RE: Porsche 718 Cayman/Boxster GTS: Driven

RE: Porsche 718 Cayman/Boxster GTS: Driven

Thursday 30th November 2017

Porsche 718 Cayman/Boxster GTS: Driven

Six cylinders are conspicuous by their absence; precocious talent familiar as ever



This can of worms again then. Yes, the latest Cayman and Boxster GTS are four-cylinder cars, where their predecessors had six cylinders. Should you want half a dozen horizontally opposed pistons in your mid-engined Porsche, you'll have to wait until the next Spyder and GT4. Sorry. But just in case the message hadn't got through yet...

Ah, a Porsche in the sunshine - guess the problem...
Ah, a Porsche in the sunshine - guess the problem...
The good bits of these GTS models should be the good bits of every Porsche GTS model, specifically the chassis upgrades, styling tweaks and additional equipment. For the 718 cars that means standard Sport Chrono, PASM and a limited-slip differential, plus new 20-inch wheels, the familiar black styling details and some interior Alcantara. And also, ignoring the 'missing' cylinders if at all possible, these are still 365hp mid-engined Porsches - expectations are pretty high.

The driving begins in a very nicely specced Boxster: manual, ceramic brakes, carbon-backed seats. So never likely to be seen again. And it's all very pleasant, bar one thing: the noise. Perhaps it's a placebo effect, but this GTS seemed louder and the noise more wearisome than a regular 718 with a sports exhaust. Porsche says it lends the engine "an inimitable sonorous tone." We'd have to politely disagree, sadly.

Beyond that there's everything we've praised this Boxster for, in six- and four-cylinder form, just a tad sharper. The electric power steering is as good as it's ever been, the control weights are just so, and it feels fantastically agile. It's fast, too; say what you will about the flat-four turbo but it's never wanted for performance. Throttle response is great, better than any other comparable engine, and it doesn't really feel any slower than the old Boxster Spyder. It's just those are the points where you notice the noise most...

Having a roof masks the din a bit
Having a roof masks the din a bit
If time in the Boxster is limited to a few highway kilometres, then it's even more restricted with the Cayman: four laps of Ascari. Unsurprisingly, the little coupe - now with PDK to avoid any downshifting mishaps - is fantastic on circuit, a perfect reminder of the advantages the mid-engined Cayman has over its typically front-engined rivals.

It also shows off where the turbo engine has improved the Boxster and Cayman, adding torque lower down the rev range and challenging the chassis at points that weren't possible with the flat-sixes. With the now-standard limited-slip diff and torque vectoring, the car is more adjustable on the throttle than ever before - perhaps even more so than the Motorsport cars, because theses GTSes have less aggressive tyres. But it's friendly, accessible and approachable too, certainly not the words you would usually associate with oversteering mid-engined cars. It's so manageable and friendly in fact that a mild reprimanding from the instructor - for, er, exploring the car's balance - comes as a bit of surprise.

There's everything you would want from a track-orientated sports car here: it feels durable and resilient, able to lap for a long time, with handling that's engaging without being intimidating and a powertrain that delivers low-rpm torque, top-end power and flawless gearshifts. Unless you were willing to accept the compromises of using a Lotus, the Cayman GTS feels miles ahead dynamically of anything else for the money.

Course it's very good on track
Course it's very good on track
Of course the cynical amongst you will say that a regular Cayman S will do that with the right options ticked. And some may still prefer that option. But what the GTS offers - and what these models always have - is a package beyond just the dynamic gains, and quite an appealing one at that: lower than standard and on bigger wheels, both Cayman and Boxster look great, while the black accents - familiar though they are - do still work very well. And who doesn't like a nice Alcantara steering wheel?

Factor in that the £8,013 jump to a Cayman GTS is easily accounted for when PASM is £1,000, the cheapest 20-inch wheels on an S are £1,000 (the most expensive are £2,273) and Sport Chrono is another four figures and it's easy to recommend the GTS as the pick - yet again - of a Porsche range. That's without considering the extra power. Or the looks. Even before the GTS, both cars were the best handling models in their sector and that position is only strengthened now.

Better four-cylinder Boxster, but still four cylinders...
Better four-cylinder Boxster, but still four cylinders...
What neither of these GTS Porsches will do, however, is convince those detractors who say that a Cayman or Boxster should have six cylinders. That was arguably beyond their remit to begin with, but the simple fact is that these cars are a more appealing noise away from a five-star accolade, 10 out of 10 and a certificate from the teacher; further refined and honed than ever, and with that additional torque, they drive better than the six-cylinder versions. We live in hope that this can happen because the cars really are that close to supreme; if you can look (or hear) past the noise then there's more to recommend them than ever.

