đź”’ The $165,000 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS hybrid: Tradition meets innovation

In the latest iteration of the iconic Porsche 911 Carrera GTS, tradition meets innovation as turbocharging gives way to hybrid power. Despite losing its manual gearbox and shedding pounds, enthusiasts need not despair. Recently tested on the challenging Circuito Ascari in Málaga, Spain, this hybrid variant proves its mettle with enhanced performance and a seamless blend of electric and combustion power. The Carrera GTS embodies Porsche’s commitment to evolution without compromising the essence of driving pleasure.

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By Hannah Elliott

The 2025 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS has lost a turbocharger, gained an electric motor and 103 pounds and forfeited a manual gearbox. Porsche-philes have been crying “Quelle sacrilège!” since the company unveiled the hybridized sports car in May. ___STEADY_PAYWALL___

But all is not lost.

I drove a Carrera GTS in Slate Grey Neo recently, both on and off track, in Málaga, Spain. For those worried that electrification spells the end of the 911, here’s a message straight from the blanched pavement of Circuito Ascari itself: We have nothing to fear.

After Porsche spent years hybridizing its SUVs and Panamera sedan, the $164,900 Carrera GTS is the first road-going hybrid 911 to leave the company’s doors. But with improved performance that places it ahead of the competition and well ensconced in the middle of the 911 lineup, this variant won’t be the last.

Porsche started hinting back in 2017 that a hybrid powertrain could live in its crown jewel sports coupe. At the time, fans could hardly imagine their favorite canyon-carver running on anything other than the crackling flat-six-cylinder “boxer” internal combustion engine that’s propelled 911s to racing glory since 1963. It wouldn’t be the same. 

But given the times—and with Volkswagen AG intent on cultivating electric vehicles as a â‚¬180 billion ($193 billion) business strategy—Porsche has gradually electrified its sedans, SUVs and, finally, its precious sports cars. (Porsche will offer battery-powered versions of the 718 Boxster and Cayman models by mid-decade.) Plus, Porsche’s hybrid roots go deeper than you might think: It had built a 911 GT3 R hybrid race car as a research tool in 2010, and Ferdinand Porsche himself had built hybrid vehicles in the 1890s

The 911 hybrid system combines a newly developed 3.6-liter six-cylinder engine with a single electrically driven turbocharger and an in-transmission electric motor that reduces lag times to nil as the car sprints forward. It’s no small thing that racing champ Jörg Bergmeister drove it to a lap time of 7:16.934 minutes on the famous 13-mile Nordschleife loop in Germany. That beat its predecessor by 8.7 seconds.

The instant torque and boost of the “e-turbo” (the electric motor that Porsche engineers attached to the turbocharger to make it turn quicker) are meant to offset the additional weight with power while also lessening emissions—a worthy benefit, even though the advances in actual fuel efficiency and emissions reduction remain next to negligible. 

I drove the Carrera GTS at Ascari, a private track built in 2003 by Dutch businessman and racing driver Klaas Zwart. It’s set among arid hills that look so Calabasas-esque that Kris Jenner herself would mistake them for home.

I was glad to have the Carrera GTS with me; I’ve driven every variant in Porsche’s modern 911 lineup, from the Carrera to the $292,000 S/T, plus quite a few 911s from previous generations. The GTS strikes me as a 911 for the owner who wants to drive her car hard, every day, and never worry about the effect on the rims or the splitter—or her back, ears and nerves. It rewards aggressive driving but isn’t so stiff, loud and raw as to make me regret driving it all day. 

As far as the body goes, it resembles every other current Porsche 911, but you’ll still be able to spot it at your local car gathering. Look for the new dual air vents under the nose with vertical slats set like razor teeth, headlights pushed farther back into the hood, as well as a new deck lid and rear light band that make it look even wider and lower than the prior generation. (It’s actually not: Both measure 72.9 inches wide.) 

More Power, More Speed

At 3.3 miles and 26 turns, some of which were created to avoid the state-protected olive trees growing throughout, Ascari is unique in its combination of elevation changes, Nascar-style banking and possibly the shortest front straight I’ve seen since my Malibu Grand Prix days as a kid in Oregon. 

The 911 GTS was tailor-made for such a curvaceous circuit. It treated Ascari like a folly, tossing aside the left-leaning whoop-de-dos and decreasing-radius turns before barreling toward a banked back section like a joyful golden retriever. I was grateful to have a professional driver in the car ahead of me, so I could follow his line around the tricky track. 

Is it odd to call a car exuberant? I felt instant power from the accelerator pedal thanks to the e-motor attached to the turbocharger, which has been enlarged by one-third and improved from the previous generation. Unlike the last vehicle I had on track (ahem), the GTS remained planted firmly to the Earth even as it wound gleefully around each turn. 

The car has a total of 532 horsepower and 449 pound-feet of torque, besting the previous model by almost 60 hp. It accelerates from zero to 60 mph in 2.9 seconds—0.3 seconds quicker than before—to a top speed of 194 mph. More important, its already best-in-class handling and braking gave me the confidence I needed as I followed the pro ahead of me.

Hybrids are great for combining new tech with the elements at which Porsche historically has excelled. I trusted the car implicitly and did everything I could to keep up. The GTS made me feel like we were in the hunt together.

I lapped for almost an hour, then cruised 90 minutes down the two-lane highway toward Málaga and the sea shimmering like heat waves on asphalt. A 10.9-inch screen in the dashboard tracked where the energy flowed in the car, from the electric motor to the wheels. In fact, the hybrid powertrain was the least noticeable thing about the drive, remarkable only for its unremarkability.

It’s what Helen Gurley Brown would call a “nothingburger.” There’s no plug, and no driving under electric-only power. Porsche’s Carrera GTS fresh powertrain is simply the next step forward as the model line evolves. 

The changes inside the cabin proved more disconcerting than what was under the hood. 

When I first slid inside and went for the ignition, I gasped: The faux key positioned at the left side of the steering wheel—a hallowed, signature Porsche touch from ages gone by—was absent. Instead, I found a button labeled “START Engine STOP.” 

I leaned forward: The analogue cluster of speed and power gauges behind the steering wheel had been replaced by a curved computer screen that, once I pushed start, proffered multiple digital displays. One option showed a rendering of the classic Porsche five-gauge setup with the tachometer at its traditional center. I settled on that, then swiveled around to find yet another change: Behind me, a small ledge had replaced the normal (and admittedly comically minuscule) back seats. 

Later, the spokesperson told me Porsche will now deliver 911 Carrera and Carrera GTS coupe models with no rear seats as standard; the historic 2+2 seat configuration is optional at no additional charge. 

The vibe in the cabin has shifted. I wish it hadn’t. Tech-heavy cars don’t tend to age well—neither practically nor aesthetically. (Bugatti agrees, as its own new $4-million-plus hybrid supercar attests.) If the GTS were fully electric, maybe I’d feel differently, since computer screens and pure-electric power are a package deal at this point. But this hybrid retains the vitality and vibrancy of internal combustion; I’d love to see the analogue mood retained in the cabin as well.   

That won’t keep me from endorsing the Carrera GTS. The magic of the 911 derives from the way it drives and the way its shape embodies that function. Both remain unadulterated in hybrid form. 

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