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Ten Thrilling Features of the 2017 Porsche 911 GTSWe had the chance to put the model’s second generation to the test around the peaks and canyons of the Lake Tahoe region, and it left us flabbergasted. Here’s why.
The GTS name took its time to finally reach the 911 model line, but when it finally did in 2010, it presented a great bridge between the 911 Carrera S and 911 Turbo. We had the chance to put the model’s second generation to the test around the peaks and canyons of the Lake Tahoe region, and it left us flabbergasted. Here’s why.
Packing a price punchWell that’s probably a little extreme, but when you consider the GTS’ pricing structure, you can at least start to lean that way. A base GTS (that is to say a RWD coupe) is going to set you back $135,000. That’s no small change, to be sure but when you consider that a similarly-equipped Carrera S will run you into the mid $140,000 level – without all the cool GTS-specific additions – you can see why the GTS is such an enticing buy. I know I’m sold.
Keeping it on the levelLook closely at the front splitter, and you’ll notice that it’s missing the Carrera S’ active grille shutters. That’s because thank to a new, deeper front splitter design, they’re no longer required as the GTS is more aerodynamic from the get-go. The result? A car that feels planted no matter what you throw at it, as the air sucks the whole shebang to the tarmac with gumption. Further, their deletion adds to the more purposeful look of the GTS as a whole.
Wide BodyRegardless of which body style or drive type you choose, your GTS will come with the wider hips usually reserved for the brand’s AWD and GT options. It allows for the wider wheels we talked about earlier, while at the same time providing the GTS with a more aggressive, purposeful stance and a whole lotta presence. In addition to the wide-body, the switch to GTS provides black wheels, black tailpipe tips, smoked head- and taillamps and on Targas, a black “Targa bar”. The last one is a bit of a shame; there’s nothing overtly wrong with how the black bar looks, but it would be nice to have the option of the classic silver-painted bar.
You want body styles? I’ll give you body styles!Three, to be precise: Targa, Coupe and Convertible. All look smashing, and the Targa would be our obvious choice if it weren’t for the lack of a RWD option. Why Targa? The way the glass roof operates is just so deliciously slick and it provides the freedom of open air motoring without the fatigue of harsh wind buffeting. Perfect. Now, about that RWD model…
Two transmissions for two drive typesWe had the chance to sample cars with both the7-speed manual and 7-speed PDK dual-clutch auto, and with either RWD or AWD unless you select the Targa, which is AWD-only. Porsche says they could fit a RWD platform to the Targa, but Targa buyers tend to prefer the grand touring ability of their GTS and the safety and comfort offered by AWD is just right for them. Both transmissions are good, but if you really want the purest drive -- as the GTS purports to offer – stick with the manual. It sports well-spaced slots and slick lever action, and you’ll be using said lever a lot thanks to tightly-spaced ratios. If I had a complaint it would be that there were actually times where I’d have to double-check which gear I was in; it’s made easier by a digital readout at the base of the centre-mounted tach, but it does require a little more brainpower than I was used to. Of course, if you want to save all that brainpower and just have the quickest shift possible, then the PDK is the answer. As soon as you flip either of the fantastic-feeling magnesium paddles, the shift comes whip-crack fast. Banging up through those gears is an addictive feeling.
Serious interiorAlso keeping the racing vibe going is the interior. You can upgrade to traditional leather if you’d like, but the Alcantara suede trim that comes as standard is just too good to pass up, in our humble opinion. Especially considering that you’d have to pay to change it. It covers all the spots you’ll often touch: the upper doorsills, steering wheel, seats and gear lever. It’s fantastic, added to which the standard Sports seats – available as 8- or 18-way adjustable models – do such a great job of keeping a variety of body shapes in check. Porsche offers fixed-back carbon seats on some models but not here, and few will miss them since the seats the GTS does get are so perfect.
Centre-lock for the winPerhaps one of the main defining factors of the GTS’s upgraded styling are the centre-lock wheels. They’re not really any lighter than standard five-lug wheels and don’t do all that much for the dynamics, but the Porsche folks on-hand at the launch event had no problem calling it like it was: they’re there because they look cool, and add to the racing-based GT3-lite flavour of the GTS. They are also wider at the rear, since the GTS has smaller turbos than its Turbo sibling does and can accommodate the wider wheels. Huzzah for tight packaging!
Put your back (wheels) into itIt would require a very high-speed camera mounted to the car, but if you had one pointed down at the rear wheels, you would see that they can turn up to 1.5 degrees depending on what the driver’s doing. This adds stability in high-speed corners, but makes low-speed manoeuvres easier, too.
Handling all that powerThe GTS gets a 10 mm suspension drop in convertible and Targa forms, and a 20 mm drop in coupe form thanks to a stiffer chassis. No matter; both the Targa and Coupe we tested handled just as well as they accelerated, beautifully transmitting what was going on beneath us through the smaller-diameter wheel. Active engine mounts, meanwhile, help ensure that your steering inputs don’t overly upset the body.
All that powerThe GTS’s main calling card is the fact it comes standard with the Carrera’s pricey Powerkit option. The result? A chest-thumping 450 hp and at 405 lb-ft of torque. The (now smaller) engine is twin-turbocharged so there is a bit of lag. Once the turbos get on boil, however, watch out. The acceleration is manic, and if you work to keep the engine in the powerband, you’ll never be left behind.