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First drive: 2024 Porsche 911 (992.2) Carrera 4 GTS Coupe. Image by Porsche.

First drive: 2024 Porsche 911 (992.2) Carrera 4 GTS Coupe
Will the introduction of hybrid power be the making or the breaking of the new 911 GTS?

   



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There's a new 911, and it has shocked fans of the brand with news that it's going hybrid. Yes, the cathedral to combustion now has hybrid power, as well as modified styling, fresh tech and an updated chassis. In fairness, the T-Hybrid system is only for the GTS, the car designed to be half track-day weapon and half sensible sports car, but will an early drive of the new 992.2-generation 911 reveal a hybrid sports car that'll keep customers happy or will it feel completely hapless?

Test Car Specifications

Model: 2024 Porsche 911 992.2 Carrera Cabriolet
Price: From £139,100
Engine: 3.6-litre turbocharged six-cylinder mild-hybrid petrol
Transmission: eight-speed automatic, all-wheel drive
Power: 541hp
Torque: 610Nm
Emissions: 239-251g/km
Economy: 25.4-26.9mpg
0-62mph: 3.0 seconds
Top speed: 194mph
Boot space: 135 litres

Styling

Porscheís changes to the 911 design overall are fairly minor ó the company itself confesses this car is essentially a facelift of its predecessor ó but it gets new headlight technology and thereís greater differentiation between the models. In the case of the GTS, this means there are some ugly aerodynamic flaps on the front bumper. Designed to let air in when things need cooling and smooth the flow over the body when they donít itís a very clever and fully automated system, but it doesnít do much for the image, especially when Porsche has seemingly stuffed Wall-Eís head in the valance.

Interior

The new 911's cabin has changed more significantly, in many ways, although the primary update is the inclusion of a new digital instrument cluster. Apparently the old half-and-half unit, which included an analogue rev counter and digital screens, was too tough to read. So the new digital dials are here, and though the configurable display doesn't have the pizzazz of the old system, it is definitely easier to see through the wheel.

Otherwise, the dash is mostly the same as before, with much the same touchscreen infotainment system (albeit offered with a bit more connectivity tech) and the same dashboard design. In the case of the GTS, that means there's Race-Tex microfibre upholstery all over the show, including the roof lining, and things are pretty dark in there. It's lifted slightly by the optional coloured seat belts and contrast stitching, though, and the quality is every bit as good as before. Which is to say it's sensational.

Practicality

When considering a car for track days, most customers probably won't worry too much about space, but when a car has to do both on- and off-track work, it becomes more of an issue. Like other 911 models, the GTS comes with a 135-litre storage tub under the bonnet, which is more useful than it sounds, and there's plenty of space behind the front seats. Whereas before there were small rear seats there as standard, the new model does away with these unless customers specify them, leaving an overgrown parcel shelf. To be honest, the space available there doesn't change much whether you have seats there or not, and they're a no-cost option so you may as well have them, even if they're only really suitable for kids. When it's just one or two of you up front, though, you can use the space to make the GTS more than roomy enough for a weekend away.

Performance

Much has been made of the 992.2ís switch to hybrid power, but the T-Hybrid system doesnít feel all that hybrid-esque. Perhaps thatís because the motor, which lives inside the twin-clutch automatic gearbox, only has about 40kW of power, which isnít all that much, or because the 1.9kWh battery pack is titchy compared with some hybrids. Or maybe itís because the electric motor doesnít really drive the wheels on its own ó it just helps the petrol engine out.

And what a petrol engine it is. The all-new, 3.6-litre flat-six makes a fantastic noise and produces plenty of power, thanks in part to a clever new turbocharger that can be spooled up by the electrical system, essentially Ďpre-loadingí the system before the boost is needed, and then provides regenerative power at up to 11kW when you lift off the power. Whatís more, the hybrid system does the job of an alternator, so thereís no need to run that off the engine.

That technical wizardry means the T-Hybrid system produces 541hp, and offers the choice of a four-wheel-drive layout tested here, or a more conventional rear-drive layout. Acceleration times are identical, with both getting from 0-62mph in three seconds flat (a four-tenths-of-a-second improvement on the old GTS that was 61hp down on the newcomer), but the all-wheel-drive car makes the performance more accessible, which is worth something in the real world.

