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Driven: Porsche 911 GTS lands from $283K BOCs

Wide load: Porsche’s new 911 GTS range features a 44mm-wider body to accommodate a 40mm-wider rear track, enabling 0-100km/h times as quick as 3.6 seconds.

Porsche debuts 331kW/550Nm turbocharged Series II 911 GTS in Australia

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Porsche logo22 Jun 2017

By DANIEL DEGASPERI

PORSCHE Cars Australia (PCA) has introduced the 991 Series II update of its high-performing 911 GTS, with the final step before the track-bred 911 GT3 expected to continue snaring a 20 per cent slice of the sportscar line-up’s sales.

Speaking with GoAuto at the national media launch of the 991 Series II 911 GTS models in western New South Wales this week, PCA director of public relations and motorsport Paul Ellis said the sub-GT3 variant would continue to be aimed at customers wanting the sportiest on-road drive without a racetrack focus.

“It’s the customer that wants maximum performance and substance without going into a racetrack mentality, which is what you get once you start going to the GT cars,” he explained.

“Either GT3 or GT3 RS, you start getting a racetrack mentality. The GTS stops where that racetrack mentality starts. So, it’s the most engaging, rewarding, powerful, dynamically capable road car, in a road car kind of model of thinking, not a racetrack kind of thinking.

“It’s for those that are really honed and suited to road car driving and not racetrack driving.” Mr Ellis dubbed the GTS model grade a “sweet spot” in the line-up, adding that its launch in 991 Series II guise more than 12 months after the 911 Carrera and 911 Carrera S models lobbed (in February 2016) would aid its popularity.

“(With) the GTS, we basically sell every one we can get,” he said.

“Every order we get, we process and hopefully we can fulfill that order quota. But factories and production lines have finite limits. So we’ve got to make sure that we get our forecasting correct to get the volumes that we want.

“(But) the timing is also a contributor to the sales success of the car. Especially given that GTS models have been introduced after the Carrera and Carrera S, so they’ve had time to establish themselves in the marketplace, the GTS comes along and it’s fresh and it’s new.” While there might be some substitution of 911 volume, as Mr Ellis acknowledged that some buyers would make the stretch from an S to a GTS model grade, he said that history has shown the sub-GT3 version adds some volume to the line-up.

“Traditionally we know the volumes for the GTS models because historically, we can look at the data and understand who our GTS customers are,” he continued.

“Overall it’d (historically) be maybe 20 per cent of all 911s are GTS, which is quite significant.

“There might be some substitution from highly optioned Carrera S models, but overall there would be increased volumes of 911 overall for the GTS.” Asked whether the first-ever turbocharged 911 GTS would continue to garner the popularity of its high-revving naturally aspirated predecessor, Mr Ellis replied: “If the car lives up to its reputation, yes.” “If the car keeps delivering against the brand promise, absolutely. Having not had a GTS with a new turbocharged engine until now, has sales dropped off slightly or will this add to 911 sales? “It’s interesting, we’ve had anecdotal evidence that customers that have warmed to the turbocharging of the 3.0-litre engine because it has made the car smoother and incredibly more tractable.” According to Porsche the 991 Series II can lap the 20.8km Nurburgring circuit in 7 minutes 26 seconds – 12s faster than its 316kW/440Nm 3.8-litre naturally-aspirated predecessor.

With claimed combined-cycle fuel consumption of 8.3 litres per 100 kilometres, the new 3.0-litre turbo is also 0.6L/100km thriftier than the old, as well as being 0.4s faster 0-100km/h.

Mr Ellis acknowledged, however, that the new engine traded acoustic quality for increased performance and efficiency.

“You have some customers that are after the visceral appeal which is a sound,” he said.

“Some of the sound is gone, no question about that, but opposite to that is the fact that performance has gone up.

“So some customers have actually warmed to the fact, ‘Wow, I feel like I’ve really got a faster car’. And to them, that’s more important than the sound. To other customers, the sound is more important than the performance. So, you win and you lose, you lose and you win.” Available as 911 Carrera GTS Coupe and 911 Carrera GTS Cabriolet in rear- and all-wheel drive (designated ‘4’), plus the 911 Targa 4 GTS, it fleshes the 991 Series II out to a total 21 variants, 16 of which are available with a manual.

Priced from $282,700 plus on-road costs, the 911 Carrera GTS Coupe costs $26,400 more than the equivalent 911 Carrera S Coupe below it.

Reaching from 911 Carrera GTS Coupe to 911 Carrera GTS Cabriolet adds $21,500 to the price (now $304,200) while notching up a 4 onto the badge attaches a further $16,200 to both body styles.

Topping the range is the 911 Targa 4 GTS, priced at $320,400 – the same price as the equivalent all-wheel-drive, soft-top body style.

All come standard with a seven-speed manual gearbox, with a seven-speed dual-clutch (dubbed PDK) requiring $7390 extra.

In any case, the first tri-body style GTS model grade with a 3.0-litre turbocharged flat six-cylinder engine also moves, compared with the S below it, from 309kW to 331kW of power at 6500rpm, and from 500Nm to 550Nm of torque between 2150rpm and 5000rpm.

Even so, a ‘power kit’ for the S can be added for $24,850 extra, which matches the larger turbos, increased boost pressure and higher outputs of the GTS.

That ‘power kit’ further includes a SportChrono launch control system – enabling a match for the 3.6 second 0-100km/h sprint of the 911 Carrera GTS Coupe with optional PDK, down from 3.9s in the standard 911 Carrera S Coupe – and two-mode sports exhaust that are both standard on this newly introduced model.

Yet the GTS goes further with 20mm-lower (or 10mm lower on Cabriolet and Targa) Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) that remains optional on the S. The GTS’ 40mm-broader rear track with 44mm-wider body and optional four-wheel steering ($5490) are also unique, and are derived from the GT3 above it, while 16 per cent larger brake pads are taken from the 911 Turbo.

Black 20-inch alloy wheels are also pinched from the 911 Turbo S, matching the darkened tail-lights, blacked-out badging, mirror caps, front grille and air intake that signifies the 911 GTS outside and Alcantara-clad GT steering wheel, gearshifter and part-leather electrically-adjustable heated front seats inside.

Other standard equipment includes bi-Xenon headlights with four-point LED daytime running lights and swiveling function, front and rear parking sensors with reverse-view camera, dual-zone climate control, and 7.0-inch colour touchscreen with Apple CarPlay, digital audio and Bose sound system.

The 1450kg Carrera GTS Coupe shifts to 1520kg for the Carrera GTS Cabriolet and 1585kg for the Targa 4 GTS, the latter duo claiming 3.8s and 3.7s 0-100km/h respectively.

According to VFACTS May 2017 results, Porsche 911 sales have increased by 8.9 per cent from 202 to 220 units year-to-date.

This comes on the back of an 11.9 per cent increase in volume in 2016 compared with 2015, when the rear-engined 2+2 sportscar shifted up from 377 to 422 annual units.

2017 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS pricing*
911 Carrera GTS Coupe $282,700
911 Carrera 4 GTS Coupe $298,900
911 Carrera GTS Cabriolet $304,200
911 Carrera 4 GTS Cabriolet $320,400
911 Targa 4 GTS $320,400
*Excludes on-road costs

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