There are 14 different model variants in the current Porsche 911 range, and even for a motoring journalist, it can be tricky figuring out the difference between them all. Well, let’s make things simple: the Porsche 911 GTS is the one to get. Let me explain why.
We’re sure you’re familiar with the Porsche 911 by now. It’s one of the most iconic nameplates of all time. It’s a simple but effective formula, one that’s barely changed since 1964: two doors, rear-engined, rear-wheel-drive, high luxury, high power, no-nonsense.
The 911 is now in its eighth generation, which is internally designated the 992. Wider and more angular than ever before, the 992 is widely acclaimed. It’s uncontroversially good – and uncontroversially fast. That’s especially true for the pointy end of the range, especially the range-topping the 911 GT3, which we drove earlier this year. Read our review here.
The ‘problem’ with the GT3 or the next rung down from it on the ladder, the 911 Turbo, is that they’re almost too fast; too mental. The 911 used to have a reputation for being a bit of a widowmaker and while the 992-generation car with all of its safety tech is a much less dangerous proposition, both the 911 Turbo and 911 GT3 are a bit much for the everyday driver.
That’s why the 911 GTS is, in our humble opinion, the pick of the litter.
So, some history. GTS stands for ‘Gran Turismo Sport’ and was first used by Porsche back in 1963 on the 904 race car (which was also known as the Carrera GTS). The nomenclature then reappeared in the 80s and 90s with the 924 GTS and 928 GTS, which were the fastest road-going versions of those cars.
These days, GTS typically denotes the highest specification for many of Porsche’s model ranges, such as the 718 and (currently) the Macan – although not for the 911 and the Taycan, for example. Still, GTS is a badge with a long history and still means that you’re getting something a bit wilder than your average Porsche.
Indeed, that’s exactly what you get with the current 911 GTS, which sits right smack bang in the middle of the 911 line-up.
Somewhat confusingly, all current 911s are turbocharged, not just the 911 Turbo – and actually, the top-spec GT3 is naturally aspirated. Anyway… The 911 GTS boasts a 3.0L twin-turbocharged flat-six that makes 353kW/570Nm, has a top speed of 312km/h and does 0-100km/h in 3.4 seconds (4.1 in manual guise).
Yeah, the manual’s slower. You can get the 911 GTS with either a 7-speed manual box or an 8-speed PDK dual-clutch. The manual is a gem, but the PDK is truly effortless and unlocks the car’s true potential… Isn’t it weird that picking the manual is actually a performance downgrade these days?
Even 4.1 seconds is monstrously fast, especially for what’s really quite a small car. I had the chance to drive the new Porsche 911 GTS in and around Queensland’s beautiful Gold Coast (including some track time at the Norwell Motorplex) and the sensation of speed you feel in this car is quite unlike anything else.
It’s a total heat-seeking missile. Having that engine and all that weight behind you, you feel powerful. The 992-generation vehicle’s wider stance really adds to that sensation, with sticky stanced Pirelli rubber keeping you planted and sharp-as-a-tack handling keeping you straight.
On the track, it’s a reliable weapon with an exceptionally linear power band, heaps of torque and shrieks like a banshee. It also helps that the GTS removes some of the sound insulation you get on lower models, meaning you can really hear that amazing engine note sing out. This is one of the best-sounding cars on the planet, especially if you do opt for the manual and let it get nice and high into the rev range.
That said, it’s very well-mannered when not on the track. Drive it off the circuit and onto the freeway and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how soft and supple the suspension can be when you dial it down off Sport+ mode. Passengers will be impressed, as will passers-by. It exudes a unique combination of class and ferocity that’s intoxicating whether you’re inside or out of the car.
The GTS spec also by default blacks out all the trim and the rims, which makes the already rather handsome 992 look even better. You know how we hate peasant trim…
In short, there’s plenty in the 911 GTS that lets you know you’ve got something a cut above the average 911 (and miles ahead of 99% of cars on the road) but it’s not so impenetrably fast or flashy that you’d feel intimidated by it.
That’s kind of the thesis of the GTS. It’s a car you could very easily take to the track on Saturday, but you’re not going to be stressed about taking to the shops on Sunday. In that sense, it’s rather gentlemanly. It’s an exercise in restraint… But not too much restraint. It’s a Goldilocks of a car.
Of course, the standard 911 is still a highly capable and luxurious car, and the 911 GT3 is a proper supercar that you’d be privileged to own. But for our money, the 911 GTS is the smart buy. It’s easily the most enjoyable car I’ve ever driven and an absolute masterclass in clever packaging by Porsche.
Discover the Porsche 911 GTS range at Porsche’s online showroom here.