2018 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS First Drive: Better In All The Right Ways

– South Lake Tahoe, California

Most car companies like to brag about how much sound deadening they put into new cars to make them quieter. Not Porsche. For the 911 Carrera GTS, engineers removed insulation from the A- and B-pillars, rear bulkhead, and rear wheel arches so that the driver can better hear the engine and exhaust. That’s my kind of sports car.

The newest 911 GTS takes the Carrera S and upgrades it with driving enthusiasts in mind. The engine, for starters, has larger turbochargers. Now forcing 18 psi instead of 16 through the 3.0-liter flat-six, they raise outputs by 30 horsepower to 450, and by 37 pound-feet of torque to 405. That cuts 0-to-60-mile-per-hour times by about 0.3 seconds, depending on model; the best-performing GTS variant, an all-wheel-drive coupe with the PDK dual-clutch transmission, rockets to the benchmark in just 3.4 seconds. An adjustable sports exhaust comes standard, all the better to let the engine shout.

2018 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS Cabriolet: First Drive
2018 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS Cabriolet: First Drive
2018 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS Cabriolet: First Drive
2018 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS Cabriolet: First Drive

The engine snarls and roars behind me, with nice burbles and crackles from the exhaust when you downshift.

Chassis changes begin with standard Porsche Active Suspension Management, which rides 10-20 millimeters (0.4-0.8 inches) lower than equivalent non-GTS cars; a new front fascia that improves downforce; a redesigned rear wing that also improves downforce; extra rear brake cooling ducts; and the 20-inch center-lock wheels from the 911 Turbo S. In fact, the rear wheels are actually half an inch wider than on the 580-hp Turbo S....