2015 Porsche 911 GTS Review

The present you’ve always promised yourself
Imthishan Giado

 Porsche 911 GTS

In much the same way that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has grown to encompass both very tiny superheroes and a talking tree, it’s been enormous fun watching the 911 evolve over the years.

While there’ll always be a ‘basic’ 911 to buy – and it is the only one you should buy – today’s wealthy banker or dentist has a frankly bewildering array of variants to choose from. Droptop, four wheel drive, Turbo, little-bit-faster Turbo, hardcore track monster, Targa…it never stops.

And now here’s another one; potentially, the best of the lot. The previous 997 GTS was the best Porsche I’ve ever driven. As before, the GTS is a cheap way to get all the optional kit for much less.

Only available in the wider-track C4S (and better looking) bodyshell, there’s a smorgasbord of extras: 30bhp extra on the 3.8-litre flat six for a total of 430bhp, sports exhaust, Sports Chrono, 20” alloys, adaptive dampers, lashings of alcantara everywhere, and in the version I drove, a ludicrous Aerokit wing. It’s huge, it’s tasteless, it really belongs on the more powerful Turbo, and I absolutely love it.

Porsche 911 GTS

Cut to the chase, is it better than the regular 911?

Not hugely, no. GTS badge aside, this is just a lower, wider 991 with all the kit. In no way is that a bad thing; even with ‘just’ 430bhp this remains one of the fastest cars I’ve ever driven in the real world.

Fess up, Stuttgart; there’s no way this is 430bhp. The flat six snarls, snorts and screams towards the redline with virtually no inertia. Unlike lazy American lumps or laggy turbos, this is right-now response mated to the very best transmission on the planet. Yes, I admit it; the 911 is at its blinding best with PDK. That’s because it knows exactly down to the last micrometer on the tach where the torque is, and it keeps this engine pegged there.

Almost makes the sharper Sport and Sport Plus modes redundant for the average driver. They’re really for track use and this remains one of very few cars on sale today which you can drive out of the showroom and straight onto Yas Marina. Don’t need to change the brakes, don’t need to swap tires: 911s are tough, strong and take a hell of a beating. On road it’s not even breaking a sweat.

Porsche 911 GTS

So nearly the perfect interior

Great place to sit in, too. That classic low slung cockpit and down-on-the-deck seating position is hard to beat, not to mention, these Sports Plus seats are just phenomenally comfortable. You can fit four in a pinch, the stereo kicks hard and the materials are put together flawlessly.

A couple of knocks though. First, the infotainment package is looking pretty dated and it’s not especially intuitive, even if there are redundant knobs and switches for nearly every control. Face it, when everyone else has jazzy animated screen-handovers and one-handed controls, Porsche’s console still look oh-so-2005.

Second, the exhaust note. Or rather, the lack of it. The old 997, when you stabbed the loud button, had this delicious, enveloping howl. New 991? Not so much. Like the Ferrari 458 Speciale, it’s more mechanical, certainly louder, but tingles the hairs on the back of the neck? Nope.

Porsche 911 GTS

Driver optional

And that brings me really, to my only problem with the GTS: it’s too easy to drive. OK, I won’t mention that Porsche still hasn’t perfected feedback in electric steering, but what I actually mean is the GTS is so capable that it’s in danger of becoming a Nissan GT-R.

Make no mistake, this is an immensely fast automobile. A car you can drive at triple digit speeds through the bends while wondering what song to listen to next on your phone. Like all modern German cars, the GTS delivers on the numbers, but it doesn’t talk to you, doesn’t frighten you, doesn’t make your eyes go wide with excitement. For those who have driven the legendary 911s of the past, it comes off as frustratingly sterile and distant, a car to crush your competitors but not one to drag you by your lapels into the bedroom.

Porsche 911 GTS

Verdict

Do I sound down on the GTS? I don’t mean to. Honestly, it’s excellent. A magnificent sportscar worthy of the badge, and even really good on petrol! Costs a fair bit, but drive one and you utterly understand why.

My concern is more of a philosophical one. In the past, you bought 911s for different reasons, but all of them had to do with driving. You plunked your hard-earned down on a 911 because it was the best driver’s car, and goddamnit, you enjoyed driving, you demanded the best.

That’s not true anymore. Starting from the 80s, you bought the 911 because it was a nice way to spend your yearly bonus. The 911 has become a reward to yourself for hard work. Like all good toys, it has hence evolved to pamper you and feed your ego, rather than intimidate.

You might envision Steve McQueen driving the old GTS hard through the canyons, his famously-furrowed brows scanning for sneaky cops. Today, I’m thinking tech CEO, hoodie, PDK because the right hand’s constantly checking social media, on his way to the next billion dollar valuation, cruising on the freeway.

Which would you rather be?

7 reasons why the 2014 Porsche 911 Targa is THE best current Porsche

2015 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS  review – The Specs

Prices: AED472,640 ($128k)
Engine: 3.8-litre flat-six cylinder, 430bhp @ 7500rpm, 325lb ft @ 5750rpm
Performance: 4.0secs 0-100kph for PDK, 304kph, 9L/100km
Transmission: seven-speed dual clutch, rear-wheel drive
Weight: 1445kg

 

 

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