Car Reviews

2015 Porsche 911 Carrera 4 GTS Review

Studies may have proven that attractive people get more breaks, but there is a great equalizer.

By Neil Moore Wheels.ca

Aug 6, 2015 5 min. read

Article was updated 8 years ago

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Studies may have proven that attractive people get more breaks, but there is a great equalizer.

Some say it’s plastic surgery; others claim money and power, or intangibles like character, intelligence and personality.

All may be valid, but there is a magic bullet – one that can make you instantly more popular and better looking.

Drive a Porsche 911.

I've sampled this in a Jag, upping my estimated 7.0 rating to a possible 8.5. But when seated in or standing within “ownership” distance from last week’s tester – a 2015 Porsche 911 Carrera 4 GTS – I might as well have been Brad Pitt.

Perhaps it’s the iconic shape that stirs something in our DNA.

I would suggest it’s unnecessary to buy the range-topping $222K Turbo S Cabriolet, or even the mid-pack $137K Carrera 4 GTS ($143,430 with PDK as tested) for more double takes, side glances and thumbs-up than you’re used to. Even the base 911 at $96,200 is enough to grab the attention of those who might otherwise not have said, “Neil, I didn’t realize you were this hot.”

Silver 2015 Porsche 911 Carrera

There is no shortage of 911 variants – from boulevard cruisers to track-ready GT3s. The lineup includes coupe, cabriolet and targa models, rear-drive and AWD, manual and PDK automatic, with several powertrains.

And with umpteen options and packages available, let’s just say there’s a 911 for every well-heeled budget.

My tester was powered by Porsche’s naturally aspirated flat six: 3.8-litres producing 430 hp and 324 lb/ft of torque – without aid of a turbo. That’s 30 more horses than in the 911 Carrera S.

One can order the GTS with a seven-speed manual, but mine was equipped with the PDK with sequential shift. As an enthusiast I prefer three pedals, but am aware that I’ll never outshift Porsche’s rapidfire PDK that can change cogs in milliseconds.
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The zero to 100 km/h sprint takes 4.4 seconds with manual, and a blistering 4.0 seconds with the PDK.

But one can avoid such tomfoolery by leaving the transmission in automatic mode and snub any unnecessary buttons – in particular those that look like a shock absorber, dual exhaust outlets, and any that say ‘sport’ or ‘sport plus’.

Now you’re ready to run a few errands, grab some groceries or possibly take Mom to lunch.

About that last one, it may be a challenge to dislodge her from the deeply bolstered sport buckets (with grippy alcantara inserts), but at least she won’t be reaching for the heart meds.

But none of this is why you’d purchase a Porsche 911.

Those buttons aren’t the devil’s work, but an opportunity to explore the superb capability of this purpose-built sports car.

The 911, unlike many such coupes, has its engine in back, driving either the rear wheels or all four (as tested), with Porsche’s AWD system routing most to the rear axle.

2015 Porsche 911 Carrera wheels

With all that power, this could make the 911 hard to handle, but with Porsche Stability Management (PSM), torque vectoring (PTV) and active suspension management (PASM) working in the background, the car is extremely stable when pushed hard.

I’ll admit the sport buttons are a temptation, and quickly became part of my startup routine. Left hand turns the key fob (ignition is on the left – no pushbutton start), and the right hand immediately hits ‘Sport’ or ‘Sport Plus’ before exiting the driveway.

The first mode allows you to leave the suspension in its default ‘comfort’ setting, which although firm, offers some forgiveness on rough roads. Or you can opt for stiffer damping, for a bone-jarring ride best suited to the track, not Toronto’s choppy pavement.
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Throttle response sharpens noticeably, and the PDK upshifts later to take full advantage of the flat six’s torque curve. Downshifts are also quicker, and with the sport exhaust activated, each step down is accompanied by a throaty chorus of rumbles and pops from the four big exhaust outlets.

Sport Plus amps it up by automatically firming the suspension and opening the exhausts.

Steering is more direct, and the threshold for PSM is raised – allowing the back end to swing out a little before reining it back in.

2015 Porsche 911 Carrera interior

It’s a great setting for track day, or you can turn off PSM altogether. I wouldn’t, but there are many who have the skills or at least think they do…

Inside, there’s little to gripe about – other than the “back seats.” With the 911’s rear sloping roofline, vertical seatbacks and lack of meaningful legroom, it’s really a parcel shelf.

My petite, nine-year-old daughter was perfectly happy, but don’t try this with fully-grown adults unless you’re prepared to use the “jaws of life” to extract them.

The front seats, however, are brilliant, with support in just the right places for long-distance comfort. My ride was equipped with the $3,460 adaptive sports seats with 18-way power adjust, but I’m sure the standard-equipped ‘sport seats plus’ would have been fine.

2015 Porsche 911 Carrera front seats

Indeed, Porsche options can be pricey. Mine included nearly $20,000 worth, which covered only a handful of items. But for those who have the budget, there are nearly limitless ways to personalize a 911.

This car is not for everybody, and entry to this exclusive club is limited by the six-figure pricetag. Which is too bad, as my temporary membership has expired.

And my wife isn’t buying any plans to remortgage the house.

2015 Porsche 911 Carrera rear
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2015 Porsche 911 Carrera 4 GTS at a glance

BODY STYLE: Luxury 2+2 sports coupe
DRIVE METHOD: rear-engine, all-wheel-drive.
ENGINE: 3.8-litre naturally-aspirated, horizontally opposed six cylinder (430 hp, 325 lb/ft of torque) with seven-speed PDK automatic with sequential shift
CARGO VOLUME: 125 litres under the front hood
FUEL ECONOMY: 12.6/9.2 L/100 km (city/hwy)
PRICE: base $137,900 (with seven-speed manual); $143,430 with seven speed PDK as tested; see website for available options




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