2017 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS First Drive: Falling for the middle child

– Cape Town, South Africa

Imagine putting the Porsche 911 lineup on a color scale in shades from yellow to red. Well, the newest GTS model is orange, right at the mid-point in terms of price, power, and sportiness. As with all Porsche GTS cars, it’s a step up from the entry models without going as over-the-top as a Turbo or GT3. It’s time for the GTS to evolve, however, so like the Carrera and Carrera S, it ditches its naturally aspirated engine for a 3.0-liter biturbo flat-six. Does the 911 GTS still charm with turbochargers on board?

Introduced last month, the 911 GTS looks a little bit more aggressive than the Carrera S, without approaching the raciness of the Turbo or GT3. There’s a new aerodynamic package, darkened taillights, black center-locking wheels, and wider bodywork for the all-wheel-drive Carrera 4 and 4S models (more on that below), but overall it’s a subtle upgrade that’ll be most noticeable to serious enthusiasts. The middle-ground in 911 design, then.

The aforementioned 3.0-liter biturbo engine packs 450 horsepower, 30 more than the 911 Carrera S. To manage all that power, Porsche went to its traditional GTS playbook and fitted the wider rear bodywork (and thus wider track and wider tires) of the all-wheel-drive models even on the rear-drive GTS.

2017 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS: First Drive
2017 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS: First Drive
2017 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS: First Drive
2017 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS: First Drive
2017 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS: First Drive

Strapping on two turbochargers didn’t ruin the sound of the six-cylinder boxer engine; only the most persnickety drivers will find fault.

The GTS also packs lots of other performance parts as standard: st...