When folk talk about the spiralling values of Porsche 911s they are more often than not referring to classic air-cooled examples on the used market. However, look at the price of a new 911 from 10 years ago and you’ll see a similar trend has emerged with factory-fresh models.
In 2008, for example, you could pick up a new 911 for £61,620. To do the same today you’ll need at least £77,891 - and that’s before you move up the range to models such as the Turbo, which has risen in price from £99,920 a decade ago to £128,692 today.
You might think that because an equivalent of today’s Carrera 4 GTS didn’t exist 10 years ago it will spare Porsche some blushes in our price comparison test. However, rewind just five years and you’ll see that just such a car did exist. Back then a 997-based Carrera 4 GTS would have cost you £83,145. Today, for the same model of the 991.2-generation 911 you’ll need £100,781.
The effect of these price hikes is to push the 911 away from its sports car roots and further into supercar territory. That’s particularly the case once you’ve visited the options list and added items such as the PDK dual-clutch automatic gearbox (£2,930), Metallic paint (£834), parking sensors and reversing camera (£1,128), ceramic brakes (£6,018) and rear-axle steering (£1,592). All of a sudden you can find yourself sitting in a car that must justify its place alongside seemingly more exotic and certainly more powerful machinery such as the McLaren 540C, Audi R8 and Mercedes-AMG GT S.
Not that the 911 feels in any way underendowed in performance terms. It uses the same 3.0-litre, twin-turbocharged flat-six engine as the Carrera S but with a 30bhp hike courtesy of a factory fitted Powerkit (think revised ECU mapping, new turbochargers and a centre-exit sports exhaust). This takes the total to 444bhp, along with 406lb ft of torque. Among the other GTS extras are 20-inch centre-locking alloy wheels, PASM sports suspension with adaptive dampers, active engine mounts, bigger brakes, a racier front bumper design, Sport Chrono pack with its Sport mode driving settings, embroidered headrests and GTS decals.
Thanks to the traction of four-wheel drive and a seven-speed PDK gearbox it’ll get from 0-62mph in 3.6 seconds, while the top speed is 191mph. So it’s not just on price that this particular 911 is edging into supercar territory.
As you’d expect from reading the stats, acceleration is of the mildly uncomfortable variety, in part because peak torque is generated from just 2,150rpm all the way through to 5,000rpm. The result is a car that is effortlessly fast, even if you choose to ride on the wave of torque in a high gear rather than shift down. That is, thankfully, something the manual mode in Porsche’s dual-clutch gearbox allows.
I am, however, going to stick my neck out here and say that as impressive as this powertrain is, I’d rather have the gradual torque swell and more intoxicating engine note of one of the older naturally aspirated 911s over this turbo unit. Horses for courses admittedly, but to this writer at least the best 911s are about more than just speed.
The rest of the GTS package is a case in point, because while all the changes made by Porsche might look small in isolation they add up to a car that feels subtly sharper and more communicative than a ‘normal’ 911. The steering response, for example, is sublime, allowing you to flick the nose into corners and feel little prods and tugs through the wheel that indicate just how much grip there is - just like the best 911s, in fact.
The damping is also incredible, working so efficiently that the ride is firm but rarely uncomfortable, part of which is simply because you always feel so involved in the experience - again, just like the best 911s.
Just as importantly, dropping the ride height by 20mm and fitting those big rims doesn’t detract from the car’s reassuring everyday ability. Part of that also comes from the four-wheel-drive system, which is sufficiently rear-biased to give that characteristic rear-engined, rear-wheel-drive 911 feel, but at the same time able to direct drive to front axle for optimum traction. With so much low down torque on offer and greasy autumnal roads this all becomes particularly pertinent.
Typical of a modern 911’s hi-tech approach you can not only feel the system working, but see it too. Just configure one of the dials in the traditional five-circle instrument binnacle to show a live torque distribution graphic and you’ll be endlessly fascinated by how hard the system works.
cars porsche 911 - a celebration
Speaking of technology, there’s a brilliant touchscreen satnav to which you can link your smartphone via Android Auto or Apple CarPlay, and as part of the GTS spec you also get electrically adjustable sports seats, while on the options list is a heated Alcantara steering wheel (which is every bit as good as it sounds).
The result is a car that is almost every bit as good at the mundane stuff as it is driven flat out on your favourite road, the PDK gearbox either slipping into the background with quiet efficiency or banging through ratios as if it was in a racing car, all depending on your mood.
As with any modern 911 there’s a lot of tyre noise (not helped in the GTS by Porsche removing some of the sound deadening), and you need to remain mindful of the wide hips that come with the Carrera 4 when positioning the car. However, to regard these as any more than characteristics would be silly.
Fact is, regardless of what age, model or type of 911 would suit you best, there is no denying that the latest Carrera 4 GTS represents a crushingly competent, if undeniably expensive, addition to the range.THE FACTS
Porsche 911 Carrera 4 GTS Coupé
TESTED 2,981cc, twin-turbo flat-six petrol, seven-speed twin-clutch PDK gearbox, four-wheel drive
PRICE/ON SALE from £100,781 (as tested £120,924)/now
POWER/TORQUE 444bhp @ 6,500rpm/406lb ft @ 2,150rpm
TOP SPEED 191mph
ACCELERATION 0-62mph in 3.6sec
FUEL ECONOMY 33.2mpg/25.9 mpg (EU Combined/Urban)
CO2 EMISSIONS 192g/km
VED £1,200 first year, then £450 for five years, then £140
VERDICT Aside from the tyre roar and a price that might make you need to pick your jaw off the floor, this is a searingly good car. Painless to use every day but with a level of performance and handling capability that can leave you breathless, the GTS is one of the great modern day 911s.
TELEGRAPH RATING Five stars out of five
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