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Porsche Boxster GTS 2018 UK review

Autocar logo Autocar 16/03/2018 Richard Lane

This is the new GTS version of the Porsche Boxster

This is the new GTS version of the Porsche Boxster
© Autocar

What is it?

Short of reuniting the car with half a dozen high-revving cylinders, you’d have a difficult job improving the 718-generation Boxster.

Porsche's latest roadster is handsome, it offers performance almost perfectly proportioned to congested British roads, and it is in possession of absurdly biddable handling that anybody can enjoy. Without an outlay exceeding six figures, there is simply no better roadster to own if you value agility and communication.

Porsche Boxster GTS detail © Autocar Porsche Boxster GTS detail

All of which means we should greet with arms wide open this new GTS variant. It’s an optimised mechanical and styling package that will head up the range until a Boxster Spyder arrives later this year with a version of the 4.0-litre firecracker from the 911 GT3. Yep – all six cylinders.

The aesthetic changes are standard GTS fare, and there’s black plastic skirting, dark 20in alloys borrowed from the Carrera S and tinted lights alongside Alcantara interior trim and plenty of model designations. In silver with a classic red roof, our test car does the baby-supecar thing admirably well.

The principal hardware changes are the addition of Porsche Active Suspension Management, which sits the body 10mm lower than a Boxster S, and there’s also a mechanical limited-slip differential for the driven rear axle.

Porsche Boxster GTS detail © Autocar Porsche Boxster GTS detail

You can, however, go 10mm closer to the tarmac still by opting for the PASM sports suspension, with which our test car is furnished.

We've previously driven the 718 Boxster GTS on forgiving European roads, where it was superb. Now we have it in the UK for the first time, giving us an opportunity to discover how well it takes to this country's more decrepit tarmac.

What is it like?

Porsche Boxster GTS detail © Autocar Porsche Boxster GTS detail

Despite a significant drop in ride height there's no sign of brittleness. On the PASM the GTS rides with an outstanding economy of body movement and ultra-crisp wheel articulation.

It is beautifully balanced, it is keen in its response to the throttle pedal either dipping or rising, and it is endlessly tolerant of mistakes in a way you simply wouldn’t credit of a mid-mounted sports car. 

Even on these wheels, it is far from being uncomfortably stiff, and traction is absolute until those times when you seek to break it.

a car parked in front of a house © Provided by Haymarket Media Group

Porsche has also left its electro-mechanical steering unchanged for this application, which is a good thing because this setup is delightful not only in its accuracy but in the way it furtively encourages you to make very deliberate inputs.     

Another benefit the GTS package brings as standard is torque vectoring, which brakes an inside wheel to help pivot the car on the way into corner.

In conjunction with the differential, it helps transform more tortuous routes into something of an exhibition in dexterity and sheer ground-covering proficiency, and is well worth the increased wear to the rear discs.  

The premium for this car over the 718 Boxster S is around £8000, but it would cost more to option the additional parts yourself – and you still wouldn’t get the power upgrade © Autocar The premium for this car over the 718 Boxster S is around £8000, but it would cost more to option the additional parts yourself – and you still wouldn’t get the power upgrade

Courtesy of an audibly more voluminous intake and some fettling to the single variable-geometry turbocharger, power for the 2.5-litre flat-four has risen to 361bhp with torque rated at 317lb ft.

That’s 15bhp and 7lb ft on the Boxster S – not a lot, admittedly – and 26bhp and 37lb ft on the sweet, naturally aspirated Boxster GTS of the previous generation.

But here’s the thing: that torque figure arrives from only 1900rpm and yet peak power requires you to scale 6500rpm.

Porsche Boxster GTS detail © Autocar Porsche Boxster GTS detail

It means that while this engine remains more aurally akin to Brian Blessed than Bryn Terfel (particularly so with the sports exhaust system, with its central black tips) its power delivery is deliciously flexible and the cranksahft spins buoyantly, too.

The torque is especially useful because it ameliorates the Boxster’s overly tall gearing, though there is noticeable lag below around 4000rpm. All in, the car is damnably quick but just slow enough to let you feel as though you’re really working it reasonably hard on the road – a fine trick to pull off, and rewarding with it.

With all the choicest optional extras already fitted to the GTS, the only decision you’ll need to make is whether to have the six-speed manual or the seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox. The latter drops the 4.6sec 0-62mph time by three tenths and is fantastically clinical.

Porsche Boxster GTS detail © Autocar Porsche Boxster GTS detail

The manual is 30kg lighter, has a gratifying throw and the rev-matching function works nicely for those times when you just want to get home. Either will do just fine.    

Should I buy one?

The premium for this car over the 718 Boxster S is around £8000, but as we’re used to seeing with GTS models, it would cost more to option the additional parts yourself. What's more, you still wouldn’t get the power upgrade.

Predictably, then, if you can afford it, this GTS is the one to have. It's a car of rare dynamic polish at any price and all the sports car you could ever need.

Porsche Boxster GTS detail © Autocar Porsche Boxster GTS detail

Porsche 718 Boxster GTS manual

On sale Now Price £61,727 Engine 4cyls, 2497cc, turbocharged petrol Power 361bhp at 6500rpm Torque 317lb ft at 1900rpm Gearbox manual Kerbweight 1375kg Top speed 180mph 0-62mph 4.6sec Fuel economy 31.4mpg CO2 rating 205g/km Rivals Mercedes-AMG SLC 43, Audi TT RS Roadster, Jaguar F-Type Convertible 2.0

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