As of this writing, we’ve strapped our test gear to 18 different 991.2-generation Porsche 911 models. The quickest is the mighty Turbo S coupe, which hit 60 mph from rest in a brain-blending 2.6 seconds, with the gap to the slowest 991.2, the stick-shift base Carrera, being just 1.4 seconds. Each variation feels fully capable of shredding the very fabric of space-time, including the subject here, a GTS coupe with a manual transmission, which hit the benchmark speed in a ripping 3.4 seconds. And yet, that’s below average among our 911 set.
Of course, there’s nothing about the GTS experience that’s below average. With the accelerator matted, and once you’ve pushed through the briefest moment of turbo lag, the twin-turbocharged flat-six spins the seven-speed’s gears with ferocity, spurring you to wag the gearshift through the gates as quickly as you can to grab the next ratio before hitting the fuel cutoff. And we appreciate that wagging the gearshift is still an option in these manual-transmission-adverse days, even if that’s the lone reason for the slower acceleration times (the GTS with the dual-clutch PDK automatic blurs to 60 mph in 3.0 seconds flat). Still, speed comes in great gobs, the digital speedometer adding numbers in clumps of three, five, seven miles per hour. The sound from the sport exhaust strapped to the 3.0-liter is all fury, and the sensations you feel are akin to what we imagine being strapped to one of those astronaut-training centrifuges while being shot out of a howitzer might be like.
You likely know what GTS means in Porsche-speak, but the “tl;dr” explanation is that it’s a rear-wheel-drive Carrera S with 30 more horsepower, aggressive visual mods, and all the tasty performance options baked into the wider Carrera 4 body at a nicer price than ordering everything individually. As with all 911s, there’s incredible fidelity to every interface, including brakes so controllable it feels as if you can scrub off speed in increments of tenths of a mile per hour, plus communicative, accurate steering that’s responsive to single degrees of lock. From 70 mph, the binders can have you stationary in 141 feet, and the GTS clings to the road surface with 1.06 g’s of lateral grip, enough to draw the wax from your ears. All this and the car remains a comfortable daily companion, never feeling twitchy and with a ride that never punishes, seats that never cause fatigue, and luxurious materials nearly everywhere you look or touch. We wouldn’t mind a better cupholder that could properly secure our morning coffee during speed runs, but no car is perfect.
At $120,050 to start, the GTS isn’t at all cheap, and our car had a few additional options—the $2090 rear-wheel steering, $2590 front-axle lift system, $420 auto-dimming mirrors, $690 heated front seats, and $3140 Carmine Red paint—that pushed the price to $128,980. The lift system, which raises the front end by 1.5 inches to clear speed bumps and the like, is a requirement for keeping the 911’s nose clean, and the rear-wheel steering is worthwhile not only for the way it points the GTS toward apexes with even more enthusiasm, but also because it reduces the turning circle around town. Our only complaints about the price are that heated seats ought to be standard equipment and that we can’t afford to buy this car.
Out of the box, the GTS represents a $15,600 premium over a starter rear-drive S, but it packs $21,675 in otherwise optional equipment as standard. These include the Powerkit that bundles larger turbos, the Sport Chrono package, and the sport exhaust; aggressively bolstered Sport Seats Plus; darkened wheels, logos, and taillamp lenses; a sportier front fascia; the smaller-diameter GT Sport steering wheel; microsuede for the gearshift, center-console lid, and steering wheel; and SportDesign side mirrors with split-strut supports. The GTS also has the 20-inch center-lock wheels from the Turbo S.
The list of equipment reads like a good start to our own personal order sheet, and it’s no wonder that in a 911 lineup that spans more than 20 models, the GTS makes up 20 percent of sales. While Porsche buyers aren’t exactly the most frugal bunch, who doesn’t want value for their money?
VEHICLE TYPE: rear-engine, rear-wheel-drive, 2+2-passenger, 2-door coupe
PRICE AS TESTED: $128,980 (base price: $120,050)
ENGINE TYPE: twin-turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 24-valve flat-6, aluminum block and heads, direct fuel injection
Displacement: 182 cu in, 2981 cc
Power: 450 hp @ 6500 rpm
Torque: 405 lb-ft @ 2150 rpm
TRANSMISSION: 7-speed manual
Wheelbase: 96.5 in
Length: 178.3 in
Width: 72.9 in Height: 50.6 in
Passenger volume: 70 cu ft
Cargo volume: 5 cu ft
Curb weight: 3295 lb
C/D TEST RESULTS:
Zero to 60 mph: 3.4 sec
Zero to 100 mph: 7.8 sec
Zero to 130 mph: 13.0 sec
Zero to 150 mph: 18.6 sec
Zero to 170 mph: 26.8 sec
Rolling start, 5–60 mph: 4.6 sec
Top gear, 30–50 mph: 13.0 sec
Top gear, 50–70 mph: 9.0 sec
Standing ¼-mile: 11.6 sec @ 123 mph
Top speed (drag limited, mfr's claim):193 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 141 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 1.06 g
C/D FUEL ECONOMY:
Observed: 22 mpg
EPA FUEL ECONOMY:
Combined/city/highway: 21/18/26 mpg