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First Drive

2015 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS review

The new Porsche 911 GTS aims to offer a happy medium between the track-biased 911 GT3 and the slick, road-oriented Carrera S, although it is a lot more expensive

Words By Vicky Parrott

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Think of the Porsche 911 GTS as the perfect harmony between the slick Carrera S and the track-focused GT3, and you’ll have some idea of what it's all about.

it is available with rear- or four-wheel-drive, and a seven-speed manual or dual-clutch automatic gearbox, as well as in coupe or cabriolet forms, so is still intended to cater to a broad audience, but be sharper to drive than the Carrera S.

This added grit is brought about by a power hike of 30bhp, bringing the output of the 3.8-litre flat-six engine up to 424bhp, on top of which the GTS gets firmer, but adaptive suspension, as well as a sports exhaust. All GTS models get the wider rear track and flared arches of the Carrera 4 models.

Style upgrades could be what really sways buyers in favour of the GTS. Smoked bi-xenon headlights, a black rear grille over the engine, 20-inch Turbo style matt black alloys and black-chrome exhaust tips all set it apart. Inside, you get swathes of Alcantara – as with the GT3 – and you can also opt to remove the rear seats.

There are plenty of reasons to get excited then, but can it justify the big price premium it commands over the already sublime Carrera S?

What’s the 2015 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS like to drive?

It’s quite a subtle jump up from the normal Carrera S – you certainly don’t get in the GTS and immediately notice a huge change in the way it drives. In general use, you can still cruise around town or up the motorway and it’s just as easy-going and unintimidating as the normal car.

However, open it up on an appropriate stretch of road and you suddenly discover the point of the GTS. The real-wheel-drive model is the most noticeably improved by the upgrades, and is the one we’d go for, because the wider track gives it yet more grip, and the car loses its hold on the road surface gradually when the limits are reached.

The steering is unchanged, so remains heavy and precise, while the wider rear track helps the GTS turn in a little more sharply and resist washing wide. Even in the GTS Cabriolet, the handling is very nearly as good, although the extra weight of the roof inevitably means turn-in is a fraction less instant.

Four-wheel drive models are no less nimble, and corner with the same eagerness, while allowing you to get on the power earlier out of a corner, when it just grips and goes, sticking faithfully to your chosen line. The prodigious grip and communicative controls allow you to have proper fun at all speeds, safe in the knowledge that the car won't bite.

Ride comfort is a touch less forgiving on the GTS than in standard 911s. Scruffy town roads can have it jarring over sharp-edged potholes and shuddering over worn patches, but it’s still a remarkably relaxed car, and it’s not unsettled by mid-corner bumps.

The engine, as ever, thrives on revs; it’s when you shriek past 7000rpm and on towards the redline that you discover the true breadth of its range. Tool around in the low-to-mid range all day and it’d be like going to a theme park and not riding the roller-coasters.

The power hike in the GTS hasn’t changed the very linear power delivery, so you’re never surprised by an unexpected surge of acceleration. Between this, the easily modulated throttle and brake pedal response, this 911 manages to be both exciting and challenging in equal measure.

Go for the quick-shifting, well-sorted automatic and it’s even easier to live with, and to make the most of the engine when you want to, though the GTS uses a slightly modified version of the seven-speed manual, which now has a lighter, more positive shift that will soon be rolled out onto all 911s.

What’s the 2015 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS like inside?

The 911’s cabin feels appropriately high-end. Precise panel gaps, well-damped switches, straightforward 7.0-inch colour touch-screen infotainment complete with satellite-navigation, and a variety of material finishes all make it feel reassuringly solid and expensive.

In the GTS this is further enhanced by the Alcantara steering-wheel, while the part-electric leather seats are supportive and will suit even very tall body-shapes. You might want to add the rear parking sensors for Β£396, though, and you’ll certainly want to add Bluetooth for another Β£446.

We’d keep the back seats, unless you’re really intent on saving as much weight as possible in your GTS, because it’ll make a negligible difference to the handling and the rear seats are a great place to throw bags and other everyday gubbins. They're not so good for passengers, though; even children will be uncomfortably upright and short of legroom.

The narrow front boot is fine for a couple of soft weekend bags, and overall the GTS remains true to the old adage of the 911 being a proper everyday supercar – even more so than the standard car.

Should I buy one?

Absolutely. Every 911 is a master-class in what a sports car should be about, and the GTS is like experiencing one in high-definition; the same, but better and sharper everywhere that counts.

Forget about all the complicated comparisons with a Carrera S. Simply put, if you want a 911 but don't want push towards a six-figure bill, go for the sublime entry-level Carrera.

If you want something with more bite then ignore the GT3 and skip straight to the GTS; it's cheaper than a Carrera S with the equivalent performance upgrades, anyway, and a bit more thrilling.

Go for rear-wheel drive GTS with the PDK auto, and you probably won't want to drive anything else.

What Car? says...

Rivals:

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Porsche 911 GTS

Engine size 3.8 flat-six petrol

Price from Β£91,098

Power 424bhp

Torque 325lb ft

0-62mph 4.4 seconds

Top speed 190mph

Fuel economy 29.7mpg

CO2 223g/km

Porsche 911 GTS PDK auto

Engine size 3.8 flat-six petrol

Price from Β£93,915

Power 424bhp

Torque 325lb ft

0-62mph 4.0 seconds

Top speed 189mph

Fuel economy 32.5mpg

CO2 202g/km

Porsche 911 Carrera 4 GTS

Engine size 3.8 flat-six petrol

Price from Β£95,862

Power 424bhp

Torque 325lb ft

0-62mph 4.4 seconds

Top speed 188mph

Fuel economy 28.5mpg

CO2 233g/km

Porsche 911 GTS Cabriolet

Engine size 3.8-litre flat-six petrol

Price from Β£99,602

Power 424bhp

Torque 325lb ft

0-62mph 4.6 seconds

Top speed 188mph

Fuel economy 29.1mpg

CO2 228g/km