This is one of the finest machine on sales today, and it comes with a hard to find item that’s often associated with old school cars.
As I stomp on the brakes, the Porsche 911 GTS’s curvaceous nose dives towards the corner apex. Then I remember I need to do more than simply turn the racy suede steering wheel hard right.
My left foot presses the clutch, I pull the gear shifter south and my right heel blips the throttle. It’s engaging and addictive.
A manual gearbox is a rare treat these days, but Porsche has equipped its latest GTS Coupe model with a seven-speed unit, answering the cry from purists who want a more hands-on driving experience.
It’s the only “normal” 911 you can buy with three pedals: the $370,000 GT3 is manual but you’ll be at the back of a long waiting list, while you need an invitation to give Porsche the $600,000 asked for next year’s 911 Sport Classic.
The “GTS” badge means extra sportiness while retaining everyday driving comfort – something modern 911s do very well if you don’t need to carry luggage or rear passengers with legs. The GTS comes as a Coupe, Cabriolet or Targa with rear- or all-wheel-drive, but that manual gearbox lands only in the rear-drive tin top.
Most still pick Porsche’s superb 8-speed dual-clutch auto – it’s the lazier choice but also the faster. A GTS Coupe auto hits 100km/h in 3.4 seconds, while human beings with a stick shifter take a relatively tardy 4.1 seconds. The auto uses less fuel and produces less emissions too – more wins for the machine.
What you’re buying with the manual is more of a say in the show. You’re on the stage rather than in the audience. If you get bored, press the clutch, drop a gear with the notchy, short-throw shifter and squirt the throttle. You never tire of the purist thrill as the boosted flat-six unleashes 353kW and 570Nm.
The GTS has ditched some sound insulation so the sports exhaust – especially in Sport Plus mode – is brilliantly intrusive. Leave everything in Normal and it’ll cruise with silent swiftness, while the adaptive suspension shifts from stiff to soft and absorbs bumps well enough you could use this supercar every day.
Then there’s the cornering ability. On short twisty roads the GTS makes a mockery of corners and imperfections. It turns in sharply, there’s a staggering amount of balance and rapid shove in seemingly any gear, with only the tiniest hint of turbo lag. Giant tyres on the GTS’s satin black wheels – 20-inch front and 21-inch rear – offer comical amount of grip.
The GTS needs a track to unbox its true performance and ability, so we were afforded a brief circuit session. Using a manual requires more brain power, but the uber-smooth and rapid shifter has you constantly grabbing for another change as you would your favourite chocolates. Then hold a gear to redline and enjoy the obnoxious exhaust wail.
It’s fun, playful, easy to control and, with Sport Plus engaged, happy to slide its tail out. If you can time a manual upshift as it straightens out you don’t half feel a hero.
Typically, Porsche threw myriad dynamic options at our test car – rear wheel steering and Dynamic Chassis Control included – adding to the brilliance. These extras (plus more) meant a drive-away price of about $390,000, and when considered with Porsche’s stingy three-year warranty, it’s a car not for normal folk.
Your cash does buy a pure 911 shape unsullied by aggro aero or wings, just satin black design elements, a front spoiler lip and achingly pretty centre-lock alloys.
And try and find a cabin more driver-focused. Controls cocoon the driver, the three pedals are ideally placed and suede coats the main surfaces. Bose audio, voice control, advanced infotainment and decent driver safety aids show this may be the purist’s Porsche, but luxury isn’t forgotten.
Who cares if the auto goes faster, a manual GTS is the only 911 you’ll ever need.
PORSCHE 911 GTS COUPE VITALS
PRICE About $330,000 drive-away
ENGINE 3.0-litre six-cylinder twin-turbo petrol, 353kW/570Nm
WARRANTY/SERVICE 3-year/unlimited km, no capped price servicing
SAFETY Not rated, 6 airbags, auto emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist, rear cross-traffic alert
CARGO 132 litres
Originally published as 2022 Porsche 911 GTS review
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