Porsche Carrera Review: 2010 Model | Carrera | Car Buyers Guide

2010 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS Review

Choice is a good thing, but you can have too much of a good thing. The Porsche 911 is already offered in Carrera, Carrera S, Carrera 4, Carrera 4S, Turbo, Turbo S, GT3, GT3 RS and GT2 RS. Not to mention that most the models on that list are available with manual or automatic ‘PDK’ transmissions, or as a coupé, Cabriolet or Targa. When you count limited-production models such as the Speedster and Sport Classic, there are more 911 choices out there than almost any other car.


This latest addition, the 911 Carrera GTS, is a veritable pick and mix, too. Porsche positions it between the Carrera S and the more hardcore GT3 and GT3 RS models. Underlining that is its power output, with the 3.8-litre flat-six’s 408hp sitting nicely between the 385hp of the Carrera S and the 435hp of the GT3. To achieve the boost in power, Porsche has essentially added the optional (and expensive) 'powerkit' that’s offered on the Carrera S: it features a revised intake tract and standard sports exhaust.


The changes under the engine cover do nothing to the engine’s peak torque output of 420Nm, but it’s now maintained between 4,200 and 5,600rpm. There’s 6 percent more torque from 1,500rpm, though, and the GTS’s torque curve is flatter and fatter than the regular Carrera S's and far more flexible as a result. All that translates into a quicker 911, with the GTS reaching 100km/h in just 4.6 seconds. Naturally there are ways to make that quicker still: choose your GTS with the PDK dual-clutch automatic transmission and you reduce that time by 0.2 seconds; while adding the Sport Chrono Pack drops it a further 0.2 seconds to 4.2. In any guise, the top speed rises over the Carrera S by just 4km/h to 306km/h.


Impressive as Porsche’s two-pedal self-shifting PDK setup is, to choose it is to deny yourself one of the greatest pleasures of the Carrera GTS. The 911’s six-speed manual gearbox is among the finest out there. Its shift needs a positive hand – particularly before the oil has warmed through ­– but it rewards with a precision that’s unusual and hugely appealing. It snicks across its gate quickly and accurately, and the shift is all the better for the engine’s additional flexibility. That flexibility is such that there’s no need to run the 3.8-litre up to its 7,500rpm maximum to make real progress, but it’s impossible to resist the temptation to do so – even if the sports exhaust does sound oddly muted. The gearshift seems even sweeter when you’re rushing it at high revs, and the searing pace on offer is never disappointing.


What’s surprising is how different it feels to the Carrera S. The GTS cannot quite reach the lofty, nerve-tingling ferocity and intimacy of the GT3 – or its even more focused RS relative – but it does feel far more edgy, and more hardcore than the Carrera S. Yet it retains a civility and usability that’s in a different league to the rather compromised, track-orientated GT3 and GT3 RS.


It’s not just the engine and gearbox that work beautifully in unison, either. Like them, the suspension and steering benefit from some subtle, detailed changes that add up to a whole greater than the sum of its parts. Porsche isn’t openly saying so, but the GTS rides on suspension that’s largely borrowed from the tiny-number, big price Sport Classic. It blended more control with greater finesse, allowing the Sport Classic to carry its easily gained pace down roads that might see you backing off in a Carrera.


Different spring and damper rates, changes to the track, wheel sizes and roll bar settings combine with a re-calibrated Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM). As ever, there are two PASM modes on offer. And the usual compromises in Sport guise. It’s firm; too firm for all but glass-smooth surfaces.


Leave it on the Normal setting and the GTS exhibits the same impressive ability as the Sport Classic to smother nastier road surfaces, and its composure is remarkable. It’s taut, but there’s enormous control on offer, with the GTS’s body barely moving in bends or under hard braking and acceleration. That composure is complemented by steering that feels more immediate and more responsive, and a front end that’s more planted and stable than in an ordinary rear-wheel-drive 911.


Turn the GTS’s wheel and besides beautiful feel and weighting, the nose goes exactly where you want it. There’s no slack either, and the GTS’s front end feels almost as pointy as that of the GT3 RS. That’s quite a compliment, as the GT3 RS’s steering is among the best there is.


To achieve that more eager, feelsome front end there’s a wider track front and rear, while lightweight single-hub alloy RS Spyder wheels (only previously available on the GT and Turbo model cars) help reduce unsprung weight. On this red car that unsprung weight is further reduced by the optional fitting of Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes (PCCB). On a regular Carrera we might think twice about taking this expensive option, but their fade-free performance is in keeping with the GTS’s slightly edgier, more focused character.


There are standard weight reductions elsewhere, with the GTS coming specified without rear seats. This allows it to weigh in at 5kg less than its Carrera S relative – despite the addition of a wide body to its specification. Should you need rear seats in your GTS, then Porsche will put them back in for no additional cost. In another bout of generosity Porsche also offers the GTS with a large 90-litre fuel tank – as it does for the GT3 – for no additional outlay. It replaces the already slightly larger 67-litre tank that GTS specification features.


There may be no seats behind you, but the GTS’s interior feels far from stark. Sports seats come fitted as standard, while black Alcantara covers most of the contact surfaces, including the new SportDesign three-spoke steering wheel. There’s premium audio equipment too, while logos inside and on the door valances mark out the GTS as a distinct model in the range.


Like the interior, the GTS’s external changes are subtle but effective. Along with the wider Carrera 4 body there’s some black detailing round the exterior. The side skirts (borrowed from the GT2 RS), wheels and front splitter all get the black treatment. The Carrera GTS badges, on both the engine cover and leading edge of the doors, are also finished in black, though on darker coloured cars they gain a brushed metallic finish.


It’s not just a few black add-ons outside either, with the exhausts (the pipes themselves are ‘nano’ coated) sitting in an entirely new housing in the rear bumper. What’s more, there’s a unique front apron that gains a central vent like the GT3’s, signalling that the aerodynamic revisions to the GTS optimise the airflow, and they go some way to helping the GTS return its impressive 10.6 litres/100km economy and 250g/km CO2 emissions figures.

Porsche’s 911 has a habit of impressing, but as this model reaches the final year or so of production the GTS represents a high point. It’s good value, too. Take the time to specify a Carrera S to something approaching that of the GTS and you’ll pay significantly more. What’s so impressive, though, is that Porsche has managed to up the intensity without losing the usability. The GT3 and GT3 RS remain the ultimate 911s for driver appeal, but the GTS runs them exceptionally close on the road – and arguably betters them on roads as bad as ours. At the same time, it leaves more money in the bank and looks less obnoxious. Perhaps choice isn’t such a bad thing after all, especially as Porsche has effectively given you just one with its new addition to the 911 lineup... 




Porsche 911 Carrera GTS



3,800cc flat-six


Output @ rpm

408hp@7,300, 420Nm@4,200



6-speed manual RWD (PDK automatic optional)



0-100km/h 4.6 seconds


Top Speed




10.6 l/100km


CO2 Emissions



CO2 Tax Band

G (€2,100 p.a.)





Boot Capacity



Base Price

€145,000 (Est)


On Sale




Incredible economy, great looks, high quality



Price, engine a little too loud








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