2022 Porsche 911 GTS first drive review: The perfect 911 – Roadshow

With so many models and trim levels, packages and options, Porsche’s sprawling 911 lineup can be tough to wrap your head around. But the 2022 GTS family makes things easy. Available in five flavors (Carrera GTS, Carrera GTS Cabriolet, Carrera 4 GTS, Carrera 4 GTS Cabriolet and Targa 4 GTS) these cars are at the center of the 911 range, upstaging more workaday Carrera S models by offering an extra shot of power and sharper dynamics, yet delivering greater livability and a lower starting price than the track-focused GT3. With staggering performance and near-telepathic finesse, the 2022 GTS could be the prefect 911.

To get a feel for this redesigned family of sports cars, I traveled to Porsche’s headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia for some seat time in a Carrera GTS and Targa 4 GTS, cars that are kind of at opposite ends of the spectrum. The former targets driving aficionados, being firmer and more direct, while the latter is a bit softer and more livable, plus its retractable hardtop allows it to bridge the gap between coupe and cabriolet. The Peach State may not sound like a great place to exercise such pedigreed machinery, but its northeast corner is surprisingly mountainous, with miles of twisting backroads and largely empty country two-lanes, a picture-perfect Porsche proving ground.

Unless you’re a fanatic, you may have a hard time telling the GTS apart from other 911s. The visual differences are subtle, though black accents are a giveaway. These cars’ adaptive LED headlights feature black surrounds, their taillight housings are tinted, the model badges and Porsche lettering are blacked out and so are the exhaust outlets. These changes allude to the enhanced performance these cars offer without shouting about it.

Forged, center-lock wheels essentially purloined from the 911 Turbo S are standard equipment, measuring 20 inches in diameter up front and 21 at the rear. RS Spyder Design rollers with a more traditional five-lug pattern are offered, too, and for no extra charge. The Carrera GTS’ Goodyear Eagle F1 tires provide loads of grip, but they’re also cacophonous on Georgia’s weather-beaten pavement. The Targa’s Pirellis are noticeably more hushed on the same roads.

As in other 911s, a rear-mounted 3.0-liter twin-turbo flat-six motivates GTS variants. This thoroughbred engine delivers a rousing 473 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque, 30 more of each than you get in a Carrera S. Providing these gains, the boost pressure’s been cranked up from about 14.5 psi to 18.3, but other than that, the engines are identical. From the moment you fire it up, this flat-six is always champing at the bit, and boy howdy can it run.

You can’t see it, but trust me, there’s an engine hiding back there, a great one, too.

Porsche

Using launch control, an all-wheel-drive Carrera 4 GTS with the standard eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission can dash from a dead stop to 60 mph in as little as 3.1 seconds — yes, even quicker than the GT3. Other variants are a skosh slower, with the same feat taking up to 4.1 seconds in certain models fitted with the seven-speed manual gearbox, which is a no-cost option. But no matter the variant, this car rocks. Bury the accelerator and in a heartbeat the GTS rears back on its haunches, scratches for traction and drop-kicks you to the horizon.

Despite this supercar-rivaling performance, don’t expect a tsunami of low-rpm torque. Even though it exhales through a pair of turbochargers, the GTS’ engine pulls with the linearity of a naturally aspirated powerplant, not really waking up until you’ve got at least 3,000 rpm on the clock. With the manual transmission (the gearbox to get in my not-so-humble opinion), this isn’t ideal for lugging in traffic, though it is great encouragement to stir the crisp shift lever, which has been shortened by 10 millimeters compared to other models like the 911 Carrera S or 911 Targa 4S. Select the appropriate ratio or let the automatic do its thing and revs build smoothly and with explosive speed, reaching crescendo at the 7,500-rpm redline.

Automatic throttle blipping is included with the manual, and you can now turn it on or off whenever you’d like since it’s no longer exclusively tied to the driving-mode selector. This is a nice change for 2022 because you don’t necessarily need this feature since the GTS’ drivetrain is so responsive it’s a cakewalk to execute perfectly timed downshifts nearly every time.

The 911 Targa 4 GTS is part convertible, part coupe and totally awesome. 

Porsche

From its bulging fenders to that high-strung engine to the low seating position, the GTS is intimidating, but it’s also shockingly intuitive. You can pretty much jump right in and drive without having to familiarize yourself with anything. The manual transmission is a joy to use, with short throws and a clutch pedal that is dead simple, being neither too heavy nor too light and with a broad engagement range. As for the automatic, I’ve become antagonistic toward dual-clutch transmissions. Launch quality is never as smooth as with a torque converter, but the GTS’ PDK is the best I’ve ever experienced. Not only is it totally seamless while creeping along in traffic, it shifts smoothly and damn near instantaneously.

An active exhaust system is standard equipment in the GTS, delivering that iconic 911 wail when you’re hustling, yet keeping things reasonably quiet when you’re not in the mood for theatrics. Uncorking things is as easy as switching to the Sport or Sport Plus driving modes or by hitting the double-barrel shotgun button on the center stack.

