► Porsche 991.2 C4 GTS tested
► Equipment and styling upgrades
► Starts at £100,781 - £120k as tested
Porsche’s expansive 911 line-up is confusing at best, and the Carrera 4 GTS is a great example of that. Take its name apart however, and it’s Stuttgart code for the fastest 911 south of the Turbo and GT models. But unlike the the GT3 or GT2, this Porsche isn’t about purity or driver-focus. Instead, the Carrera 4 GTS is a deluxe version of the 911, with all the mechanical toys Porsche has to offer.
Featuring four-wheel drive, optional rear-wheel steer, and a turbocharged 444bhp powerplant mated to a PDK ‘box, the Carrera 4 GTS is the 911 with all the trimmings. So is this a Porsche bloated by technology, or is it the 911 formula improved? Read the updated CAR review to find out.
What actually is it?
Carrera 4 means 4 all-wheel drive, but what does the GTS moniker add? A standard sports exhaust system, with two exhaust pipes mounted centrally in gloss black, 20-inch satin black alloys, springs lowered by 20mm and ‘Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus’ which works in coordination with the seven-speed dual-clutch PDK ’box and all-wheel drive system to deliver power to the wheels that need it most.
Spec it up
On top of the GTS spec, our test car included the seven-speed PDK transmission at £2930 (a manual gearbox is standard), ceramic brakes at £6018, rear-wheel steering at £1592 and LED headlights that direct light in line with your steering for £1772. The Carrera 4 GTS we tested would set you back £120,924 all in – around £20k more than the standard model.
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And the engine?
The GTS-spec 3.0-litre flat-six develops 30bhp more than a Carrera S (at 444bhp) and 37lb ft more torque (at 406lb ft). That’s good for a 0-62mph launch time of 3.6 seconds (0.6 seconds quicker than a Carrera 4S) and a top speed of 191mph.
So how does it drive?
Climb into the cabin, and the first thing you’ll notice is the extra layer of luxury in this 911. There’s lashings of Alcantara, and although the format is the same as other 911s, the execution feels somewhat more premium – though it should for our test car's £120k.
Start it up, however, and the classic 911 soundtrack is there – nearly. Like all other 991.2 models, the Carrera 4 GTS features a turbocharged engine; the classic flat-six boom remains, but now beneath a smidgen of turbo whoosh. No, it doesn’t suddenly sound like a Toyota Prius.
Read our review of the Porsche 911 GT3
Cover any distance in the Porsche, and you’ll find this is already a more usable car than a GT2 or GT3 – but features comparable performance. At slow speeds, this 911 is as easy to drive as a VW Polo, though it’s easy to sense the car’s underlying performance.
The lowered suspension is uncompromisingly firm, though (and noticeably more so than that of the Carrera S), so you still get a healthy dose of feedback from even though the smoothest tarmac. With a car this direct and planted, the harder suspension keeps you from feeling disassociated with the road beneath you.
Great for country roads, but less so at motorway speeds, where road noise is your biggest issue – as you’d expect from a sports car with 305mm rear tyres and not a lot in the way of sound deadening. Otherwise the 911 is a very capable long-distance cruiser.
And on the right road?
The Carrera 4 GTS comes into its own. Twiddle it into Sport+ via the wheel-mounted driving mode dial, and you’ll find the PDK holding gears longer – though you can override it via the paddles if you wish.
Those extra revs means the engine comes to life too, and although there’s a tease of turbo lag, it gives you near-instant power when you demand it. At higher revs, you’ll still get the classic flat-six wail, though it now carries a smidge of turbo whoosh. Unlike the new Cayman, this 911’s engine note hasn’t been suffocated by a turbocharger – more remixed.
Is the PDK, good?
Yes. Although it's an auto 'box, it's direct and engaging, and in Sport and Sport+ mode its gear choice is bang-on. However, it's the shifts you'll find yourself addicted to.
In the right mode Porsche's PDK system changes gear faster than you can say, well, any of Doppelkupplung, but does so with such an aggressive, quick action that you get a thud in the back of your seat. It's not engaging in the same way as a manual box' but it's raw and mechnical – and makes you very aware of the car's drivetrain.
And the rest?
Four-wheel drive comes into its own in corner exits, with Porsche’s torque vectoring letting you put that power down through all four wheels. When you’re a little heavier on the gas, you’ll see the 911 move power to the front wheels, effectively dragging the Carrera 4 GTS out of roundabouts and tighter bends.
They say a 911 is a ‘usable’ sports car…
The 911 Carrera 4 GTS scores particularly well on the practicality to performance ratio. Its rear seats can accomodate people – though anyone over 6ft won’t be that impressed – and our test car was also fitted with Isofix points for child seats. Cupholders exist too, and there’s just about enough space around the cabin to store bits and bobs.
The boot however – or ‘frunk’ – is less impressive, and at 125-litres it’s perfect for a few weekend bags, but not much else. Anything larger, and we’d recommend one of Porsche’s roof racks.
Porsche 911 Carrera 4 GTS: verdict
So, what to make of the Carrera 4 GTS? Does it still feel like an 911, or is it a far cry from the rear-engined sports car from which its derived?
Ultimately, the Carrera 4 GTS is the ideal all-round 911. Its bag of tricks gives you accessible, astonishing performance on the right road – but its price tag and comfort levels make it a little more acceptable for everyday use than a GT2, GT3 or Turbo. Begrudgingly, it seems that established cliché of the GTS being the ‘sweet spot’ in the range is entirely accurate.