Porsche 911 Carrera 4 GTS – The Sweet Spot
As I rolled into the car park at Caffeine and Machine, I was positively glowing. The drive there in the racing yellow Porsche 911 Carrera 4 GTS was superb, the sun was shining and all was well in the world. This is a fantastic driver’s car with incredible performance but unlike RS Audis and the like, there’s a connection that has been honed and nurtured over generations. The visceral nature of the 911 driving experience is something truly special in these days of overly electronically muted cars. An RS6 is a fast car, but ultimately uninvolving and as a driving experience it’s more like a PlayStation game than driving a real car.
Porsche has engineered a playful nature to the 911 which is a truly rare thing these days. The car will move around under you, rewarding confident driver inputs with a slide here and drift there, but still remain absolutely committed to delivering you safely and extremely quickly to your destination.
The Porsche 911 Carrera 4 may just be the sweet spot in the 911 range. It’s not as some might think, the deviant younger brother of the GT3 and RS, think of it more like a younger cousin of the Turbo S. Where the Turbo S has an eye-watering 641 bhp power at 6,750 rpm, 800 Nm torque and will dash to 62 mph in 2.7 seconds then on to 205 mph, the GTS has a more restrained 480 bhp at 6,800 rpm, 570 Nm torque, will do the 0-62 mph dash in 3.3 seconds and will tramp on to a top speed of 193 mph. Not slow by any measure.
Porches 911 GTS is powered by a 3.0-litre twin-turbo six-cylinder engine. This is the most powerful version of the 3.0 fitted to the 911 Carrera and Targa models. Peak torque is delivered between 2,300 – 5,000 rpm which makes daily duties in the GTS a breeze. You can waft along in luxury and comfort, living in the torque sweet spot.
Flick the switch on the steering wheel to Sport+ or even Sport, and the car is transformed. The suspension stiffens, the engine note changes, gear changes are fierce and fast and you are encouraged to explore maximum power in the upper reaches of the rev range and handsomely rewarded if you do.
Power is transmitted to all four wheels through the 8-speed Porsche Doppelkupplung (PDK) transmission. My preference for transmissions is always manual, but the PDK fitted to the C4 GTS press car was superb. Responsive, fast, intuitive and a master class in engineering. Of course, the PGK is always going to be faster than a manual, but having recently driven a GT4 and experienced the beautiful manual gear change in it, I would tick the manual gearbox on the GTS 4 options list. Pick either, you won’t be disappointed.
Porsche fit the GTS with the Race-Tex covered GT sports steering wheel with multifunction controls and instrument cluster. Race-Tex fabric is also used on the seat centres of the Sports Seats Plus and GTS interior package and there’s an embroidered ‘GTS’ logo on the headrests.
If you felt a bit saucy, the optionally available full bucket seats are made completely of carbon-fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) with a carbon-weave finish. These optional seats provide exceptionally good lateral support with minimal weight. The carbon seats are covered in black leather with perforated Race-Tex centres, topped with the ‘GTS’ logo on the headrests. The inside of the 911 Carrera 4 GTS is a splendid place. It is every bit the supercar quality interior you would expect from such a prestige marque. If it were being critical, it’s a bit dark with almost everything being black, but I didn’t mind at all.
Our car had a few choice options that enhanced the experience;
Sport Chrono Package – Porsche calls this “adrenaline at the push of a button”. The mode switch accesses functions that enable performance-focused tuning of the engine, chassis and transmission. The changes are sincerely noticeable and certainly enhance the dynamics of the car.
GTS Specific PASM sports suspension – Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM). n the Coupé and Cabriolet, the 10 mm-lower Sport suspension is fitted as standard. The concept of helper springs on the rear axle also originates from the Turbo models. These keep the main springs under tension in all driving conditions, thereby maintaining rebound.
GTS Specific Brakes – As standard, the GTS models are fitted with six pistons aluminium monobloc callipers working on 408 mm discs on the front and four-piston aluminium monobloc callipers working on 380 mm discs on the rear. These are painted red to denote the GTS’s superior setup over the S models.
My press car was fitted with Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes (PCCB). They are noted by yellow (or optional black) brake callipers. GTS PCCB brakes have six-piston callipers working on 410 mm discs on the front and four-piston callipers working on 390 mm discs on the rear.
These brakes offer incredible stopping power and are virtually fade-free. On the road, they are more than you will ever need. Feedback is great and they are extremely friendly to use, with progressive bite and feel. They’re not at all aggressive until you need them to be.
You can specify a front axle lift function which offers an increased ground clearance of around 40 mm at the front when called for. My press car didn’t have this and I wasn’t left wanting.
Over the years the 911 has gained weight and external proportions have grown. This does not mean that the car is any less agile, in fact, arguable it’s even more agile than cars of years gone by. The chassis is superb, benefiting from features such as active rear-axle steering.
Rear axle steering offers more stability when changing lanes at high speed and better manoeuvrability in urban traffic. Up to around 30 mph, the system steers the rear wheels in the opposite direction to the front wheels. From 50 mph, the wheels steer in the same direction in a crabbing motion. The result is a reduced turning circle and sharper turn-in at lower speeds and increased stability at higher speeds.
My car had the optional Power Steering Plus. This means at low speed there is greater steering force support, making manoeuvring and parking easier. At high speeds, the steering is firm and incredibly direct. You feel like your hands are directly attached to the suspension components and you can feel every movement.
Porsche says the GTS’s chassis components and settings are close to those of the Turbo S and it felt noticeably firmer than the regular Carrera and Carrera S over challenging roads. Stability and traction were both impressive, even when rain tried to stop play.
911 Carrera 4 GTS Coupe
Engine: 6 cylinders horizontally opposed, 2981cc, twin-turbocharged petrol
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
Driveline layout: Rear-engine, all-wheel drive with map-controlled multi-plate clutch and Porsche Traction Management (PTM)
Power: 480bhp at 6500rpm
Torque: 570 Nm/420lb-ft at 2300-5000rpm
Top speed: 192mph
Kerb weight (DIN): 1595kg
Fuel economy: 911 Carrera 4 GTS (PDK): Combined fuel consumption 24.3 mpg (NEDC); 20.6 mpg – 21.8 mpg (WLTP)
Combined CO2 emissions 222 g/km (NEDC)
Price: £120,800 As tested: £134,124