Of late most model designations from car manufacturers and especially the German ones have been plagued with confusion and ambiguity. Thus far to an extent the 911, Porsches flagship model, has been the steadfast flag bearer of the range and has been unmistakable with immediate recognition. However each new generation of the 911 was identified by a production model code Eg; 964, 993,996,997 etc, which had some customers asking is this a 911 or a 997 etc. The latest body style introduced in 2011 for the 911 was designated the 991 for some inexplicable reason the next derivative the GTS was tagged the 991.1 in decimals and the very latest 2017 iteration of the 911 GTS is tagged 991.2, what’s wrong with full numbers I wonder?
As with other cars from Porsche (like the Boxster and Cayman), adding an 'S' to the name indicates it’s a faster version Put a 4 on the name after Carrera and you get four-wheel drive. Turbo models are also four-wheel drive, but for some strange reason don't get a '4' in the name. The GT2 and GT3 versions are stripped out, hardcore track biased and lightweight models.
The car under test is the all-new 911 dubbed the 991.2 and referred to as the Porsche Carrera 4 GTS, with a twin turbocharged 3 litre engine pumping out 450 bhp. Porsche has positioned the GTS between the Carrera S and the more powerful Turbo and Turbo S models and claims that this is the most versatile everyday Porsche in the range, let’s indeed find out.
It is not often that I get to sample a car fresh off the shipping container for a test drive, paint protective film and door protection foam and all as happened with this 2017 Agate grey 911 Carrera 4 GTS, courtesy of exotic car importer par excellance’ Bavarian Motors Pvt Ltd. If you are a Porsche buff, you will love the stance of the 911, squat and the GTS is wider at the rear and has a 40mm wider rear track as well. The grey is a very popular colour for this model and despite its thin layer of shipping dust, and white plastic film looked quite threatening and imposing. The most noticeable difference between the earlier body and this is the engine cover at the rear which has vertical slats as opposed to the previous horizontal slats.
The front too has now got a soft black plastic central lip replacing the earlier firmer body coloured lip which was not ideal for entry into elevated driveways, especially if the car was not equipped with the front axle lift option, as the car is lowered by 20mm in this guise. The rear exhaust has been relocated to the centre as two gloss black singles. The wheels are 20 inch alloys with centre lock and come in staggered widths of 9 inch in front and a humongous 12 inches on the widened rear, making the car look absolutely tenacious, especially on those black wheels.
The wheels are shod on 245/35 x 20 and 305/30 x 20 Pirelli P zero rubbers. Due to the aspect ratio difference in front and rears, the rear looks a bit higher and over tyred (5mm) than the front giving it a very purposeful look. The side mirrors too have a lower skeletal frame in black plastic. By all accounts this is one hell of a good looking Porsche and lives up to its reputation of being the flag bearer of the range.
Mechanicals & Technology
The engine is a 3 litre twin turbo powered flat six with DOHC and 24 valves and pumps out 450 bhp @ 6500rpm, and the rev counter is red lined at 7500rpm with another 500rpm for extreme situations. The torque is 500nm between a very useable range of 2150- 5000 rpm. When the purists wanted the 911 in manual form Porsche always countered by saying that their PDK boxes were so good and so fast that the manuals could not match them, has now done a volte face and offers the GTS as a 7 speed manual, in standard form and offers the 7 speed double clutch PDK box with paddle shifters as an option.
This car has the PDK option and also the eye wateringly expensive carbon ceramic brake option with discs the size of dinner plates from a five star gourmet restaurant in Colombo at 410mm in front and 390mm at the rears coupled to six piston calipers. The Sport Chrono package is standard and can be coupled to the track app to record acceleration and lap times etc. PASM - Porsches active suspension management system and the active sport exhaust are all standard. The spoiler can be raised via a switch on the centre stack on demand and the active sport exhaust too is switchable. The car is also equipped with another expensive option the four wheel steering capability where the rear wheels turn in the same direction as the fronts at speeds in excess of 50kmh and in opposite direction at under 50kmh to aid in handling and ease of parking etc.
My first drive out of the box with the wrapping like a Christmas present was a hurried one as I was trying to beat the rush hour traffic and without any familiarization, I just slid onto the seat and dialed up the sport+ function on the little rotary dial on the steering, very much like the mannetino dial popularized by Ferrari and just flew off. The most immediate observation was the exhaust tone which was like the muted growl of a lion, really deep throated. However open the taps and the sound keeps going up in gradual decibels keeping pace with the rev counter and at 6500rpm it sounds angry and frenzied, and each time I tapped the high quality paddle the exhaust gave a nice pop and burble to get into the next gear, as the car was spanking new I did not explore the vociferous rev range from 6500rpm to 8000 rpm. The new PDK gear box is absolutely awesome and one hardly feels a change as they are so instantaneous as this box has now been beefed up for superfast duty. Even when you use the box in auto mode it just feels amazing and the changes happen in a trifle and when you slow down its always in the right gear for immediate response. The word lag has no place in this car as both turbos (one for each bank of cylinders) work so well that one can hardly discern that this is a turbo.
On full blown acceleration from a standstill the four wheel system virtually propels the car, as if you are a stone in a catapult, without any wheel spin or sideways movement and the only skill you need is a firm pair of firm hands , a strong resolve, and possibly larger than normal marbles, as the car just tracks straight and does the rest and just keeps accelerating seamlessly, the sprint to 100kmh taking a mere 3.6 secs. Usually Porsche figures are very conservative and I truly felt it was much quicker than that and those humongous rear tyres really grip like glue.
