Porsche 718 Boxster GTS 4.0 2021 long-term review

Porsche 718 Boxster GTS 4.0 2021 long-term review

It doesn’t last. A few more miles and, as my synapses shed the recent memory of the GT3, the Boxster GTS comes into its own. Its relative deficit of width is the most obvious benefit; after the 911, the mid-engined Boxster feels like a Mazda MX-5, and that is to its credit almost everywhere you go. The ride quality, which felt borderline gloopy at first, is in truth sensationally well judged on British roads. Tighter suspension control might give a more thrilling sense of immediacy, but as the prickly GT3 demonstrates, that added tautness would wear thin in pretty short order.

This GTS set-up – which sets the body some 20mm lower than that of the regular Boxster – is an excellent compromise, and the car oh-so easily achieves a sense of flow and finesse. Interestingly, the gearshift also has a more enjoyable heft than that of the GT3 and – whoa – the cabin is quiet on the move by comparison, even with its canvas top.

Engine note? Alas, for sheer excitement, it’s true: there’s no contest. The musicality of the 911 GT3 motor’s ascent to its 9000rpm redline is unmatched by anything other than a Ferrari V12 or Lamborghini V10.

Yet the GTS, whose engine is also found in the 718 Cayman GT4 and Boxster Spyder models, isn’t horribly outclassed. This 395bhp 4.0-litre flat six may ‘only’ be a de-turboed, bored and stroked version of the 3.0-litre unit in the regular 911, and it may not be crammed with titanium components or have trick throttle bodies, but it has oodles of character and is clearly special in its own right. The bassy, broad gurgle at idle grows throughout the first half of the rev range, and the way this engine gathers speed, the intake bellowing as the needle passes first 5000rpm then 6000rpm, is just so creamy and forceful. With 311lb ft it’s only 36lb ft short of the GT3’s total, and it delivers that peak 1100rpm earlier.

It’ll be interesting to get to better know what is, for a smallish car, an unusually large engine, not least because it’s possibly the finest motor on sale for a sub-six-figure sum. Early impressions suggest it really does return the Boxster to ‘junior supercar’ territory.

On top of its £66,340 base price, RE20 KVH totes roughly £10,000 worth of options, notably an Alcantara interior and the Carmine Red paint. Some people will baulk at the idea of a £75,000 Boxster, but in the context of a marketplace where a base 911 Carrera costs £85,000 before options and the next closest rival – probably the Audi R8 Spyder, when you think about it – costs more than £120,000, that asking price is fair cop, making this a compelling package. But a perfect package? Not quite. Next time, we’re going to talk about gearing.