Road test: the new Porsche 911 Carrera GTS looks better, goes faster and drives smoother

This beautifully balanced sportster builds on the Carrera S, yet not at the expense of a bone-jarring ride or deafening soundtrack

The new Porsche 911 Carrera GTS goes from 0 to 100kph in 3.4 seconds and has a top speed of 310kph. Antonie Robertson / The National
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Porsche certainly doesn’t leave its customers wanting for choice. There are currently more than 30 variants of the 911 on offer (including the GT3 and Turbo models), and there are still more derivatives, such as the GT2 RS and GT3 RS, to come.

The subject of this road test is the recently launched 911 Carrera GTS, which occupies the middle ground between the already fast and capable 911 Carrera S and the even more rapid GT3 and Turbo models. Priced from Dh547,600, it costs about Dh55,000 more than its 911 Carrera S sibling, but that’s a relative bargain when you factor in what this premium gets you.

As with most fruity go-faster models, the GTS scores an uprated version of the 3.0-litre twin-turbo flat-six motor that powers the Carrera S, and it’s good for outputs of 480hp and 570Nm. It adds up to a 0 to 100kph split of 3.4 seconds and top speed of 310kph, and the GTS feels every bit this quick out in the real world. It’s also far more vocal than lesser Carrera models, thanks to a specially tuned sports exhaust, as well as the deletion of some of the noise insulation fitted to the regular model.

The specs

Engine: 3.0-litre twin-turbo flat-six

Power: 480hp at 6,500rpm

Torque: 570Nm from 2,300-5,000rpm

Transmission: 8-speed dual-clutch auto

Fuel consumption: 10.4L/100km

Price: from Dh547,600

On sale: now

However, the GTS’s most significant upgrades are to its suspension, which is derived from the underpinnings of the more powerful Turbo. As a result, it sits 10 millimetre lower than regular Carrera models, and it also has a much beefier footprint, courtesy of chunky rubber wrapped around Turbo S centre-lock alloy wheels (20-inch diameter at the front, and 21-inches at the rear). In addition, the GTS gets PASM (Porsche Active Suspension Management) adaptive dampers all around, plus Turbo-spec brakes.

Visually, the GTS stands apart from other Carreras via a black silk-gloss finish on the spoiler lip, the aforementioned centre-lock alloy wheels, engine cover louvres and the GTS script on the doors and rear of the car.

Porsche 911 GTS price starts from Dh547,600. Antonie Robertson / The National

It is also fitted with the SportDesign package, with bespoke trim elements for the front, rear and side sills. The headlight rims and daytime running light surrounds are darkened, and the car is fitted with standard LED headlights with Porsche Dynamic Light System Plus (PDLS Plus), as well as unique taillights.

On the inside you get a GT-specification steering wheel, lots of “Race-Tex” suede trim, 18-way electrically adjustable adaptive sports seats and Sport Chrono instrumentation with a yellow tachometer (rev counter).

So, these are the raw ingredients, and what they add up to is a beautifully balanced sportster that builds on the already impressive capabilities of the Carrera S, yet not at the expense of a bone-jarring ride or deafening soundtrack. Yes, that exhaust system is loud in Sport and Sport+ modes, but twist the drive mode selector on the steering wheel to Normal, and the GTS trundles around in relative refinement.

The three-spoke steering wheel and yellow tachometer in the new Porsche 911 Carrera GTS. Antonie Robertson / The National

The 3.0-litre flat-six motor is fed by a pair of turbos, but throttle response is so instantaneous, you could be fooled into thinking the engine is naturally aspirated. This sense of crispness permeates through to the rest of the car. The eight-speed dual-clutch auto is quick and intuitive, while the three-spoke steering wheel feels alive in your fingertips. You don’t just feel connected to the GTS, you get the sense of being hardwired to it.

Early 911s had a reputation for being unruly at their cornering limits, but evolutionary advancement has made recent generations of the car almost fool proof. That’s certainly the case with the latest GTS. There’s huge grip from the chunky Pirelli rubber, and even if you do push hard enough to get somewhere near the limits, everything happens progressively. There are no nasty surprises.

At its Dh548,000 price point, there are no direct competitors that match the 911 GTS for pure sporting capability or driver engagement. The only rivals that come close are Audi’s V10-powered R8 and Porsche’s own 718 Cayman GTS 4.0 (which costs Dh220,000 less). Even so, the 911 Carrera GTS reigns supreme in its domain.

Updated: December 10, 2021, 11:20 AM
The specs

Engine: 3.0-litre twin-turbo flat-six

Power: 480hp at 6,500rpm

Torque: 570Nm from 2,300-5,000rpm

Transmission: 8-speed dual-clutch auto

Fuel consumption: 10.4L/100km

Price: from Dh547,600

On sale: now

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