There is something about a convertible sports car that makes everything that little bit more special and this can certainly be said about the new Porsche 718 Boxster GTS…or can it?
Porsche’s new Boxster ditches the six-cylinder engine for a turbocharged 2.5 litre flat-four that produces a satisfying 360bhp, 15bhp more than the Boxster S model. In typical Porsche style the GTS comes with a choice of either a six-speed manual gearbox or seven-speed automatic PDK. This car I feel would perhaps be more thrilling with a manual box as the PDK system seems to detach the driver somewhat. It must be said that the PDK system is superb with almost seamless gear changes, however, the manual gearbox from Porsche is sublime. The mechanical feel of the gear change makes the driver more connected with the car and for the Boxster GTS you need that extra feel to get the best out of the car.
Even though the Boxster GTS comes as standard with 20-inch Carrera S wheels the ride is more refined and comfortable especially at lower speeds. Obviously in Sport and Sport Plus mode the ride becomes less accommodating, but this is only to be expected of a sports car that most rivals cannot match. Other standard features include the Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) and the Sports Chrono Package.
On the road the Boxster GTS really comes into its own. The mid-engined layout combined with the stiffened suspension delivers a superb amount of balance and precision, resulting in one of the best driving experiences a person can have. Porsche have also developed their electric steering setup further to make it just as effective as the hydraulic system of old. The grip levels are immense when up to speed but jump on the throttle and the car will break traction with ease. Be aware that if you do jump on the throttle the PDK gearbox takes a little longer than expected to find the right gear so you find yourself or rather your neck launching backwards when the power is finally delivered to the rear wheels. For me that’s another reason to opt for the manual box.
Sadly, everything isn’t all rosy in the Boxster GTS garden, as all the enjoyment is lost through the rather disappointing exhaust note. Roof up or down the car’s soundtrack has a somewhat artificial tone and even though the pops and bangs from the downshifts add some character all the fun that the car can offer is sapped away. There’s no denying that Porsche have improved the exhaust note since the first 718 Boxster was released, but a car like the GTS needs the sound of an orchestrated ensemble coming from the rear end. It just doesn’t sound right for a car of its ilk.
There is no doubt that the Boxster GTS is a great car. Its fast, well balanced and handles like a proper sports car should, but all the theatre and drama that you expect alongside all these wonderful attributes is lost through the exhaust. The roar from the naturally aspirated six-cylinder engine in the previous generation car is addictive and leaves you wanting more. You get all the Porsche mid-engined goodness as well as the drama to go with it.
That’s where I think the 718 Boxster GTS loses out. Yes, you get great satisfaction from driving the car, but that’s all. You lose what I think is more important and that is the thrill of driving.