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First drive: Porsche 911 Carrera GTS PDK. Image by Porsche.

First drive: Porsche 911 Carrera GTS PDK
We try what is arguably the best all-round Porsche 911 on UK roads with the PDK twin-clutch automatic transmission.

   



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| First Drive | Bournemouth, England | Porsche 911 Carrera GTS PDK |

For those who think that the standard Porsche 911 Carrera is lacking a little something, yet find the GT3 and Turbo versions too brash and expensive, there is now the Carrera GTS. It's a middle of the road 911 with the easy to live with nature of the standard car but more power and a superior driving experience.

In the Metal

You could be forgiven for thinking that the Carrera GTS is stock 911 in its appearance, but there are one or two things that mark it out from the norm. A wider rear track (by 32mm) and the beefier bodywork from the four-wheel drive Carrera 4 are the most significant features. There's also a rather handsome set of black, 19-inch alloy wheels, each with a single centre locking nut. A unique front apron, new side skirts and exhaust pipes coated in black complete the tasteful exterior.

Inside, it really is standard Porsche 911 - everything's functional and very well put together. Alcantara trim features heavily unless you go for one of the various leather interior options, which vary dramatically according to personal taste.

What you get for your Money

Expect to pay £78,371 for a basic coupé with the manual gearbox, or £85,249 for an equivalent GTS Cabriolet. It costs an additional £2,525 for the PDK seven-speed double clutch transmission tested here. Standard equipment includes a sports exhaust, Porsche's Active Suspension Management (PASM) system and a touch-screen stereo.

That's a significant premium over the standard 911 Carrera, but it's a lot less than extreme incarnations like the Turbo and the GT3. If you have the means, this Porsche strikes as good a balance price-wise as it does on the road. Though you won't see it if you're exploiting the GTS's abilities on the road, Porsche reckons you'll get 27.7mpg from the coupé when fitted with the PDK gearbox.

Driving it

Porsche has hit the nail on the head with this one. Because the Carrera GTS is a halfway house between the basic and the bonkers 911s, it has a near perfect blend of big performance from the 402bhp 3.8-litre flat-six engine along with crisp, accurate and enjoyable handling. In the right conditions, you'll see 0-62mph in 4.4 seconds and 188mph flat out. It sits 10mm lower than the standard Carrera, thanks to the PASM suspension package and, along with the reinforced body structure from the four-wheel drive models (and the wider rear track), the rear-wheel drive GTS is altogether more taut and composed than 'lesser' 911s.

That means the nose is less prone to bobbing about and washing wide in fast corners in typical 911 style. The steering is as crisp is ever - the wheel wriggles and wobbles with every rut of the road surface and the chassis feeds the same plentiful amount of information through the seat. Just as much fun is the sound of the sports exhaust, which is heightened to an addictive crisp rasp. It is possible to make the tailpipes quieter (you actually have to push a small button on the dash to make the system louder in the first place) but we'll admit that we didn't bother.

As for the PDK seven-speed transmission - it's very good, and would suit those who prefer to pose in their Porsche or track day goers, as it has a launch control setting. The changes are exceptionally smooth and effective, even at low speeds, and the 'box copes just as well when it's left alone to swap cogs by itself. However, we also tried the six-speed manual version and found ourselves totally smitten by its short and sweet shift action. It's easy to find a case for the PDK transmission, but for driving enthusiasts there's really contest - it's manual all the way.

Worth Noting

The all-round appeal of the 911 Carrera GTS has led Porsche to suggest that it will be the most popular 911 variant of 2011. Coupés are expected to tempt the fancies of 80 percent of buyers and, despite our preference of a manual gearbox, Porsche reckons that 60 percent of GTS buyers will plump for the PDK version tested here.

Summary

It's a bold statement but we think that this Porsche 911 is the best pick of the current crop. It's not as intense as the barmy track specials and turbocharged versions, nor is it as affordable as the lower level Carreras - but that's why it's so good. The 911 Carrera GTS has all the hallmarks of Porsche's cornerstone model in its usability and fine build quality, but it has more power and a superior all-round driving experience without being hard to handle.

Jack Carfrae - 18 Feb 2011



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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 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.
 






 

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