Review: Porsche 911 Carrera GTS (2010 – 2012)

Rating:

The best 911 Carrera in the range, adds even more enjoyment to the great driving experience, reasonable economy considering the superb performance it offers.

Doesn't look very different from a standard Carrera.

Recently Added To This Review

26 February 2015

Late model Porsche ECUs record how the car has been used, in particular if it has ever been over-revved. So vital to see a readout of an interrogation of the ECU before buying a used 997. Read more

12 May 2011 Carrera 4 GTS went on sale

Priced at £83,145 (Coupé) and £90,024 (Cabriolet). The new Porsche 911 Carrera 4 GTS combines a 408 hp 3.8-litre flat six engine with intelligent all-wheel drive that delivers a further... Read more

15 September 2010 Porsche unveiled the 911 GTS

A new member of the 911 family that combines a powerful 408bhp 3.8-litre flat six engine with rear-wheel drive to create an exceptionally sporting Carrera. It has a widened rear body styling emphasises... Read more

Porsche 911 Carrera GTS (2010 – 2012): At A Glance

While Porsche has branched out into new markets in recent years with models like the Cayenne and more latterely the Panamera uber saloon, it's the core models that most people still associate the Porsche badge with. And for many, the 911 remains the ultimate Porsche and a name that, despite the emergence of supercars like the Audi R8, still holds plenty of sway.

It may not turn heads like other high performance sports cars, but the fact it's a common sight on our roads is down to one simple fact - the 911 is bloody good. It manages that rare feat of combining great performance with driving enjoyment, refinement and everyday useability. So while the basic shape has remained unchanged since the 911 first came along in the 1960s (a running joke among many...) the years of evolution have produced a near perfect sports car.

And sitting at the top of the 911 Carrera range is the Carrera GTS. Available as both a coupe and convertible it uses the same 3.8-litre six-cylinder engine as the Carrera S but power is boosted to 408bhp thanks to a host of engine changes including a new intake system, closing the gap on the 911 GT3 which has 435bhp. The engine has been optimised to deliver its torque lower down and the result is that it feels noticeably quicker when accelerating from low speeds.

But the GTS isn't just about more power. It has a wider rear body - the same as the Carrera 4S - but retains the standard rear-wheel drive layout, along with unique 19-inch black centre-mount RS Spyder wheels, which gives it more grip and stabilty in corners. Inside there are unique touches too including plenty of Alcantara trim, including on the steering wheel, plus the removal of the back seats to save weight. It also gets uprated brakes.

It's a car that's genuinely more than the sum of its parts, so while the individual changes may not seem that substantial, the end result is a real joy to drive. The Carrera GTS is certainly special enough to deserve its place as the ultimate model in the 911 Carrera range. At a shade more than £78k, it's an expensive buy of course, but at roughly £2000 more than the Carrera S is relatively good value considering all the extras it gets as standard.

Later in 2011 Porsche introduced the four-wheel drive Carrera 4 GTS.

What does a Porsche 911 Carrera GTS (2010 – 2012) cost?

Contract hire from £1,314.90 per month

Porsche 911 Carrera GTS (2010 – 2012): What's It Like Inside?

Dimensions
Length 4435 mm
Width 1852 mm
Height 1300 mm
Wheelbase 2350 mm

Full specifications

As it's the top model in the 911 Carrera range, the GTS comes well equipped, especially so by the usually minimal Porsche standards. The design and layout of the interior are the same as a standard 911 but the first thing you notice is that there are no back seats (not that the back 'seats' are exactly expansive anyway) which helps the GTS to shed five kilograms. You can however have the seats fitted for no extra charge and you can also opt for a 90-litre fuel tank (which is also a no-cost option) boosting the range compared to the standard 67-litre tank.

The main standout feature in the GTS is the use of Alcantara with the centre section of the sports seats, the steering wheel rim, the handbrake lever and door handles all trimmed in the lightweight material. There are still some question marks about whether it works as a steering wheel material, it tends to wear quite quickly and then isn't as nice to touch compared to leather, but it certainly makes the interior feel different.

The GTS also gets the new three-spoke 'SportDesign' steering wheel makes its debut in the Carrera GTS. It was previously only available on cars fitted with the PDK gearbox, but now comes on manual version of the GTS and looks far more modern and stylish than the standard 911 steering wheel. Like all 911s, the seating position is pretty much perfect and there's plenty of adjustment in the steering column too, so you can have it nice and close even if you're tall.

Optional extras include sports bucket seats at £2000, sat nav at £1300, rear parking sensors for around £350 while the Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes (PCCB) are a hefty £5500.

Child seats that fit a Porsche 911 Carrera GTS (2010 – 2012)

Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.

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What's the Porsche 911 Carrera GTS (2010 – 2012) like to drive?

Although the Carrera GTS may not look dissimilar to a standard 911 Carrera, park the two side by side and the differences are a little more obvious. Especially at the back. The GTS has the same wider body of the 911 Carrera 4 models, even though it has a standard rear-wheel drive set-up plus the front and rear track is wider which gives extra stability in corners. The GTS also gets special tyres for the unique centre-mount 19-inch RS Spyder alloy wheels which come in black as standard along with the sports exhaust system.

But aside from the styling changes, the crucial difference between the Carrera GTS and the 'standard' Carrera S model is an increase in power. It uses the same 3.8-litre six-cylinder engine (and creates the same wonderful deep note) but has been tweaked to give an extra 23bhp, producing 408bhp. This means it's not far behind the 911 GT3 which has 435bhp athough it's still some way behind the thunderous 911 Turbo which can call on 500bhp.

