, Alcantara-trimmed steering wheel which suggests a purity of purpose even before you start the car, which of course, sounds great thanks to its iconic flat-six engine.
The 3.8-litre engine produces 408hp of power, which represents an increase of 23hp over the standard Carrera S. Driving the car somehow manages to be exciting yet comfortable all at once, thanks to the seats in particular. The steering is fantastically direct and the driving position means you are always aware of where the wheels are as you look out across the arcing bonnet with its familiar front wings. This feeling, perhaps more than any other, defines driving a 911 for me particularly when the car turns in to the corners so well.
The GTS is wider than the Carrera S by 44mm and has a wider rear track of 32mm; combined with wide rear tyres it all equals loads of grip. This car is also 20mm lower than the Carrera S and has Porsche’s active suspension system option (PASM) too. Add to this Porsche’s PSM stability management system and I feel fantastically confident as a result. The car feels lovely and well-balanced but still feels as if you can unsettle it if you try hard enough. Which suggests that element of risk that is so fantastically addictive. You can stiffen the chassis too but in sports mode I find this too stiff for the roads we’re on – best left for the track, that.
The Carrera GTS is a very desirable drive. It’s been a while since I’ve driven the C2S but the GTS looks and feels great and is a genuine thrill. Back in traffic, the car is as easy to drive as any other. Which means it’s a truly great all-rounder and genuinely deserves the accolade of everyday sports car, even for City commuting.