In bad news for its rivals, Porsche has made the Boxster even better.
In truth, there wasn’t a lot to fix, but the GTS does raise the bar even further, yet falls just short of a perfect five-star score. Fear not, all will be revealed.
Dynamically, little has changed. The GTS includes the Sport Chrono package, 20-inch Carrera S wheels and Porsche Torque Vectoring as standard, but then the last Boxster S we drove also had those options fitted, so unsurprisingly the two drove very similarly.
No complaints there, as the 718 Boxster, as well as its hardtop Cayman sibling, have one of the greatest chassis it’s possible to experience. Superlatives barely do it justice; the easiest way to explain it is the car just always does what you want it to without fuss. The steering is accurate and communicative, the balance perfect, the grip immense, brakes unkillable and yet the ride is uncannily good – firm but more than fair.
Tucked deep in the middle of the Boxster GTS is a revised 2.5-litre flat-four, a larger intake feeding air to a redesigned turbocharger capable of generating 1.25bar of boost (a 0.15bar increase over the S). Power is up 12kW to 269kW at 6500rpm, while torque increases just 10Nm if you choose the seven-speed PDK, or remains at 420Nm with the six-speed manual.
This level of grunt brings the Boxster chassis alive. There’s still more grip than grunt, but not to the point where you can just flatten the throttle everywhere. Start to approach the limits and the rear will start to slide under power, while on a track a bit of provocation will have the Boxster drifting like a champion.
Porsche claims 0-100km/h takes 4.1sec, but given we’ve figured both a Cayman S and Cayman GTS at under 4sec, it’s safe to say that claim is conservative – this is an outrageously quick car. What’s most pleasing is that this revised engine now sounds good. No, not great, but no longer like a turbo BRZ, either. It has a hard-edged growl at high rpm that is uniquely addictive.
What makes the 718 tick? Read our 718 Boxster Development feature
So if it’s the best thing since sliced bread to drive (excusing the confusing metaphor), what costs it a perfect score? The price. Our test car was $209,300 before on-roads and the handful we’ve seen in dealers have been around $225K driveaway.
Frankly, it’s good enough that the price isn’t that outrageous – you’ll need an Audi R8 RWS Spider to find more open-top enjoyment – but when a well-specced base Boxster is so accomplished for around $80K less the GTS is really only for those who must have the very best. Still, if you’ve got the cash, that’s what it is.
2018 PORSCHE 718 BOXSTER S SPECS:
Engine: 2497cc flat-4cyl, DOHC, 16v, turbo
Power: 269kW @ 6500rpm
Torque: 430Nm @1900-5000rpm (PDK)
0-100km/h: 4.1sec (claimed)
Price: $175,900 (manual); $181,880 (PDK)
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars