The 911 GTS is a step up from the 911 Carrera S, with extra power and a sportier chassis. Picture: SUPPLIED
The 911 GTS is a step up from the 911 Carrera S, with extra power and a sportier chassis. Picture: SUPPLIED

The flat six is bellowing at 7,000rpm, the car is hugging the curve like a boa constrictor, and all is right with the universe.

I’m at the wheel of the new 911 Carrera GTS (which stands for Gran Turismo Sport) on the wide open roads north of Cape Town, and fast coming to the conclusion that this car is the slightly less demented brother of the bad-to-the-bone Porsche GT3.

It has much of that car’s sound and fury, just toned down from headbanging heavy metal to straight-up hard rock.

Available in coupé, cabriolet and targa guises, the 911 GTS is a more hardcore sports car than the 911 Carrera S, and the extra 22kW and 20Nm it wields is just the starting point.

The chassis is poached from the 911 Turbo and has Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) electronic damping control system. The GTS is also lowered by 10mm and has helper springs at the rear to keep the main springs always under tension, but rebound rates remain the same.

The ride is very firm, and on anything but smooth tar the car jitters and twitches at high speed like a nervous rodeo horse, requiring a firm grasp on the tiller to keep this road missile on the straight and narrow. Perhaps it’s a tad overfirm on bumpy tar, but the tyres on the test vehicles at the launch were pumped up to their maximum, and the ride might smooth out with regular pressures.

The cabin gets darkened treatment with black Race-Tex upholstery, along with a GT sports steering wheel. Picture: SUPPLIED
The cabin gets darkened treatment with black Race-Tex upholstery, along with a GT sports steering wheel. Picture: SUPPLIED

The firm springs do keep this Porsche pinned down like a Scalextric car on bucket-list roads like the twisty Helshoogte pass in Stellenbosch. There is little sign of body roll as the GTS scythes through those fast turns with confidence-boosting precision and enormous grip, with the Porsche-typical sharp steering keeping the driver in the thick of the action.

The rear-mounted six cylinder 3.0l twin turbo engine has heaps of thrust. It fires 353kW and 570Nm to the wheels (via rear-wheel or all-wheel drive, your choice) and though it’s not the fastest 911 in the range, figures of 0-100km/h in 3.3 seconds and a 311km/h top speed are nothing to sniff at.

The loud, lewd holler from the sports exhaust adds to the excitement, and interior noise insulation has been removed to make for more exuberant acoustics. It drives home the point that the GTS has been created for a particularly emotive experience.

The eight-speed PDK dual clutch auto is a thing of quick-shifting mechanical artistry, making the manual gearshift paddles purely there for tactile feel rather than being able to improve on the cog-swapping efficiency. A seven-speed manual is optionally available for purists who want to “keep it real”, but it’s not as quick off the line as its two-pedalled counterpart.

The loud, lewd holler from the sports exhaust adds to the excitement, Picture: SUPPLIED
The loud, lewd holler from the sports exhaust adds to the excitement, Picture: SUPPLIED

The GTS acquires the 911 Turbo’s large brakes to match its increased performance, and adopts styling menace with darkened exterior details including the headlights and the black alloys — the 20-inch (front) and 21-inch (rear) centre-lock wheels are taken from the 911 Turbo S.

The cabin gets similar darkened treatment with black Race-Tex upholstery, along with a GT sports steering wheel, a Porsche Track Precision App and a tyre temperature display. Also standard is a Sport Chrono package with driving modes that can be changed from regular fury to unbottled rage via a mode switch on the steering wheel.

For the first time a lightweight package is available for 911 GTS Coupé, saving up to 25kg  and adding rear-axle steering to the package, along with additional aerodynamic finishing touches.

For drivers who don't aspire to the sheer lunacy of the track-bred GT3 or the absurdly powerful 911 Turbo S, the Carrera GTS will hit a sweet spot in the 911 range.

 

Pricing

911 Carrera GTS — R2,290,000

911 Carrera 4 GTS — R2,400,000

911 Carrera GTS Cabriolet — R2,490,000

911 Carrera 4 GTS Cabriolet — R2,600,000

911 Targa 4 GTS — R2,600,000

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