The Porsche 911’s greatest strength is its versatility. With over 20 different models available within the range, there’s seemingly a 911 for everyone. However, with so many options, there’s bound to be a sweet spot, and the 911 Carrera GTS is it. Positioned just above the Carrera S and below the GT3 with goodies borrowed from the Turbo, the GTS offers levels of performance that are ideal for street use. Its performance is fully usable on a canyon road. No track necessary.
Despite costing an as-tested $161,510, it offers substantial value within the 911 range. It comes standard with wheels and brakes from the 911 Turbo, a bespoke suspension setup, and more aggressive aero components. My tester’s optional Lightweight Package knocks 55 pounds off its curb weight and adds carbon-backed seats from the GT3, thinner glass, and a rear seat delete. Whether from a visual or driving aspect, the GTS feels special and is likely the right 911 for those who plan to skip out on track days.
|Engine||Twin-Turbocharged 3.0-Liter Flat-Six|
|Output||473 Horsepower / 420 Pound-Feet|
|0-60 MPH||3.2 Seconds|
|Trim Base Price||$136,700 + $1,350|
Subtle Tweaks That Add Up
The Porsche 911 Carrera GTS is a perfect example of how multiple small changes can add up to have a significant impact. Its front end features a similar bumper design to the Carrera and Carrera S but improves with fewer trim pieces, air intakes with wider openings and a larger front splitter. The GTS wears more aggressive side skirts along the sides, complemented by an intricate rear diffuser out back.
However, looking at its set of staggered center-locking wheels is the quickest way to tell a GTS apart from any other 911. They measure 20 and 21 inches and come straight off the 911 Turbo S. The GTS is the only wingless 911 to offer these center-locking wheels, as all Turbo models feature one, and this set isn’t available as an option for the GT3 Touring.
The GTS’ darkened lighting elements round out the list of changes, including its headlights, which come standard with Porsche Dynamic Light System Plus, and a clear set of rear lights with black bezels to compliment them in the rear. Darkening their bezels is a subtle touch, but since the rest of the GTS’ trim comes standard in Satin Black, including its badges and stickers, they match perfectly.
With so many dark exterior trim pieces, lights, and wheels, my tester’s Racing Yellow paint is welcomed. This is one 911 you won’t want to configure with a dark exterior shade, as its subtle details will essentially disappear. With its larger Turbo wheels and 0.39-in (10 mm) lower ride height, it has more presence than a standard Carrera S, visually separating it from its more daily-driving-friendly sibling.
The GTS represents a tipping point in the 911 range. It’s distinctly more aggressive than a Carrera S but not quite at the level of a GT3. It represents the point at which pursuing performance any further will begin to require serious street comfort sacrifices. And as you’ll read in a moment, this concept also translates to its driving experience.
No Track Necessary
It’s no secret that U.S. infrastructure isn’t exactly progressing at the same pace as today’s sports and supercars. Thus while you can spend six figures on any number of high-powered toys, it’s nearly impossible to exercise them entirely on the street. In California, where I live, most of the road network was established in the early 1900s when cars were smaller and slower. So what good is it to have an immensely capable super or sports car if you can only experience it at its best on a track?
The GTS represents the upper limit of what’s entirely usable on the street or a twisty back road. While its twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter flat-six delivers a potent 473 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque output, you can slam your foot down and hit redline multiple times without suddenly finding yourself deep into triple-digit speeds. Thanks to its quick-shifting eight-speed dual-clutch transmission, the GTS is still rapid on a back road as it fully uses its available power.
Equipped with a PDK, a rear-drive GTS will sprint to 60 mph in 3.2 seconds, making it impressively quick. More striking, however, is how its turbocharged flat-six delivers power. I’ve been driving naturally-aspirated 911s since I was a teenager, and despite housing two turbos, this powertrain feels authentic to the car. Although there’s a hint of turbo lag, it still revs out and makes most of its power up top. As you reach the last 500 rpm before the redline, its engine note shifts and becomes almost animalistic in its throatiness. It’s still a car you have to treat like an NA 911. You can’t just ride a wave of low-end torque.
Drive up a deserted back road, and the GTS is engaging. In part, that’s because my tester is equipped with the $8,690 Lightweight Package. It includes manual carbon-backed bucket seats, lightweight glass, a rear seat delete, a smaller battery, and rear-wheel steering. Its total weight savings add up to 55 lb, although it’s tough to tell on a vehicle that weighs 3,406 lb. The sense of occasion comes from the added sound, snug seats, and slightly stripped interior.