Keeping things in check, the GTS’ standard braking system is borrowed from the giant-slaying 911 Turbo. This gets you six-piston front calipers squeezing 16-inch rotors and four-pot clamps at the rear acting on 14.9-inch discs. Porsche’s Ceramic Composite Brakes are offered for an additional $9,870, though, unless you live at the track, they’re probably completely unnecessary. If you do spring for PCCB, they work fine on the street, providing immense stopping power with a pedal that’s practically as easy to modulate as a Toyota Corolla’s, a rarity for such a high-performance car. Those pricey optional brakes are also refreshingly quiet when cold, making hardly a peep.

There’s little to complain about inside the updated 911.

Porsche

Matching its startling straight-line speed and immense stopping power, the 911 Carrera GTS handles like a dream. Wrapped in suede-like Race-Tex fabric, the wheel feels just about perfect in your hands, even if its small diameter means the rim blocks much of the instrument cluster, though beyond the huge tachometer mounted front and center, what more do you really need? The steering responds immediately and is super crisp on center, though somehow it never feels twitchy or over-caffeinated. The wheel telegraphs what the front tires are doing in high fidelity, yet it never kicks back or transmits roadway harshness. The ride is predictably firm, with the Carrera GTS being noticeably starchier than the Targa 4 GTS, which is a little milder. In either case, Porsche’s Active Suspension Management is standard equipment, which on Carrera models includes a 10-millimeter ride-height reduction. Unlike its fixed-top sibling, the Targa GTS does not sit closer to the ground.

Overall, the GTS range is remarkably refined for the performance offered; it’s also significantly more alert and speedier than the standard 911 Carrera, which is by no means dull or slow. They may look basically the same, but the difference between how GTS and non-GTS cars drive is as obvious as it is significant.

For those that want even better dynamics, the coupe is available with a Lightweight Package that trims 55 pounds by eliminating the rear seat, swapping in trimmer glass and cutting sound insulation, among other things. You also get additional underbody aerodynamic paneling and rear-wheel steering, the latter of which is available as a standalone extra on all GTS models. This options group is great if you’re all about performance, but in normal use on the street you probably won’t notice much of a difference — hell, most drivers could probably stand to lose 55 pounds these days. Regardless of whether you opt for the Lightweight Package, GTS models have less sound deadening than other 911s.

Inside, you get basically the same interior as in other 992-generation cars, which makes the GTS cabin a pretty special place. Race-Tex trim dresses things up and there’s plenty of supple leather, richly textured soft plastics and high-quality controls. There are a few inherent downsides, too. The footwells are a bit narrow, there’s limited storage space and the backseat is all but useless except for carrying small children or luggage or small children packed in luggage.  

For hard-core enthusiasts, the full bucket seats option ($5,900) is the way to go. This eliminates those laughably small rear accommodations and gets you a pair of non-reclining carbon-fiber reinforced plastic tubs for front seats. Your chiropractor will love the bolt-upright driving position and the aggressive bolsters provide tremendous support, though all this hoopla gets tiring quickly. Unless you go racing every other day, I suggest sticking to one of Porsche’s more conventional seating options, which adjust in the ways you’d expect.

As for tech, all versions of the 2022 Porsche 911 feature the automaker’s PCM 6.0 infotainment system with a 10.9-inch touchscreen. Streamlined and more user friendly, this multimedia array is based on what you get in the Taycan EV. Easier to use than before and more responsive, PCM 6.0 is a winner, plus it supports wireless Apple CarPlay. Also, for the first time, Android Auto is supported, which is great news for all you Google fanatics out there, just make sure to bring a cable. Beyond all that, GTS models also come standard with the Sport Chrono Package, which includes additional drive modes, active powertrain mounts, a spiffy digital chronograph on top of the dashboard and more.

The GTS family is in the sweet spot of the 911 range. 

Porsche

Unfortunately, that’s about the only thing Porsche provides for free. This automaker just loves charging extra for every little thing and that is reflected in these cars’ price tags. The Carmine Red Carrera GTS in this review checks out for a whopping $178,440, a sum that includes more than 40 grand in options as well as $1,350 in destination charges, though that’s a relative bargain compared to the Targa 4 GTS. Dressed in an elegant paint color called Chalk and fitted with nearly $36,000 in extras, it checks out for just shy of $194,000. As Porsche so adeptly proves, excellence doesn’t come cheap.

But really, other than exorbitant prices and borderline-usurious options, what is there to complain about here? Sure, the tires can be noisy and there’s not a lot of space inside, but if you’re shopping for a roadgoing apex predator, the GTS is a superb choice. Thanks to its blend of performance and approachability, it’s arguably the best 911 you can get.


Editors’ note: Travel costs related to this story were covered by the manufacturer, which is common in the auto industry. The judgments and opinions of Roadshow’s staff are our own and we do not accept paid editorial content.

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