On the road
We got to drive two of the 911 Carrera GTS derivatives at the South African national media launch: the rear-driven GTS and all-wheel-drive 4 GTS, both in hard-top guise. From a stylistic viewpoint the the cars really stand out, particularly in brighter shades, if public reaction was anything to go by. There were countless mobile phone-wielding folks trying to snap a pic or a video of our fleet of brand new 911s making their way through morning traffic.
The route took us from the city out to the open flowing stretches of the Swartland wine region on our way to Stellenbosch and back. These are the kinds of roads your typical 911 buyer would by enjoying on a Sunday morning drive. The 911 GTSs are made for the open road and here they shine.
Power delivery from the twin-turbocharged flat-six is near instantaneous with no hint of lag, probably thanks to the high-ish 10,2:1 compression ratio. The immediacy of the shifts from the eight-speed transmission also helps exploit the 570 N.m of torque, that can feel brutal when it downshifts multiple gears on a full throttle. Oh, and the reduced insulation is definitely noticeable as the flat-six woofle reminds one of older, aircooled 911s. In the upper reaches of the rev-range the standard sports exhaust emits a howl that floods the rear of the cabin; the last 1 000 r/min up to 7 500 is particularly scintillating.
Firm but not harsh
The sports suspension and low profile tyres are great when the going gets twisty but over ruts and small undulations they really do make their presence felt. Porsche also had the tyre pressures turned up to max load for our drive, which could explain the firmness. However, the ride never disintegrates to crashy and there was never a loss of traction, even at speed over mid-corner bumps.
On the curvy bits the GTS shine. We tackled a few twisty sections on our drive and both versions of the GTS we drove delivered grin-inducing dynamics and high lateral Gs (to the detriment of my passenger’s tummy). Given the choice we’d opt for the lighter GTS, the all-wheel-drive doesn’t feel any faster or more hunkered down than the rear-wheel-drive sibling, not in perfectly dry conditions at road speeds.
Over lunch with Porsche representatives we were told that a rear-wheel-drive PDK-equipped GTS is the most popular selling 911 in SA, which makes complete sense. This mid-spec car offers standout looks and a level of dynamism that most will relish in, rather than the hardcore nature of the screaming, naturally aspirated GT3 that few will ever fully exploit. It is the 911 that could, if you are inclined, whip around a racetrack then take the long route back home. Call it a GT3-lite if you will. Given the choice we’d take a manual, rear-wheel-drive version, in red but that’s just us dreaming.
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