Porsche 911 GTS

Another day, another 911 variant. Brilliant!

JOHN CAREY

FIRST OVERSEAS DRIVE

CHASING Porsche driving instructor Matthias Hoffsümmer is always educational, but the previous driver of the 911 Carrera 4 GTS I’m in left the Carrera 4 GTS I’m in left the two-way in the door pocket turned up to the max. I can understand almost nothing of what Matthias the Quick is saying. The high volume distortion makes him seem excited… or maybe angry.

So I simply try to keep the broad tail of the 911 Turbo he’s driving in sight as he leads me and one other Australian around Killarney Raceway. This 3.3km track outside Cape Town in South Africa has the same cheap and dusty feel of some old-school Aussie circuit, including the skimpy run-off areas. The reason Porsche has chosen this place to launch the new GTS line-up is simple. It’s summer time down here in the Southern Hemisphere.

There are only six laps to get the measure of my 911 Carrera 4 GTS. The squawking radio seems to admonish me for missing the apex of Killarney’s quick kink.

And I curse myself when I get into the left-hander at the end of the pit straight way too hot and the Porsche slews sideways after turn-in.

In the brief periods where things aren’t going awry, there’s time to make some mental notes about the GTS. Its chassis control electronics in Sport Plus mode are excellent, obviously, judging by the way they unfussily tidied up my corner entry mess.

When grave errors of judgement aren’t happening, the Porsche’s grip seems almost inexhaustible.

There might be a hint of understeer sensed through the Alcantara-wrapped rim of the steering wheel on the way into corners, but the stability of the Carrera 4 GTS as it accelerates out of them feels unshakeable.

The drivetrain, too, is brilliant. The twin-turbo 3.0-litre flat six has the same precise, linear responsiveness of those in the Carrera and Carrera S, and the seven-speed PDK transmission is flawless in the circuit environment. And because the GTS has the sports exhaust system that’s optional in lesser models, it sounds wonderful.

The other essential details of the 911 GTS are fairly simple.

Different turbochargers and extra boost give the engine a 22kW increase over the current S (and a 15kW advantage over the atmo engine of the previous GTS). The suspension is 10mm lower than the Carrera S, and there are some GTS-specific interior touches in addition to the Alcantara mentioned earlier. The car also packs a 44mm-wider rear track beneath broad guards borrowed from the Carrera 4 for both reardrive and all-wheel-drive versions.

This choice of drivetrains is offered in GTS versions of the Carrera Coupe and Cabriolet, whereas the 911 Targa is allwheel- drive-only. There will be a choice of seven-speed manual or seven-speed PDK dual-clutch in all. Prices will begin at $279,000 for a Carrera GTS Coupe with manual and top-out at $323,990 for the Carrera 4 GTS Cabriolet and Targa 4 GTS models with PDK.

Throughout the range GTS prices are around $25,000 to $30,000 above equivalent S models.

When the GTS line-up is added to the rest of the 911 range sometime around May, customers will face a choice of around 30 body style and powertrain combinations. And while there isn’t really an awful 911, some are much more desirable than others.

The loud and low, fast and fiesty Carrera 4 GTS with PDK deserves a place much nearer the top than the bottom of the rankings table.

If you want to know about the others, then go chase Matthias the Quick and find out for yourself…

PLUS & MINUS

Steep price hike over Carrera S and Targa; the paradox of choice Heightened handling; grunt and vocals turned up; polished electronic aids 40 Model Engine Max Power Max Torque Transmission Weight 0-100km/h Economy Price On sale Porsche 911 Carrera 4 GTS 2981cc flat 6, dohc, 24v, twin-turbo 331kW @ 6500rpm 550Nm @ 2150–5000rpm 7-speed dual-clutch 1515kg 3.6sec (claimed) 8.5L/100km (EU) $302,490 Second quarter 2017

Hybrid left unplugged

Porsche hasn’t decided to add a hybrid to the 911 line-up, but it has one ready to go, if required.

“In Europe, when big cities start to ban combustion engines, then you have to react. And we are prepared to do that,” says Thomas Krickelberg. “But we haven’t made the decision to do it, so it’s on hold,” adds the 911 model line director.

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