Porsche Boxster, Cayman GTS driven

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IOL mot pic may16 Porsche Boxster GTS 1

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GTS spec brings a bit of extra power and agility to the mid-engined Boxster, seen here, and Cayman.

Mallorca, Spain - It stands for Gran Turismo Sport, and the first time the hedonistic badge was seen on a Porsche was way back in 1963, on the legendary 904 Carrera GTS.

Today the Stuttgart carmaker will tell you that the GTS moniker signifies sportier derivatives built for both road and track use – but at the world launch of the Boxster and Cayman GTS ranges last week it was also mentioned that the brand prefers moving away from the commonly-used R badge, with the previous-generation Cayman R a case in point.

It has taken two generations for the Boxster and Cayman ranges to get the nod from the engineers and product planners.

And yes, real under-the-skin effort has been put into making these latest offerings more appetising - making them (918 supercar aside) the brand’s quickest mid-engined production models.

The visual venom is extensive here and comes in the form of a revised front-end which includes smoked xenons (with Porsche’s Dynamic Light System as standard) and smoked daytime-running lights, revised spoiler lip, and black air scoops. These mods add 30mm to the length of these GTS cars.

The darker theme continues with the Cayman getting black window arches and the Boxster black roll-over bars; while at the rear both cars get smoked tail lights along with darkened tailpipes, diffuser and badges. The exclusive 20-inch Carrera-S alloys can be ordered in black too. Inside, buyers can expect most surfaces finished in alcantara and GTS branding on the headrests, dials and door sills. A cool option here is the trim strips in darkened aluminium.

IOL mot pic may16 Porsche Boxster GTS 2

The Boxster convertible is fun, but its hardtop sibling has a bit more power.

REAL VALUE

Visual clues aside, all the go-faster under-the-skin boxes have been ticked for Boxster and Cayman GTS buyers, and this is where the real value starts becoming evident.

Based on the S versions of the respective ranges, the same naturally-breathing 3.4-litre can be found ahead of the rear axle, but in either guise this flat six is now 11kW and 10Nm stronger.

This means that the Boxster GTS makes 243kW/370Nm and the Cayman GTS 250kW/380Nm. The additional power is attributed to software tweaking, with Porsche claiming slightly quicker 0-100km/h sprint times (4.7 seconds for the Boxster, 4.6 for the Cayman), higher top-ends (Boxster at 281km/h and Cayman at 285km/h), and a few seconds shaved off Nurburgring lap times.

Other little standard driver delights include the Sport Chrono Package which adds launch control and angrier driver modes (and an analogue stopwatch on the dash); while Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) throws in a 10mm lower ride height and varied stiffness and damping configurations to match those spicier driver modes. Hardcore buyers may still want Porsche’s Torque Vectoring System, which acts as an electronic rear limited slip-diff – but this is an option here.

HEAVY METAL SOUNDTRACK

IOL mot pic may16 Porsche Boxster GTS 3

Interiors of the new sports models are plush.

And what would a bad-ass GTS be without a heavy metal soundtrack? Yup, a sports exhaust (with wicked downshift throttle blips) is standard, and has been tweaked for even greater feline-scaring ability here. As usual, the exhaust can be primed with a dedicated button on the centre console or automatically when the Sport Plus driver mode is selected.

It’s hard to believe that a little Spanish island such as Mallorca has a racetrack, but it does, and quite a tricky one at that. It has more curves than Kate Upton, and just one longish piece that could hardly be classified as a straight. The Cayman GTS was the weapon handed over here, and where I thought that the Cayman S was pretty much sorted in the handling stakes, the GTS is just that little bit harder and sharper.

In terms of straight-line speed, you’d have to drive S and GTS cars back to back to feel a difference.

But what did become apparent in driving both Boxster and Cayman GTS versions on public roads over two days, was just how much more torsionally rigid and more of a driver’s tool the Cayman is. The engineers reckon the Cayman is 2.5 times more rigid than the Boxster, and it shows.

The tweaked exhaust in the GTS derivatives is also way louder than I remember in the S versions, and I wonder whether some would prefer it over longer runs with the flaps closed in the softer driver modes.

At R928 000 for the Boxster GTS and R998 000 for the Cayman GTS you’re spending R113k and R128k more respectively, versus their S nameplate counterparts.

If you look at the power gain and all the additional spec, the new range-topper becomes quite an attractive choice in either body guise. - Star Motoring

Follow Minesh Bhagaloo on Twitter.


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