In the new GTS, the twin-turbocharged 911’s 3.0-liter flat-6 produces 473 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 420 pound-feet of torque between 2,300 and 5,000 rpm. That’s 30 hp and 30 lb-ft more than a Carrera S and a whopping 94 hp and 89 lb-ft more than the base Carrera. For funsies, the GTS is just 29 hp less than the GT3 and has far more torque, and that low-end twist is what makes the GTS so good as an everyday driver.
If I have to criticize the turbo engine, it’s that it doesn’t sound as convincing as a naturally aspirated 911. The engine idles like a diesel, and the sound it makes when you step on the rev counter isn’t bad, nor is it the goose bumps whine offered by free-breathing Porsches.
The 2022 Targa GTS is available with either an eight-speed PDK transmission (which remains by far the best dual-clutch in the business) or, as fitted to my test vehicle, a seven-speed manual. Porsches I haven’t always loved seven-speed stick shifters – the first version in the 991-gen car was quite awkward – but the current iteration offers precise, sharp shifts with a stick stick that’s 10mm shorter and a seventh gear that’s really useful, to increase fuel economy on the highway. The 911’s clutch isn’t what I would call light, but it offers smooth, progressive engagement without getting fatiguing in heavy traffic.
Like all other Targa models, the GTS is only available with all-wheel drive. As a sort of 911 nerd, that’s not my preference, but the GTS has so much power you’ll never notice the extra front-end weight, and the amount of grip the active torque-vectoring AWD system provides is simply stunning, simply gorgeous. This is accentuated by the sticky Pirelli P Zero tires fitted as standard on the GTS on 20-inch front and 21-inch rear wheels borrowed from the 911 Turbo.
Brakes are almost always a strong suit for the 911, and the standard steel brakes on this GTS are no exception. They offer immense bite, excellent fade resistance and significantly better feel and easier modulation than the PCCB carbon ceramic units. They’re also not a $9,000 upgrade like the carbon setup, so everyone wins.
The GTS trim gets a 10mm lower ride height compared to the Carrera, and the Porsche Active Suspension Management system works as brilliantly as ever, offering excellent body control without demanding a huge sacrifice in comfort.
All driver contact points – pedals, shifter, steering wheel – feel perfectly weighted and placed for maximum comfort and confidence at high speeds. The GTS’s steering is scalpel-sharp and well-weighted, and for electronically assisted steering, the feedback on offer is commendable.
There’s a reason the 911 occupies its place in the pantheon as the archetypal sports car, and the latest generation GTS only further justifies that. It’s relentlessly fast when you push it, offers seemingly limitless grip, and makes even the average rider feel heroic on canyon roads. But that’s not the only thing that makes the 911 great. What makes it a legend is its ease of use, practicality and quality. It does everything, and does it really, really well.
That practicality and ease of use is due in large part to the superb interior design that 911s have always offered. The Targa GTS is roomier than other sports cars — it’s one of the most comfortable cars for me to sit in, even at 6 feet, 4 inches tall — and not only offers 4.6 cubic feet of luggage space in the trunk, but bonus storage in the back seats.
The materials that Porsche chose for the GTS trim are phenomenal. My test vehicle features the absolutely gorgeous truffle brown leather interior, along with a smattering of Alcantara on things like the steering wheel, armrests, gear knob and center storage compartment lid. Everything feels perfectly put together with no squeaks, rattles or slipped seams. The 911 feels like an incredibly high-quality product, an opinion reinforced by its numerous first places in JD Power’s owner surveys for quality and satisfaction.
The interior engineering for the 2022 911 is excellent. Beautifully integrated into the 911’s dashboard, the 10.3-inch Porsche Communication Management System screen is responsive, intuitive to use and offers both Apple CarPlay and – finally for 2022 – Android Auto Integration.
Like most German luxury brands, Porsche is all about a la carte options. This means that you pay for everything you want, but most importantly don’t pay for things you don’t want. Considering this, my test vehicle’s options list is surprisingly short. There are no carbon bucket seats or leather-trimmed air vents. Instead, Porsche spent money on things like a front axle lift system and Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control (PDCC), which enhance the driving experience and make the GTS an even more livable car.
The unfortunate side of Porsche’s a la carte options mentality is that some things – safety stuff, for example – that would normally be standard on a GTS-priced car aren’t. For example, my test vehicle lacks adaptive cruise control, which is a $2,000 option or, if you want to bundle it with lane departure warning, adds more than $3,000 to the bottom line. Is it a deal breaker? no Is it annoying? Yes. Should you pony up for these features? Also yes.
Speaking of bangs, this is what you have to do if you want to play. The 2022 Porsche 911 Targa 4 GTS starts at a pretty sharp $158,150, including a $1,350 target fee, and as you start adding comfort and more performance goodies, that price increases quickly. My moderately equipped test vehicle is priced at a whopping $175,030.
Can you get faster, more powerful cars for significantly less money? Absolutely, but with these vehicles you sacrifice practicality and an incomparable driving experience – exactly what makes the 911 so special.