Porsche GTS shoot-out: 992 vs Macan | CAR Magazine

Porsche GTS shoot-out: 992 vs Macan

Published: 12 November 2021 Updated: 12 November 2021

► 911 vs Macan: both GTS trims driven
► Which makes most sense? 
► We travel to Darlington to find out

Forget your high-revving naturally-aspirated GT3’s and widowmaker Turbos, the Porsche sweet spot has always been the GTS badge. Slotting just ahead of the milder S but below the scarce GT-prefixed supercars above, the GTS badge tends to offer the best blend of performance, practicality and even price. 

In 2021, the new 992-spec 911 as well as the all-new Macan are now both available in GTS guise; both promise a similar step-up in performance and both could well be all the Porsche you need. But which cut of GTS pork is best in the real world? We ventured north in search of great roads to find out.

Macan vs 911

Both cars occupy very different parts of the Porsche range; the 992 is the company’s flagship, and the culmination of decades of nipping and tucking. The Macan, on the other hand, is more recent addition, made to answer a new demand for high-performance crossovers. Either way, they offer closer levels of engagement than you’d think. 

The 992 uses Porsche’s 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged flat-six, only here GTS power means it puts out an additional 94bhp for a final figure of 473bhp and 420 ft lbs of torque. It’ll do 0-62mph in 3.3 seconds in PDK trim – 0.9 seconds faster than stock 911. Top speed is up from 182mph to 192mph.

It’s all mated to an eight-speed PDK gearbox (though a manual is available at no extra cost) and then distributed via Porsche’s Traction Management and Torque Vectoring Plus to all four-wheels – since we’re driving a Carrera 4 GTS. 

The GTS also gets the same chassis as the Turbo, with a 10mm drop for a slightly lower CoG. The GTS also raids the Turbo parts bin for brakes too, which as we find out later is a very good thing.  

The Macan is similarly sorted in GTS form. The compact crossover’s 2.9-litre, turbocharged V6 powerplant now makes 434hp – just 39bhp short of the 911, and way more than the 261bhp of the base model. It means our Papaya rocket will hit 62mph in just 4.5 seconds compared to the positively sluggish 6.4 seconds of the base model.  

There’s more than enough torque too; the Macan GTS’ 405 ft lbs is just 15ft lbs shy of the 992. Like the 911, GTS also means an uprated chassis for the Macan.  

Time to drive

Slip behind the wheel of the 992, and it’s like returning to the office post-pandemic; everything is more or less where you left it, only slightly cleaner and more sparse than before. The driver position is just as low and reclined as it should be, and it still feels very much like Stuttgart’s flagship. 

It’s the same on the outside too – just like previous 911s, the 992 looks like the 911 before – only cleaned up a bit. Notice the 993-esque lines at the front – and 991.2-esque ones at the rear. 

The GTS actually gets a smidge of extra design, but it’s so small that only true pork enthusiasts will notice: the front apron has an additional bits of matte black, and the rear apron gets a tweak too. 

But none of this really matters once you’re behind the wheel. Porsche lets you twist a knob to fire up the engine, and after the flat-six rumbles to life we’re off – pinging between waypoint locations on the 10.9-inch touchscreen.

As you’d expect, the weather in the North isn’t ideal; the tarmac is greasy and pitted and a dense fog sits high in the moors, and obviously at the exact location we’re due to swap cars. Undeterred, we push on the 992, its four-wheeled traction pulling us out of winding hairpins and pinging us through bends. Even in this murky weather, the 911 feels every bit as fast as its 3.3-seconds to 62mph launch time suggests.

The brakes – upgraded to Porsche’s Ceramic Composite spec – are the perfect match to the extra power. Easy to modulate and powerful when they need to be, they’re holding up to ever increasing abuse, and they also help us to get the most out of the 911’s iconic steering feel. 

When the roads get smoother and the weather more agreeable, we increase our dosage of power with the steering-mounted Sport Chrono mode switch. With a quarter of a twist we’re in Sport mode, and our Carrera 4 is louder, more direct and reveals more of the GTS trinkets you’ve shelled out for. It’s a smidgen more than just enough – exactly what you want from a supercar.

