© Porsche A new lightweight package, available carbon-fiber-backed buckets, and rear downforce up the ante of the latest GTS.
Since the GTS model joined the Porsche 911's multitudinous ranks 12 years ago in the 997 generation, it's brought with it a slight power increase along with a bundled collection of sporty options at a cost slightly lower than if you'd checked all of those individual boxes. Some of that is still true on the new 2022 GTS, which is available as a coupe, a convertible, or a targa, and is a $19,600 upcharge over the equivalent 911 S or 4S models. The coupe and convertible are available with either rear- or all-wheel drive, and the targa has only all-wheel drive. The extra outlay brings an additional 30 horsepower and 30 lb-ft of torque (473 hp and 420 lb-ft total, by way of 2.3 psi more boost), along with the 0.4-inch lower sport suspension (coupe and convertible only), louder sport exhaust, and Sport Chrono package (launch control, dynamic engine mounts, Sport Plus mode) that would otherwise cost $5460 on a S coupe. Plus, there's blacked-out front and rear fascias and suedelike interior trim.
© Porsche 2022 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS
But here's where the latest GTS deviates from the script, making it impossible to spec a lesser 911 exactly like a GTS. The GTS's version of the sport suspension gets helper springs at the rear, like the GT3 does. It also inherits the 911 Turbo's larger brakes, and of course the even-larger carbon-ceramic discs remain an option. Also, there's a new GTS-only lightweight package available on coupes that sheds a claimed 55 pounds—negating the GTS's 50-pound weight gain over an S or a 4S—by deleting the rear seats, installing thinner side and rear glass, and swapping in a lithium-ion battery. Pricing has yet to be announced for this package, which also includes the $2090 rear-steer option and a four-degree-steeper maximum angle for the rear spoiler. The revised rear spoiler along with air guides around the front wheel wells make lightweight-package GTSs the first to make rear downforce. The GTS also can be had with the $5900 fixed-back carbon-fiber buckets that have long been a go-to option on Porsche's GT cars but are available for the first time on GTS coupes.
The eight-speed dual-clutch automatic from lesser 911s is standard, while the seven-speed manual is a no-cost option. However, just like the suspension, the GTS's manual has a shift lever that's 0.4 inch shorter. It's the best kind of manual, as its positive throws add both joy and involvement, and it also has the benefit of being 85 pounds lighter than the PDK automatic.
© Porsche 2022 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS
GTS models get a reduction in sound-deadening material in 12 areas, many of those strategic spots around the engine to let its sound better seep into the cabin. Still, we found the twin-turbo flat-six too muted in its default mode and always kept it clicked into its louder setting. But volume is different from character, and we continue to enjoy the fact that Porsche's flat-six blat shines through better than most turbocharged engines, which often are significantly whitewashed. In addition, all 2022 911s, including the GTS, get the latest PCM 6.0 infotainment that originated in the Taycan, which has more processing power and customization—the manual-transmission rev-matching feature can now be turned on or off independently of mode, for instance.
We drove the bookends of the GTS lineup, a delectable manual-transmission coupe with the lightweight package and the enveloping carbon-fiber buckets and a targa with the automatic. It's easy to pick up on the targa's slightly softer suspension tune, and the targa suspension also doesn't get the 0.4-inch lowering or the rear helper springs. Its engine isn't quite as loud, and there's also light structural shake where you can feel its heavy top and 200 pounds more mass overall. The coupe is most in keeping with the GTS mantra, particularly in this wonderfully aggressive spec. The ride quality is expertly judged, firm but not crossing over into harsh territory. The rear-wheel steering gets a more assertive tune in the GTS, and in Sport and Sport Plus modes the car wants to absolutely fling itself into corners. But on the highway, this more eager tune felt nervous until we dialed down the mode. The cars we drove wore Pirelli P Zero PZ4 tires in the same 20-inch front and 21-inch rear sizes as on S and 4S that have delivered as much as 1.08 g's of skidpad grip in previous tests.
The fixed-backed buckets, available only on the coupe, walk the tightrope of being both amazingly supportive yet plenty comfortable for many hours. They're among the best extreme sport seats in the sports- and supercar ranks. Even better, their additional rigidity and thinner padding mean that road texture streams through the seat in a way that pulls the driver into the experience rather than being a nuisance.
You'll pay a lot for the privilege, but the latest GTS is more distinct than ever before, with more hardcore options that bring more engagement. That's something we absolutely can get behind.