Daily driven sports cars reveal their true mettle in flashes. A freeway merge that finds you reluctant to un-pin the throttle once you’ve cleared that semi. The occasional jackrabbit start at a stoplight that finds you smirking bigly. A stick in the road prompting a brief, hair-raising evasive maneuver that reminds you that, yeah, this thing can turn. The rest of the time, though, performance machines engineered for daily use are docile, compliant touring cars — easy on both the backside and the ankle. Which is where Porsche shines.
2017 Porsche 911 GTS
Engine: twin-turbo horizontally opposed six-cyclinder
Transmission: seven-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch automatic
Torque: 405 lb-ft
0-60: 3.5+ seconds
Top Speed: 193 mph
Base MSRP: $119,000 –
Porsche has long been a master of that sweet spot. The spectrum of sports cars in its lineup covers the gamut from modestly appointed entry level rides up through track-ready monsters (the ones that you wouldn’t, in fact, want to commute in). But its greatest trick has always been pushing performance as far as possible without compromising comfort. The five new 911 GTS variants — bringing Porsche’s total 911 offerings to 25 (!) — walks that fine line more precisely than perhaps any before it. The cars, including rear- and all-wheel-drive models, each with cabriolet options, and a Targa, slot in just below the track stud GT3 RS. This means they’re torqued up as far as they can go, yet still dialed-in and humane enough to be driving pleasures.
The cars, all prominently powered by fine-tuned dual-turbochargers, are all quicker off the line by at least 0.2 seconds than their 911 S subordinates, thanks to 30 extra horsepower and 405 lb-ft of torque, and 0-60 times are 3.9 seconds with manual and 3.5 with the dual-clutch PDK transmission.
“For kinky, winding miles and lustful minute after minute, the only extraneous thought I allow my laser-focused cortex is that no other being on earth is having this much fun.”
Driving the cars around a racetrack in Cape Town, South Africa, as well as the city’s spectacularly sun-baked suburbs, I found many flashes of that aforementioned mettle. On the track the cars can be pushed to near disaster, yet still keep you in line courtesy of sharp steering — even more so with optional rear-wheel steering. To see just how well you and your GTS can do, Porsche now offers a Track Precision app that can tap the car’s computer to track steering, acceleration, braking, and speed — among other variables — along with video captured from your smartphone, to help you fully analyze your performance. It comes with 140 tracks programmed in, so if you’re at one of them it will automatically track your laps.
It’s no trailer queen, of course, so your commute home will be just as lively. During a pre-dawn climb through the vertical neighborhoods of Cape Town to a sunny overlook of the city (Signal Hill, should you get the chance) the car eagerly soaked up ascents, hairpins, and steep plummets at speeds that in lesser cars would have you wincing in fear that your brakes might give out. No wincing here, though: the GTS is built for pretty much anything you can throw its way.
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