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2015 Porsche Cayman GTS, Boxster GTS Track Drive

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 10/14/2014 Scott Mortara

While my colleague, Scott Burgess, got to carve through the scenic mountains in Mallorca in the new 2015 Porsche Boxster GTS and Cayman GTS, I got to do some carving of my own, in the scenic hills of Monterey, at a little place known as Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Not quite as exotic, but I definitely think I got the better end of that deal.

On hand at MRLS, Porsche had a Boxster, Boxster S, and Boxster GTS as well as a Cayman, Cayman S, and Cayman GTS. All of us there got to lap each, following an instructor in a 911 Turbo S. Our sessions consisted of three hot laps, then a pit, swapping of cars, then repeat until we had time in each vehicle. Was it enough time to really enjoy each for what it was? Not a chance. But it did give us just enough time to feel the difference between each. And, hey, any time spent lapping at MRLS is a good time.

© Provided by MotorTrend Let's start with the Boxster GTS. The one we sampled was equipped with Porsche's brilliant PDK transmission. The first thing you notice is the power difference among the three Boxsters -- more specifically, the lack of power in the base Boxster. Entering and going through the corners, the base was on par with its more powerful siblings, but exiting corners and the points in between -- the other two Boxsters just walked away. Stability in all three was good over the hill through turn 1, though the rear did get light. Going into turn 2, you could feel the weight shift forward, making the rear get light and want to wiggle a little. You can probably attribute this to the lack of a fixed roof and less aggressive suspension tuning, making the Boxster a little less rigid.

Once settled down, you can really steer the car with both the wheel and your right foot and, with the S and GTS, you can make the Boxster drift a little through corners at will. Not the fastest way, but a smile-inducing way for sure. The rest of the lap around MRLS is as expected with a nimble, roofless mid-engine car, with the fun increasing as the horsepower and torque rise.

Though the Boxster was a treat to lap around MRLS, the Cayman, specifically the GTS, was, for me, the star of the event. It wasn't just the power increase of the GTS, it was the whole package. Everything Porsche has done to the Cayman GTS has made it an even more impressive car. The Cayman GTS on hand was equipped with Porsche's manual gearbox with rev-match downshifting (when in Sport Plus).

© Provided by MotorTrend Flat over the hill, you can go deep into turn 2 and the GTS feels as planted and stable as any car. Turn 2 can be taken in two different ways: You can take it as a constant, single apex or you can diamond the corner. While both lines work just fine in the GTS, the diamond approach seemed to be what the GTS really liked. Late braking and a slightly early turn-in meant you were carrying more speed into turn 2, which would make the car naturally drift out mid-corner. Then you could almost flat-foot the throttle mid-corner out, clipping the inside apex and letting the GTS drift out to the outside shark's teeth. It was very fluid and smooth; you had to work harder in the GTS if you wanted the rear to step out through turn 2 as the Boxster did.

The poise and precision of the Cayman GTS were incredible. While the 911 Turbo quickly pulled away on the straights, the Cayman GTS was dogging the 911 hard into, through, and out of the corners. The rest of the lap was just as enjoyable as the first few corners. The stability and extra torque made it so you could almost drive the entire lap in third gear, provided you didn't downshift going into turn 11 and you didn't upshift on the front straight. Even in the corkscrew, third worked. It wasn't as fast, but it didn't labor either.

Getting more power out of the Boxster's or Cayman's engine would be easy for Porsche, but it will never pass the 911, and it doesn't need to. As enjoyable as the Boxster GTS is in every way, for me, it just can't match its fixed-roof sibling. The Cayman GTS has the perfect balance of power and capability, much like the Ferrari 458 Italia. It's not the most powerful or fastest, but, out of the lineup, it is arguably the most enjoyable car to drive.

2015 Porsche Cayman GTS© Provided by MotorTrend 2015 Porsche Cayman GTS
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