They say the Porsche 911 GTS is the perfect sweet spot in the 911 range when it comes to bang for buck, slotting neatly in between the hardcore GT3 and daily driver Carrera S versions.
Even better from a driver’s perspective with this latest 992-generation car is the fact you can keep things relatively pure by resisting all-wheel drive and a PDK automatic, and opt for simplicity and involvement of a seven-speed manual.
That’s precisely the specification we ended up with as our tester – in Racing Yellow, no less. The colour wouldn’t be my first choice on a 911, but I was surprised how fast I warmed to it, especially with the black badging that’s synonymous with the GTS, and part of the allure of this variant.
It’s also the exclusivity of the 911 GTS that entices over the standard Carrera S. There’s plenty of those and not many of the GTS; certainly not many coupes with rear-drive and a manual transmission.
It’s a special feeling driving a GTS and for those that don’t mind the attention, it’s there for all other drivers to see. That’s not to mention the grunt and extra decibels you get out of the GTS. It sounds race-inspired with a bigger dollop of that flat-six howl we all crave.
Never before has it been a more difficult to choose your GTS, with no less than five different versions including convertibles, hardtops, and Targa variants. All are fast, all are desirable, but the coupe is the enthusiast’s pick.
In any colour or variant, the 992-generation Porsche 911 represents the perfect incarnation of a model which has evolved over almost 60 years of continuous development, both on and off the racetrack.
Prices are creeping up across the 911 range, but I’d argue it’s still good value against other high-end sports cars.
Porsche Australia has priced its 911 GTS Coupe with either the seven-speed manual transmission or eight-speed PDK from the same $334,900 before on-road costs.
It’s money well spent in the 911 world if you consider the 911 GT3 wears a $388,600 sticker, while the 911 Carrera S is priced from $298,100 with a standard eight-speed PDK automatic. The prefect sweet spot is the GTS.
Like all luxury carmakers, Porsche also offers plenty of options – no matter which model you choose, even a GTS like the one tested here.
Options as tested:
- Race-Tex interior package, with extensive items in leather, Black: $8350
- Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control (PDCC): $6750
- Interior trim package with decorative stitching in contrasting colour Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur: $6500
- Adaptive sports seats Plus (18-way, electric) with memory package: $5910
- Lifting system front axle: $5070 (an absolute must)
- Rear-axle steering $4720
- Electric slide/tilt glass sunroof: $4720
- Tinted LED Matrix main headlights incl. Porsche Dynamic Light System Plus Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur: $4020
- Roof lining in Race-Tex: $2440
- Porsche Design Sub-second clock Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur: $2110
- Brake calipers painted in Black (high-gloss): $1720
- Light design package: $1050
- Seat belts in Racing Yellow: $930
- Sun visors in Race-Tex: $860
- Vehicle key painted in exterior colour with key pouch in leather: $780
- Tachometer dial in Racing Yellow: $720
- ‘PORSCHE’ logo LED door courtesy lights: $300
All up, the final price for the vehicle you see here is $391,850 before on-road costs.
2023 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS pricing
- Porsche 911 Carrera GTS Coupe: $334,900
- Porsche 911 Carrera GTS Cabriolet: $368,100
- Porsche 911 Carrera 4 GTS Coupe: $354,200
- Porsche 911 Carrera 4 GTS Cabriolet: $387,900
- Porsche 911 Targa 4 GTS: $387,700
Prices exclude on-road costs
For those unfamiliar with the Porsche 911, the GTS is a bit more special than its regular Carrera siblings, thanks to the swathes of Race-Tex upholstery that looks and feels like Alcantara, with the added visual hit of contrast stitching (and seatbelts) in Racing Yellow.
Porsche’s single-piece bucket seats have always been the benchmark in the segment not just for their uncanny ability to anchor your upper body in the most extreme driving conditions, but also for their comfort on the motorway.
Like all Porsches including coupes and SUVs, the seats are set deep into the car for what is arguably one of the most coveted driving positions in the business; one that delivers maximum control and vision with perfect ergonomics all round.
It’s not overtly luxurious like a Bentley Continental with its beautifully knurled switchgear or even a Ferrari with its hand-stitched hide from floor to ceiling, but the materials in the GTS are premium and tactile to the touch.
It also has by far the best-to-hold steering wheel in the game. It’s perfectly round, uncluttered, and features a rim that’s beautifully manageable regardless of where or how you might be driving.
The cockpit has a wonderful mixture of old-school simplicity and modern technology, including the latest Porsche PCM 6.0 infotainment system complete with wireless Apple CarPlay and Bose surround sound.
While CarPlay is pretty much my default these days given its versatility, from messages to navigation and everything in between, you can also just say “Hey Porsche” to access things like Apple Music, find the nearest petrol station, or change the temperature on the climate control.
