2012 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS
2012 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS. Click image to enlarge

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Review and photos by Peter Bleakney

Photo Gallery:
2012 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS

Palm Springs, California – There are three certainties in this life: death, taxes, and Porsche whipping up yet another take on its long-serving arse-engined icon, the 911 sports car.

With the current 911 (code named 997) nearing the end of its life cycle, the folks at Zuffenhausen have been rolling out specialty models as fast as Brangelina can collect orphans. The latest in this volley is the 2012 911 GTS, which brings the available North American 911 model count to nineteen.

Not surprsingly, the 911 is the world’s best selling sports car.

Arriving in Canada this month, the rear-wheel-drive-only Carrera GTS will come as both Coupe and Cabriolet, priced at $126,400 and $136,100 respectively.

In simple terms, the 408-hp GTS bridges the gap between the 385-hp Carrera S and the bust-your-gut hard core 435-hp GT3. On the road, the GTS is much closer in demeanour to the reasonably civilized Carrera S, being basically a juiced up version of that car, and not a softened GT3.

2012 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS
2012 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS
2012 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS. Click image to enlarge

Unlike the garden variety rear-wheel drive Carreras, the GTS gets the wide body treatment previously seen only on four-wheel-drive Carreras, the GT3/RS, the 911 Turbo and the king-of-the-hill GT2. So it’s got a big bad booty that broadcasts some serious attitude while giving the car a 32-mm wider rear track and allowing the use of 305/30ZR 19-inch rear steamroller tires. Said tires are mounted on black GTS-specific centre-lock alloys.

Other visual tweaks include a snout previously only available as a special order SportDesign Package, black lower body trim from the GT2, black lettering (silver if your car is black) and special quad tailpipes.

The GTS goes down the road courtesy of the same naturally-aspirated 3.8-litre direct-injection flat-six found in the Carerra S, but here it makes an additional 23 hp thanks to a new hand-polished aluminum intake plenum with six flaps that optimize airflow across the rev range. Peak horsepower now arrives at 7,300 rpm, up 800 revs over the standard car. Torque peak remains at 310 lb.-ft., but there’s more of it in the lower mid-range giving the engine greater flexiblility.

The GTS Coupe’s fuel economy (with PDK) is an impressive 10.3 L/100 km combined on the Euro cycle.

Also part of the GTS package is the sport exhaust system, which in my opinion is necessary kit for any Porsche. When activated the exhaust note goes all nasty and gutteral in a way only a Porsche flat-six can. Get passed by this car and you’ll know it.

2012 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS
2012 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS
2012 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS. Click image to enlarge

Things are also racy inside the GTS cabin. Like in the GT3, every surface your body comes in contact with is trimmed in grippy black Alcantara (a lightweight synthetic suede) – the steering wheel, shift and brake levers, door handles and the centre panels of the standard sport seats. Also like the GT3, the rear seats are ditched in the name of weight saving (although you can get them back at no charge).

A six-speed manual transmission is standard in the GTS with the excellent 7-speed twin clutch PDK a $5,560 option. If you’re like me and enjoy the art of operating a manual gearbox, this one is a sweetheart with great shift feel, progressive clutch and pedals well placed for heel-and-toe action. But we are a dying breed, as the current PDK take up across the 911 range is 70 per cent. And really, I’m not surprised.

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