Trading a fancy folding roof and a pair of front driveshafts for no more than a third pedal in the footwell, this standard, rear-drive, manual 911 GTS coupe will always be the first choice of those who’ve always believed that, when it comes to 911s, simplest is best.
This is the lightest GTS you can buy, weighing just 10kg more than a Carrera S and that’s only thanks to its Carrera 4 wide body. And regardless of what figures enhanced by four-wheel drive traction or super-swift PDK shifts might claim for other GTSs, it's the fastest, too. How fast? Well, it has a better power-to-weight ratio than that of a well known rival, the Mercedes-AMG GT.
It also has the full suite of GTS enhancements, including the most powerful version of the new 3.0-litre flat-six twin-turbo motor yet with 331kW, lowered sports suspension (not available on Cabriolet or Targa GTS), reduced sound deadening, a sports exhaust, a limited slip differential, torque vectoring, bigger brakes with Turbo pads, 20-inch centre-lock wheels, active engine mounts and the option of rear-wheel steering. It’s safe to say that Porsche hasn’t held back with the latest iteration of the GTS badge.
Outside there’s a minor aero tweak to front and rear spoilers and true to GTS form, the car’s gone all moody with black wheels, black exhausts, smoked tail lights and black GTS badges. Inside the familiar Alcantara theme returns on the steering wheel, gear lever, and seat centres.
GTS badges are omnipresent, on the rev-counter, TFT centre screen, kick-plates, as an option on seats and as standard on the carpet for those who, for one strange reason or another, choose to spec their GTS without rear seats.
Although how useful those seats actually are is also debatable and down to how you choose to use your 911.
What’s it like to drive? You’d think it would be easy to tell. It’s like a Carrera S, only more so, surely? In fact it’s not nearly as simple as that. The cleverest thing Porsche has always done with what is now three generations of 911 GTS, is while appearing to do little more than a spot of choice plundering of the options list, produce a car with a character all of its own. And of the three of them, I’d say this one feels the most evolved.
Partly it is the extra power. Right now this is the most powerful rear-wheel drive 911 on sale and, GT cars aside, the most powerful rear-drive 911 ever to come to market. But what brings the car alive is the deep down torque with the new, larger turbochargers. It breathes life into the chassis, allowing greater than ever opportunities to tax the 911’s inherently fabulous traction at the exit of corners.
Finally, here is a 911 whose abilities in both straight lines and through corners feels perfectly matched, not fractionally favouring the chassis like a Carrera S, nor substantially the engine, as in the performance-focused Turbo.
It seems improved in other areas that are more likely to be part of Porsche’s continuous improvement policy than simply being a GTS – its steering feels more lucid, its seven-speed gearbox more precise. And its poise through corners, the way it blends rock-solid stability with a delicious degree of throttle sensitivity represents a new level for a modern 911 not born in the motorsport department.
Should you buy one? Put simply, of course you should. It’s as if this were the 911 that Porsche’s engineers designed first in this series, the one from which all others would be derived, only then to realise it was better even than they’d hoped, and must, therefore, be kept up their sleeves for a while. Only once all the Carreras and Turbos were safely launched could it be unleashed.
All nonsense of course, cars aren’t designed that way, but that’s how it feels. The GTS is the best ‘normal’ 911 on sale, and the best of the best rear-drive coupes. And it is every bit as good as that sounds.
5.0 out of 5 stars
Devastatingly fast, sorted-rear drive dynamics
Finding fault with the GTS is merely nitpicking
Engine: 2981cc flat-six, DOHC, 24v, twin-turbo
Power: 331kW @ 6500rpm
Torque: 550Nm @ 2150rpm
0-100km/h: 4.1sec (claimed)
Price: $279,000 (manual)