Road test: Porsche 911 GTS
With the new Porsche 911 making its debut at last month's Frankfurt Motor Show and it due to hit UK roads before Christmas, the GTS is one of the last versions of the previous Type 997 car.
Could the 21st version of this car also be the best? I spent a week with the £78,370, six-speed manual, coupe version to find out.
So it's not a GT3 or Turbo version of the 911, so why should you get excited by the GTS? Well, for a start the GTS name is a nod to Porsche heritage, as it was last used on the 1964 904.
The GTS is also an interesting concept, as Porsche claim it combines the luxury and looks of the Turbo, with the mechanical simplicity of an entry-level Carerra 2.
You won't miss the 911 GTS from the outside, as there's the chunkier bodywork borrowed from the four-wheel drive Carerra 4S. On top of the wider styling, there's an exclusive bodykit comprising of a SportDesign front bumper, bespoke side skirts and contrasting black body elements.
To finish off the look, there's special GTS badging, a sports exhaust with quad tail pipes and a gorgeous set of gloss black 19-inch RS Spyder alloy wheels.
The 911 GTS is powered by the same 3.8-litre flat-six that also powers another special 911 – the Speedster. Power is up by 23bhp to 408bhp, with peak torque of 420Nm arriving 200rpm earlier at 4,200rpm.
The 911 GTS is a special car to drive too; the new three-spoke Alcantara-trimmed steering wheel is lovely to hold and proves to be a perfect accompaniment to the steering which has plenty of feel and is wonderfully direct.
The 911 might be rear-engined, but I reckon the GTS is the best balanced 997 I've tried. Grip is impressive, the turn in sharp, yet the ride isn't so hard that this 911 wouldn't make a decent grand tourer.
The inside of the GTS is equally special, with generous amounts of Alcantara fitted to the front seats, gear lever, handbrake and the rim of the steering wheel.
The 3.8-litre flat-six engine is smooth and accelerates crisply, plus the GTS's sports exhaust gives this engine a charismatic wail that's quite addictive.
Your neighbours probably won't like it, but I loved the fact that you can turn up the exhaust's volume via the dashboard-mounted button.
Working the engine hard also means stirring the light, precise six-speed manual transmission that proves to be a good combination with the 3.8-litre engine. The 911 GTS has almost supercar levels of performance; 62mph comes up in an impressive 4.6 seconds and the top speed is a licence-losing 190mph.
The 911's doors open wide, but the rear seats are really only suitable for adults on short trips or children. Sadly, the front boot is a bit on the small side, but it should be deep enough for the weekly shop or weekends away.
The GTS has a long standard equipment list that includes central locking and power wing mirrors, air-conditioning and electric front windows.
The standard-fit, six-speaker single-disc CD player with six-speaker sounds good enough and if that's not enough there's an optional cable to play your iPod. A navigation system is part of the optional (£1,311) Porsche Communication Management system that was fitted to this test car.
To sum up, it would seem that Porsche has saved the best till last with the GTS version of the 911. Yes, it's expensive to buy and run, but it might just be the best-all rounder that Porsche makes. The next generation 911 will have to be pretty special to top this.