People like to group together the words Porsche, 911 and sweet spot together. For many years, the Porsche 911 has been the go-to sports car for those who want supercar performance and everyday drivability without too much show.
It’s rear-engined layout has been both praised and criticized over the years, scrutinized more so since the introduction of the Boxster-based Porsche Cayman, which utilized a mid-engine configuration for better weight distribution. And arguably, the Cayman is the sharper sports car, but Porsche likes to hold things back with that model, I digress.
So, if the Porsche 911 is the sweet spot of the sports car world, what’s the sweet spot of the ever-confusing, and ever-growing 911 lineup? This is where this Carrera GTS is hoping to occupy.
The idea of the GTS model is to bridge the gap between Porsche’s bonkers GT models in the GT3 and (upcoming) GT3 RS and the regular Carreras, as well as the performance gap between said Carreras and the Turbo models. Quite a sentence.
To keep costs in check, the new Porsche 992 911 Carrera GTS makes use of the same 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged flat-six engine found in the Carrera (380bhp) and Carrera S (444bhp; check out our Carrera S review here) models and instead has turned the wick up to the tune of 473bhp and 420lb ft of torque.
That has resulted in a 0-62mph sprint time of just 3.4 seconds if you opt for four-wheel drive and PDK. For this car, which is a manual and RWD only, it takes 4.1 seconds and will go onto a top speed of 193mph.
The increase in power, however, is only a tiny part of this 911 GTS model. In order to bridge the performance gap, Porsche has given the 992 Carrera GTS the suspension system from the Turbo models, and then retuned it specifically for this model. It’s also introduced helper springs at the rear to help keep the car stable and in contact with the road over crests and the like. Those wheels and the braking system are also from the 911 Turbo.
The incremental performance changes, alongside the suspension upgrades have helped give this new 992 GTS an identity of its own. While it doesn’t receive the rear-wheel steering you can option on the Carrera S model, it does have this level of agility that feels missing from the Carrera; arguably this is how the Carrera models should have felt out of the box and feels more akin to a 911 GT3 than it does the Turbo where its borrowed parts.
Equipped to the fabulously tuned 911 GTS engine is a piece of equipment not often seen specified on high-end sports cars, or any cars in this day and age, a manual gearbox. Porsche uses a 7-speed manual gearbox which has been slightly lowered from the Carrera model, giving the impression that it features a shorter throw. It doesn’t.
Speaking of the throw, there’s something so rewarding about slotting home gears by yourself on a back road, and this particular gearbox is a marvel to use. Short, precise, mechanical changes that seem to pull into place. Yes, the Porsche 992 911 Carrera GTS features a brilliant auto-blip downshift so you never miss a heel-and-toe again, but you can turn it off for maximum race car driver points. Do so, it’ll make you feel like a driving god.
As part of the GTS package, this 992 911 also features a unique exhaust system, which has been tuned to give off a slightly louder, more metallic sound. Beyond 7,000rpm are when things get particularly spine-tingling, with that last 500rpm offering a metallic note that’s addictive.
It must be noted here that there is something undeniably exciting about getting inside of a 911. Everything feels as if its been precisely placed there because it’s the best place for it. Nothing feels out of reach, and everything, almost everything, is spot on. The one annoyance is the instrument panel behind the steering wheel, which features a number of screens but the outer two you can never see unless you adjust your position because the steering wheel is in the way. Which seems a bit of an oversight.
Now we move onto the price tag. All in, this particular car including it’s options retails at around £124k. Given a Carrera starts at around £92k, that’s quite the jump. Is it worth it? Yes. What the Porsche 992 911 Carrera GTS does is almost perfectly execute its job of bridging the gap between Porsche’s best 911 models and its entry models.
It’s a better sports car than the entry-level Carrera models, eclipsing them in feel and performance, without compromising its ability on the road, unlike that of the 911 GT3. And with the 7-speed manual gearbox, it certainly feels like a GT3 you can actually buy. As for whether it’s the sweet spot of the 911 range? It’s tough, but for now that title belongs to the GT3.