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