Porsche’s 911 Carrera GTS bridges the gap between the 911 Carrera S and 911 Turbo.

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Porsche’s 911 Carrera GTS bridges the gap between the 911 Carrera S and 911 Turbo.

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ON paper, it seems like the 911 Carrera GTS is just a 911 Carrera S with the optional Powerkit installed.

The Powerkit, which comes with bigger turbochargers, adds 30bhp and 50Nm to the Carrera S, putting it on a par with the Carrera GTS.

Apart from the boost in power, the Powerkit also includes the Sport Chrono Package, which features dynamic engine mounts and a sports exhaust system.

However, the Carrera GTS has a few more goodies apart from its more powerful motor.

Aesthetically, the model comes with the SportDesign front apron and wing mirrors, and has “smoked” tail-lamps.

The tailpipes and logos are also finished in black to further distinguish the car from its non- GTS siblings.

More significantly, the Carrera GTS uses the wider body of the all-wheel-drive Carrera 4, which has a wider rear track for enhanced roadholding.

Complementing this is the Carrera GTS’s ride height, which is 10mm lower than the Carrera S.

Peering out from the silky black 20-inch wheels are bigger brake discs and larger brake pads (the same ones in the 911 Turbo), which enhance stopping power.

And for greater aural pleasure, the car’s sports exhaust system is louder than the standard one, thanks to its reduced sound absorption.

This louder exhaust is most welcome, especially since the turbocharged 3-litre flat-6 is quieter than the naturally aspirated 3.8-litre flat-6 in the previous Carrera GTS.

Also most welcome is the extra muscle. The new turbocharged engine is capable of 450bhp and 550Nm, or 20bhp and 110Nm more than the non-turbo motor.

With these figures, the GTS now demolishes the century sprint in 3.7 seconds. That’s a massive 0.3 of a second quicker than the older model. Not surprisingly, the GTS also tops out at 310km/h, or 6km/h faster than before.

I put the car’s abilities to the test around the Killarney International Raceway. The 3.2km circuit has two long straights and seven corners, which were more of a challenge to this driver than the car.

With the driving mode set to Sport Plus, I accelerated out of the pit lane and into Killarney’s first corner.

I was immediately struck by how the turbocharged flat-6 punches harder than expected compared to the naturally aspirated unit. And impressively, apart from being responsive and bereft of turbo lag, the power delivery is very linear, too.

As I exited the first corner, I was stunned by just how much grip the GTS has. Most of this is down to its new Pirelli P Zero Corsa tyres, but as any enthusiast will tell you, a car must have well-sorted suspension to fully exploit its tyres.

ENGINE 2981cc, 24-valves, flat-6, turbocharged

MAX POWER 450bhp at 6500rpm

MAX TORQUE 550Nm at 2150-5000rpm

POWER TO WEIGHT 306.1bhp per tonne

GEARBOX 7-speed dual-clutch with manual select

0-100KM/H 3.7 seconds

TOP SPEED 310km/h

CONSUMPTION 12km/L (combined)

CO2 EMISSION 188g/km

PRICE EXCL. COE $568,188 (after $5k CEVS surcharge)

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The GTS felt like it was glued to the track, but at the same time, I got a sense of just how nicely balanced the car is, despite its rear-engine layout.

There was plenty of feel from the back end, which has the engine pressing down on it, but just as much feedback from the nose.

The front end felt nice and pointy, with a keen and precise turn-in. I adopted a slow- in/fast-out driving style to complement the car’s character.

The GTS felt at home on the circuit, and I realised just how much its capabilities exceeded mine.

My heart raced as the exhaust blared and the engine repeatedly revved to its 6500rpm redline. I still expected the sudden turbo surge to appear, but was disappointed each time.

Braking for corners proved to be just as exciting as accelerating out of them. The bite of the brakes, along with the “brap-brap-brap” throttle blips that accompanied the downshifting 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox, added to the racecar-like experience.

Even when I entered a bend too quickly, the car’s grip and electronic nannies prevented any mishaps. I felt like a hero, despite being about six seconds slower than the fastest lap time set by one of the instructors.

Given the circuit’s length, I didn’t expect to attain anything over 180km/h on the straights. But I was gobsmacked each time I saw 220km/h on the speedometer prior to nailing the brakes for the first corner.

If I managed that, then a racecar driver could easily clock over 250km/h.

That’s a staggering thought when you consider that the GTS is still, after all, a road-going sports car.

If you’re thinking about getting a Carrera S and are planning to drive it on a racetrack every so often, you should get a GTS instead.

Because if you tried specifying a Carrera S until its performance and equipment matched the Carrera GTS, the former would end up costing you more than the latter.