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991 Porsche 911 Carrera and Targa 4 GTS article highlights:

  • The 2015-2019 991 Porsche 911 GTS continued the formula started with the previous-gen model of a Carrera S/Targa 4S with a plethora of standard performance options
  • Although the upgrades seem subtle, they enhance the 991-gen 911 into a truly scintillating sports car
  • The 991 GTS is cheaper than the 2022 model, but even used 991.1s cost at least $100,000

With how many Porsche 911 trims there are if you can’t find one that fits your needs, something’s gone wrong. Yet while the GT3 is the performance maestro and the Turbo the speed sultan, for many the GTS strikes the finest balance. But the 2022 911 GTS has a problem: the 991 Porsche 911 GTS. Because even used, the previous-gen GTS is still a frustratingly good sports car.

Whether Carrera or Targa, the 991 Porsche 911 GTS elevates the Carrera S with simple ingredients into something special

2015-2019 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS, Carrera 4 GTS, Targa 4 GTS
Engines991.1: 3.8-liter flat-six (2015-2016)
991.2: 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged flat-six (2017-2019)
Horsepower991.1: 430 hp
991.2: 450 hp
Torque991.1: 325 lb-ft
991.2: 405 lb-ft
TransmissionsSeven-speed manual
Seven-speed PDK dual-clutch automatic
Curb weight991.1 Carrera: 3142-3186 lbs (RWD), 3241-3285 lbs (AWD)
991.1 Cabriolet: 3296-3340 lbs (RWD), 3395-3439 lbs (AWD)
991.2 Carrera: 3197-3241 lbs (RWD), 3296-3340 lbs (AWD)
991.2 Cabriolet: 3351-3396 lbs (RWD), 3450-3494 lbs (AWD)
991.1 Targa: 3428-3472 lbs
991.2 Targa: 3494-3538 lbs
0-60 mph time991.1: 4.0-4.6 seconds
991.2: 3.6-4.2 seconds

First, a bit of background. As of the 2020 model year, the Porsche 911 is in its 992 generation. The generation right before it, which corresponds to the 2015-2019 model years, is the 991 Porsche 911. And because Porsche updated the sports car for the 2017 model year, pre-update models are designated ‘991.1’ and post-update ones ‘991.2.’ With that out of the way, let’s talk GTS.

On a basic level, the 991 Porsche 911 GTS follows the same recipe the 992 GTS uses. Basically, Porsche took a 911 Carrera S/Targa 4S and added several desirable performance options at a lower price. And it threw in a widebody kit as well as some black exterior accents for free.

But those performance features aren’t limited just to things like a sport exhaust, limited-slip differential, active sports shocks with GTS-specific tuning, and the Sport Chrono Package with launch control. The 991 GTS also makes 30 more horsepower than the equivalent Carrera S/Targa 4S, which in the 991.2’s case means bigger turbos. In addition, that widebody kit doesn’t just mean bigger fenders: it also means a wider track with a stiffer rear sway bar.

Furthermore, in the 991.1 GTS’ case, it was the only way to get those extra horses with a manual transmission, MotorTrend says. You got sportier seats, a different steering wheel, and more standard Alcantara trim, too. Plus, the 991 Porsche GTS added the 991 Turbo’s larger brakes and the Turbo S’ racing-style center-lock wheels.

991.1 or 991.2? It doesn’t matter, it’s brilliant

Although those are cool features, on paper, they still make the 991 Porsche 911 GTS just seem like a mildly upgraded Carrera S or Targa 4S. So why, then, did both the 991 Carrera GTS and Targa 4 GTS rank above the Carrera S on MT’s list of the best 991 Porsches? And why did they both rank higher than the 991.1 GT3? Because, to quote Road & Track, “it’s one of the finest road-going 911s ever made.”

Firstly, there’s the handling. The 991 Porsche 911 might have electric power steering rather than hydraulic, but it’s still accurate, well-weighted, and communicative. But thanks to the shocks and wider track, the 991 GTS flows around corners even more fluidly than the Carrera S. The Carrera GTS is even better, though, because it gets the lower-ride-height Sport active shocks, which lower the center of gravity. And that’s all before you add the optional rear-wheel steering.

Furthermore, the 991.2 Carrera GTS beat the 991.1 GT3’s Nürburgring time despite its weight and power disadvantage because of these chassis and suspension changes. Yet the “transcendental” handling never comes at the expense of comfort, R&T notes. This is almost a GT3-lite, albeit one that hasn’t lost its commuter capabilities. And keep in mind that the current 911 rides on a mildly-updated version of the 991’s chassis.

Also, speaking of the GT3, the 991 Porsche 911 GTS shares its devotion to sensation. The brakes, for example, are heroically strong but also easy to modulate. In addition, the manual delights with solid, weighty throws and a progressive clutch. Plus, don’t forget that the 991.1 was the last naturally-aspirated GTS. It’s not as fast as the contemporary Turbo, but it’s also more involving to drive.

When it was new, R&T compared the 991.2 Targa 4S GTS to the Porsche 928 because of the former’s do-it-all grand-touring nature. The 991.1 model is a bit higher-strung in comparison due to its NA nature. But the sentiment stands—as a daily driver that’s also an amazing sports car, this GTS still rules.

How much does a 991 Porsche 911 GTS cost today?

From left to right, a red 2017 Porsche 991.2 911 Targa 4 GTS, red Carrera 4 GTS Cabriolet, and silver Carrera 4 GTS
Left to right: 2017 Porsche 991.2 911 Targa 4 GTS, Carrera 4 GTS Cabriolet, and Carrera 4 GTS | Porsche

As I said, because the 991 GTS is teeth-grindingly excellent, it’s a viable alternative to the 2022 Porsche 911 GTS. Not to mention a cheaper one. However, if you were expecting a 996-level price, be prepared for sticker shock.

Even the cheapest 991.1 Carrera or Targa GTS costs $100,000. Meanwhile, the minimum price for a 991.2 model is about $130,000. And if you want a stick, be prepared to pay a premium.

Now I’m also frustrated that I can’t afford one.

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