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997 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS article highlights:

  • The 2011-2012 911 Carrera GTS introduced the modern GTS trim formula—more standard performance for a bargain upcharge—to Porsche cars
  • It’s not as fast as the Turbo or as raw as the GT3, but the naturally-aspirated 997 Porsche GTS is more involving than the former and more civil than the latter
  • The GTS is one of the more desirable versions of the well-regarded 997, which means it hasn’t lost much value

Ask 10 Porsche fans what the best 911 trim is, and you’ll get 11 different answers. Speed freaks, for example, will likely point to the Turbo, but driving connoisseurs worship at the GT3’s altar. For everyday enjoyable performance, though, the 911 GTS is where it’s at. But that doesn’t just apply to the latest model, though. It’s roughly a decade old, but the 997 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS is still a sweetly satisfying sports car.

The 997 created the modern Porsche 911 Carrera GTS formula

A red-and-black 2011 997 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS in a white studio
2011 997 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS | Daniel Pullen/Total 911 Magazine/Future via Getty Images
2011-2012 ‘997.2’ Porsche 911 Carrera GTS
Engine3.8-liter flat-six
Horsepower408 hp
Torque310 lb-ft
TransmissionsSix-speed manual
Seven-speed PDK dual-clutch automatic
Curb weight3272 lbs (PDK)
0-60 mph time4.3 seconds (PDK)

The original Porsche GTS wasn’t a 911, but a race car, the 1963 904 Carrera GTS. However, much like the Carrera name itself, it’s taken on a new meaning in the brand’s modern lexicon. Today, ‘GTS’ refers to the trim between the S and Turbo, which upgrades the S with a few choice performance features at a discount price. And it’s not 911-specific; even the Cayenne and Taycan have GTS trims. A 911 did start the trend, though.

By 2011, the 997 Porsche 911 was nearing the end of its product cycle. But before it did, Porsche decided to send it off with a well-optioned grab bag. Or rather, two bags: the 2011-2012 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS and Carrera 4 GTS.  And every GTS model since has followed the recipe these two cars created.

For the 997 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS, the recipe goes like this. First, take a 997.2 Carrera S and add 23 horsepower as well as the Sport Chrono Package and Porsche Active Suspension Management. Next, give it the Carrera 4 S’ wider rear fenders and rear track. Then, slap on a sports steering wheel, sports exhaust, GT3-style Alcantara interior trim, some Porsche Aerokit exterior pieces, and the Turbo S’ center-lock racing-style wheels. Oh, and delete the rear seats, but leave them as a no-cost option, MotorTrend adds.

In short, the 997 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS is basically a well-optioned Carrera S. However, while not inaccurate, that description also sells this sports car a bit short.

The 2011-2012 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS is a 997 ‘greatest hits’ that hits just right

There are several reasons why the 997 still has a lot of fans in the Porsche 911 community. For one, the later 997.2 cars eliminated that pesky IMS bearing. Secondly, apart from the actual Turbo (and GT2), the 997 cars aren’t turbocharged. Also, although the 997 started steering the 911 towards more electronics and luxury, it’s still a largely analog sports car. And in the real world, the 2011-2012 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS is the best distillation of all these strengths.

Yes, the 997 Porsche 911 GTS doesn’t rev as high as the GT3 RS 4.0, nor is it as fast as the Turbo. However, there aren’t any turbos muffling that 7300-rpm flat-six engine’s bark or throttle response. And it sounds better than the standard 997 Carrera S, MT notes. Furthermore, unless your daily commute involves a racetrack, the GT3 is overkill and not particularly comfortable. The GTS, though, can be a docile freeway cruiser one minute and a sharp canyon carver the next.

Its steering is sharp, accurate, and crisp with feedback, and it doesn’t need carbon-ceramic discs to stop with fade-free authority. Also, the PDK transmission is telepathic in its response, while the manual is a delight to row. Plus, the wider rear track and standard PASM make the 997 Porsche GTS even more brilliant on a twisty road without sacrificing ride suppleness. And because it’s not as powerful as the Turbo, you’re more involved in the speed-building process, which is the whole point of a sports car.

When it was new, MT called the 2011 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS “the 911 to have.” And that statement’s still true a decade later.

This 911 sweet spot hasn’t lost much value

The rear 3/4 view of a red-and-black 2011 997 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS in a white studio
2011 997 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS rear 3/4 | Daniel Pullen/Total 911 Magazine/Future via Getty Images

Another reason for the 2011-2012 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS praise was its price. Although more expensive than the Carrera S, it was cheaper than the Turbo and GT3. And if you equipped a regular S to GTS levels, you’d end up paying more.

However, while the 997 GTS is still cheaper than a 997 Turbo, that doesn’t make it cheap. As one of the most desirable versions of a well-liked and reliable 911, the 2011-2012 Carrera GTS hasn’t depreciated much. Even a good-condition Cabriolet, the less-desirable version, is easily a $60,000 car, Hagerty says. And an excellent-condition Coupe, which started at $104,000 in 2011, is worth $90,000-$100,000.

In other words, it virtually hasn’t depreciated. But then, it’s not like 911s lose much value regardless. And if a solid residual value is proof of anything, it’s desirability. As I said, the 997 Porsche GTS still satisfies.

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