2017 Porsche 991 GTS first drive review

Now in its third incarnation on a 911, the GTS range is firmly established as a highly specified badge above the Carrera S models. And it is a range, for all the engineer’s talk of there only being one true GTS (a manual, rear-wheel drive coupe) the marketing suits have won. Their persistence has been worthwhile, too, as with the 991.2 GTS, the adoption of the Carrera line-up’s 3.0-litre turbocharged flat-six sees the issues of the old GTS Cabriolet and Targa models addressed.

Chiefly, the now 450hp engine – up 30hp over a Carrera S via new turbos and higher boost pressure – has the torque to shift the heavier, open-topped cars more convincingly. They might not be entirely true to the badge’s bridge to the GT department’s model ethos, then, but they’re no longer an affront to it.

At its core, and we’re talking that Carrera GTS Coupe manual that the engineers have said from the very first 997 GTS is the car that’s the GTS proper, the GTS remains a hugely appealing 911. It offers the unique combination of the Carrera 4’s widebody and rear-wheel drive, the Coupes gaining not just the 10mm suspension drop via standard fitment of PASM but a further 10mm lowering thanks to the specification of the Sport.

The increase in power is welcome, its 450hp being the same as a 997 GT3 RS, the changes to the engine making it keener for revs, at the expense of a little bit of low rev torque. That’s no sacrifice, and entirely in keeping with the GTS’s core values, that being of a more focussed driver’s car, without going to quite the extremes of the GT3. That said, Porsche is quoting a Nürburgring lap time of 7 minutes 22 seconds with its new Ultra High Performance, road legal tyre, that time just two seconds shy of what was possible in a 997 GT2.

That’s rapid Progress. Looking at all the other numbers associated with it, the GTS moves the 911 game on significantly. Whisper it, but in perfect specification it’ll keep a 911 R very honest indeed, and engage almost as much. In Carrera 4 guise it’s a worthy understudy to the Turbo, the GTS very much a sweet-spot in the Carrera range.

With those Coupes there’s the weight-saving option to delete the rear seats, the usual GTS extras of centre-lock Turbo wheels, black detailing, unique bodykit, a sports exhaust, standard Sport Chrono with Dynamic Engine Mounts, a limited slip differential with Porsche Torque Vectoring, larger brakes situated on new, lighter aluminium carriers create a cherry-picked specification that creates a brilliant Carrera. We’ve driven it, in 2, 4, Coupe, Cabriolet and Targa, which you can read about in-depth in the special 150th issue of Total 911 magazine, out 22nd February. We doubt you’ll be surprised to hear it’s a brilliant car, the GTS now maturing into a desirable range, even if it’s at its very best when at its purest.

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