The new Porsche GTS twins are here to make you fall for the 718 | Top Gear
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The new Porsche GTS twins are here to make you fall for the 718

Been underwhelmed by the Cayman’s boxer engine? Here, have more power

Published: 17 Oct 2017

Since the Porsche Boxster and Cayman swapped flat-sixes for turbocharged four-cylinder boxer engines, and had a historically dubious ‘718’ connotation applied to their name, they’ve not wanted for speed or poise, but some character and sense of occasion has been sorely lacking. 

Meanwhile, Porsche’s GTS models have a habit of being the sweet spot where engineers tee up the finest qualities of Stuttgart’s finest, for usefully less money than the GT-kind. Even with its own controversially turbocharged engine, a 911 Carrera 2 GTS with a manual gearbox is possibly the greatest sports car on Earth. A Macan GTS is as good as fast SUVs come. You can see where this is going.

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Yup, it’s GTS time for the unloved 718 twins. Handily, the numbers for both the 718 Boxster GTS and 718 Cayman GTS are all identical, except for one we’ll come to later. So you’ll be wanting said specs…

The mid-mounted 2.5-litre, four-cylinder boxers have been treated to a new intake, and the improved breathing is complimented by what Porsche cryptically calls an ‘optimised’ turbocharger. Power is only up by 15bhp versus the 718 S version, but GTSs have never been all about power. 

Even so, Porsche is keen to point out these cars are 35bhp healthier than the old, flat-six Cayman and Boxster GTS, which were about as good as sports cars got, in the days before our tiny feeble minds were exposed to the Cayman GT4.

While torque has only climbed by 7lb ft (to 317lb ft, maths fans), a diesel-like 1,900-5,000rpm boost band means whether you’ve got the six-speed manual or optional seven-speed PDK, the 718 GTS is fast. Engage the paddleshifter’s launch control and 4.1 seconds later, you’re past 62mph. 

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Both coupe and cabrio top out at 180mph. That’s only 3mph quicker than the 718 S, but trimming 0.4sec from the 0-62mph time is a right old chunk of time. You’ll need the mother of all F-Type SVRs to keep on terms with a well-driven GTS.

But GTS means more than just power. It also means handling nerdery. Here, it comes in the shape of a 10mm ride height drop and comfy/hard suspension settings, the Sport Chrono pack (stopwatch on the dash, sportier modes for the engine) torque-vectoring to send power where it’s needed in the corners, and a limited-slip diff to override that and widdle all the excess power out of tortured rear tyres. If you’re a yobbo. But Caymans (and Boxsters) tend to reward a more accurate approach to driving. These are sports cars for the serious. People so into the subject they’ll nod sagely at the new bumpers, the tinted front and rear light units, and the Alcantara-covered cabin. And then attempt to wow their Porsche Owners Club friends with the data from the Porsche Track Precision App, which in no way encourages pushing the limits of talent on track for the sake of showing off.

So, to the numbers that aren't the same for both Cayman and Boxster. Since 718 became a thing, the cars swapped places, so the soft-top’s more expensive. The Cayman GTS costs £59,866, and the Boxster GTS £61,727. With all that extra fine-driving kit on board as standard, they’re better value for sure, but is that enough to convert any non-believers out there?

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