2011 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS Cabriolet Road Test Review

Trevor Hofmann - CAP staff
Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

Published on September 13, 2011

Published on September 13, 2011

Published on September 13, 2011

Published on September 13, 2011

Published on September 13, 2011

Published on September 13, 2011

Published on September 13, 2011

Published on September 13, 2011

Published on September 13, 2011

Published on September 13, 2011

Nothing looks like a 911, even in Cabriolet form. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

Published on September 13, 2011

Published on September 13, 2011

Pure, undefiled sports car. There's a reason the 911 is so popular and the new GTS is beyond brilliant! (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

Published on September 13, 2011

Published on September 13, 2011

Published on September 13, 2011

Published on September 13, 2011

Published on September 13, 2011

Published on September 13, 2011

Published on September 13, 2011

Sweet rims frame breathtakingly grippy binders. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

Published on September 13, 2011

Published on September 13, 2011

Published on September 13, 2011

Published on September 13, 2011

Published on September 13, 2011

Published on September 13, 2011

Published on September 13, 2011

Published on September 13, 2011

Published on September 13, 2011

Published on September 13, 2011

Published on September 13, 2011

Published on September 13, 2011

Published on September 13, 2011

Published on September 13, 2011

Superb quality, attention to detail and style. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

Published on September 13, 2011

Published on September 13, 2011

Shift-paddles are a welcome change from Porsche's earlier steering wheel spoke toggles. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

Published on September 13, 2011

Published on September 13, 2011

Published on September 13, 2011

Published on September 13, 2011

Published on September 13, 2011

Published on September 13, 2011

Fabulous dash-mounted dial is reason enough to buck up for the Sport Chrono package. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

Published on September 13, 2011

Published on September 13, 2011

Published on September 13, 2011

Published on September 13, 2011

Gotta love the red seatbelts and the GTS' suede-like Alcantara seat inserts combine style with stick. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

Published on September 13, 2011

Published on September 13, 2011

I'm perplexed. Really. I'm not sure what I want to do. Simply stare at it. Or drive it.

The 911 Carrera GTS Cabriolet that Porsche just handed over to me is breathtaking. It's the performance-tweaked 911 for purists. No tarmac kissing front splitter, protruding rocker extensions or rear deck whale-tail mar the design. Just clean, classic 911 lines, 44-mm wider than the Carrera S at the back end and, in this case, all-white on the outside except for standard GTS black front fascia air intakes, slim black lip spoiler, subtle black sideskirts, a black diffuser-look panel between the quad tailpipes mirrored by black-painted chrome tipped exhaust, a black fabric roof bundled under its tonneau exposing a black leather interior, and subtle gray "Carrera GTS" graphics on the lower door panels and trunk lid.

Fore and aft, a set of black painted centre-locking 19-inch RS Spyder design alloys wrench my mind from early '70s reverie to the otherworldly performance today's 911s offer. Those were the days when rear-engine overhang made the car challenging through tight corners at high speeds, but despite a heady 408 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque hitting the rear wheels from its direct-injected, 3.8-litre six-pot boxer, the GTS is so unflappable it might as well be mid-engine.

That's 23 horsepower more than the already mighty Carrera S, incidentally. And the pull from standstill is intoxicating. 100 km/h arrives in 4.8 seconds. 4.6 seconds if you swap the six-speed manual for the seven-speed dual-clutch, paddle-shift actuated Doppelkupplung (PDK) gearbox, and 4.4 if you splurge for Porsche's superb Sport Chrono Package Plus.

That's the exact Carrera GTS model on loan from Porsche. The one staring me in the face right now, beckoning me inside yet transfixing my gaze to the point of pattern interrupt paralysis. Fortunately there's only so long that visual stimuli can hold my attention, I'm too kinaesthetic to resist hands-on connectivity.

The Alcantara trimmed seats feel perfect. Fully supportive to the point of being uncomfortably close. We hardly know each other. Caressing the same suede-like material wrapping the door pulls, handbrake lever and steering wheel ups the intimacy level, perfectly placed aluminum paddles at my fingertips reminding that this is not all about soft, round surfaces, hard-edge cornering awaits.

The engine rasps like only a flat-six can, a gurgle at idle that sounds even more menacing when a blip of the throttle opens up the internal flaps of the sport exhaust system. The exhaust tone, modulated via a button on the dash, does nothing for performance, but that hardly matters at the rate the stock GTS travels. Straights abbreviate before the eyes. Long sweeping curves supernaturally straighten. Circuitous hairpin riddled mountain two-lanes? This is where the GTS likes to play, the grip so stubbornly unyielding you'd think it was born in Stenhousemuir instead of Stuttgart.

A quarter Scot myself, plus a quarter Swede, half Austrian and 100-percent Canadian, I'm filled with mixed emotions. At near $130,000 with destination fee for the manual and about $5,000 more for the PDK, is the GTS $30k better than the already brilliant base 911 Cabrio? And is it a $10,000 improvement over the Carrera S Cab? Or is an all-wheel drive GTS worth an additional $10k overtop the rear-drive price? How about $40k more for a Turbo Cabriolet or another $65,000 for a Turbo S Cab? That 530 horsepower beast will reduce your 0 to 100 km/h sprint time to 3.4 seconds and increase top-speed from 306 to 315 km/h. Oh, and you can spend even more on a 911 Cab if you really want to. The beautiful new 911 Speedster is mechanically identical to the GTS yet adds more than $100k to the bottom line. Truly, Porsche has something for everyone.

Right now, refreshing breeze swirling around my boyish smile while trees blur past my peripheral, I'm feeling like a fortunate son in this GTS Cab. The cabin is rich, not only with features like the aforementioned Sport Chronos Plus package, which while enhancing performance via an intensified "Sport" mode adds a most exquisite analogue stopwatch atop the leather-clad dash plus allows access to in-depth performance parameters via the crisp, clear infotainment screen, but surrounding all is a high-quality, beautifully crafted cabin, too. Navigation is included, as is a superb Bose audio system, but some things are noticeably missing such as steering wheel controls for that audio system, eliminated to save weight and more purposely focus the driver on the car's mission, performance driving.

To that end I could go on and on about all the technology that makes the 911 GTS Cabriolet such an awe-inspiring driving car, like the engine's variable resonance intake system boasting six switchable, vacuum-controlled valves that swap between power- and torque-optimized geometries for added twist in the mid-rev range; VarioCam Plus that improves output, refinement and fuel efficiency while reducing emissions via a two-stage valve lift system that includes a stepless and electrohydraulic rotary vane adjuster; dry-sump lubrication that ensures the oil gets where the engine needs it no matter how much you're flinging the car through the twisties; 32-mm wider rear track; or Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) electronic active damping, not to mention Porsche Stability Management (PSM), one of the most advanced anti-skid systems available, but you can read about all of this on the automaker's consumer site. No, I'd rather drive.

After all, I've only got a week in a car Porsche itself calls one of "the sportiest 911 Carrera models that we've ever built." High praise from the people who know their cars best, and I have to agree. There isn't a 911 convertible that puts more power down to the rear rims alone, its agility is second to none and, so critically, there isn't a more elegantly clean and uncluttered 911 drop-top in Porsche's lineup.

As pretty as the GTS Cabriolet is, I'm no longer confused. I'll ogle it later.
©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Convertible, Porsche, 2011, 911 Carrera GTS Cabriolet, $99,999+,

Organizations: Porsche

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page

Comments

Comments