My first drive comprised of a few sprints and a stint sitting in traffic and crawling inch by inch for about a good ten minutes and this also re-enforced my admiration of the car as a truly great daily driver with a fabulous aircon system and a quality stereo to boot. It was absolutely easy to drive in traffic, it was as docile as a kitten and definitely easier than many family sedans that I have sat in similar conditions, the steering was light and the engine sound was muted and the crawl and stop was easy as treading water. One word of caution though, is be mindful of the very wide haunches when creeping in traffic as it is quite easy to swipe a tuk tuk with them.
After that encounter the car went in for a proper unwrap and a wash and thereafter I had the occasion to be properly introduced to the GTS. The first thing that strikes you is that this car is equipped with the optional sport bucket seat which is a carbon reinforced plastic tub with a high gloss carbon finish, and Alcantara covered cushions, with the fore and aft movement being manual and electric all else. The seat is fabulous as it grips in the tightest possible embrace, just like a well-tailored Karl Lagerfeld suit, and with the fabulous full alcantara steering at your hands you just feel as though the car was built for you. The steering is a piece of art and sculpting, size and the alcantara covering are so… sensual to the touch.
During modest to hard cornering the car hangs onto the tarmac like a hungry lion gripping his newly killed prey and the turn in is so positive you almost feel as though your guardian angel was steering the car for you. The cornering potential is certainly beyond the driving capability of an average driver and cannot certainly be tested on our crowded roadways but needless to say it feels as though Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity is really brought to question. I did put the carbon ceramic brakes to the test and it is an amazing feeling to be hauled in from stratospheric speeds with such drama free civility. I also drove rather fast over the rumble strips that are a common occurrence on our roads and the Porsche just glid over them as though I was in a hovercraft, such was its poise in the suspension department. I repeated the feat in sport + mode and yet it just managed to smother the ripples to submission. The driving sensation in this car is difficult to put down in words but the acceleration, braking and cornering and point anywhere and go precision is the best around.
Living With It
If you do buy a Porsche 911 you do so with the full knowledge of its limited rear seat capability, but yet this one manages two occasional seats at the back. The front seats tilt to give reasonable access to the rears too. Due to its limited luggage carrying capacity the rear seat backs when folded provide a very useful amount of luggage space in addition to a 125 litre box shaped space under the bonnet referred to as the FRUNK by the yanks as they refer to the boot as the trunk and since this space is in front, FRUNK. If you are a DIY guy and want to get your hands dirty or at least want to take a peek at the engine, forget it as the rear engine cover when opened only reveals two cooling fans. There are some nice space optimization features like the two concealed front cup holders which reside behind the carbon fibre trim panel. Living with this beauty will be a delight to the senses as every glance, every trip will be a joy to behold and remember. With the optional sport seats as in this car, Ingress and egress is a bit of a twist and rotate of your torso and a slight dip of the head due to the sloping roofline, but that is the penalty you have to endure to be cocooned in those fabulous sports seats. They feel so right when seated that I sure don’t mind trading a bit of convenience in the entry/exit department.
Being a high performance German sports car that is compliant with a 5 star euro NCAP rating there is nothing that is wanting in terms of safety, and hence is equipped with the full safety array of Electronic Stability Control (ESC),ABS and Driveline Traction Control, Side Impact Beams, Dual Stage Driver and Passenger Seat-Mounted Side Airbags with passenger bag being switchable off, curtain air bags, Park Assist Front And Rear Parking Sensors etc. The car is also equipped with the now must have Tyre Specific Low Tyre Pressure Warning and a wide angle grid line marked back up camera, so ones safety is well assured.
Fuel Economy & Price
The manufacturer rated fuel consumption for the combined cycle is 8.5 litres per 100km, and the CO2 level is 192 gms per km. The fuel tank is commodious at 67 litres and should guarantee a range in excess of 750km which is fabulous. The economy for a car with such power and pace is remarkable but in large part is due to its low weight, which incidentally is lighter than the mini hybrid I tested just last week, so all credit to the Porsche technical boffins who have been working on their flagship year after year in their unceasing and unwavering quest for perfection in the 911, and I must say that this one is perfect. I just can’t seem to find anything even trivial that I don’t like or I can’t live with, probably the price which is far north of 60 mil Rs, but then that’s the cost for our pride in our citizenship.
The car is offered in a palette of sober, sombre and retina piercing range of 17 body colours , 4 solids, 8 metallics, and 5 special colours. For the serious audiophiles a choice of 12 speaker systems from Bose and Burmeister with a range from 555 watts to a mind numbing 821 watts and sub woofers from 100 to 300 watts are available, so this certainly is a car for everyday and for the track on weekends. Unless you want to go in for the hardcore race ready GT2 and GT3, this car is the most useable in the two door range and is a magical car with so many capabilities in its repertoire that it is beyond compare. I am sure as is customary with Porsche there will be another model that will emerge from the pens and crayons and clay at Porsche research and design and with hybrid power trains and electrics in the pipeline, those might eclipse the current car for performance and usability, but till then, this GTS for me is the best.
Porsche 911 Carrera 4 GTS
2,981cc 24-valve flat-six
450bhp @ 4,400-6,500rpm
550Nm @ 2,150-5,000rpm
7-speed PDK Auto
All wheel drive
Suspension – Double Wishbone
Brakes – Ventilated Disc
Tyres – 245/35 R20 run-flat
Suspension – Multi Link
Brakes – Ventilated Disc
Tyres – 305/30 R20 run-flat
Kerb Weight – 1,590kg
Fuel Tank – 67L
Boot Space – 125L
0-100km/h in 3.6 seconds
308km/h top speed