Turns out not road isn’t as dry as we thought, and the Carrera gets out of shape a few times – only it’s all in hand before we’ve even realized – making us question whether it ever happened in the first place. The four-wheel drive, and torque vectoring comes into its own here; but it’s not intrusive. Porsche has made sure the power through the front wheels does nothing to colour the directness of your inputs.

Out of waypoints, we pull into a car park where Porsche’s smallest crossover is waiting for us. Finished in Papaya orange it towers over the 911, but also seems more compact – not the best recipe for roadholding. At £71,445 OTR, it’s also around £40k less than the 911 we’re hopping out of. Perhaps we did this the wrong way round.

Step up into the Macan and the gulf between this GTS and the 992 grows. There’s an actual ignition to use, and everything feels a little less techy than before. And as expected for a car in this sector – once so alien to Porsche – you find yourself sitting higher up. 

Of course, we’ve driven the new Macan before (though not in GTS) spec, and after the first few corners the Macan-magic is evident. Despite its height, you sit in the Macan rather than on it – and that makes a huge difference to the level of performance and fun you can extract from the Porsche.

Add that to the Macan’s direct steering, and it’s easy to point the crossover where you like – particularly useful on the even foggier, winding roads. Here on the moors, the Macan’s more commanding driving position is an asset, giving us a better view of the road conditions ahead.

At the same time, the chassis – now with Porsche’s active suspension tech – gives you enough confidence to approach corners with ever increasing speeds. This is all what we’ve come to expect from a Macan but in GTS form it’s just better.

The Macan’s turbocharged V6 engine completes the equation. Mated to seven-speed PDK, driving all four wheels, and sat at the front of the car, it’s not as special or as quintessentially-Porsche as the flat-six – but it’s more than up to the task. The V6 propels the Macan between bends with PDK parps, and although there’s surely less character here than the 911, it’s just 40-ishbhp and around a second behind the 911 on paper. And it feels even less that behind the wheel.

It turns out we’re pushing the Macan even more than we realized, and around halfway through our journey it’s time to pull over for a second. While the Macan’s 2 tonnes isn’t that noticeable behind the wheel, the agile crossover’s brakes are certainly feeling it. The smell of lightly toasted discs creeps into the cabin as we open the window. Perhaps it’s worth upgrading to ceramics… 


Over 100 miles later, it’s fair to say the respect around the GTS badge is warranted. For a few extra pennies, GTS gives the base 911 a push towards the supercar end of the scale, with enough power and drama to keep you engaged – and the versatility to dial things down if you wish. Similarly, the GTS badge takes the Macan, and nudges it from impressively poised crossover to missile with a 458-litre boot.

Both cars are more similar than you’d think and offer engagement and performance in dollops. Which one is best largely depends on your needs, your budget and what you generally prefer – but it’d be ridiculous to say the Macan is more fun. 

Sure, the crossover is cheaper, nearly as quick and easier to enjoy on the road – but there’s something deeply satisfying about commanding a car as balanced and performant as a four-wheel drive 911. There more than enough power when you feel like it, and the GTS badge adds performance as well as versatility – so it’ll take you to the shops in almost as much comfort as the Macan. Porsche’s impressive crossover is a feat of engineering, but the 911 has the larger performance envelope.

Porsche 911 Carrera 4 GTS (as tested)

Price when new:


On sale in the UK:



2981cc horizontally opposed 6-cylinder petrol twin-turbo, 473bhp @ 6500rpm, 420lb ft @ 2300-5000rpm


8-speed, all-wheel-drive


3.3sec 0-62mph, 192mph, 24.8-26.2mpg, 259-245g/km CO2

Weight / material:


Dimensions (length/width/height in mm):


Porsche Macan GTS (as tested) 

Price when new:


On sale in the UK:



2894cc 6-cylinder petrol twin-turbo, 405bhp @ 5700rpm – 6600pm, 367lb ft @ 1900-5600pm


7-speed, all-wheel-drive


4.5sec 0-62mph, 169mph, 24.8mpg, 258g/km CO2

Weight / material:


Dimensions (length/width/height in mm):


By Curtis Moldrich

CAR's Digital Editor, F1 and sim-racing enthusiast. Partial to clever tech and sports bikes