Motors: Porsche 911 GTS

Photo of Autodesk VRED Professional 2014 SR1-SP7, Now a permanent part of the range, the 911 GTS sits between the Carrera S and GT3 models, Picture credit should read: PA Photo/Handout. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature MOTORING Road Test.
Photo of Autodesk VRED Professional 2014 SR1-SP7, Now a permanent part of the range, the 911 GTS sits between the Carrera S and GT3 models, Picture credit should read: PA Photo/Handout. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature MOTORING Road Test.

WHAT’S NEW?: 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 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.

LOOKS AND IMAGE: 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 undoubtedly looks 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 demands respect.

SPACE AND PRACTICALITY: 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.

BEHIND THE WHEEL: 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 in to 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’ class shows; sharp and communicative steering, unshakeable brakes and beautiful poise. It’s hard to want for anything more.

VALUE FOR MONEY: 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.

WHO WOULD BUY ONE?: 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 looks great without lurching into overkill.

THIS CAR SUMMED UP IN A SINGLE WORD: Crafted

IF THIS CAR WAS A...: Meal it would be ratatouille; just the right ingredients blended to perfection.

FACTS AT A GLANCE

Porsche 911 GTS, £91,098

Engine: 3.8-litre unit producing 424bhp and lb/ft of torque

Transmission: Seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox driving the rear wheels

Performance: Top speed 189mph, 0-62mph in 4.0 seconds

Economy: 32.5mpg combined

Emissions: 202g/km of CO2