THE PROS & CONS
- What’s Best: Everything
- What’s Worst: Nothing
- What’s Interesting: How with every model, Porsche keeps finding more power, more performance and more sophistication from the same 911 that debuted in 1963
TRUCKEE, CA: One blazing blue cloudless sky.
Three 2018 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS sportscars.
And six hours of mountain roads.
Does it get better than this?
We were descending down from 7,000 ft on the spine of a mountain with seemingly sheer drops on each side of the highway, with a gut tightening view of Lake Tahoe thousands of feet directly below me, I’m loving this drive,” my co-driver exclaimed.
And what was not to love.
Porsche Canada had furnished the latest in the long line of Carrera GTS 911s, a Coupe, Cabriolet and Targa with all the latest technology and yet another up-powered flat-six engine.
Over the years I’ve driven just about every Porsche there is from mild to weapons grade, but in my opinion, the GTS version of the 911 is the one you want and here’s why.
You get the most flexible engine Porsche makes without the frills of that added weight to take away from the intangible joy of the connection between driver inputs and machine response.
You can’t really measure and quantify this; but when it’s right – you feel it.
While the 3.8-litre flat six-cylinder in the 911 Turbo S is most powerful at 580 hp and 516 lb ft of torque, the new 3.0-litre flat-six direct injection twin turbo in the GTS produces 450 hp and 405 lb/ft of torque with standard six-speed manual or optional seven-speed “PDK” dual clutch automatic transmission.
So why not stuff the 3.8-litre into the GTS for some kind of FrankenPorsche?
Because it would upset the balance the GTS exhibits.
The 3.0-litre has 20 hp more than the previous GTS, thanks to a three-millimetre larger turbine in the twin turbos plus an increase in boost pressure resulting in a 12-second improvement in lap time at the fabled Nurburgring.
The GTS sits 10 mm lower and the rear width is increased by 44 mm for the massive 20-inch alloy wheels.
In GTS fashion, those 20-inchers have centre lock hubs at all four corners and the Sport Chrono Package is standard and includes the steering wheel integrated mode switch. It’s a small stalk with rotary wheel which allows the driver to select between Normal, Sport, Sport Plus and Individual drive programs.
The GTS is offered in five models – the Coupe and Cabriolet with rear- or all-wheel-drive and the Targa with standard AWD.
Also Read: Mercedes-AMG GT R is big, fast and loud
Models with manual transmission feature Porsche Torque Vectoring (PTV) and a mechanical rear differential lock, while GTS models with PDK feature Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus (PTV+) and an electronically controlled rear differential lock.
Both systems provide targeted braking interventions on the inside rear wheel when cornering and improved traction when accelerating out of corners.
Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control (PDCC) active anti-roll stabilization, which is available as an option, has been calibrated to suit the increased power of the GTS models.
To keep weight down there are a lot of little things deleted, such as active shutters on the twin front air intakes or seats with power back adjust but manual fore/aft travel.
There isn’t the twin row of control buttons on the centre console, just the basics and one I love. It’s the GTS-specific engine and exhaust flap control with reduced sound insulation for that GTS sound you just can’t hear anywhere else.
My mount in the morning was a fully equipped Targa with manual transmission and the new SportDesign front fascia found on all GTS models with optimized front spoiler and red calipers on the disc wheels as opposed to the yellow calipers fitted to the ceramic brake option.
Turn the signature ignition switch found to the left of the steering wheel and the engine starts with a muffled “huff-huff” you get from serious turbochargers.
A flip of the switch and the rear flying buttresses lift up as the Targa top retracts and nests behind the rear seats.
Power delivery is direct and immediate and you can actually feel the might of the grip going to the wheels as it vaults forward unless you are judicious with the throttle.
We skipped lunch to grab the Cabriolet (manual) and rocketed away for one of the most enjoyable drives I can remember.
From the bark-burble of the exhaust during downshifts to the geometrically progressive brakes, at every corner, no matter how tight or off-camber, the GTS Cab soaked everything up.
At an indicted 8,000 feet atop Mount Rose towering high above the Tahoe Valley, the turbo was never at a loss for power when you needed it — and this is important — just the right amount when summoned by my right foot.
I could go on and on and on, but I was reminded what a Porsche Canada official told me many years ago – “When you drive a 911 it spoils you for anything else.”
And the 2018 GTS has spoiled me once again.
2018 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS
BODY STYLE: Super performance premium sportscar.
DRIVE METHOD: Rear-engine, rear/all-wheel-drive.
ENGINE: 3.0-litre, twin turbo direct injection “boxer” six-cylinder (450 hp, 405 lb/ft) with standard six-speed or optional seven-speed twin clutch automatic transmission with paddle shifters
FUEL ECONOMY: (Premium) Estimated (U.S.) 18/26/21 mpg city/highway/combined
CARGO: 115 litres in front bin; 260 litres behind front seats
TOW RATING: NA
PRICE: Carrera 4 GTS Coupe, $146,900; Carrera GTS Cabriolet, $153,100; Carrera 4 GTS Cabriolet, $160,900; Targa 4 GTS, $160,900