Test Drive: 2015 911 Porsche Carrera GTS

The aerodynamic coupe packs a powerful punch as we hurtle along the Angeles Crest


“Hang on, I’m going to push the awesome button,” shouted our co-driver, above the hearty resonance of the 2015 Porsche Carrera GTS’s exhaust note. We were already motoring at a healthy speed through a sweeping corner, along the legendary Angeles Crest Highway—a 66-mile-long, two-lane road used for racing scenes in movies and as a double for the French Alps in “Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo.” Called the Sportbike Capital of the LA Basin because it lures enthusiasts to twist the throttle, the snaking tarmac is one of the highest roads in Southern California, with spectacular vistas and a collection of death-defying drop-offs. It’s also used by numerous automakers to illuminate the performance art of their new models and is a tire warm-up for the nearby Willow Springs Raceway. This was precisely why this German marque used the Crest to elucidate the power, poise and road manners of its updated supercar. The “awesome button,” aka Sport Exhaust, was the launchpad to captain our 430-horsepower ride to even more robust exhaust tones, with full-on burble and growl.


Welcome to the second generation of 911 Carrera GTS with rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. The rarified sports car with good genes sits in the stable between the 911 Carrera S and the racetrack-bred-and-tested 911 GT3. When bridled with Porsche’s Doppelkupplung dual-clutch transmission (PDK), the warhorse sprints from zero to 60 in 3.8 seconds (or 4.3, depending on the engineering set-up), which is one-tenth of a second faster than the S model. Top speeds for the GTS range from 187 to 190 mph, depending on the drivetrain and transmission. Suffer no guilt, however; despite faster acceleration and higher top speeds, the latest versions keep a similar level of fuel efficiency as the 911 Carrera S models.


Porsche first branded its “extraordinary” GTS models with the 904 Carrera GTS, a race car which originated in 1963 that could be registered for street use. The letter combination stands for Gran Turismo Sport, in Porsche-speak. It comes with a collection of sport-oriented, inspired solutions that endow the car with predictable handling for unpredictable situations, yet still allow the driver to exert control. The first generation of the 911 Carrera GTS attracted broad interest around the globe. Since its launch in 2010, one out of four 911 Carrera Cabriolet buyers chose a GTS model, and some 23% of all Carrera coupes are badged GTS. A total of over 6,200 GTS models of the prior 911 generation found homes with enthusiast buyers.

The latest version is imbued with new technical traits that enliven the two-door’s dynamic performance and driving pleasure: the modified 3.8-liter flat six engine is bumped to its 430 horses from the Carrera S Powerkit. Also incorporated is the Sport Chrono package, Sport Exhaust and a standard active damper system that lowers the ride height slightly, compared to the base 911 Carrera. What this jargon means is the 911 GTS is saturated with the power to move quickly—with the legs underneath it to keep planted—and it sings the siren song of fine motoring passion.


The updated model’s mojo also comes from its two transmissions: a seven-speed manual, assisted by Porsche Torque Vectoring (PTV) boosts traction and tracking stability, while a seven-speed automatic, dual-clutch “PDK “ option has selectable modes for shifting and handling, and is graced with a PTV Plus and comes set-up with an electronically-controlled, fully-variable rear differential lock. Both PTV and PTV Plus improve agility and steering precision by using brake interventions at the rear wheel when motoring at the inside of a turn.


The new 911 Carrera GTS’s game face—distinguished by a wide track and aerodynamic footprint—speaks to its family heritage, with an iconic broad and snubbed nose that sports black trim strips on the customized GTS air intake screen, prominent rear wheel arches and black chrome-plated exhaust tailpipes at the rear. The latest models have distinguishing looks from other 911 models, including its black contrast trim characteristic design element and LED side markers on the front wings. Small black badges wear the model name along the lower edges of the doors, and sport-design exterior mirrors with V-shaped bases are perched on the door shoulders. New for 2015 are a number of standard features, including 20-inch center-locking, forged aluminum wheels which are trimmed in an exclusive matte black, the teardrop-shaped smoked bi-xenon headlights with Porsche’s Dynamic Light System and the sport exhaust.


Slipping inside the race-inspired 2+2 seater coupe, you’ll find an Alcantara leather-trimmed interior, with sport seats that not only cosset, but provide lateral support for high-speed driving and long-range comfort. In the front are four-way adjustable sport plus seats, trimmed with a black GTS logo on the head restraints. If desired, and as a method to improve the car’s power-to-weight ratio, the rear seat system can be omitted in the coupe as an option. The rear area’s carpeting also sports a GTS logo, as do the aluminum door sill plates. Sporty black accents the dials in the instrument cluster, the anodized aluminum trim strips and the roof-lining.

An optional GTS interior package brings full leather upholstery in two contrasting colors: Carmine Red and Rhodium Silver. All decorative stitching and embroidering, including the Porsche badge and the seams of the floor mats, are finished in one of these colors, as are the Carmine Red or Rhodium Silver dial of the tachometer and the edges of the safety belts. The sport seats are upholstered in black leather, with center Alcantara panels. The trim strips are crafted in carbon fiber.

The 2015 Porsche Carrera GTS models are now available in Coupe and Cabriolet versions, and can be found at Porsche dealers across the US.

Images courtesy of Porsche for Cool Hunting