Porsche has just announced yet another incarnation of the 997. The Carrera 4 GTS is, as the name suggests, a four-wheel drive version of the GTS. Now, the Carrera GTS is a great halfway house between the Carrera and the GT3 and, crucially, represents superb value for money. If I was buying a brand-new 911, it’s the one I’d choose.
However, already people are asking what is the point of the Carrera 4 GTS?
Good question and to find out, we need to go back in time. Porsche originally introduced the Carrera 4 back in 1989, as the first version of the 964 – a heavily revised 911. Back then, the 911 was criticised for being old-fashioned and a handful to drive, so throwing four-wheel drive into the mix answered both these points. Four-wheel drive was most definitely high-tech and of the moment (the original Audi quattro was still hot news, remember), and it also went some way to taming the 911’s supposed wayward handling, albeit at the expense of some of that 911 feel.
Since then, the handling of both the Carrera and Carrera 4 have leap forward, to the extent that, today, most of the time you can barely tell the difference between them during normal driving. When people are looking to buy a used 911, I tell them not to get hung up on all- or rear-wheel drive – just buy the best example they can find, regardless of transmission.
However, for a new car, I’d be very tempted to opt for a Carrera 4 GTS. Why? Well, first it would be useful in snow and ice – last winter, I had lots of feedback from smug Carrera 4 owners who’d been terrorising BMW owners during the bad winter. Second, the 4 has that cool full-width rear reflector which I just love. My only concern is the length of that rear badge!
What’s the point of a Carrera 4? Maybe we should be asking what’s the point of a rear-wheel drive 911?