One thing Porsche is undeniably very, very good at is delivering what customers want. The 911 has been carefully honed over many years and generations and sits as the definitive car of the Porsche brand. Not much has changed since the first model. When it was originally launched as the Porsche 901 in 1964, it had a rear mounted flat-six engine. Here we are, in 2023, with the Porsche 911 GTS. It has a rear mounted flat-six engine. The name only changed because of the French; Peugeot complained that it had the exclusive rights to car names formed of three figures with a zero in the middle in France. So, Porsche switched from 901 to 911. That’s as radical as the transformation of this car has ever been.
The aesthetics are strikingly similar to that initial model. The Porsche 911 GTS represents a clear evolution of the brand. If it ain’t broke… This has led to some accusing the 911 of being boring; you can already guess, roughly, what the next model will look like. One thing it certainly is, is consistent. Consistently popular with customers. People love the 911. If you think it’s dull, then it’s not for you and it doesn’t really care.
The Porsche 911 Carrera 4 GTS cabriolet, to give it its full name, is a clear beneficiary of all those years of craftsmanship and engineering excellence and experience. It’s turbo charged, but it’s not a Porsche 911 Turbo. That sits atop the range as the full-on loony edition. The Porsche 911 GTS is the model below. Is this the fabled sweet spot of the Porsche 911 range?
What’s the Porsche 911 GTS like to drive?
The element that keeps everyone coming back for more is, surely, the driving experience with the Porsche 911. Performance figures are rather dizzying in general these days and the Porsche 911 GTS is no exception. The 3.0ltr flat-six twin-turbo charged unit produces 480hp and 570Nm of torque. This provides a 0-62mph time of 3.5secs. As per some other reviews, I wouldn’t be surprised if this slightly underplays things.
Rapid 0-62 times aren’t the only order of business. In fact, the Porsche 911 GTS does a rather good job of reminding you that they’re not the be-all and end-all of motoring. They’re useful in terms of pub talk bravado, but that’s about it.
I had a day with the Porsche 911 GTS and spent it in the countryside near Porsche’s Reading HQ, darting between Lambourn, Wantage and Newbury. Porsche’s PR team have this nailed. “Yeah, pop over, pick up a Porsche 911 GTS and there are a few roads nearby we’d recommend.”
I can only, in turn, recommend them to you. The Bs 4000 and 4001 are a riot. Tight, twisty, undulating and all-encompassing, you’d have to really hate driving not to enjoy them. You’d have a blast in anything along these roads, but the Porsche 911 GTS certainly elevated the experience.
Dial it up to Sport or Sport+ via the knob on the steering wheel and the Porsche 911 GTS tightens up into an aggressive sportscar. Flick the PDK auto-box into manual mode and the experience is exquisite. The illuminated rev needle flashes in your eyeline and everything feels immediately intuitive. You can get it in a manual but, as a motoring journalist I probably shouldn’t say this, you won’t miss it. Okay, you might a bit, but the PDK box is stunningly good. Responses are instant.
What about the rest of the Porsche 911 GTS’s driving experience?
The steering is one of the best electrically assisted units that you’ll find. It can’t quite match the tactility you find in a McLaren or other hydraulically assisted units, but it’s pretty damn good. The weighting feels spot on and the Porsche 911 GTS responds perfectly to your inputs. It’s an easy car to place and enjoy.
Being able to jump in and be at one with the Porsche 911 GTS pretty much instantly speaks of how well honed the overarching setup is. Everything is easily configurable and switching through the various settings is easy. There’s even a sport boost button in the middle of the drive setting dial. Give it a prod and you get 20secs of maximum attack. This is ideal for quick overtakes.
This being the Porsche 911 Carrera 4 GTS, it is, of course, four-wheel drive. When pushing it along country lanes, even over imperfect surfaces, the Porsche 911 GTS never once felt like losing its composure. It remained steady throughout, like it was on rails. The optional rear-axle steering also helps in this regard.
Should you wish to take it on a track day it would doubtless impress. The brakes, too, instil a huge amount of confidence. The stopping distance from 50mph feels scarcely believable, but when life is coming at you as fast the Porsche 911 GTS can make it, this is crucial.
Removing the roof doesn’t inherently feel as though it’s making too much of a compromise to the Porsche 911 GTS’s overall purpose. The noise is more pleasant, although not for being any louder. In fact, it’s the opposite. With the roof up and everything dialled up, the engine note can be a bit too aggressive and boomy. It feels more organic with the roof off.
Living with the Porsche 911 GTS
Is the Porsche 911 GTS mostly about the vibes? Perhaps, especially if opting for the cabriolet. It’s certainly a car designed to make you feel good about yourself. You don’t need to be a great driver to feel like a great driver when you’re driving one. This means you may well want one on your drive, so we best discuss practicality.
It’s Ulez compliant, although it is a bit thirsty. I achieved 19.0mpg across 150 miles of driving. I was mostly focussing on the bit where it makes you feel like a good driver, though.
Out on the motorway, this number will rise. What won’t have to rise, however, is the volume of your voice with the roof down. With the rear wind deflector up, you can hold a normal conversation at 70mph.
The wind deflector removes any pretence of the Porsche 911 GTS being a 2+2, though. If you really had to, you could lug four people about, but not for long. It’s best to view the rear seats as for emergencies or as auxiliary storage to complement the front boot.
Could you daily a Porsche 911 GTS? You could, although the ride is most definitely set up for more spirited driving. You notice the road’s imperfections as a result of the stiffness, which pays you back with interest when you find an open B-road. A motorway slogger it is not.
The optional adaptive sports seats (£3000) are very comfortable and offered no cause for complaint across a day’s driving. The cabin, too, is well thought out. There’s a fine blend of modern and traditional. A faux key turns to start and switch off the car; a small detail but a nice touch.
There’s very little to find fault in with the Porsche 911 GTS. The steering, the gearbox, the engine, the cabin, the brakes, seating position nice and low in the cabin; everything performs to an elite level. Instead, let’s have a look at the options list.
The one thing that stands out on the model tested is the GTS interior package at £3000. If you’re buying a Porsche 911 GTS, it feels like that the GTS interior package should really be part of the deal. Otherwise, most of the options make sense to have.
I’d definitely add the sports seats and I’d be sorely tempted to part with £3746 for the Burmester high-end surround system. All in, the model tested comes in at £160,000, with the Porsche 911 GTS starting at £132,000.
That’s a lot of money, but it’s also a lot of car. It comprehensively delivers the sought after feel good factor out on the road.
Could the Porsche 911 GTS be the fabled sweet spot of the 911 range? Porsche is very good at delivering to you exactly what you’ve paid for. Want more power still? Have a Turbo or Turbo S. Want less power and rear wheel drive? Have a Carrera or Carrera T or S. The sweet spot is very much in the eye of the beholder. The chassis will deliver a fine driving experience whatever the power output of the engine; the overarching setup is undeniably impressive.
The only reasonable conclusion to reach is that the Porsche 911 GTS is unlikely to disappoint. It offers a fine blend of poise, performance and posing credentials. When the rain stops for five minutes during the English summer, you’ll be reaching for the drop top button so everyone can see your smile.
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