Better still, ergonomically it’s close to perfect with everything in easy reach of the driver (and passenger for that matter). I also like the fact Porsche has taken the time to integrate the infotainment screen instead of the more common floating approach these days. To the right, the largely digital driver’s display with trademark five binnacle layout remains with tachometer front and centre.
The fact you need to still turn a key in your Porsche to kick it over each time you get behind the wheel is one of the daily highlights, which in the 911 GTS is immediately followed by that trademark flat-six bark – only it’s more intense than in the 911 Carrera S.
On the one hand you might struggle with the fact the GTS PDK is demonstrably quicker than the manual, but just seeing that stubby shifter perfectly perched on the centre console is enough to set you straight.
The transmission is one of the most visceral ever made and is beautifully calibrated for quick shifts with a clutch action like no other. If you can drive a manual you won’t be wanting the PDK, and who knows, this could just as easily be one of the last manual 911s ever to be built.
I’m getting ahead of myself, but stay with me.
Up front, you’ll struggle to find quick-and-easy storage spaces for keys and phones, aside from the standard centre-console bin and door pockets. It’s a bit of nuisance, but you learn to live with it given the sheer pleasure of driving the GTS.
However, the 911 is unique in the sports car world for its four-seat layout, with rear seats that effectively double as an additional luggage compartment when not ferrying kids. While they’re for small kids only, my 176cm daughter has on occasion ridden back there without major complaint.
Further forward in the frunk there’s another 132L of luggage space, which is deep enough and wide enough to swallow two large soft bags and a tad more if required. Even a cabin bag fits with room to spare.
The 911 GTS range is powered by 3.0-litre twin-turbo flat-six, although it makes 22kW more power than its 991 predecessor and the current Carrera S, topping out at 353kW at 6500rpm. Torque is also up by 20Nm, peaking at 570Nm between 2300rpm and 5000rpm.
The 911 GTS breathes through a dual-flow sports exhaust with variable flaps as standard. Along with the extra power and noise it makes, some of the sound insulation inside the cabin has been removed – it’s for the better, we think.
It comes with the Sport Chrono package as standard and has a 64L fuel tank that will see it churn through premium 98 RON petrol at a rate of between 10.1L/100km for the coupe RWD PDK, and 10.7L/100km for the rear-drive manual.
The quickest variant is the Carrera 4 GTS PDK, which will do the 0-100km/h in a blistering 3.3 seconds.
The slowest is the manual rear-wheel drive tested here, which does the run in 4.1 seconds. The all-wheel drive Cabriolet and Targa quote 3.5 seconds (PDK), while the rear-wheel drive Cabriolet claims 3.6 seconds (PDK).
It might be the slowest of the range but the manual RWD GTS Coupe is also the lightest at 1510kg, with AWD adding 50kg. Slice off the roof and the underbody strengthening will cost you another 70kg. The Targa is the heavyweight of the GTS set, tipping the scales at 1685kg.
Never mind the 911 GTS Auto is 0.7 seconds quicker to 100km/h than the manual tested here. Honestly, the more involved drive is to be had with Porsche’s sublime manual transmission.
It’s infinitely more theatrical and involving than the PDK version. This is where you’ll feel like Steve McQueen driving his 911 S through the town of Le Mans, en route to the Circuit de la Sarthe in the 1971 movie of the same name.
Driving any 911 (current or classic) is always special, but that feeling is amplified behind the wheel of the GTS and never more so than in the seven-speed manual.
Never mind if you haven’t mastered heel-and-toe shifting, the auto-blip function almost makes the skill redundant – especially on the commute when it’s hard to get motivated but you still want to sound like a pro on the downshifts.
While it’s fine to kick off in the Normal drive mode, you’ll want to ditch it almost immediately thanks to more noise and a sharper throttle. Sport should be the default mode here, with a quick twist around to Sport+ every now and again for when serious acceleration off the line is required… or desired.
The GTS gets Porsche’s in-house sports exhaust as standard and for me it’s good as any of the more recognised aftermarket options. It’s a more naturally amplified howl to me, and something Porsche has perfected.
It’s also one of the most visceral sounds you’ve ever heard in a road car, inspired by Cup Car racers.
Miraculously, there’s almost no turbo lag in the GTS (or any other twin-turbo 911 for that matter). Porsche’s engineers have eradicated it, from anywhere in the rev range too. That feat alone is cause for constant celebration, every time you punch the throttle and feel such immediate and sustained thrust. And it just keeps on pulling.
If you thought off-the-line go was something to get excited about, it’s more the mid-range punch that will take your breath away. Porsche has underplayed its performance claims even in manual guise. By any measure this Carrera GTS is a very quick thing, one that’s made so much better by one of the best shifts in the business.
The clutch is perfectly weighted, and take-up is nice and early in the pedal travel for maximum feedback and extra-quick getaways. You can dial in the power more evenly and in smaller increments with ease.
It gives you massive confidence and control in any situation.
Then there’s the steering. Perfectly weighted at any speed and beautifully direct, but still so natural no matter how much lock you’ve got on. For an electric power assisted steering system it’s practically peerless in this segment.
