Porsche first gave the 911 the GTS treatment in the last gasps of the previous-generation 997’s lifespan, breathing new life into an ageing model. It then applied the GTS formula to the Cayenne, which quickly became the top-selling version of the SUV, then released a Panamera GTS, too.
On the coattails of its success, GTS is no longer a limited-run special, but a full-time model line. That means we have the first ever version of the Boxster GTS, Porsche’s entry-level, mid-engined, two-seat roadster.
So it’s an entry-level car with extra kit?
Far from it. The Boxster GTS is based in the brilliant S model, which has the larger 3.4-litre flat six and your choice of a seven-speed PDK or a slick six-speed manual gearbox. To add the ‘GT’ to the ‘S’, the sonorous, cackling six has been massaged to give it 15bhp more and 8lb ft of additional torque, for 326bhp and 273lb ft in total. To put that in perspective, the entry-level 911 Carrera Cabriolet has only 19bhp more and carries 30kg on top of the Boxster’s 1420kg.
The Boxster GTS has also been treated to a unique front bumper with black inserts and badging, as well as larger 20in alloys. There are smoked surrounds for the adaptive headlamps, too, as well as a 10mm drop in ride height thanks to the standard PASM (Porsche Active Stability Management).
If you want a harder-edged Boxster, you can ditch the PASM and have the Sports Chassis, which is 20mm lower overall and has firmer dampers that aren’t adaptive. Option up a Boxster S, which starts at £47k, to similar spec and you’ll be above the GTS version’s £52,879 ask in a flash.
Is it as good as the Cayman GTS?
No. Well, that depends. Porsche’s Vice President of the Cayman/Boxster product line, Stefan Weckbach, told CAR that the Boxster adds ‘flexibility’ that the Cayman cannot offer. While that sounds like marketing speak (and make no mistake, it is), the ‘flexibility’ Weckbach speaks of is that you can enjoy the GTS package with the roof down.
That unleashes the timbre of the engine, which has a deep, bassy note at idle that builds endlessly as it revs towards 8000rpm, with a stunning, whip-crack shriek between gears. Back off, and there’s a delicious pop-and-gurgle that has you wasting fuel and driving like a cabbie just to hear it, all the while you’re at one with both the road beneath you and the smells, fresh air and warmth of the countryside you’re hurtling through.
>> Click here to read the CAR review of the Porsche Cayman GTS
Yet the Boxster isn’t quite as sharp as the Cayman GTS. The steering feels lighter, it moves around a little more and you can feel the mechanicals under you as the rear steps out a little more. That doesn’t mean the Boxster is maniacal, obtuse or lacking composure: it’s still nimble, doesn’t feel at all heavy and its agility and control mean it has to be the best roadster this side of £100k.
Why would you buy a 911 Cabriolet when the Boxster responds at will, holds the roads like glue and has so much traction, you can abuse the throttle out of corners as it hooks up and goes? In a way, the Boxster is actually more playful than the Cayman, too: it slides a little easier, yet is just as easy to control with its superb steering, stellar brakes and body control. Of course, the ride isn’t too firm to enjoy the Boxster around town and on a daily basis, either.
Don’t but a Boxster S: buy the GTS instead. As with Cayman, if you’re after an entry-level Boxster then this GTS may be a stretch too far in terms of price, but if it’s the S you’re looking at, the GTS is a smarter buy. You’ll get more for your money, and you’ll have a car that stands out just a little. Either way, the GTS pack adds more sparkle to an already bright roadster.