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Porsche GTS

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.


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The standard engine for a given model will usually be powerful enough for highway driving with moderate loads. However, if you drive on hilly roads, tow a trailer, or equip the car with air conditioning and powerful enough for highway driving with moderate loads. However, if you drive on hilly roads, tow a trailer, or equip the car with air conditioning and power windows and seats, you will probably need a bigger engine. Although a smaller engine is generally cheaper to buy, run, and maintain, if it doesn’t have the power to match the car’s size and weight, it may prove costlier in the long term than a larger engine which doesn’t strain under its load.

The diesel engine usually lasts many thousands of kilometers longer than a gasoline engine, but can be more expensive to maintain. Unlike the gasoline engine, the diesel has no ignition system or carburetor. Instead, diesel fuel is injected at high pressure into combustion chambers above the cylinders. There the mixture is so compressed that its heat ignites the fuel. A diesel engine will give slightly better fuel economy than a gasoline engine of comparable size.

On the minus side, you will pay more for the diesel-powered model of car than for the gasoline model. Because diesels are hard to start in cold weather, you will need a block heater. In fact, a diesel won’t start at all at – 15 degree C (-5 degree F) unless you have installed a block heater and a battery warmer, kept it in a heated garage, or added a fuel conditioner when you filled up. Compared to gasoline engines, most diesels tend to accelerate more sluggishly and idle more noisily. Although it’s a little cheaper than gasoline, diesel fuel may be hard to find in remote areas.

The turbocharged engine can deliver more power on demand than an engine of the same size with no turbocharger – and without sacrificing much fuel economy. Exhaust gases – normally wasted – are recycled to spin a turbine connected to a compressor. The compressor pumps extra fuel and air into the cylinders at very high pressure to boost the engine’s power, particularly when you accelerate or drive at high speeds. At one time found only in high priced sports car, turbocharged engines are now available in many regular automobiles.

Front-wheel drive. Because the weight of its engine is over the traction wheels, and because it is pulled by its front wheels rather than being pushed by its rear wheels, a car with front-wheel drive handles better than one with rear-wheel drive, particularly around curves and on slippery roads.


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