Turn-in has always been wonderfully quick and direct in the 911, thanks to its inherent lightweight front end given the engine sits out back.
Then there’s equal satisfaction when you squeeze on the power early as you exit the corner under massive grip from the extra weight of the flat-six, as well as its substantial footprint from 305mm low-profile rubber keeping the rear of the car practically glued to the tarmac at the same time. It’s such a great feeling.
Moreover, our GTS tester was fitted with rear-axle steering, which while certainly not a must-have bit of kit on the 911 means there’s less arm twirling required, in the hairpins and roundabouts. And again, it never feels contrived.
For a purpose-built sports car that sits this low with a driving position not far off the ground, the GTS offers remarkable compliance in spite of its peerless lateral body control. The harder you push, the better it gets.
The GTS already gets Porsche’s latest Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) as standard for adaptive damper control which offers a good breath of compliance between the various modes, but our tester was also fitted with Porsche’s optional (even on the GTS) Dynamic Chassis Control (PDCC) for maximum body control.
Don’t get me wrong, the GTS is firm even in the suspension’s Normal setting, but it’s never harsh and the chassis absorbs bumps exceptionally well with the car never feeling unsettled, even during mid-corner hits with more power being unleashed.
It’s superb how the GTS manages all this without the driver ever feeling anything but utter confidence.
Stopping power is simply outstanding (always has been with the 911) thanks to its lightweight nose and huge 408mm front brakes with six-piston calipers. It’s not just their ability to pull the car up at speed, it’s as much the confidence they inspire in the driver even if you’re late with the brakes into a corner.
You’ll want the optional front lift system though, even if you have a small lip on your driveway entrance to navigate like myself.
It’s operated by a single button on the console and only takes a few seconds to raise or lower the nose. Better still, there’s an option to save the location so it lifts the front-end automatically next time as you arrive at said location using GPS data.
At 60km/h its automatically lowers the car back to its normal ride height.
911 Carrera GTS highlights:
- Sports exhaust incl. twin tailpipes in black stainless steel (high gloss)
- 20/21-inch Turbo S wheels in satin black forged alloy with central locking
- Black elements include front spoiler lip, GTS script on the doors and rear, rear grille slats
- Sport Design Package with satin black trims, front and rear
- Tinted LED headlights with darkened rims, DRLs
- Power steering Plus
- Auto headlights and wipers
- Auto-dimming interior and exterior mirrors
- Dual-zone climate control
- Sports Seats Plus with 4-way electric adjustment, embroidered GTS logo
- Keyless entry and go
- Race-Tex interior package in Black
- Seat centres front and rear
- Door handles
- Door panel armrests
- Steering wheel rim
- Gear lever
- Centre console bin
- Embossed leather seat bolsters and headrests
- Heated steering wheel
- Door sill guards in brushed aluminium with Black script
- Two USB ports in centre console
- Wireless Apple CarPlay
- Wired Android Auto
- Digital radio (DAB+)
- Bose surround sound system
- Two cupholders (passenger side and centre console)
- Front seat heating
- Park assist including surround view
- Tyre pressure monitoring
- Lane change assist
- Tyre repair kit (there’s no space saver)
Options we thoroughly recommend include the front lift system ($5070) and Porsche Dynamic Chassis System ($6750).
- Guards Red
- Racing Yellow
- Jet Black Metallic
- Agate Grey Metallic
- GT Silver Metallic
- Gentian Blue Metallic
- Ruby Star Neo
- Shark Blue
- Arctic Grey
- Carmine Red
- Ice Grey Metallic
Porsche doesn’t crash test its sports cars, which includes the entire 911 model range, so there’s no ANCAP safety rating here.
Standard safety equipment includes driver and front passenger airbags, and a thorax airbag built into the side bolster of each front seat.
The GTS has a three-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty with 12-month or 15,000-kilometre service intervals.
Servicing costs run from $895 (for years it was as low as $695 for the basic service) to $2830 depending on requirements, which is still significantly cheaper than most other high-end brands.
Any Porsche 911 Carrera is capable of turning you into an addict – or dare I say tragic.
The GTS with its distinctive black highlights and extra go over the none-too-shabby Carrera S feels extra special, even on the morning commute.
It’s never one particular thing that stands out in a 911, though the beefier exhaust note of the GTS is a little bit intoxicating, even cruising around your local with the flaps wide open at the press of a button.
It’s more the fact each and every control and electronic system is so perfectly calibrated and in-sync for one of the most consistently brilliant driving experiences you’re ever likely to have in a sports car.
With the 911 Carrera GTS there’s a certain exclusivity tied to the badge that stems from Porsche’s impeccable GT heritage. And it doesn’t disappoint on any level.
Whether to go for the more involving manual over the quicker PDK? I’m still torn between the two. There’s no right or wrong choice here but if you can leave the numbers behind, take the manual and experience pure driving nirvana.
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