The only catch, then, is that the hybrid system doesnít do all that much for efficiency in the GTS, either. Yes, it is a bit better than its predecessor on the emissions front, but itís still less efficient than a basic 3.0-litre 911 Carrera Coupe, returning economy in the mid-20s on the official economy test. And in the real world, we defy anyone to achieve that over a long-term average. The performance is just too addictive.

Ride & Handling

The whole point of the GTS versions of the 911 is to provide track handling at a sensible price, and without the impracticalities that follow cars such as the GT3. In short, itís supposed to be the car you drive to a circuit, hoon around in, then drive home. But in recent years, the outgoing GTS ó the 992.1 ó has had the track bit nailed, but struggled on the road.

That isnít because it felt lumpen or numb, not a bit of it. Itís because it was just that bit too stiff and track-orientated. But the new model feels marginally more supple, albeit on the smooth Spanish road surfaces of our test route. Itís more jiggly than the standard Carrera, no doubt, but it felt as though it soaked up what few bumps it was faced with reasonably well. Weíll have to drive it on UK roads before we pass final judgement.

Despite that first impression, the GTS is still every bit as brilliant on track as before. Porsche has lowered the suspension by 10mm as standard, and rear-wheel steering is now included in the price, along with wider tyres. The result is biblical grip and epic body control, as well as flea-like agility. The steering feels sublime, even the optional ceramic brakes are subtle and nuanced, and the balance of the car is sensational.

But the body control is a highlight, and it comes courtesy of Porscheís Active Suspension Management (PASM) tech, which will be offered with roll stabilisation from November 2024. Though that system is still not available yet, it was fitted to our test car, and it works spectacularly well. Even in the more road-orientated suspension setting, the body stays flat, but if you opt for the sportier setting itís almost completely level, which gives you incredible confidence.

Combine that with the four-wheel-drive system that just makes the power so accessible in almost any situation, and the GTS becomes a track weapon. Maybe it doesnít feel as organic or as engaging as the rear-drive car, but itís easier to drive fast and itís more stable, which will appeal to plenty of customers. And itís no less agile in the corners, darting towards the apex and offering almost the same adjustability as the rear-drive GTS when you get there.

Value

Like everything else in the world, the 911 has become very expensive, and the basic Carrera Coupe now costs just £200 shy of £100,000. So it's no surprise that the GTS starts at £132,600 for the rear-drive car, and rises to just over £139,000 for the Carrera 4 model. It's a lot of money, and equipment is adequate, but hardly generous. Yes, you get the touchscreen and the instrument display and all the mechanical upgrades, but apart from the Sport Chrono Package that provides the Sport Plus driving mode and launch control, as well as a Sport Response button that sharpens everything up for a period, you don't get all that much more than you would with a basic Carrera.

Verdict

For those whose 911s will spend half their life on a race track, the GTS Coupe is the obvious choice. Though it feels a little more supple than before, it's still a bit too stiff for regular road use, and those who never see a track will be better served by other models. But the GTS die-hards who love the breed should not be repulsed by the T-Hybrid system, because it's so good you barely notice it, and the car it lives in is still every bit as capable as before.



James Fossdyke - 10 Jul 2024



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2024 Porsche 911 992.2 Carrera 4 GTS. Image by Porsche.2024 Porsche 911 992.2 Carrera 4 GTS. Image by Porsche.2024 Porsche 911 992.2 Carrera 4 GTS. Image by Porsche.2024 Porsche 911 992.2 Carrera 4 GTS. Image by Porsche.2024 Porsche 911 992.2 Carrera 4 GTS. Image by Porsche.

2024 Porsche 911 992.2 Carrera 4 GTS. Image by Porsche.2024 Porsche 911 992.2 Carrera 4 GTS. Image by Porsche.2024 Porsche 911 992.2 Carrera 4 GTS. Image by Porsche.2024 Porsche 911 992.2 Carrera 4 GTS. Image by Porsche.2024 Porsche 911 992.2 Carrera 4 GTS. Image by Porsche.








 

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