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It is worth the $7,000 upgrade from the rear-wheel drive to the 4 GTS.

Porsche

Porsche loves acronyms, but in this case they speak to something marvellous, though not cheap.

The 2015 Porsche 911 GTS with the Porsche Doppelkupplungsgetriebe (PDK) gearbox, Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) active damper system, Porsche Dynamic Light System (PDLS), Porsche Stability Management (PSM) and Porsche Torque Vectoring (PTV) will do 0-100 km/h in four seconds – obviously fast – but this 430-horsepower sports car is even more roaring fun when slicing the apexes of your favourite snaky bit. PDK, PASM, PDLS, PSM, PTV. Acronyms are us at Porsche. We'll forgive hubris because the car delivers.

Two of my most cherished roads are the Angeles Crest Highway (public, and carved through canyons and along the side of dry, rocky, Southern California mountains) and the demanding closed circuit called Willow Springs International Motorsports Park. If you relish a thoroughly engaging day at the wheel, do both. I did, the same day. I wouldn't go so far as to say it was all better than great sex, but close. Closer than I should admit.

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Glorious as this sounds, the Porsche engineers on hand here to answer questions about the latest iteration of the 911 Carrera (19 models and variations and counting) seemed nonplussed when I suggested a little engineering presentation might be in order. They seemed unsure of how to respond, muttering, "It's just a 911, though more."

Yes, that's what the GTS is. It's the 911 fitted between the 911 Carrera S and the street-legal track car, the 911 GT3. As Goldilocks might say, it's just right. On Willow Springs, I played follow-the-leader behind a factory driver who was more than happy to push me to my limits. His constant walkie-talkie exhortations were to "tighten it up." The faster I went, the faster he went. Exhausting, exhilarating and illuminating.

But not terror-inducing, despite hitting speeds in fast corners that were thoroughly shocking. This is the genius of Porsche: serious cars that are immensely driveable, yet safe and reliable.

I would pay the extra $7,600 to upgrade from rear-drive to 4 GTS. From there, I'd avoid adding too many options, keeping the before-tax price in the $140,000 range, freight and prep included. I'd also excuse the clunky infotainment system with its slow-to-respond touchscreen and visually unimpressive design. Better lumbar support would be good, too.

So a great car, not a perfect one.

You'll like this car if ... You want a sports car loaded with technology that is as at home on a track as it is on the highway.

TECH SPECS

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  • Base price: $130,300 (Carrera); $137,900 (Carrera 4 GTS)
  • Engine: Six-cylinder, flat-type.
  • Drive: Rear-wheel drive/all-wheel drive
  • Fuel economy (litres/100 km): TBD using premium fuel
  • Alternatives: Mercedes-Benz AMG GT, Aston Martin DB9, Audi A8, Jaguar F-Type R, Nissan GT-R

RATINGS

  • Looks: Porsche can’t really stray too far from the 911’s essential form, which means designers are forever tweaking and fine-tuning the looks. Hard to break new ground that way.
  • Interior: Efficient but not ostentatious, by any means, and roomy for a low-riding sports car. It can be too easy to overlook the detailed information available here, including speed, engine speed G-Force and on and on.
  • Technology: Porsche Doppelkupplungsgetriebe dual-clutch gearbox delivers brilliant shifts; Porsche Active Suspension Management active damper system controls motions; Porsche Stability Management helps you stay in control; and so on. You get some very smart stuff here, the details of which fill a press kit as thick as the Old Testament.
  • Performance: The GTS is a beast. It flies in a straight line and glides through corners, flat and controlled. Your challenge: on public roads, you need to mind your speed. You’re probably going faster than you imagined.
  • Cargo: Not a lot of it. Why would you expect there to be?

The Verdict

9.5

The Porsche people are a little smug, and when you make cars like this, they have the right to be.

The writer was a guest of the auto maker. Content was not subject to approval.

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