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2022 Porsche 911 GTS First Drive: The Gentleman Beast

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porsche 911 GTS
The 2022 911 GTS offers improved performance over the Carrera and Carrera S, but stops short of the single-minded mission of the Turbo S and GT3. Porsche

Few auto manufacturers have spun as many successful variants of a single model as Porsche has with the 911. Even fewer have managed to keep the soul of the original intact and maintain a thread of familiarity throughout over fifty years of production and countless advancements in technology and hardware. That remains true of the 2022 Porsche Carrera 911 GTS.

Positioned above the 911 Carrera and Carrera S spec cars—themselves available in numerous iterations—and below the Turbo and GT3 models, the 911 Carrera GTS represents for many a perfect blend of what makes the 911 so appealing: upgraded power, personalization opportunities and that inimitable 911 balance without going into the rarefied air of the Turbo or the uncompromising and track-focused GT3. In keeping with the family traditions, the 911 Carrera GTS is offered as a Coupe, Cabriolet and Targa, with or without all-wheel drive, though the Targa drops the “Carrera” part from its name and is offered only with all-wheel drive.  

911 GTS Horsepower and Suspension

Featuring a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter flat-six rated for 473 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque, it offers increases of 30 horsepower and 30 pound-feet over the Carrera S. The standard transmission is a lightning-quick eight-speed PDK dual-clutch automatic with an electronically locking differential, but a seven-speed manual is on tap as a no-cost option paired with a mechanical limited-slip rear differential to increase the visceral element. In keeping with the theme of finely honing every aspect, no matter how nuanced, the manual shifter in the GTS is 0.4-inch shorter than in the Carrera to provide a more direct action.  

The suspension system comprises Porsche’s Active Suspension Management (PASM) with GTS-tuned active dampers and a 0.4-inch-lower ride height. The massive 16.1-inch front and 15.0-inch brake rotors are pinched from the 911 Turbo. Black center-lock wheels (20-inch in front and 21-inch rear) are relatives of those on the Turbo S. Rear-axle steering and Porsche’s  Dynamic Chassis Control (PDCC) active stability control are optional.

The 0-60 mph sprint is possible in a little as 3.1 seconds for the 911 Carrera 4 GTS (PDK), one-tenth of a second quicker than the 911 Carrera 4S. Porsche

2022 Porsche 911 GTS Targa Pricing

The 911 GTS Targa’s base MSRP is $156,800 plus a $1350 destination fee, but of course, our GTS Targa was slathered in accountments from the infamous Porsche options list. A quick look reveals Chalk White exterior paint ($3,270), Rear Axle Steering ($2,090), Adaptive Sport Seats Plus (18-way) with Memory Package ($3,030), Interior Trim Inlays in Matte Carbon Fiber ($3970), a Heated Leather GT Sport Steering Wheel ($280), and that just the highlights. Suffice to say, the 911 GTS Targa crosses the cash register at $193,960. For reference, that number includes $37,160 in options, enough to purchase a 2022 Volkswagen GTI and several sets of track tires.

Arguably, the most remarkable thing about the GTS’ stratospheric price tag is that from the driver’s seat, it seems entirely logical and just. Fit and finish are impeccable, and all the essential elements are in place: the gauges, the surprisingly accommodating seats, the precision operation of the switchgear and the beefy steering wheel with paddle shifters. There are no cost-cutting “except for” trade-offs in material quality or assembly.

The Sport Chrono package is standard on the GTS, and that means the addition of an analog/digital clock to the dashboard, two additional drive modes (Sport  Plus and Individual), a tire temperature display, the Porsche Track Precision App and, for models equipped with PDK and—you asked for it—Launch Control. Our car also had the GTS Interior Package in Chalk ($4530), which adds contrasting stitching, color matches gauges, seat belts and increases the amount of Race-Tex upholstery throughout.

Torque on Demand, Telepathic Handling

The flat-six springs to life, sending its trademark upper-chest hum through the standard sports exhaust, one created by fitting a specific muffler and larger cross-section piping in comparison to the standard Carrera S. It’s as docile as a Camry in dense, slow-moving Atlanta traffic, despite the 100-degree swampy heat; even with the A/C cranking the engine temperature gauge remains resolute. The Bose sound system ($1600) makes for great diversion when stuck in traffic and the Porsche InnoDrive incl. Adaptive Cruise Control with traffic jam assist ($3020) handles the brake/accelerator shuffle confidently.

