At times, it has felt like Porsche’s myriad 911 configurations serve only to answer questions nobody was asking.
But this is not one of those instances. After a few hours behind the wheel of a 2017 Porsche 911 Carrera 4 GTS Cabriolet, Porsche's wisdom becomes crystal clear. Sure, it's basically a 911 S droptop with just a few extra goodies, but those selected add-ons take it from damn near perfect to so good you’d swear it was a cubic zirconia instead of the real deal.
In short: the 911 GTS is the one to buy.
And it’s not just the scenery as I snake along some of the prettiest roads in the country, straddling the border between California and Nevada in and around Lake Tahoe. In mid-May, these roads are gloriously empty during the period between ski season and summer boating. It’s truly Goldilocks hour in what certainly feels like Goldilocks’ 911.
To build the GTS, which is now available in coupe, convertible, and Targa forms, Porsche started with a Carrera S fitted with the Carrera 4’s wider flanks and began adding options. It winds up feeling like a bespoke model.
Revamped turbochargers with a higher boost pressure bump its 3.0-liter flat-6 up from 420 to 450 horsepower and a sport exhaust with an even louder mode available at the press of a button delivers more rumble. Cabs and Targas ride on Porsche’s Active Suspension Management adjustable dampers that drop their ride height almost half an inch (coupes have a different version of this setup and they sit a quarter of an inch lower, making the optional front axle lift a must for those with steep driveways). A locking rear differential—mechanical with the 7-speed manual and electronic with the optional PDK dual-clutch gearbox—makes the most of that available power and improved rear brake air ducting helps bring things to a halt. Rear wheel steering is on the options list.
A Sport Design body kit adds some visual distinction, but it’s the black center-lock wheels cribbed from the 911 Turbo and black trim that stand out more—including a black bar on the Targa (you can get aluminum if you want).
Inside, it’s business as usual aside from Alcantara synthetic suede on the seats and reduced sound deadening in the firewall area to let passengers hear the flat-6 make its noises. That’s a welcome subtraction since the now-turbocharged 911 base and S are a little muted compared to their naturally aspirated predecessors.
Grippy Pirelli P-Zero Nero rubber puts power from either the rear- or all-four wheels to the ground, depending on whether the buyer has coughed up the extra $6,900 for a Carrera 4 GTS (admittedly, Targa GTSs are all Carrera 4s).