The GTS gets a unique suspension setup with rear helper springs to further differentiate it from the Carrera S and other less expensive 911 models. It sits lower to the ground by 0.39 in (10 mm). Still, it is not noticeably stiffer than an S around town. It is worth noting that the Targa GTS does not get the updated suspension as its chassis is identical to a Targa 4S.
In the bends, the GTS delivers as much performance as is usable on the street. It is perfectly balanced and hides its weight well. It turns in and grips like a car that weighs hundreds of pounds less, and it’s nearly impossible to get it to misbehave. While my tester does feature a rear-wheel steering system, its implementation is seamless. It just follows your every input and direction change without complaint.
Porsche gave the GTS the standard braking system out of a 911 Turbo to improve its braking performance. They’re excellent and offer great feedback and consistent performance. Like many of the 911 generations that came before it. This 992 GTS feels like a car you can hustle around all day, and it’ll barely notice the stress.
If, at this point, it feels like I have hardly any criticisms of this car, it’s because I don’t. For the $161,510 that my tester costs, I had more fun in it than cars that cost twice as much with an extra 200 plus horsepower. The GTS is the right amount of 911 for the street and the ideal model for anyone that doesn’t plan to attend a track day. If Porsche decided to stop here in the horsepower race and stick to this level of athleticism, I’d cheer them on.
Although the GTS is not technically a full-on GT car, its interior feels like that of one. The carbon-backed seats included in the Lightweight Package are essentially those from the GT3. They’re manually adjustable, tight, tough to get into, and I love them. While I wouldn’t option these on a car destined for daily driving duties, they’re perfect for a designated canyon carver. The same goes for its lightweight glass, which allows more of its exhaust note to permeate the cabin but also allows plenty of wind and road noise.
Most of the GTS’ interior is covered in Porsche’s Race-Tex material, its in-house Alcantara alternative. The textured fabric is featured in its seat inserts, steering wheel, door cards, and armrests. Only the cabin’s carbon fiber and gloss black trim stand out thanks to its textured finish and extensive use of satin black. Although my tester also added yellow seat belts to match its exterior.
The rest of the GTS’ interior is standard 911. You get a central analog gauge flanked by screens behind the steering wheel, a landscape-style infotainment screen, and smartphone connectivity as standard. Thankfully the 911 range still prioritizes physical buttons and switches and buttons over haptic feedback surfaces. However, at this point, with the gear selector being so small, why not replace it with a dash-mounted Taycan-style selector? Also, Porsche’s native infotainment system still prompts you to select a user profile on startup, which is slightly annoying when you’re just trying to jump in and go.
The Porsche 911 Carrera GTS I’ve been testing this week is a 2022 model with a $138,050 base price, including a $1,350 destination fee. With options like its $8,690 Lightweight Package, $3,760 Premium Package, and $3,170 Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control, it carries a $161,510 as-tested price. Since you’ll likely be looking at a 2023 model, I’ve included a price breakdown for both model years.
|2022 Model Year||Price Including $1,350 Destination Fee|
|Carrera 4 GTS||$145,350|
|Carrera GTS Cabriolet||$150,850|
|Carrera 4 GTS Cabriolet||$158,150|
|Targa 4 GTS||$158,150|
|2023 Model Year||Price Including $1,450 Destination Fee|
|Carrera 4 GTS||$151,350|
|Carrera GTS Cabriolet||$156,850|
|Carrera 4 GTS Cabriolet||$164,150|
|Targa 4 GTS||$164,150|
The Porsche 911 Carrera GTS is a car that was exactly what I was hoping it would be. It’s a tipping point, both from a visual and performance aspect. It may not go around a track as quick as a GT3 or have as aggressive of an aero package, but it’s near perfect for the street. With 473 hp on tap, it’s fully usable on a public road without reaching dangerous speeds.
The GTS may be an expensive sports car but it offers excellent value within the 911 range. It brings in Turbo goodies to increase its performance and truly set it apart from a Carrera S. The GTS may not be a full-on GT car or the power of a supercar, but it feels special. It gives its driver a proper sensation of fun and connection to the road, and after all, isn’t that precisely what a great sports car should do?