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08 Nov 2017

991 GTS review

During November Greg tried out a 991 GTS. This is his review of the experience - and please note opinions are strictly his own! See more photos in the gallery link at the bottom of this article.

My first thought, driving away from Porsche Centre Colchester was: “Wow, the steering on this 911 is awesome!” And at that point I had only driven 100 yards. Over the weekend of 4-5 November I was fortunate to have use of their 991 GTS for a good few more miles. Did I like it? Oh yes! Read on and find out why.

First some background. It comes as a slight shock that this fantastic GTS is not near the top of the Porsche 991 Coupe range. The less powerful coupes are the 911 Carrera, new Carrera T, and Carrera S, but the GTS is outgunned by GT3, Turbo, Turbo S, Turbo S Exclusive and finally GT2 RS. However, even a basic Carrera is seriously quick – there are just different shades of quick.

In fact the 991.2 GTS is approximately as accelerative as a 997 Gen 1 Turbo and shares the same top speed (193 mph). But I would say this later car is more raw and edgy in feel, which is what you expect from the GTS badge and 2 wheel drive rather than 4.

The demonstrator car came in a handsome colour called Crayon with the standard alcantara interior plus GTS package, and a manual 7 speed gearbox. There were a number of other options fitted, including a glass sunroof which made the interior feel really airy. Everything had a great feel of quality and design strength. I wasn’t so keen on the position and operation of the electric handbrake under the dash though- but it’s common to the whole Porsche sports car range.

So I pulled swiftly onto the A12 and found that 7th is the natural motorway gear. At 70 mph you are pulling 2000 rpm and in the maximum torque band. There is loads of acceleration there and if you do change down on a busy road you may frighten other road users. Playing with the graphic display I found that at a constant speed this engine uses no turbo boost whatsoever. In fact I soon forgot that it was turbocharged. The throttle response seemed pretty eager to me, always.

I had been worried about the 7 speeder (like what do you do with that extra gear?). But it was a piece of cake. The engine is very flexible so gear choice is really up to the user. The car will suggest you use 6th above 34 mph on the flat, and 7th can be used from about 40 mph. But you could pass that speed in 1st gear if you wanted to! Just as well there is a handy gear indicator which tells you which gear you are in. There is also a preventer to stop accidental change from the unweighted 3-4 plane into 7th.

It wasn’t too long before I found a quiet stretch of road to give it the beans. Oh my goodness this car was fast. I couldn’t quite believe it and then I had to quickly apply the brakes before I met the hedge at the next corner. The sheer agility of the car was amazing. You can really feel the low stance (particularly on this model) as it corners.

Then I discovered the Sport setting. Ohh that was sweet! Sport makes the throttle response sharper, turns on the sports exhaust for more drama, and crucially turns you into a heel and toe genius by matching revs to gear as you downchange. This is so much fun with a manual gearbox and I am totally with the person who specified a door plate “#savethemanuals”!

The next day I had a drive over to Stratford upon Avon for the club workers conference. The weather was very wet to start. The car was fine in these conditions as one would expect. The depressingly slow traffic on M25 and M1 meant I was averaging 35mpg. The following morning in, shall we say fast motorway conditions, it was indicating 28mpg and would not go lower. So maybe these turbos really are quite economical!

In common with all 991s, real time Google traffic navigation is fitted to the PCM. This got me out of some sticky mess on the M25 and ended taking me on a really entertaining road across the Midlands. Wish I knew where it was.

Anyhow I noticed that the ride on dual carriageways with their long undulations is firm, although very well controlled. Paradoxically, this does not translate into an uncomfortable B-road experience. In those poor surface conditions it is fantastically compliant.

One of my favourite roads runs from White Colne to Bures in North Essex. It is there that the on-road photographs (see gallery link below) were taken. The car was pleasingly, blisteringly quick along there. Despite the lowered suspension it never once threatened to ground out.

This is close to my ideal car actually. It’s narrow enough to enjoy our quieter smaller roads – unlike a Ferrari or a Mclaren. It has fantastic overtaking capability. It is edgy without being scary – by which I mean it twitches to tell you that you are still alive. That steering through the precise alcantara wheel, the surefooted handling, and the beautiful sport gearchange will all stay with me for some time. All with a flat six soundtrack. It’s just a pity my skateboard wouldn’t fit in the front boot. Maybe a 911 driver will tell me that’s what the back seat is for?



With thanks to Rob Clarke at Porsche Centre Colchester


Recommended watching – this Autocar video on the 991 GTS: (and the one by Everyday Driver

See also my short review of the 991.2 Carrera S

Photo gallery

Some photos taken during the weekend

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