Sub-911 Sports car? That’ll be a Cayman, or Boxster, now correctly preceded by the numbers 718. Porsche’s talented mid-engined understudy has always been good enough to take on allcomers. It’s pretty much had its own way in the sports car marketplace since it was launched, and, like its 911 relation, offers plenty of choice. That’s been added to, with the GTS now slotting into the space above the S and below the GT4 that’ll inevitably sit above it in time.
The GTS has always been something of a sweet spot, too. A cherry-picking exercise in specification excellence, it takes all the bits you might want to add to an S anyway, and adds a little bit more besides. Sitting in the middle of the body, never to be seen – though heard, more of which later – is a 2.5-litre four-cylinder turbocharged boxer engine. It’s been worked on, with a bigger-diameter turbo, revised intake system and a standard sports exhaust.
The result is an additional 15bhp to deliver a 360bhp maximum, just 5bhp shy of a bog-standard 911 – remember those? It’s enough to allow it 911 pace, too, with 62mph arriving in the same 4.6 seconds as in a manual 911, while if you opt for the optional PDK seven-speed dual-clutch automatic version you’ll see not just the manual 718 GTS receding in your mirrors, but a PDK-equipped Carrera, too.
Strong stuff, underlining the GTS’s position as the current top choice in the Cayman/Boxster range. To justify that there’s a standard Sport Chrono pack that brings dynamic transmission mounts, 10mm lower Porsche Active Suspension Management, 20-inch alloy wheels and torque vectoring with a mechanical locking rear differential.
Visually the 718 gains the now-familiar GTS signature look, those bigger wheels being black, the dark theme running through the lights, badging and lower bodywork too.
And it’s effective. The 718 is a goodlooking car in standard guise, and the GTS builds on that. Open Boxster or coupé Cayman, they’re both a demonstration in dynamic brilliance and fine control, though, given the choice, we’d have the Cayman because it’s a little bit sharper. The steering is quick and beautifully weighted: this is a car that’s an absolute joy to drive. If there is a ‘but’, it remains centred around its middle, and specifically that engine.
Yes it’s quick, and torque and response are bountiful, but there’s no escaping that it sounds like a cross between a Subaru and a Beetle. Unlike everything else – where the changes enhance – the GTS’s intake and exhaust exacerbate, which is a shame, as otherwise it’s about as perfect a sports car as money can buy.