It’s not easy getting a good glimpse at a Porsche. Even harder when it’s a GTS model that Porsche claims is their attempt to lure the purist within the loyalist. Strutting around Stuttgart, this convoy of sports-cars rarely obliged photographers...
Wet and wild
Glaring back at you with all the intensity of an experienced athlete, the iconic 5-gauge instrument cluster of the Panamera GTS is eerily egging me to floor it on a wet section of the Autobahn just outside of Stuttgart airport. In the fast lane, the speedometer shows 190 km/hr, but with the thick plume of spray being thrown at me from the leading Cayenne GTS and torrential rain, it turns into a white-knuckled ride worthy of a speeding ticket. Behind me, the trio of Cayman, Boxster and 911 Carrera handle like they’re on rails. After all, they all have the letters 'GTS' emblazoned on their door flanks, meaning they're something close to demigods in this hallowed world of supercars.
With roughly 600kms ahead of us and five different cars to drive, there wasn't any time to enjoy the Baden- Württemberg countryside. The brand that proudly wears this state's flag on its logo doesn't make cars to be driven in, but the Panamera GTS is the closest when it comes to luxury cruising. A centre console that could shame a Vertu smartphone and a proper, naturally aspirated 4.8lt V8 burbling under the hood, it defies the laws of physics with the way it transfers its significant weight from the front to the rear axle without ever losing traction. The PDK gearbox and Air Suspension along with the high level of inherent mechanical grip plays its part in making this the most entertaining luxury car ever. But I'm not done sampling Stuttgart's finest yet.
Make me a Porsche?
Er, but of course sir! The Porsche Exclusive Program cherry picks 14 of the best engineers who then cater to every whim of the VIP customer. Toiling away, chalking up to 12,000 cars a year under their belts, they sift through over 600 customisable options that are offered to the awaiting owners. Every detail is pored over and open to the bespoke treatment. Want leather-wrapped AC vents? Done. Gold-tipped exhausts? Yes, it's happened in this workshop. Family crest embossed on seat? All the time! Even the leather is sourced from cows reared only in Austria and Germany since they have smoother texture and no mosquito bite marks!
Same sausage, different size. That's the familiar plaint with Porsche's model line up. But the blacked out highlights, low-riding suspension, 30 more horsepower and a 2 second faster lap time around the Nurburgring proves that the GTS models are a bit special. Aimed at the purist who doesn't want to sacrifice features for performance, every one of the GTS models is brimming with tech, and more importantly, feel.
The mid-engined Cayman GTS, with its perfect weight distribution, loves curves more than Kanye West and holds on to its line even while accelerating hard around the long, sweeping corners on the mountain roads through the Black Forest. The Boxster feels the stiffest of the lot but razor-sharp nevertheless. Jump into a Panamera or Cayenne GTS and instantly, you're pampered with luxurious thrones up front and chauffeured comfort in the back. Yet, flick the steering and you're reminded of how synaptic its responses are. Perhaps the epitome of this sensation is the iconic 911 Carrera GTS that burbles at cruising speeds and yells out at a hair-raising 7500rpm! It remains a driving instrument without a direct rival even almost five decades after its inception. Now, that's what legends are made of.
One man. One car. Many experiences
If you're lucky enough or important enough, you will be invited by Porsche to this very workshop to watch their possessions being crafted. There are over 50 sample cars that serve as templates if you can't decide from the brobdingnagian option list. It can take anything from a couple of hours to two days for a specific car, depending on the level of customisation. So, don't ask for Polar Bear fur carpets if you're in a hurry to drive the beast! Porsche says every fourth car from the assembly line is plucked out to be caressed by one of these skilled technicians.