“More of what you love” the Porsche GTS family tag line may sound a touch cliché, but I feel there is a better cliché to sum up the range: “the sweet spot”. From 718 and Panamera through 911 and onto Macan, Cayenne and now Taycan, any series production Porsche is now available with a GTS badge on its booty.
The formula is a tried and tested one: different wheels, fenders, interior trim options and a plethora of black styling highlights comprise of visual differentiators on a GTS model. Under the skin there are power hikes as well as suspension and brake options not available on lesser models. To find out what’s what, I traveled to Rome to put every GTS model available today through their paces.
718: When the 718 Boxster and Cayman debuted they made headlines and not all were positive. The beloved 6 cylinder had been replaced with a 4 pot that was somewhat lacklustre, even the GTS variant was fitted with a four-banger, until Porsche debuted the 718 GTS 4.0. This was a game changer, the car bridges the gap between the S models and GT4/Spyder in the best way imaginable. The 4.0 is a peach and the way it revs free of turbos makes it something of a performance bargain in a world where an RS3 or A45 costs to same. Furthermore, the GTS 4.0 models are more compliant and usable on the road than their GT counterparts but are far more special that the standard models. Complete with 395 horsepower and 430Nm, the 718 GTS models will hit 100km/h in just 3.4 seconds, quick for the baby of the Porsche range. At the Vallelunga Circuit, the mid-engined layout and the sublime 4 litre combined to present one of the most enjoyable sports car packages on sale. I have driven the Cayman GTS at Estoril before, yet again the car’s dynamic capabilities exceeded expectations.
911: I’ve also driven the rear-wheel-drive 992 GTS for a full review, but this was my first track experience, this time in a car with the lightweight package with full fixed back carbon buckets and PDK box. My time on the track highlighted just how special a car the GTS. The cacophony in the cabin is so visceral that you would be forgiven for thinking you were in a full GT product, albeit with a few less rpm on offer, compensated for with terrific torque that really made the car feel spectacular out of slower corners. Out on the road I piloted a Targa 4 GTS and a Cabriolet GTS, both fitted with manuals that demonstrated the breadth of ability on offer from the range. Each 911 GTS I drove felt more engaging and lighter on their toes than the Carreras I had previously driven and a very different feel that the 992 Turbo(s). With 480 horsepower and 570Nm on tap, it’s no surprise that the 992 GTS feels so potent on road or track in any of the three body styles on offer.
Taycan: This was an entirely different experience for me, the first time driving a Taycan on track, ignoring the one that was carved into a frozen lake upon which I drove the 4S. The first half of the Vallelunga circuit is predominately very high speed bends followed by a very technical final few corners.
What was apparent in the latest model in the both the Taycan and GTS range is just how savage the torque feels and the rate at which it piles on the speed. With 590 horsepower and a colossal near instant 850Nm of torque under my right foot, the driving sensations are reflective of the statistics.
The Macan, Cayenne and Panamera GTS models were also at my disposal, but exclusively on road, logically, so my time in each was limited but allowed me to get a taste. Each car feels inherently more sporty, partly due to the pronounced exhaust noises and also the GTS interiors that are far more racy than lesser model with lashing of carbon, alcantara and red stitching. They all felt tight, squat and for more dynamic than rivals of their class and that for me is the best way to summarise what the GTS badge means: these are all cars that are not the most expensive, potent or focused in their respective ranges (with the exception of the Macan), but they feel a touch more special, dialled-in and sporty than lesser models. For me, these are the best of the bunch when you’re looking for a car that thrills on your favourite road but are all perfectly usable day-to-day.