The new Porsche 911 GTS is the ultimate sports car for all occasions

Buying a fancy (and expensive) car typically means choosing between sports and 'grand tourer', the latter sacrificing some go-fast goodness for everyday liveability and luxury.

But Porsche likes to try to cover all its bases in one go, as I learnt after a week in a 911 GTS.

Priced from $282,700 the GTS is available in a range of models, from two- and four-wheel drive to coupes, cabriolets and even the quirky glass-roofed Targa.

My steed is the GTS Cabriolet, a $300,500 proposition (or $307,890 with the auto transmission).

Meet the family

Of all the sports and supercars on the market the 911 has one of the broadest remits.

Depending on when you go shopping – there's typically an update or new addition to the family every few months - there will be something upwards of 20 models to choose from (right now there are 22 on offer).

The price of a 911 stretches from $221,200 for a Carrera all the way up to the $645,700 for the almost-here GT2 RS.

The 911s compete with everything from a go-fast BMW M or Mercedes-Benz AMG all the way up to a Ferrari or McLaren.

On the road

One of the beauties of a 911 is the ease with which it slots into everyday driving, something I was reminded of in the GTS.


With the optional seven-speed PDK automatic transmission – just (ouch) $7390 – it's a snip in traffic, while always having enough pull to briskly zip around other cars. The transmission is phenomenally quick at slotting down three or four ratios, at which point the 3.0-litre horizontally-opposed twin-turbo six-cylinder engine is primed for action.

The Sport Response button on the steering wheel amps things up even more, preparing the car for brief blasts, such as overtaking; it primes the turbos and selects a lower gear for near-instant action when you step on the throttle.

While the track-focused 911 GT3 can be hard work on the road – noisier, firmer in the suspension and without the mid-rev flexibility of the turbo engine – the GTS is much closer in around-town character to a regular Carrera.

Sure, the steering is sharper and more alert and there's some extra firmness to the suspension, but the car never jolts or jars. It's an easy car to live with.

Load 'em up

Plus, like all 911s but the GT2 and GT3, the GTS is vaguely practical.

Engineers insist on four seats for all but those most track-focused 911s.

So, while those in the rear will have limited legroom and be sitting quite upright, they can still join in the 911 fun, right down to the punchy Bose sound system.

Up front there's loads of space, although finding a space for a mobile phone is more of a challenge (it's one of the few practicality oversights).

There's all the latest connectivity and a logical 7.0-inch touchscreen with Apple Carplay (but no Android Auto).

Look at me

While the GTS is all about performance, it also gets subtle styling tweaks to set it apart from garden variety 911s.

One of the most obvious is the matte black wheels, each with a single race-style single centre locking nut.

That black theming is carried on elsewhere; the badging, for example, is black instead of silver. The grille at the rear – to feed air into the rear-mounted engine – is also black. Even the tail lights have a subtle dark smoke to them.

Not too soft, not too hard

Any 911 is a special piece of kit, but the GTS somehow manages to tread a temptingly fine line between ease of use and potent ability. The Goldilocks of 911s, perhaps?

If you don't happen to have a private race track or a garage full of cars, then the GT3 doesn't make a lot of sense, purely because of some the compromises it makes for the road.

Besides, while the GT3 is a track weapon, Porsche engineers quietly admit the GTS is quicker than a GT3 on many regular roads, once bumps and tight corners enter the equation. The composed suspension and torquey turbocharged engine makes it extremely rapid point-to-point yet user friendly in a range of scenarios.

Or, you can just tool around enjoying a car with an immense depth of talent.

That said, I'd have the coupe over the cabriolet, mainly because it's 70 kilograms lighter, so even faster (and more fun!).

Time to upgrade

If the GTS sounds like a bit of fun but you don't want to ditch your current 911 then there is a consolation prize.

If you have one of the newer turbocharger models – sold here from early 2016 – then Porsche offers an upgrade kit.

At about $25K it's not cheap, but it includes new turbochargers to match the 331kW offered by the GTS, a full 22kW increase over the regular 911 Carrera S.

You also pick up the GTS exhaust, with its central outlets and woofier sound with extra burbling.

Plus there's the Sport Chrono package that adds additional features such as launch control, for faster take-offs.

Have you had a test drive of the new 911 GTS? Share your experience in the comments section below.