From £38,81010
Go-faster Boxster renders the Boxster S entirely redundant, but not the slower but still sweet basic model

Our Verdict

Porsche Boxster

Does bigger mean better for Porsche’s third-generation Boxster?

Andrew Frankel Autocar
1 September 2014

What is it?

The new top-range Porsche Boxster, a car that gets the hallowed GTS badge slapped on its rump - first used by the iconic 904GTS half a century ago - and for which Porsche is asking only an additional £5840.

In Porsche terms £5840 is not a lot of money. You can spend over half that much just choosing metallic paint, sat nav and a digital radio from the Boxster’s options list. But that’s also the price Porsche is asking to trade up from a standard Boxster S to this new GTS model.

In pure equipment terms it seems there is very little choice to be made here: if you gave a Boxster S the Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM), 20-inch rims, the Sport Chrono Pack, sports seats and dynamic headlights the GTS offers as standard, you’d already have burned through almost all the additional money.

That’s without considering the GTS’s additional 15bhp, 10lb ft of torque, unique suspension tune and standard active engine mounts. 

The GTS also comes with a mildly revised front bumper and rear valence of the squint-and-you’ll-see-it variety.

It costs £52,879 which might seem like a lot for Boxster but really isn’t very much at all when you consider it’s £30,000 less than Porsche will charge you for the cheapest 911 cabrio, a car powered by near enough the same engine but is slower because of its extra weight, whatever the official figures might say.

The other reason for choosing a GTS over an S is perhaps less rational, but no less real for that. The very existence of the GTS demotes the S from the top of the range offering to a middle order car, and for convertible buyers who like not only to be seen, but to be seen in the best, that’s a privilege for which £5840 may seem like a very small price to pay.

What's it like?

You knew already that this is a fine car. Only a truly incompetent car company could do so little to a Boxster S and spoil it, and that company could not have made the Boxster S in the first place. But unlike others I don’t see it a car transformed.

When the standard is set so high, you’re already so deep ino the zone of diminishing marginal returns that it’s hard to see how giving Bosch another chip to slot into its engine management and some well judged suspension tweaks could make such a different.

Think of it instead as an optimised Boxster, doing all those things the S does so well, and doing them just that tiny bit better. The engine is a little sharper at the top end, yet seemingly even more flexible in the mid-range, the chassis just that little bit more taut and accurate.

How much of this is the PASM and how much is the engine mounts would be interesting to know: in the 911 the active mounts make a clear difference, but in a mid-engined car? I expect they are less effective.

Either way, this is still a scintillating car to drive and for those who appreciate such things, rewarding and responsive in way more powerful rival Audis, BMWs and Mercedes could not countenance. 

Yet it could be better still. It is frustrating that such a pure sports car has gearing such that it will reach nearly 120mph with half its gears still to go, while even with such long legs fuel consumption is poor and there’s still not quite enough leg-room for tall drivers. 

Should I buy one?

None of these issues remotely resembles a deal breaker. Indeed what the GTS actually does best is to make far easier the business of choosing a Boxster.

Now we can dismiss the S, the choice is to spend less than £40k on the sweet and deliciously delicate standard car or over £50k on the serious driving weapon that is the GTS. And that is one question to which there is no such thing as a wrong answer.

Porsche Boxster GTS

Price £52,879; 0-62mph 5.0sec; Top speed 175mph; Economy 31.4mpg; CO2 211g/km; Kerb weight 1420kg; Engine flat six, 3436cc, petrol; Installation longitudinal, mid-mounted, red; Power 325bhp at 6100rpm; Torque 273lb ft at 4500rpm; Gearbox 6-speed manual

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Comments
7

1 September 2014
to make me chop in my 4k miles one year old S but a bargain compared to what I paid! I'm not sure about the gearing comments. I never feel they are a problem on the road and think if they were lowered the whole experience would be more "busy" and less day to day useable. I wonder what Porsche planners are gong to do with the Boxster/Cayman twins. Assume that they could easily build a faster race car than the current Carrera Cup 911 for example -but equally sure they won't do that. A GT3 Cayman would perhaps be the best possible Porsche - and I'd have my name on the list in seconds - but not sure I'll ever see one.

1 September 2014
How Porsche get away with strangling a 911 engine only to give each new model another 10bhp I will never know. No doubt Boxster and Cayman owners would argue that a strangled 911 engine is better than a fully functional Audi (or whatever) engine. But it looks like a very cynical approach from Porsche to bamboozle buyers.

If only they could stop protecting the 911 and let the engineers show us what they can really do with the Boxster/Cayman.

1 September 2014
It makes me laugh how some of you believe that the Boxter / Cayman is "compromised" because it's so near to the 911!
They're different cars and even if the numbers end up matchingt the bigger sibling that people will stop buying 911s...
I see the Boxter as a perfect entry level sports car. The 911, for me again, has always been a marmite car so if I like it I'll buy it whatever the competition does.
The base R8 is a much better car for the ordinary man than the 911, but I see more Porsches... Perception is key, so I cannot see Porsche dropping the ball onthe Cayman to protect the 911.
But that's just me...

1 September 2014
I wonder why bigger wheels are always thought of as better ? I would worry about 20" rims on UK roads. Otherwise a default choice for my car collection, when I win the lotto. :-)

1 September 2014
WTF is going on with the styling on these cars? That front is starting to seriously resemble a Toyota MR2, circa 2000. And that's not good.

2 September 2014
michael knight wrote:

WTF is going on with the styling on these cars? That front is starting to seriously resemble a Toyota MR2, circa 2000. And that's not good.

That MR2 was a Boxster rip-off in the first place!

-------- 

I'm The Ωmega Man, always talking to myself

2 September 2014
The GTS comes with PASM as standard, but the interior shot suggests that you don't get a PASM button... In the "S" with PASM, the button allows you to switch off the stiffer suspension, even when Sport Plus mode is engaged, to allow you to opt for a more supple ride. It doesn't look like you can switch it off in the GTS.

As for 20" alloys, these are certainly no issue in my Boxster S with PASM. Indeed the ride is much better than in my old Audi TT on 19" alloys.

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