Behind the wheels of a Porsche

PUBLISHED: 13:02 21 July 2011 | UPDATED: 19:44 20 February 2013

Behind the wheels of a Porsche

Behind the wheels of a Porsche

Liam Bird reviews the Porsche 911 Carrera GTS

In the beginning, I looked around and couldnt quite find the car I dreamed of, so I decided to build one myself. Not my words, but those of Ferry Porsche who, in 1948, hand-built his first car in Gmund, Austria. The rest, as they say, is history.

Since then Porsche has become synonymous with two things; engineering excellence, and the 911, one of the most recognisable cars ever to hit the streets. The latest version is this, the 911 Carrera GTS.

Like all 911s, its available as both a Coupe and a Cabriolet. The GTS uses the broader hipped body from the Carrera 4 and couples it with a Powerkit upgraded 3.8 litre version of Porsches legendary flat six-boxer engine, plus a switchable sports exhaust system. As a result power is raised to 402bhp, while torque remains unchanged but becomes available lower down in the rev range. To help cope with the extra urge Porsche have fitted beautiful 19 centre mount rims, 305 section rear tyres, plus revised springs and anti-roll bars. The exterior benefits from new side skirts and Sport-Design front apron plus of course the all-important Carrera GTS logos on the doors that hark back to the legendary Carrera RS of the early 70s.

Inside theres ever-so comfortable hard-backed sports seats and a near-perfect fat-rimmed steering wheel. Choose a GTS and all those extras come for only 2,152 more. At 76,758 for the coupe or 85,249 for the soft-top the GTS suddenly begins to makes sense.

Its on the road though, where the GTS makes the most sense. The steering is beautifully weighted and it communicates in the way only a rear engined cars can. The stiffer suspension and extra grip from those steam-roller wide rear tyres inspires confidence; traction out of corners is superb, and the combination of balance and solidity makes you feel that this is a car that rewards the driver whilst retaining its poise.

Theres a familiar Germanic firmness to the ride but its never crashy and even in the Cabriolet I spent time with, road and wind noise are kept to a minimum. However should you want to make the GTS scream, you only need to flex your right ankle. 0-60mph is covered in a whisker over 4 seconds, overtaking is effortless, and they say itll do 190!

Despite its super-car qualifying performance though, the GTS never feels intimidating. Its compact dimensions, slim pillars and almost conventional driving position and its even got a decent sized boot mean, in traffic, it feels as easy to drive as a Golf.

The snappily titled Porsche DoppelKupplung is the optional automatic gearbox that employs not one clutch but two. As the ratios are selected all youll feel is a change in engine revs as road or traffic conditions change. If youre in a hurry, all youll feel is relentless acceleration. Call me old fashioned, but Id prefer a manual, and even though I appreciate the Cabriolet Ill take a Coupe please, maybe, in dark green or blue, or possibly white. Hmmmm - for some of us, frustratingly, the Porsche dream continues.

Thank you to Porsche Centre Chester for the loan of the 911 Carrera GTS featured here. â– 

Are you experienced? If your budget doesnt quite stretch to buying your own, then a YouDrive Course at The Porsche Driving Experience alongside Silverstones world famous Hangar Straight is an alternative. PorscheYouDrive 165

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