The engine has been 'optimised' by Porsche and produces its maximum output at 7300rpm, just short of the maximum engine speed of 7500rpm. To put that into some context, the engine in the Carrera S delivers 385bhp at 6500rpm so it's easy to see this engine is designed to have a sportier character to it, rather than just being more powerful.

Thanks to a new intake system (we won't bore you with all the technical bits) it also delivers its torque more smoothly across the rev range. 320Nm is available at just 1500 rpm and although maximum torque is no different from the Carrera S at 420Nm it peaks from 4200rpm all the way to 5600 rpm, so you can access more of the engine's mid-range power more easily - and without having to change down a gear and work it too hard.

So what does this all mean? Well on paper the Carrera GTS Coupe with the standard six-speed manual gearbox does 0-62mph in 4.6 seconds - that's a smidgen quicker than a Carrera S (0.1 seconds to be exact) while the top speed is 2mph faster at 190mph. But in everyday driving what you notice is that it's easier to access the power in the GTS than in a standard Carerra. So for instance when you're overtaking, the power comes on song a touch sooner and although it's only 23bhp more powerful, that tweak to the intake system certainly makes it feel even more sprightly.

While it's unlikely you'd buy a Carrera GTS to merely potter around in, the fact you don't always have to rev it hard to get good acceleration means it's as refined and easy to drive as a standard 911 Carrera when you want it to be. It does have the same fairly heavy clutch, which in traffic soon becomes tiring on your left leg, but the throttle pedal isn't so sensitive that it's hard to drive at low speeds.

In fact, like the standard 911, the Carrera GTS is easy to use everyday. The steering is light at low speeds, visibility is pretty good and while the ride is firm (this is a high performance car after all) it's not back breakingly stiff. But when you want it to go like brown stuff off a garden implement, it doesn't hang about. Ask it to accelerate and you're rewarded with a delightful throaty combination of exhaust and engine sound as the revs rise. And it just seems to go quicker and quicker the more you work it.

But the GTS is at home on fast sweeping bends. It turns in with amazing precision and there's a lovely feel through the steering which you rarely find with modern cars. Thanks to the wider rear track and those big tyres, it's certainly more grippy at the back and in the wet the traction control doesn't need to intervene as often. As with all 911 models, you're always aware that there's a hefty engine behind you, but the GTS gives you a bit more confidence, especially in less than ideal driving conditions and feels more stuck to the road.

Like the rest of the Carerra range, the GTS is available with Porsche's PDK automatic gearbox. This is a double-clutch gearbox similar to the Volkswagen DSG one and is impressively quick at changing up, while it's just as swift at going down a notch when you want some acceleration. It's certainly not cheap though and will set you back a hefty £2500 - expensive even by Porsche prices.

But it's a good alternative to the standard manual and one of the better automatic gearboxes available on a performance car. It certainly puts the likes of the Maserati electro-actuated gearbox to shame. The seven-speed PDK comes with gearshift paddles on the three-spoke sports steering wheel (which is standard) that has a lovely polished aluminium finish, or you can just leave it in manual and it will happily do it's own thing very impressively.

If you go for the PDK gearbox you can also choose the optional Sport Chrono Package Plus. This has a Launch Control function which gives you the fastest possible acceleration from a standing start plus a race circuit shifting strategy, giving very fast gear changes. It does seem a little extreme and it's not something you'd really use on the road, but it's a real experience and drops the 0-62mph time to 4.2 seconds in the
coupe and 4.4 seconds in the cabriolet.

And what about economy? Well you don't really buy a Porsche if you're worried about running costs, but the Carerra GTS doesn't fare too badly given the performance and power it offers. The average claimed consumption is 26.6mpg for the coupe while choosing the PDK gearbox improves this to 27.7mpg, although in everyday driving don't expect to see more than about 22mpg and far less if you want to actually enjoy that performance. And who wouldn't want to?

Engine MPG 0-62 CO2
Carrera 4 GTS Cabriolet 26 mpg 4.8 s 251 g/km
Carrera 4 GTS Cabriolet PDK 26 mpg 4.6 s 251 g/km
Carrera 4 GTS Coupe 27 mpg 4.6 s 247 g/km
Carrera 4 GTS Coupe PDK 27 mpg 4.4 s 247 g/km
Carrera GTS Cabriolet 27 mpg 4.8 s 242 g/km
Carrera GTS Cabriolet PDK 27 mpg 4.6 s 242 g/km
Carrera GTS Coupe 27 mpg 4.6 s 242 g/km
Carrera GTS PDK 28 mpg 4.4 s 240 g/km

Real MPG average for a Porsche 911 Carrera GTS (2010 – 2012)

Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance

89%

Real MPG

24–25 mpg

MPGs submitted

8

Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

What have we been asked about the Porsche 911 Carrera GTS (2010 – 2012)?

Every day we're asked hundreds of questions from car buyers and owners through Ask Honest John. Our team of experts, including the nation's favourite motoring agony uncle - Honest John himself - answer queries and conudrums ranging from what car to buy to how to care for it as an owner. If you could do with a spot of friendly advice before buying you're next car, get in touch and we'll do what we can to help.

Ask HJ

Moving to Dubai and leaving my Porsche behind - store it or sell it?

My son has a 2011 Porsche Carrera S but is moving to Dubai for two to five years. He cannot take the car with him as it is right-hand drive, which apparently is not allowed there. Is there any merit in putting the car into secure storage for this length of time, or will it be best to sell and accept the loss?
It will be the old 997 model Carrera rather than the current 991. But watercooled Porsches don't take kindly to storage. The best thing to do is to sell, but he will have to take a deep bath - maybe as much as £20,000.
Answered by Honest John
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