So, you want an open-topped Porsche 718 and you are adamant that it has to be powered by a six-cylinder engine? You either go for the 718 Spyder or, save a bit of cash, get a less fiddly roof and opt for this, the new Porsche 718 Boxster GTS 4.0. Oh yes.
In the Metal:
The new Boxster GTS 4.0 isn't drastically different to its predecessor aesthetically speaking, as it sticks with the tried-and-tested GTS recipe of unique bumpers and lots of dark detailing, extending to the tasty 20-inch rims, air intake ahead of the rear wheels, the badging and lights. Of course, the badge now includes '4.0', which is a giveaway, while those in the know will also spot the new exhaust arrangement, which has two wide-spaced outlets rather than the centrally-positioned design of the outgoing 2.5-litre GTS.
Inside, it's all about the Alcantara. It's most obvious swathing the gorgeous (to look at and to hold) 'GT sports' steering wheel, which features the rotary driving mode control as standard as part of the Sport Chrono package. That also adds the dashboard-mounted clock/stopwatch and owners can avail of the Track Precision App for their smartphones as well.
Though the Boxster GTS 4.0 may not be as distinct from the rest of the line-up as the 718 Spyder (which gets a lot of unique bodywork), its conventional automatically operated fabric roof is far easier to live with.
Long has the mid-engined Boxster been the benchmark open-topped sports car in terms of driving dynamics. The replacement of the four-cylinder 2.5-litre boxer engine with the new 4.0-litre flat-six has done nothing to change that. This car's chassis is an absolute gem, engaging the driver with its communicative and direct steering, perfectly-weighted brake pedal and slop-free responses to anything you ask of it.
The standard adaptive damping makes it suitable for a variety of road surfaces and yet, even when in its sportiest setting, it's never back-breaking in its firmness. Instead, you get a sense of deeply ingrained quality and sophisticated engineering, allowing you get on with the enjoyment of driving.
And there's no doubt that the 4.0-litre engine adds to that. It's a sublime unit, with plenty of low-down torque and a fizzing top end that you'll want to explore again and again. The six-speed manual gearbox is nearly perfect companion (a PDK automatic is in the pipeline), with deliciously satisfying gear shifts, perfectly spaced pedals and even a well-judged automatic throttle-blipping function (unfortunately you can't turn it on and off in all driving modes, but at least it works well).
In essence, the 718 Boxster GTS 4.0 is just as special a car as the closed-roof Cayman, and just as capable, certainly at road-legal speeds. All with the benefit of unhindered access to the unique six-cylinder wail from the exhaust.
What you get for your Money:
You're either the type of person that buys convertibles or you're not, even setting aside the 'challenging' weather or our little island on the edge of the Atlantic. As much as I enjoy blasting along empty roads with the roof down in sunny climes, I'd probably put my own money into an equivalent coupe. And hence we've docked the 718 Boxster GTS 4.0 half a star, as it's over €3,000 more than the Cayman version - and more again than many so-called rivals. Admittedly, some buyers will drop a lot more than that on options, but there you go. Still the Boxster GTS is a useful €14,000 cheaper than the 718 Spyder...
Even if money were not a sticking point, I reckon the 718 Boxster GTS 4.0 is a better all-round option than the Spyder for more people. Its suspension makes it more suitable to everyday driving and the roof isn't a PITA, but it retains much of what we love about the Spyder - namely its flat-six, naturally aspirated engine. Get one while we're still allowed have such things.