To a farmer, a robust bakkie that can run on the dirtiest diesel possible is the best car in the world, while the best car in the world to a teenager is his/ her first, because it might be their only point of reference when referring to a vehicle.
In my case, I am privileged and indeed lucky to drive many cars in my line of work, and for one to stand out, it needs to be special. I think I may have found one such car, it wore a GTS badge and its engine was rear-mounted, yes, it was a Porsche 911.
New 911 performance
The blue 911 GTS parked in front of me on a sunny Sunday morning recently wasn’t my first taste of the turbocharged 911 era. I had experienced the Carrera S and 4S previously at a Porsche event, and had high hopes for this GTS.
You see, Porsche fans bemoaned the turbocharging of the 911, but the fact of the matter is that the performance of the new 911 has just gone to another level, with the only sacrifice being a hint of lag and a less throaty soundtrack.
For those of you wondering what the GTS is or where it slots into the 911 range, we need to go back to 1963 where the GTS name first appeared on the 904, a car built to handle both track and road driving. The modern GTS is very much the same in its ethos, taking elements that make the Carrera S a great performance car and combining them with the attributes that make the likes of the GT3 so engaging on the track.
To this end, the 911 GTS gets an additional 22kW/50Nm over the Carrera S, thanks to a larger turbocharger compressor wheel, for a total output of 331kW/550Nm. This helps the PDK-equipped car get from 0-100km/h in 3.7 seconds, and on to a top speed of 310km/h. In addition to the added power, the GTS also gets a new front apron, sportier exterior mirrors and the wider rear-end like the Turbo and Turbo S models.
Inside, expect suede and silver accents to accompany the sports seats embroidered with the GTS logo. It also comes with the Sports Chrono Package as standard, which includes the mode selector on the steering wheel and Sport Response button which sets the car up for fast driving in one motion. Also standard is a sports exhaust with black tips, and 20-inch Turbo S centre-lock wheels.
To drive a Porsche 911 is to love a Porsche 911; these cars are just so good at everything nowadays that you often forget what the car is capable of performance-wise when simply completing the morning commute. Under normal driving conditions, the visibility, comfort and reasonable practicality (my demands are that of a young bachelor, so take this with a pinch of salt) when it comes to hauling my luggage, were all impressive.
When I was in the mood to press on, the GTS presented me with a driving experience that filled me with utter joy. Fire up the 3.0-litre flat-six turbo engine, and you’re greeted by a familiar thrum, engage Sport+ and you’re ready to go. The acceleration is impressive, with a hint of lag noticeable below 3 000 r/min before the turbo is on song and the car surging towards the redline at a remarkable rate.
Then we get to the handling, where every motoring journalism cliché all of a sudden becomes apt. There’s balance, lateral grip, a bit of playful sliding on the entry and exit of corners, and a general sense that you know exactly what those front tyres are doing at all times.
While driving the GTS, I couldn’t help but think that this was just the mid-range 911, and that the likes of the GT3, GT3 RS, Turbo, Turbo S and GT2 RS offer more performance than this, it’s astonishing. For me at least, the GTS is the car to buy within the 911 range; it’s fast everywhere, usable on a daily basis and comparatively affordable.
When people ask me what the best car on the planet is, I will very probably still tell them that its relative to a person’s needs, socio-economic background and personal preference, but if they ask me what I’d buy if I were to suddenly come in to money, I’d probably say a Porsche 911, the GTS, in Miami Blue, please.
R1 768 000 (with a three-year drive plan)