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First Drive: Porsche 911 Carrera GTS. Image by Marc Urbano.

First Drive: Porsche 911 Carrera GTS
Porsche adds yet another 911 model to its extensive range, though in doing so it has created the perfect all-round 911.

 



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| First Drive | Palm Springs, USA | Porsche 911 Carrera GTS |

Wide-bodied, rear-wheel drive, 402bhp Carrera GTS promises to bridge the gap between the 911 Carreras and GT3 models. It does so - convincingly.

In the Metal

The new Carrera GTS is obviously a 911, with its instantly recognisable profile, rear-mounted engine and flowing lines. To that the GTS adds some black highlights: the exhaust pipes are housed in a black panel and the side skirts, lower front bumper edging and single-nut RS Spyder alloy wheels are all finished in black. The Carrera GTS script on the leading edge of the doors and boot are black too - or brushed metal on darker colour choices.

It's the wider rear track and bodywork of the Carrera 4 that adds to the GTS's muscular stance, while special styling elements like the 'Sport Exclusive' front bumper with its GT3-lite air intakes complete the look. Inside there's loads of Alcantara, a three-spoke steering wheel, standard sports seats and no rear seats unless you tick the no-cost option to retain them.

What you get for your Money

Along with the visual enhancements and interior revisions the GTS (available in both coupé and Cabriolet body styles) benefits from wider wheels, revised suspension with stiffer anti-roll bars and tweaked damper settings. The engine gets a power boost to 402bhp via intake manifold enhancements and sounds better thanks to the standard Sports Exhaust. Unlike the 911 Speedster and 911 Sport Classic, the GTS's additions don't add up to price that's greater than it would be if you added all the elements individually, as the GTS is a series production model rather than a limited number collector special.

Driving it

Porsche does percentage changes like no other manufacturer and the Carrera GTS demonstrates that more than any model in the 911 line-up. Taking the Carrera 2 S as its basis, adding the Carrera 4's wider rear track and a higher revving, higher-power version of Porsche's 3.8-litre flat-six to some detailed changes to the suspension and dampers creates a beautifully poised 911.

The key difference is the steering. The GTS's nose is more eager to turn in, while the tauter suspension resists roll more. The result is a more neutral feeling 911, the GTS carrying massive speed into and through corners. There's less of the light feel to the nose, increasing your confidence behind the wheel. The weighting of the steering is near perfect, while the clarity of the information coming through the wheel isn't far off that offered by the GT3 RS - without the sometimes busy feel that the road racer exhibits on less than perfect tarmac.

That improved steering, fine ride and more neutral poise is easily exploited thanks to the engine changes. Power from the 3.8-litre engine is up from 385- to 402bhp. Peak torque remains unaltered, but it's delivered in a more linear fashion and slightly lower in the rev range. The result is greater flexibility, more urgency in the mid-range and the same eager top end. Maximum power arrives at 7,300rpm, and such is the smoothness of the 3.8 it's not unusual to have the rev counter's needle swinging up towards its 7,500rpm redline.

Combine that engine with the crisp, quick manual gearshift and the Carrera GTS is an extremely rewarding driver's car. It's not as shockingly rapid as the GT3 models, but it's arguably faster in the real world, the GTS able to carry its speed with greater composure on regular roads, while its performance is more accessible and exploitable.

Worth Noting

The standard GTS coupé in manual guise reaches 62mph in 4.6 seconds. It's possible to shave 0.2 seconds off that with the PDK automatic gearbox and a further 0.2 seconds if the PDK is joined by the Sport Chrono Plus option. Faster yes, but no more fun, as however smooth and quick the PDK transmission is it robs the GTS of a sizeable chunk of its driver appeal. We'd have a manual, lose the drag race and enjoy the thrill of working the improved engine with a stick and three pedals. Likewise, avoid the GTS Cabriolet, which lacks the precision feel of its coupé relative.

Summary

Porsche's new GTS convincingly bridges the sizeable gap between the rear-wheel drive Carrera S model and the GT3/GT3 RS. It's sharper, faster and delivers even more feel, all while retaining its usability and comfort. Its addition to the range has made picking your next 911 much easier.

Kyle Fortune - 23 Nov 2010









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2011 Porsche 911 specifications:
0-62mph: 4.6 seconds
Top speed: 190mph
Combined economy: 26.6mpg
Emissions: 250g/km
Kerb weight: 1420kg

Full technical specifications

2011 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS. Image by Nick Maher.2011 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS. Image by Nick Maher.2011 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS. Image by Porsche.2011 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS. Image by Porsche.2011 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS. Image by Porsche.

2011 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS. Image by Porsche.2011 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS. Image by Porsche.2011 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS. Image by Porsche.2011 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS. Image by Porsche.2011 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS. Image by Porsche.



2011 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS. Image by Marc Urbano.
 

2011 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS. Image by Marc Urbano.
 

2011 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS. Image by Marc Urbano.
 

2011 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS. Image by Marc Urbano.
 

2011 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS. Image by Marc Urbano.
 

2011 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS. Image by Marc Urbano.
 

2011 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS. Image by Marc Urbano.
 






 

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