With its Targa top ready to perform its 19-second self-storing dance at a moment’s notice, the Targa is a multitasker of the highest order. Porsche

After clearing the urban sprawl and pointing its nose north to the Chattahoochee Mountains, the GTS loosens its collar and lets its ancestral DNA rise to the surface. Sport mode is engaged, the exhaust opens its throat and the flat-six boxer explodes like a nest of angry bees desperately looking to bore new holes in the hive. The two-three shift just below the 7500 rpm redline is sublime, a rare sonic thrill that will remind older folks of the magic that seduced them to the marque initially and will make devotees out of neophytes. Top speed is limited to 190 mph, but we’d be lying if we saw much more than 60% of that potential.

Winding through the tight hairpins and long-sweepers surrounding Helen, Georgia, reveals levels of grip far beyond the nerve threshold of most casual enthusiasts. The GTS is in its world here, braking hard, tracking precisely and rocketing out of corners thanks to the wide torque band provided by the twin turbochargers. It has the magic to make ham-fisted drivers look far above their abilities. Part of the credit goes to the optional rear-axle steering ($2090), which turns the rear wheels in phase with fronts at speeds above 50 mph for increased stability. (They turn out of phase below 30 mph to aid in low-speed maneuvering and parking.) It’s a natural sensation at the wheel but very subtle in action. Deactivate the nanny safety aids and get too enthusiastic, however, and the situation may exceed your hubris in a lightning-fast manner. Thankfully, the brakes have vast reserves of stopping power on tap, scrubbing speed from potentially tense situations with casual indifference. Finesse the pedal, and you can dial in stopping ability with precision.  

Our illusions of driving at an F1 level satiated—for now—the GTS Targa transforms into a grand tourer of sorts, allowing us to soak up the sun at less threatening velocities.

2022 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS Coupe

To experience the breadth of the GTS lineup, we also sampled a similarly equipped GTS Carrera Coupe with a few notable and critical exceptions: The no-cost seven-speed manual transmission, Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes ($9,870) and carbon-fiber reinforced plastic full-bucket seats with the rear-seat delete ($5900). In addition, an optional Lightweight Package carries things further, replacing the side and rear windows with lightweight glass and reduces the amount of sound insulation to achieve the weight savings of approximately 55 lbs. As tested, the price of the 911 Carrera GTS is $178,440, about 15k less dear than its Targa brethren. However, the GTS Coupe in this spec is the closest to the fundamental 911 ethos.

While the 18-way seats of the Targa allowed for virtually any size and shape of driver to get comfortable, the carbon-fiber buckets in the GTS have tall bolsters that pinch the out thighs and shoulders of larger drivers. That said, that added support goes a long way to encourage drivers to push further and harder than they usually would. Of course, the manual transmission and rear-wheel drive are complicit in this, the pure joy of rowing gears and the slightly intoxicating dynamic of breaking the rear end loose far outweighing the fact that the PDK-equipped cars are almost always quicker. (Porsche data indicates the manual adds seven or eight tenths to the PDK’s best 3.1-second 0-60 time, but the gap closes a few tenths as they approach the quarter-mile.)

2022 Porsche 911 GTS
The carbon-fiber bucket seats provide incredible support when exploring the upper reaches of the 911 GTS’ grip. Porsche

Pricing and On-Sale Date

Thankfully, all the critical 911 signifiers and qualities that make the 911 an icon remain in place. If you’re expecting a revolutionary new experience behind the wheel of the 2022 911 GTS, you might be disappointed. That’s not to say it’s a retro experience in the manner of certain muscle cars. Think rather of it as the latest and greatest version of a highly successful and evolving formula. Porsche engineers seem to agree, one referring to the GTS Coupe as the “core model” of the current 911 lineup.

The 2022 Porsche 911 GTS models are slated to begin arriving in showrooms in early 2022. Pricing starts at $138,050 for the 911 Carrera GTS Coupe and $145,850 for the 911 Carrera 4 GTS Coupe. The 911 Carrera GTS Cabriolet starts at $150,850 and $158,150 for the 911 Carrera 4 Cabriolet GTS. The 911 Targa 4 GTS also starts at $158,150.  All prices include a $1350 destination charge.

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