Review: 2017 Porsche 991.2 GTS Coupé

911 Carrera GTS
911 Carrera GTS
 

A few months ago I signed the line on 30 years of hard debt and bought a house. I needed a small garden in my life and, perhaps most importantly, a garage in which I could park all my press cars. Well, some press cars. You see, I soon discovered that my steeply raked driveway had a vendetta against sportier models.

In my previous abode this had never been a problem but now machines like the BMW i8 were having their composite underbellies mauled by savage paving stones. So to avoid that excruciating screech of carbon fibre on masonry, I had to leave said sportsters at the office overnight. Which kind of sucks because, well, who does not want an i8 crouching in their garage?

So I collected the sapphire blue Porsche 991.2 GTS with mixed emotions. Excitement, obviously, because this is Stuttgart’s bridge between the Carrera S and GT3, but also trepidation because of the likelihood Everest-spec elevation. However, I soon discovered that all this anxiety was totally unfounded. Which is pretty damn impressive when you analyse this automobile’s credentials.

Clothed in the wider bodyshell native to the all-wheel-drive Carrera 4 models, the rear-driven 911 GTS coupé makes its athletic pretensions immediately clear. This is a Porsche bulked up for speed. Want specifics? Well, the wider track (44mm at the rear) and 20-inch wheels offer superior stability and traction. The front apron has larger radiator ducts to better feed the animal living above the rear axle. Porsche Active Suspension Management comes standard and automatically adjusts the damper loads of each wheel to suit driving conditions.

Get the coupé, as one should, and you will also score the sports suspension system with firmer springs, along with beefier anti-roll bars and a rear spoiler that extends further than that of the standard Carrera. Ride height is also 20mm lower. It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to see that the GTS wants you to drive much, much faster.

You might expect that all this meant compromises had to be made, that the GTS would be a bit more cantankerous and harder to live with. But it’s not. At all. Ever. Set the mode switch on the GT sports to “O” for ordinary and this sporty 911 wafts along like a Golf GTI. Road scars are absorbed, traffic jams are shrugged off and spinal chords remain mercifully intact. The interior accommodates frames of all shapes and sizes while the rear jump seats and frunk offer surprising practicality. Groceries. Bags. I even got two packets of firewood into the GTS, no problem.

Yet the most amazing thing, as I hinted, is the way this thing handles inclines. Although the GTS might be tuned for the circuit, it laughed in the face of my private Kilimanjaro thanks to a fiendishly clever bit of optional kit known as front-axle lift. With electro-hydraulic actuators mounted to the front springs you can, with the push of a button, raise the nose by around 40mm. This also increases the approach angle by approximately 3°. This might not sound like a lot but it’s more than enough to let the GTS negotiate sharp city obstacles without spoiler, skirt or chassis damage. It may cost R41250 but it affords this 911 an almost surreal versatility.

Break free from our urban cholesterol, spear off towards the freer-flowing sanctuary of the country, and the GTS will blow you away with performance that rivals or eclipses 911 Turbo models of generations past. It is, in a straight line, almost comically fast. Especially when equipped with the optional (at no cost) PDK transmission: arguably the best dual-clutch system on the market. Power delivery is smooth and seamless and within seconds you’re flirting with 200km/h.

Soundtrack? Although not quite as electrifying as its normally aspirated predecessor, Porsche has managed to endow the new turbocharged GTS with a pretty aggressive timbre — especially when you hit a button on the centre console that opens up some sonic chambers hidden deep within the exhaust system.

Then there’s the handling. Once a beast to be feared, the 911 has, with every subsequent generation, morphed into a much more benign dance partner that lets you demolish corners at pace and with confidence. The limits have been set so much higher that now — especially in the GTS — you have to chase down much higher velocities to feel that you’re doing the machine any justice. Which can be a good or a bad thing, depending on how you look at it. The power steering could benefit from more feel but other than that the 911 GTS is hard to fault.

It gives you more of what you want and nothing that you don’t. For a relatively small premium over a Carrera S you’re getting a car that’s infinitely more capable from a performance point of view but equally as livable. You can drive it to work. You can steer it to the track. You can use it to pick up a few things from the supermarket. And, yes, you can even inch it up my confounded driveway.

All of which makes the 911 GTS quite possibly the most compelling sports car offering under the R2-million mark. Now if only I could pay that bond off quicker. – Thomas Falkiner

Fast Facts: Porsche 991.2 GTS coupé

Engine: 2981cc twin-turbo flat-six
Power: 331kW at 6500rpm
Torque: 550Nm at 2150rpm
Transmission: seven-speed PDK
0-100km/h: 3.7-seconds (claimed)
Top speed: 310km/h (claimed)
Fuel: 15.7l/100km (achieved)
CO2: 188g/km (claimed)
Price: From R1 768 000