Inspired? Buy a Porsche 718 Boxster here


SPECIFICATION - PORSCHE 718 CAYMAN GTS

Engine: 2,497cc, flat-4 turbocharged
Transmission: 6-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 365@6,500rpm
Torque (lb ft): 309@1,900-5,500rpm (317@1,900-5,000rpm)
0-62mph: 4.6sec (4.1sec with Sport+)
Top speed: 180mph
Weight: 1,375kg (1,405kg)
MPG: 31.4 (NEDC combined) (34.4)
CO2: 205g/km (186g/km)
Price: £59,866 (PDK +£,2,303)

PORSCHE 718 BOXSTER GTS

Engine: 2,497cc, flat-4 turbocharged
Transmission: 6-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 365@6,500rpm
Torque (lb ft): 309@1,900-5,500rpm (317@1,900-5,000rpm)
0-62mph: 4.6sec (4.1sec with Sport+)
Top speed: 180mph
Weight: 1,375kg (1,405kg)
MPG: 31.4 (NEDC combined) (34.4)
CO2: 205g/km (186g/km)
Price: £61,727 (PDK +£2,303)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author
Discussion

_Superleggera_

Original Poster:

1,657 posts

128 months

Friday 1st December 2017
quotequote all
I’m just waiting for the 718 GT4.

Loyly

16,160 posts

90 months

Friday 1st December 2017
quotequote all
I heard one of these new Boxsters being revved hard for the first time a little while ago, I couldn't help but think it was a marvellous advert for the 981.

ogrodz

69 posts

51 months

Friday 1st December 2017
quotequote all
If the 781's were priced differently, i.e. around £40K rather than £60K+, I would be clambering to own one. The noise issue would be confined to "the consequence of progress" box and the conversation would be all about the chassis and handling and how these cars represent the best bang for the buck!

cowboyengineer

459 posts

45 months

Friday 1st December 2017
quotequote all
ogrodz said:
If the 781's were priced differently, i.e. around £40K
They are

Mac Sinclair

25 posts

22 months

Friday 1st December 2017
quotequote all
I think this turbo charging is a nonsense, normally aspirated engines can be just as clean and as powerful, my totally standard Merc 350 SL (I know what was I thinking) makes 306bhp from 3.5ltrs and when pushing about a 300kg heavier car still only emits 169 grams do CO2. So with a little tuning you could easily imagine getting up to 100bhp / ltr i.e. 350 bhp or so from a normally aspirated 6 cylinder. QED the 4 cylinder Porsche is a crime against, engineering, motoring and god, whoever she maybe.
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Tim bo

1,227 posts

71 months

Friday 1st December 2017
quotequote all
cowboyengineer said:
ogrodz said:
If the 781's were priced differently, i.e. around £40K
They are
Indeed. Standard 718 C retails at £42k.

bozzy.

48 posts

9 months

Friday 1st December 2017
quotequote all
Mac Sinclair said:
I think this turbo charging is a nonsense, normally aspirated engines can be just as clean and as powerful, my totally standard Merc 350 SL (I know what was I thinking) makes 306bhp from 3.5ltrs and when pushing about a 300kg heavier car still only emits 169 grams do CO2. So with a little tuning you could easily imagine getting up to 100bhp / ltr i.e. 350 bhp or so from a normally aspirated 6 cylinder. QED the 4 cylinder Porsche is a crime against, engineering, motoring and god, whoever she maybe.
Is the point not that it’s even lower with the 4 cylinder turbo, thereby lowering the brands average Co2 further and offsetting the Co2 of the bigger, high emission engines?

Tim bo

1,227 posts

71 months

Friday 1st December 2017
quotequote all
Objectively, GTS is the correct choice to make, as with the 981 predecessors. Unique styling cues, better dynamics as standard, and a power hike.

Subjectively, I think black accents and black wheels look ugly in general and in Porkers in particular, so I personally wouldn't go GTS.

The 718 S Cayman I bought I specced with the Sport Chrono, PASM, and 20" wheels, and came out £2k more expensive than the GTS, so it certainly makes sense if you like the GTS styling too.

Edited by Tim bo on Friday 1st December 07:52

willisit

2,085 posts

162 months

Friday 1st December 2017
quotequote all
They look great. I've yet to hear one being used in anger - just road/tyre noise, so I can't comment on the 4. I'm tempted to go try one, but I'd probably err on a 981 for depreciation's sake.

