Road tests

New Porsche 911 GTS 2021 review

Is the new Porsche 911 GTS the sweet spot in the range? We find out...

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The latest GTS is another intoxicating 911, with impressive performance, huge levels of grip, fabulous steering and a beautifully finished cabin. It’s not cheap, but even at £108k, it has few serious rivals. The improved prowess of the Carrera S and the existence of a GT3 Touring have rendered the GTS’s niche narrower than ever – but even allowing for some abuse of the options list, it fills it remarkably well.

The previous GTS version of Porsche’s iconic 911 was rated by many as the pick of the range. So the pressure’s on for this 992-generation edition to maintain the high standards.

Designed to slot in between the Carrera S and the Turbo, the GTS takes the first of those models’ 3.0-litre flat-six motor and boosts it by 29bhp and 40Nm – taking its vital statistics to 473bhp and 570Nm. By default the car comes with an eight-speed PDK dual-clutch automatic, but you can spec it with a seven-speed manual at no extra cost.

Compared with the Carrera, the ride height on coupé and Cabriolet versions has been lowered by 10mm and you get stiffer springs, new shock absorbers and different anti-roll bars. The GTS also features helper springs on the rear axle, designed to keep the wheels in contact with the road on bumpy tarmac, and it features chunkier brakes from the Turbo.

The visual differences, inside and out, between this car and a regular Carrera are subtle, but enough to appeal to Porsche aficionados. So the real magic has to come from gains in performance and dynamics.

Based on limited road time and a track blast in a rear-drive PDK example, it’s clear that the GTS has been accurately positioned twixt Carrera S and Turbo. The engine’s increased shove is still available from just 2,300rpm – the same point as its arrival in a Carrera S – so you never have to wait long to start building momentum.

When the punch arrives, it does so in a turbocharged fashion, but it’s still a more linear delivery than the sledgehammer whoosh of the Turbo. Keep the PDK gearbox in manual mode, rev the engine out, and by the time you start to approach the peak power revs at 6,500rpm, the noise will have moved from an induction rush to a proper howl. It’s not quite the scream of a normally aspirated flat six, but it’s getting close.

At a steady 70mph, with the sports exhaust in its Normal setting, the GTS is surprisingly civilised. Only a little patter reminds you that you’re in the most focused of the non-Porsche Motorsport 911s.

Indeed, there’s an undoubtedly firmer edge to the ride than in a Carrera S – and we noticed this even on our car’s optional active dampers. It’s not uncomfortable, but you will notice the GTS getting a little unsettled on broken tarmac.

We’d say it’s a worthy trade-off for frankly astonishing grip and excellent body control; this is a car that remains unfazed by the sudden changes of direction demanded by longer sequences of short, fast corners.

The steering is on point, too – nicely weighted and impressively communicative for an electric set-up. The whole thing feels alive, desperately keen for you to get involved and push on. Do this and you’re likely to reach your limits before the car’s.

On track, the GTS betrays its road focus a little; the same balance is there, but on a wider, flatter surface you can end up leaning on the front end more than it likes on corner entry. Even so, our circuit for this drive, Porsche’s new Italian experience centre, was but a week old and very dusty in places – and once the GTS’s Pirelli rubber was up to temperature it was easier to find that point of rotation a little earlier. It’d be more fun on a track day than a Turbo.

Should you want your GTS to be a softer alternative to a GT3, instead of a firmer Carrera S, then Porsche will point you towards the lightweight pack. Available for the first time on this variant, and offered only on the coupé, it removes the rear seats, replaces the front ones with glorious carbon-fibre buckets, and also swaps the glass and battery for lighter items. The result is a 25kg reduction in kerbweight.

You could also tick the option box for Porsche’s carbon-composite brakes, which would no doubt save a few more kilos per corner. We’d find it hard to resist anyway, based on our test car’s excellent left-pedal feel and response, not to mention its improved resistance to fade.

Model:Porsche 911 Carrera GTS
Engine:3.0-litre 6cyl twin-turbo petrol
Transmission:Eight-speed dual-clutch automatic, rear-wheel drive
0-62mph:3.2 seconds
Top speed:193mph
On sale:Now

John started journalism reporting on motorsport – specifically rallying, which he had followed avidly since he was a boy. After a stint as editor of weekly motorsport bible Autosport, he moved across to testing road cars. He’s now been reviewing cars and writing news stories about them for almost 20 years.

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