Engine3.0 L Twin-Turbo H6
Power450 HP / 405 LB-FT
0-60 Time3.9 Seconds
Top Speed193 MPH
As Tested Price$128,980
Our model has just a couple of options, including four-wheel steering and that Carmine Red paint. While the turbos have quieted the exhaust note slightly, the sound itself is as good as ever. Possibly the best bit about this particular car is that the 3.0-liter flat-six sends all 450 horsepower through a seven-speed manual transmission.
Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore: There's a scene in a old spy movie where Robert Redford slips on a pair of aviators, gets behind the wheel of an old 911, and pulls out of a parking garage after quitting the CIA. At least on the big screen, it seems like a great release. That's how it feels to drive the 911 GTS. In this age of Demons, AMGs, and awesome power available at almost any price point, it's easy to forget how good the 911 is.
I found myself staring at its curves and proportions one early morning as I sipped black coffee and watched my dog eat her breakfast. Carmine Red with black wheels is one of the Top 3 ways I'd consider speccing out my 911, if I were ever to get one (I'd keep the black wheels but might opt for gray or green body paint).
The powertrain is brilliant. It sounds good. It's powerful but not insane. The seven-speed manual is a lot of fun. It's precise and engaging. I didn't need seven gears for suburban cruising, but it's certainly a sophisticated setup. The steering offers a similarly focused vibe. As we've reported, the GTS is a compelling proposition of enthusiasts. You get a lot of stuff you want. I've always leaned toward the 718 Cayman or Boxster models, but I'm really starting to fall for the 911.
Senior Editor, Green John Beltz Synder: When a car has six figures in its MSRP, any fantasy I might have entertained of me owning that car withers and dies. I blow that dream a kiss and move on. No big deal.
But when I drove the Porsche 911 GTS home this week, I had to mourn the fantasy. Driving this car, I was genuinely heavyhearted to know that I'd never walk into a Porsche dealership and purchase a 911. This moment, enjoying the mechanical precision of the seven-speed manual transmission and feeling the breathy shove of the (flat!) turbo six behind me, was ephemeral. I tried to console myself with an old adage, but got it twisted:
As I darted through traffic, played with the 911's weight around corners, and generally soaked up all the knowledge and feedback this car willingly imparts, I got to thinking: the second-best things in life are usually a lot cheaper.
A Mazda Miata is much more accessible. That car brings me almost as much joy. It'll never be as special or powerful as a Porsche 911, but it's a pretty distilled driving experience, offering an intimate connection with something balanced and pure. It even has similar bulges on the edges of the hood directing the pilot's gaze forward to the next bend in the road. That always gets me.
I realize that the 911 starts under $100k (but still out of reach), and that used 911s (and brand new Caymans) are even more affordable. Still, driving this German car reinforces my more realistic urge to own a Japanese car inspired by British ones.
Associate Editor Reese Counts: The driving position in this car is damn near perfect. From the steering wheel to the pedal placement to the seven-speed shifter, everything is right where you want it to be. Because everything is where you need it, there's a directness to every action that few cars can match. The shifter moves with precision. The action on the accelerator seems to feed the smallest inputs straight to the rear. The steering is light but always lets you know what the front tires are doing. On a good road, this car is intoxicating.
I can't speak much to the old naturally aspirated flat-six engines of yesteryear, but this 3.0-liter twin-turbo engine is a peach. Torque comes on low and heavy. Revs build to a winding 7,500 crescendo, spitting and cracking as you move up through gears. The engine sounds like a dream, and the not-so-subtle turbo whine reminds you what's cooking out back. Even with the turbos, power is smooth and linear, with just the smallest amount of lag at low revs.
The more cars I drive, the less I'm concerned about flat-out acceleration and top speed. Yes, there are cars that cost less than half as much that will equal or outperform the 911 Carrera GTS on a track. I don't care. None of them provide the pure, visceral pleasure that this car does. Everything, from the looks to the noise to the way it moves, makes me want more.