What does a trip down memory lane have to do with the 911 Carrera GTS? It comes from Stuttgart, not Detroit, and it sure isn’t V8-powered, true. But that big-displacement (for a Porsche) 3.8-litre boxer-six, unfettered by a turbocharger a la 911 Turbo, pounds out a very Detroit-like 408 horsepower which is sent to the massive rear wheels. And since the engine is sitting over that same grippy rubber, hookup is instantaneous. With the optional Sport Chrono Package and Sport mode engaged, the 1,420-kilogram GTS will blister to 100 kilometers an hour in less than 4.5 seconds.
While nobody will mistake the banshee wail of the boxer engine in flight with the basso profundo of a seven-litre V8, the electrical charge it sends to your nerve endings is just as visceral.
The thing about the GTS is not just the fact it is one of the most potent non-turbo production 911s, but that it also satisfies the requirements I have come to appreciate with that aforementioned maturity. Yes, I cursed like a sailor when I had to fill up – 93 octane or better is required – but the 13.3 litres per 100 kilometres I averaged for the week wasn’t horrid for something with the GTS’s performance bona fides. Much of the enjoyment comes from interacting with the six-speed manual tranny. Yes, Porsche’s PDK double-clutch manumatic gearbox is as slick as they come – and will actually hasten the GTS to 100 km/h in less time than with the manual – but there is just something proper about doing it yourself. While the sports car is perfectly compliant when puttering about town, there is some notchiness when sliding the stubby shifter gate to gate. It’s when you get a little more authoritarian with the Porsche that the action becomes fluid as the engine/transmission duo finds its sweet spot. The musicality of the boxer engine sitting behind you rises with the revs; a quick dab of the clutch and a perfectly slotted shift provide the requisite push back in the deeply bolstered, Alcantara-swathed sport bucket seat.
Marry this powertrain with the GTS’s wider track – two millimeters at the front, 32 mm at the rear over a regular 911 – fat rubber and optional Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) system and the car will slice corners with the keenness of a carving knife.
Before you fork over the $1,090 for PASM, though, consider the roads on which you normally drive. The GTS is already stiffly sprung; switching to the Sport mode ramps up the stiffness.