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Porsche’s GTS-badged models

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CLUBHOUSE | DRIVING RANGE CREATURES OF COMFORT PORSCHE’S GTS-BADGED MODELS OFFER A MORE FOCUSED DRIVING EXPERIENCE WITHOUT COMPROMISING COMFORT, WRITES BEN OLIVER. SCORECARD Porsche 911 GTS How much? Engine: HK$2.3 million 3800cc flat-six, 316 kW/430hp at 7500rpm, 440Nm at 5750rpm Transmission: Seven-speed PDK paddle-shift Performance: 0-100km/h 4.0 sec, max speed 304km/h Economy: 8.7 l/100km s a famous and long-standing maker of sports cars, Porsche for which it was built, comfort was as important was understandably nervous about making its first four-door as outright pace. A fatigued driver is slower than cars, the Cayenne SUV and the Panamera luxury saloon. The a fresh one. business case was solid, and has since been proven. Porsche has Hence the sweet-driving and successful grown fast with its two new cars and is among the world’s most 904, now a hugely collectible classic. Porsche consistently profitable carmakers. But it worried that its diehard now takes the same recipe – performance fans would object to it making anything other than two-seat sports cars. So it with comfort – and the same three letters and made the Cayenne and Panamera better and more exciting to drive than most applies it to almost its entire range. The Macan sports cars from other makers. And it used the profits to small SUV is the only member GTS models also get of its much-expanded range make its own sports cars ever-better. The latest ‘GT’ versions of the iconic 911 and the smaller that hasn’t yet received the sports exhausts and Cayman two-seat coupe were just launched at the Geneva sports suspension, so GTS treatment, but you can Motor Show. The 911 GT3RS and the Cayman GT4 are quite bet that it will. In each case, the they feel crisper, more GTS version is not the most extreme: effectively road-going versions of Porsche’s race immediate and more powerful in the range, but it cars which offer incandescent performance but few creature comforts. They will probably have sold out by the time you does of fer a more focused responsive to drive. read this. driving experience without But if you like the idea of a ‘special’ Porsche which draws on the marque’s compromising comfort. motorsport heritage but which can be used every day, there is another option. Despite their wildly varying body styles, the The GTS badge – for Gran Turismo Sports – was first used on a Porsche racing GTS models feel remarkably similar to drive. Of car in 1964. The pretty 904GTS was fast, but unlike many period racing cars it course there’s more power than in the standard wasn’t brutal to drive. Porsche realised that in the long-distance endurance races cars: the 911 GTS has 80hp more than the 28 HK GOLFER・APR 2015 HKGOLFER.COM A standard version, and 30hp more than even the high-performance S. But GTS models also get sports exhausts and sports suspension, so they feel crisper, more immediate and more responsive to drive. Not quite race-car sharp, but not far off. And the looks match the way they feel. Outside, the details are all in black, including the wheels and the GTS script, and the headlamps have darkened lenses. Inside, each gets a black cabin trimmed in the same fireproof Alcantara high-end suede-like fabric that the racers use: purposeful, but luxurious too. My longest test in a GTS-badged car was three 18-hour days in a 911 GTS on some of the world’s best (and toughest) roads for Australia’s infamous Targa Tasmania road race. The car’s performance and handling were peerless. I should have been exhausted by the end of it, but I felt remarkably fresh: ready for a fourth day, if I could. Seems that the old GTS recipe still works. HKGOLFER.COM HK GOLFER・APR 2015 29

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