Overall rating: 5/5
A little more power, a lot more equipment and a significant dollop of desirability; that's the new Porsche Boxster GTS in a nutshell. Is it good enough to make the 911 Cabriolet redundant?
In the metal 4.5/5
The Boxster is a beautifully proportioned machine in regular guise and GTS spec only adds to its visual appeal. The larger 20-inch Carrera alloys help, as does a 10mm drop in ride height (a further 10mm to that if you opt for the no-cost Sport Chassis). The GTS's more purposeful stance is backed up by some subtle styling revisions too. They're mostly around the front, where the GTS shares a new front bumper with its Cayman GTS rival. That's a first, as the two models usually wear different light arrangements. It features deeper, wider air intakes, within which sit LED driving lights, while the leading edges of the new bumper are defined in contrasting black. The headlight surrounds are black too, as is the tip of the standard Sports Exhaust and the badging. GTS script also features on the leading edge of the doors if you're in any doubt this is the range-topping mode.
The interior benefits from the equipment list cherry-picking that defines the GTS specification. That means there are sports seats in leather, with Alcantara on many of the control surfaces, while the dashboard is topped by the clock that signifies the standard fitment of Porsche's Sport Chrono Pack. All familiar Boxster then, only with many of the usual tick-box items you'd like as standard.
Driving it 4.5/5
The Boxster remains one of the finest roadsters you can buy at any price point and the GTS specification only adds to its appeal. You'll not feel too aggrieved with a standard Boxster or Boxster S, but the GTS revisions finesse what's already a brilliant package into an even more appealing one. There's a small hike in output over the S, 15hp being added to the 3.4-litre engine's power, seeing it offer 330hp overall. Torque is up too, 10Nm of twist added to make 370Nm, all that allowing the manual GTS to reach 100km/h in 5.0 seconds from rest, or 4.7 seconds if you go for the PDK auto. That makes the GTS 0.1 seconds faster than the S in manual, or 0.3 seconds in the PDK thanks to launch control accessed via the Sport Plus button.
The PDK is good, but the manual, though slower, adds a layer of involvement to the drive that marks it out as a true great. That's in no small part aided by the standard Sports Exhaust, which signals each beautifully weighted and precise movement of the gear lever through its gate with a rousing note from behind. It'll flare the revs when downshifting in Sport Plus mode, aping perfect heel-and-toe shifts, though the pedals are well-spaced to do this for yourself should you want to.
The engine's low-rev response is remarkable enough, but wring it out and the final chase to the redline is hugely addictive. It's all fitted into one of the most accomplished, approachable and capable chassis out there. The steering is quick and precise, while the standard PASM suspension's ability to cope with road surfaces almost regardless of the quality of the tarmac remains deeply impressive. It takes the most ridiculous bumps and lumps to even hint at upsetting the Boxster's composure, its control at any speed among the very best, though pressing Sport on PASM does add a frequency to the suspension's work that upsets its fine balance between comfort and control.
The standard brakes are mighty; even repeated punishment on a hairpin-strewn mountain pass leaves them delivering repeated, confidence-inspiring stopping power. There's the option to add PCCB brakes, but you'd need to be a committed track day driver to need their additional power and fade resistance.
What you get for your money 4/5
All the bits you'd probably add to a standard Boxster S from the options list are included in the GTS. There's very little you need to add over the GTS's standard specification, though if you really want it to be the best roadster you can buy then it's worth going for Porsche's Torque Vectoring. There's satnav on the options list too, but as ever with Porsche it's not that great (looking old school and slow reacting) so save the money and buy a map. Speaking of money, because the PDK model sits in Band E, it's actually cheaper to buy and tax than the manual car.
The Boxster's Cayman GTS relative features the same engine, yet develops an additional 10hp and a further 10Nm of torque. There's nothing mechanically different, so liberating that extra power could easily be achieved by a clever technician and the correct laptop...
Porsche's Boxster has always been the choice open-topped car in the range, and the GTS only builds on that appeal. Specified almost exactly how you'd want it, with the added appeal of unique looks and the evocative GTS badge, it might be the most expensive Boxster out there, but it's also the best.