UPDATE: An earlier version of this story referenced the 911's six-speed manual transmission, but of course, Porsche uses a seven-speed manual in this car. The text has been changed to reflect this. There are no fewer than 19 different models in today's Porsche 911 series. While each appeals to the enthusiast, the race-bred GT3 is the pinnacle of the automaker's rear-engined lineup. Unfortunately, and despite the GT3's racing circuit prowess, its rigid track-tuned persona is too grating for many as a daily driver. To satisfy those who put sporty driving dynamics at the top of their list, but don't want to compromise comfort, Porsche has introduced the 2015 911 Carrera GTS. Raising its performance quotient, the GTS model boasts a handful of standard features that elevate it above its Carrera S siblings. Mechanically, it features an enhanced 3.8-liter flat-six bolted into the tail of the widebody platform (shared with the Carrera 4 and GT3). Other goodies include Porsche Torque Vectoring (PTV), Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM), a black-tipped Sport exhaust system and centerlock 20-inch 911 Turbo S wheels (five-lug wheels are a no-cost option). Cosmetically, the GTS is differentiated by its darkened lights, painted black wheels, Sport Design front spoiler, Sport Design exterior mirrors, black engine grille, rear black louvers (or lights on all-wheel drive models) and a 'GTS' logo on the lower doors. Inside the cabin are standard Sport Plus seats, Alcantera upholstery throughout with contrasting stitching, black gauges and anodized black aluminum trim. Offering us an excellent opportunity to put the second-generation GTS through its paces on a variety of roads, Porsche tossed us the keys in the LA Basin and pointed us towards Willow Springs Raceway, in the Mojave Desert. Driving Notes The GTS is offered in coupe or Cabriolet body styles, each with a choice between rear- and all-wheel drive. Buyers are also offered a choice between a traditional seven-speed manual gearbox or Porsche's seven-speed dual clutch transmission (PDK). The GT3, meanwhile, is only offered as a coupe with PDK. We grabbed the keys to a Guards Red rear-wheel drive coupe with PDK for our outbound drive, and a GT Silver Metallic all-wheel drive Cabriolet with a seven-speed manual for our return trip. Finding another 30 horsepower from the naturally aspirated 3.8-liter flat-six required some old-fashioned tricks. Most notably, the engineers increased the valve stroke from 11 millimeters to 11.7, and streamlined and polished the intake induction pipes. Both tweaks increase airflow, which boost power at the high end without hurting fuel economy. With the sport exhaust activated (via a console-mounted button) the engine has a very unique and raspy note that is unmistaken for anything but a horizontally opposed six. It wails under full throttle, and booms and cackles under deceleration. Bystanders outside the Porsche get the finest audible show, as the noise filtered through the rear bulkhead is dulled and muted by the thick firewall insulation (of course, with the top down, the Cabriolet lets all the combustion music in). The naturally aspirated …
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|MPG||19 City / 27 Hwy|
|Transmission||7-spd man w/OD|
|Power||350 @ 7400 rpm|
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