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GTS Cabriolet

GTS showdown: 997 v 991.1 v 991.2

It is ironic that in the week Porsche delivered to us a 991.2 Carrera GTS for testing, the UK government announced it is to ban the sale of all internal combustion-engined vehicles by 2040, following in the footsteps of our French governmental comrades which introduced an identical deadline for the final sales of gasoline-powered cars. Meanwhile, Porsche itself has been busy making significant inroads towards production of electric-only sports cars, recently announcing it is to pull out of the WEC LMP1 class in favour of a venture into the electric-only Formula E racing series. This is part of its motorsporting mission to develop sports cars of the future.

There’s no question the end is nigh for the internal combustion engine then, and therefore the motor vehicle as we know it. This of course makes for a fascinating backdrop to a group test here involving three 911 contemporary GTS models seeking to emulate a traditional driving experience.

Produced with driver purity in mind, Porsche introduced the GTS moniker to its 911 range in 2011 with the advent of the 997 Carrera GTS. Something of a parts-bin special to mark the end of 997 production, the first 911 GTS came with a lavish specification, including some one-off details exclusive to Porsche’s new model. The result was a sharper, more focused drive, available across Coupe and Cabriolet body styles in a choice of both rear and four-wheel-drive.

The new GTS proved a commercial sales success for Porsche, those 997-generation cars selling fast for £76,758 and never really dipping below £50,000. Today, a 997 GTS will set you back around the same figure as its original list price, a phenomenal achievement for a 911 Carrera just over five years old.

It is little wonder, then, that Porsche expanded the GTS moniker into an entire sub-brand, enamouring its Boxster, Cayman, Cayenne, Macan and Panamera models with the specification. Naturally this also continued on the 911 with the 991.1, those GTS cars the last 911 Carreras to be fitted with a naturally-aspirated engine, and finally the latest 991.2 generation, released in January 2017. Each car is essentially the pinnacle of its respective Carrera lineup, but which is best of the three GTS 911 generations produced by Porsche to date?

To decide, we gathered a delectable model from each generation for a fast road test along the twisty asphalt of the Suffolk countryside. The specification of our cars are intentionally as close to that ‘purist’ GTS blueprint as possible, so they’re all rear-wheel-drive Coupés, although the Riviera blue example is PDK, while the other two are fitted with a manual transmission. In keeping with the chronological order in which they were released, we begin our test with a seat in the 997…

To see the full feature, get your hard copy of Total 911 issue 158 here or download to your digital device from Newsstand. 

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2017 Porsche 991 GTS first drive review

Now in its third incarnation on a 911, the GTS range is firmly established as a highly specified badge above the Carrera S models. And it is a range, for all the engineer’s talk of there only being one true GTS (a manual, rear-wheel drive coupe) the marketing suits have won. Their persistence has been worthwhile, too, as with the 991.2 GTS, the adoption of the Carrera line-up’s 3.0-litre turbocharged flat-six sees the issues of the old GTS Cabriolet and Targa models addressed.

Chiefly, the now 450hp engine – up 30hp over a Carrera S via new turbos and higher boost pressure – has the torque to shift the heavier, open-topped cars more convincingly. They might not be entirely true to the badge’s bridge to the GT department’s model ethos, then, but they’re no longer an affront to it.

At its core, and we’re talking that Carrera GTS Coupe manual that the engineers have said from the very first 997 GTS is the car that’s the GTS proper, the GTS remains a hugely appealing 911. It offers the unique combination of the Carrera 4’s widebody and rear-wheel drive, the Coupes gaining not just the 10mm suspension drop via standard fitment of PASM but a further 10mm lowering thanks to the specification of the Sport.

The increase in power is welcome, its 450hp being the same as a 997 GT3 RS, the changes to the engine making it keener for revs, at the expense of a little bit of low rev torque. That’s no sacrifice, and entirely in keeping with the GTS’s core values, that being of a more focussed driver’s car, without going to quite the extremes of the GT3. That said, Porsche is quoting a Nürburgring lap time of 7 minutes 22 seconds with its new Ultra High Performance, road legal tyre, that time just two seconds shy of what was possible in a 997 GT2.

That’s rapid Progress. Looking at all the other numbers associated with it, the GTS moves the 911 game on significantly. Whisper it, but in perfect specification it’ll keep a 911 R very honest indeed, and engage almost as much. In Carrera 4 guise it’s a worthy understudy to the Turbo, the GTS very much a sweet-spot in the Carrera range.

With those Coupes there’s the weight-saving option to delete the rear seats, the usual GTS extras of centre-lock Turbo wheels, black detailing, unique bodykit, a sports exhaust, standard Sport Chrono with Dynamic Engine Mounts, a limited slip differential with Porsche Torque Vectoring, larger brakes situated on new, lighter aluminium carriers create a cherry-picked specification that creates a brilliant Carrera. We’ve driven it, in 2, 4, Coupe, Cabriolet and Targa, which you can read about in-depth in the special 150th issue of Total 911 magazine, out 22nd February. We doubt you’ll be surprised to hear it’s a brilliant car, the GTS now maturing into a desirable range, even if it’s at its very best when at its purest.

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Possible Porsche 911 Targa GTS Spied

In recent months, a few rather mysterious Porsche 911 prototypes have been spied testing. Believed to be the new 991 911 GTS and GTS Cabriolet, the cars are been particularly noteworthy due to their active front air intakes and duel, … Possible Porsche 911 Targa GTS Spied More news at
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