900T-R

20,085 posts

188 months

Friday 1st December 2017
quotequote all
TWENTY FRIGGING INCH wheels for a small roadster/coupé? eek

stuckmojo

1,877 posts

119 months

Friday 1st December 2017
quotequote all
Nope. I couldn't get away with that engine. I know it's irrational but so is the point of buying any sports car with to use on the road in the UK. It's an emotional, before rational, choice, and I'm out on this one.

Old Cayman GTS, please. I preferred the styling too.

David87

4,858 posts

143 months

Friday 1st December 2017
quotequote all
Never mind, I’ll just go and buy a 718 Spyder or GT4 when they’re available.

Oh no, wait a minute, it’ll be impossible. hehe

PhantomPH

2,967 posts

156 months

Friday 1st December 2017
quotequote all
As for 'specing an S to the same', yes you can (or even more as above), but if the 981 is anything to go by, you will lose much less in depreciation on the GTS than the 'equivalent' spec S, so....

900T-R said:
TWENTY FRIGGING INCH wheels for a small roadster/coupé? eek
Sign of the times. smile

This was mine - wheels were the same size as the Q5 behind it. Loved the look, tho:



Tim bo

1,227 posts

71 months

Friday 1st December 2017
quotequote all
Indeed, 20 inchers not the greatest for road comfort, but I think they look great.

I went with the turbos.


Porsche911R

14,679 posts

196 months

Friday 1st December 2017
quotequote all
_Superleggera_ said:
I’m just waiting for the 718 GT4.
do you want a Turbo one then :-)

I 8 a 4RE

37 posts

172 months

Friday 1st December 2017
quotequote all
"The driving begins in a very nicely specced Boxster: manual, ceramic brakes, carbon-backed seats. So never likely to be seen again."

Sign of the times, but what a shame.

I had spec-ed a 991.2 GTS with a manual and the sales guy nearly fell off his seat.
He told me my resale market would be very small as a result.

Main reason why I haven't bought yet... (and the rudeness of Porsche Reading which is a whole other story)

andy97

3,337 posts

153 months

Friday 1st December 2017
quotequote all
So, to sum up, great cars but the wrong noise. Therefore unloved?

Im looking forward to being able to afford a second hand one very soon, then, seeing as depreciation will be mega.

The 4 cylinder turbo engine doesnt bother me at all, but then i think the 944 turbo is one of the best cars Porshe ever built!

kett

32 posts

126 months

Friday 1st December 2017
quotequote all
4cyl vs 6cyl?

There seems to be a disconnect with motor journalism when the haloed S2000 4-cyl has become revered, whereas the 986 6-cyl has reached junk status.

Tbh I found the cacophony from the 6-cyl Boxster pretty underwhelming (even with Sports exhaust). Poise, balance and feel remain it’s strong merits.

I admire current incarnation a lot but the inevitable ‘yawn factor’ of ownership continues to be a put-off...

British Beef

1,105 posts

96 months

Friday 1st December 2017
quotequote all
stuckmojo said:
Nope. I couldn't get away with that engine. I know it's irrational but so is the point of buying any sports car with to use on the road in the UK. It's an emotional, before rational, choice, and I'm out on this one.

Old Cayman GTS, please. I preferred the styling too.
Agree.

At this price point and car type, engine sound is one of the most important senses the vehcile must arouse IMO.

To be honest it isnt just the number of cylinders, the current M3 retains the "right" number of cylinders, but sounds utterly drab compared to previous V8 and straight 6 iterations, both being NA.

Does this Porsche have the hifi system playing engine noises to help suplement the lack of acoustic invovlement ??


Riverside Red

636 posts

66 months

Friday 1st December 2017
quotequote all
Mac Sinclair said:
I think this turbo charging is a nonsense, normally aspirated engines can be just as clean and as powerful, my totally standard Merc 350 SL (I know what was I thinking) makes 306bhp from 3.5ltrs and when pushing about a 300kg heavier car still only emits 169 grams do CO2. So with a little tuning you could easily imagine getting up to 100bhp / ltr i.e. 350 bhp or so from a normally aspirated 6 cylinder. QED the 4 cylinder Porsche is a crime against, engineering, motoring and god, whoever she maybe.
Mercedes are just the same, I had a R172 SLK55 with a NA V8 pushing out over 420hp, doing over 30mpg and only 195 g/km what did they replace it with a 360hp V6 turbo in the SLC 43 iirc it emits only 178 g/km but with a bit of tuning the V8 could have easily matched it. I think the manufacturers just want to take the easy option.

There's no way I'd replace my 981 with the 718.......

Rr