Performance Car of the Year 2015: Porsche 911 GTS

More than 50 years of development have gone into making the current-generation 911 one of the best sports cars around. And as if the regular coupé wasn’t good enough, Porsche’s GTS enhancements help push it towards truly iconic status.

A 3.8-litre flat-six – rear-mounted, the 911’s defining characteristic – pumps out 424bhp and a spine-tingling soundtrack. With the optional PDK dual-clutch box and launch control, you’ll cover 0-62mph in only 4.0 seconds, making this car nearly as rapid off the line as the previous-generation, race-bred GT3.

It’s sharp to drive, too. The front end is ultra-pointy and the electric power-steering delivers just the right feedback so that you can place the GTS with pinpoint accuracy. That extra weight over the rear axle helps boost agility into corners and traction on the way out.

This isn’t only a hardcore track car, though. Adaptive dampers and active exhaust mean you can soften its edges for cruising. It’s perfectly comfortable on the motorway and, for a 2+2 performance coupé packing this much power, relatively efficient, returning 32.5mpg.

There’s just enough menace to the styling to differentiate the GTS from lesser rungs of the 911 ladder, with a front splitter, bigger rear bumper, black sill extensions and huge 20-inch racing-style centre-lock wheels. In every respect this is the sweet spot of the 911 range, and one of the best Porsches ever.

Our choice

911 Carrera GTS PDK (£94,610)

The four-wheel-drive version of Porsche’s performance coupé has even more traction, but the rear-wheel-drive GTS already boasts the balance of a gymnast. It’s sensational from behind the wheel, and the PDK transmission suits the car’s split personality perfectly.

Commended

McLaren 650S

Last year’s winner is knocked off the top spot, but its performance is no less ferocious, its styling no less outlandish and its chassis’ ability to lap at maximum attack no less jaw-dropping. Trick tech such as adaptive dampers and active roll control mean it’s a great road car, too, with all the theatre you’d expect from an F1 manufacturer.

Mercedes-AMG GT

Offering SLS performance at around two-thirds of the price, the AMG GT is a triumph. The new 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 engine thumps hard – especially in 503bhp S trim – and has a gorgeously guttural roar. The GT has the looks to match, too, and huge grip – but its handling is sharper than that of any AMG model before.

Auto Express New Car Awards 2015 

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