Tackling Rural Roads and Grocery Runs in a 2022 Porsche 911 Carrera 4 GTS
Are you ready to make a sports car your daily driver?
From the couch, there’s nothing particularly mind-blowing about the Porsche 911 Carrera 4 GTS.
That’s because on paper, or in the website configurator, the sports car sits in the middle of a rather staggering number of 911 variants — there are currently more than 20. It’s not the fastest, the loudest or most track-focused of the bunch, but as a daily driver the totality of joy it brings is vastly greater than the sum of its parts.
A couple of minutes after the good folks at Porsche dropped the keys in my hand, I decided I’d take a quick lap around town. I thought I’d be gone for 15 minutes. Two and a half hours later, my exploding inbox reminded me I was blowing off work and I’d better get back at it.
This was the theme for the entirety of the week they loaned me the GTS. I couldn’t wait for the next trip, and unlike some other performance cars, I felt like I could take it anywhere without much hassle. Whether it was to school for pick up, a quick run for groceries or to wind it up on some fun roads out in horse country, I was constantly itching to get behind the wheel.
The twin-turbo flat-six engine is the same you’d find in the Carrera S, but Porsche has juiced the turbo roughly 14% yielding 30 more horsepower, pushing output to 473 hp and 420 lb-ft. Slam the pedal to the floor and you can get from 0-60 in an advertised 3.1 seconds (perhaps a bit modest on Stuttgart’s part.)
When you do get after it a bit, the engine sound has a remarkable amount of personality for a turbocharged six-cylinder. It won’t cause hearing loss, but it will definitely give you a slight adrenaline-fueled tingle and herald your presence to everyone else on the road.
The GTS is available in either all-wheel or rear-wheel drive, and as a coupe, convertible or Targa with the option of either Porsche’s eight-speed PDK dual-clutch automatic transmission or a seven-speed manual, though the three-pedal configuration slows the 0-60 time down to 3.9.
But power, as with any 911, is only part of the story here. Porsche has fitted the GTS with PASM (Porsche Active Suspension Management) sport adaptive dampers plus helper springs and steel brakes (ceramics are available) which are found on the 911 Turbo. They also lowered the ride height by 10 millimeters on all the models save the Targa. All together this, coupled with optional rear-wheel steering, makes the GTS absurdly easy to drive and offers so much grip it’s tough to safely find the limit without taking it to a track. After every corner, my singular thought was: “I should have taken that faster.”
A Family-Friendly Interior
On the inside of the GTS, nearly everything is in the right place. Porsche has been making 911s since the mid-1960s and every new model is an incremental advance toward the impossibility of perfection.
The version I tested was outfitted with flourishes of Race-Tex (Porsche’s name for microsuede) and a thoughtfully restrained carbon fiber footprint. There are a few seat options on offer, including Comfort, Sport Seats Plus (this would be my choice, with 18-way adjustments) and Full Bucket Carbon Fiber, which requires the elimination of the rear seats.
Of course the back is not a comfortable place to be as an adult. But a kid’s booster, and said child, will fit rather easily. The front trunk (aka the frunk) is big enough for roughly two bags of groceries and a gallon of milk, though if you cram much more you risk breaking the eggs. I also managed to fit a beach-sized folding chair and backpack on a trip to watch some baseball. All in all, it’s a fairly useful amount of storage for daily errands, especially in the sports car world. Meanwhile the infotainment system, accessed on the 10.9-inch touchscreen, is fast, intuitive and easy to use.
On the whole, the cabin is a damn fine place to spend some time, whether you’re blitzing some twisty farm roads or just trudging down the parkway. My only beef with the 911 is that I found the steering wheel a bit slim in my hands, and it blocks visibility of a pair of gauges, so you need to move your head slightly to get a read on your fuel level. But with a combined EPA fuel rating of 19 mpg, the GTS isn’t as thirsty as some, so you don’t need to check it that often.
A 911 for Goldilocks
Here’s the thing I’m supposed to say as an enthusiast: “The 911 GTS is a fabulous car but I’d still rather have a GT3.”
Sure, a naturally aspirated flat-six that revs to 9,000 rpm is special. But at the risk of blowing my credibility, I’d want to save it (as well as my back and eardrums) for special occasions. Plus, cold starting an engine that can scream at 110 decibels every morning is likely to annoy the crap out of your neighbors.
For frequent visitors to a race track, the 911 Turbo has nearly 100 more horsepower and gets to 60 much quicker than the GTS. But a bajillion horsepower, while intoxicating on a closed circuit, is mostly too much for the real world.
But as a daily driver, the GTS is just right. Buyers get extra horses and a sportier setup compared with the more basic 911s without stepping into a full-on amateur race car — ensuring that owners can have their Porsche and drive it too.
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