Before we discuss the process of driving this unusually tactile mid-engined coupé, you need to establish how you feel about a four-cylinder sports car that costs £76,000.
Granted, our test car's figure is some way in excess of the GTS's £59,886 base price and is chiefly down to its superbly crisp composite brakes (£5117), the perhaps overly firm embrace of its optional bucket seats (£2316), a fashionably ordinary exterior hue known as Crayon (£1658) and crystal-clear LED headlights that adapt their gaze for oncoming traffic (£1397). Nevertheless, for many that kind of money should still bequeath at least half a dozen pistons.
Not that this 2.5-litre boxer engine has ever wanted for raw performance, and for this application a new intake duct and ‘optimised’ turbocharger raise its output to 361bhp – 14bhp over the £51,850 Cayman S. For manual cars, the 0-62mph time remains at 4.6sec, although top speed is nudged up to 180mph – not bad for the baby of Porsche’s sports car line-up. PDK models have an identical top speed, but such an absurdly quick ’box shaves 0.3sec from the sprint to 62mph.
Torque of 310lb ft represents a negligible increase (PDK models tout 317lb ft), but that it arrives at 1900rpm and only begins to fade away at 5000rpm gives the GTS the breadth required to take apart just about any stretch of road you care to fire it down, not to mention vast day-to-day usability. This despite the fact that its six gear ratios could still do with being a little more closely acquainted with one another, particularly as the markedly oversquare four-pot likes to spin out all the way to its 7500rpm redline.
That’s a small niggle, though, because this car’s chassis is world-class. All GTS models get PASM adaptive dampers that drop the ride height 10mm, although our example’s Sports suspension (£168) doubles that. Given the 20in wheels on which this car sits – borrowed from the 911 Carrera S – that might give cause for concern, but on British roads you’d never really suspect the presence of pruned springs. Traction, meanwhile, is immense.
The Cayman GTS's jive is characterised by the near immediacy with which the body’s vertical movements remain in step with the road and the sympathy of the interchange from bump to rebound. It feels considerably tauter than the equivalent 911, but with only a small trade-off in pliancy – something that makes the absence of any significant jostling in the suspension all the more miraculous.
The electromechanical steering also deserves special mention – it will feel breathtakingly precise to the uninitiated, and with such an unflappable platform from which to operate lends the driving experience a purity uncommon even for mid-engined machines. There’s a notable absence of inertia as the nose flatly darts through direction changes, which is an impressive as it is perturbing if you enjoy – depend on, perhaps – explicit weight transfer to feel you’re getting the most out of a chassis.