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04 Jan 2022

Perfectly balanced – the new Porsche 992 GTS

The arrival of the new GTS adds welcome drama to the 911 range but at a cost which some might baulk  

For the previous two iterations of 911, both 997 and 991, the GTS model was regularly heralded as ‘the sweet spot’ of series production, hitting that apparently perfect midpoint between base Carrera and flagship Turbo. Not too much, not too little – just the right number of proverbial bangs for bucks. Inevitably, then, expectations are high as the 992 generation receives its own GTS derivative – a car that must up the ante on every level without breaking the bank.
We’re living in strange times, however, and all sports cars are painting themselves into a corner. The 992 Turbo is a truly fabulous thing – a supercar you can commute in, an engineering totem you will never tire of – but it is too quick to be enjoyed properly in the UK. Truth be told, even a lowly Carrera 2 is getting close to that. Bigger cars are filling more of the road, both yours and whatever is coming the other way, and with the sort of casual in-gear grunt that would have been the envy of a select few exotics 20 years ago. There simply isn’t enough asphalt to accommodate us, especially when we’re ‘pressing on’.
Using the same twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre unit as the Carrera, the new GTS makes a mighty 473bhp; that’s almost 100bhp more than the standard car and 29bhp over even the far punchier Carrera S. The Turbo, meanwhile, starts way out the other side at 572bhp, leaping up to 641bhp on the Turbo S. The spread of available outputs across Stuttgart’s series cars is truly enormous, and the GTS once again finds itself pitched squarely in the middle.

In order to do justice to all that extra power, the GTS inherits a slightly softened off Turbo suspension set-up and reins it in with the Turbo’s beefier brakes, 408mm on the front with six-piston calipers painted a tell-tale red. The 20- and 21-inch wheels are also off the Turbo S, shod in 245/35 and 305/30 rubber respectively. PASM Sport suspension lowers the ride height by 10mm.
The GTS can be had with all-wheel drive and PDK, but this example, finished in fetching non-standard Carmine Red, is a rear-wheel-drive car with the seven-speed manual. The driver’s choice, as great swathes of the motoring community will tell you, but also the cheapest way onto the GTS rung, which is a high one these days. Cars start from £108,920, creeping up incrementally with the addition of extra driven wheels and auto boxes. A basic Carrera is £84,870 and the ‘S’ is £97,450.
So the GTS is an expensive car and whether or not it’s worth the extra outlay is certainly debatable. Pegged back by a third pedal and rear-wheel-drive, this GTS hits 62mph in 4.1 seconds, just 0.1 of a second faster than a Carrera S. Slightly more torque arrives at the same 2,300rpm thanks to those staggered twin turbos. It was ample before in any given gear. Now, it’s just a bit more ample.
What the GTS does claim as its own is drama. Reduced sound deadening makes the cabin a fairly raucous environment even in Normal driving mode and under modest acceleration, while the bang and burble from the standard Sports exhaust (trimmed in high-gloss black, naturally) in Sport and Sport Plus are more Group 5 racer than everyday road car.
The GTS interior, a fairly cheeky cost option at £2811, serves to make the cabin feel that much more special too. Acres of Race-Tex and Alcantara, contrasting red stitching and a Carmine Red tacho (£245, sir) all add up to an extra slice of special in a cabin to which, let’s face it, it was already hard to hold a candle.

Then there’s the obligatory exterior details. Black everything, from the wheels and decals to headlight surrounds, badging, those exhaust tips and the side skirt trims. The GTS also gets the SportDesign package, which provides beefier spoilers with matte black elements. It all adds up, and the overall effect is a conspicuously modern and more aggressive interpretation of an already hugely well-resolved package. Which makes it sound like a design exercise aimed at harpooning a younger demographic. It very well might be.
The GTS certainly asks questions about getting older. Or it did of me. I’ve spent a long day in a GT3 and clambered out exhilarated but exhausted. I’ve spent longer days still in Carrera 4s with PDK and hopped out, fresh as a daisy. The GTS, as is its wont or curse, straddles the gap. But is it the best of both worlds, or neither one thing nor the other? Do you want a raw, raucous weekend car that blows the cobwebs out or a serene, polished GT car that will pile on stress-free mile after mile? Or option three, which is offering you both here, or trying to.
On the move, the extra performance of the GTS is not something I’m going to claim to have noticed over a Carrera S. Drive them side by side and you might but, even then, to what incremental end? The steering felt very positive in the GTS, the car being composed in bends without being uncomfortably stiff, and the braking is absolutely sublime. But these are not things I remember noticing by their absence in the boggo Carrera.
What you do notice is the greater sense of occasion, through both the Weissach-lite styling cues and the angry orchestra of induction and exhaust that are, for many, more appropriate to a car of this price and with this sort of grunt. The Carrera and Carrera S are, after all, astonishingly refined grand tourers now, more than they are compelling little sports cars. The GTS is just that bit more special, not only in terms of how it looks or how it sounds, but how it makes you feel. Arguably, the 911 deserves this injection of youthful vigour. Maybe it actually needs it.

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