Porsche’s mid-engine sports coupe is stronger and even sportier in GTS specification.

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Porsche’s mid-engine sports coupe is stronger and even sportier in GTS specification.

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WHEN the turbocharged 2.5-litre 718 Cayman S and its Boxster roadster sibling are already a hoot to drive, what more can we expect from the top-dog GTS editions? Sharper handling and faster track times, of course!

In the 718 Cayman/Boxster GTS, the 2.5-litre turbo flat-4 engine from the S version has been reworked with higherairflow intake ducts and optimised variable turbine geometry (VTG) to practically eliminate turbo-lag. Power and torque are up 35hp and 60Nm over the previous, naturally aspirated 3.4-litre flat-6 Cayman/Boxster GTS.

Interestingly, both GTS Porsches are power-rated at 365hp, with maximum torque of 430Nm – just 15hp and 10Nm more than their S siblings. That’s not a whole lot more ponies nor twisting power.

Has Porsche already maxed out the potential of their 2.5-litre flat-4 boosted engine without blowing a gasket? Will Porsche be able to shoehorn its 911 Carr era’s twin-turbo flat-6 into the 718 pair to create even more track-focused GT4 variants? We will just have to wait and see what else is next for the 718 Boxster/Cayman.

Curiously, the rag-top Boxster is no heavier than the Cayman, both weighing in at 1405kg. And for the first time, the two sports cars are also identical in their engine tuning, sprint timing (4.3 seconds) and top speed (290km/h).

The quicker performance, improved fuel efficiency and lower CO2 emissions are all achieved with the 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox (PDK), rendering the 6-speed manual not only old-school but also unnecessary.

For instance, with PDK and Sport+, the 4.1sec acceleration from standstill to 100km/h is noticeably faster than the previous Cayman/Boxster GTS, by 0.5 and 0.6 of a second respectively. The top speed of the two newcomers is also higher than what the last GTS pair can do, by 7km/h and 11km/h respectively.

In terms of equipment, the GTS gets as standard all of the stuff which is optional on the S and non-S 718s, such as the Sport Chrono Package with Porsche Stability Management (PSM) Sport and launch control, Porsche Torque Vectoring with a mechanical rear differential lock, and Porsche Active Suspension Management which lowers the car by 10mm compared with the S model.

All of these are primed for that ultimate track experience.

With the Sport Chrono Package hooked up to the Porsche Communications Management (PCM), you even get a smartphone-enabled Porsche Track Precision app thrown in, to analyse your track runs. There are 130 predefined racetracks loaded in the app, and they include the Johor and Sepang circuits.

Visually, the GTS duo are differentiated from their less racy 718 siblings by a Sport Design front apron, tinted headlights and tail-lights, 20- inch (instead of 19-inch) wheels, and “GTS” logos. Everything, including the centrally positioned exhaust tailpipes, has a black colour theme to mirror the cars’ sportier intent.

In typical GTS fashion, both the Cayman and Boxster receive a generous application of Alcantara in place of the standard leather trim. Even the figure-hugging, powered sports seats are finished in the same suede material, further emphasising the duo’s track focus.

I am able to appreciate the more incisive turn-ins and the faster getaways from every twisty mountain bend encountered, thanks to the sharp steering response, prodigious torque from low revs, and the fine chassis balance of the mid-engine two-seater. The ride on 20- inch wheels is tolerably firm.

At the Ascari Circuit, I do a few laps in the 718 Cayman GTS, with a 911 Carrera GTS to set the pace. What the junior Porsche loses out on the straights, it claws back in the corners, keeping up with the more potent pace car. Clearly, the Cayman GTS is meant for hot-lap twists and turns.

Some may miss the 911’s boisterous flat-6 soundtrack, but the 718’s flat-4 turbo motor is no less sportysounding, with a tenor timbre that pops and crackles in chorus on the overrun.

For the record, a stock 718 Cayman GTS completed the 20.83km Nürburgring lap in 7 minutes and 40 sec onds.

That’s 13 seconds quicker than the old Cayman GTS and on a par with the previousgeneration Cayman GT4, which is a special manual model tuned for track work, but merely 2 seconds ahead of the 718 Cayman S.

Back on real roads, the Cayman GTS is more precise than the Cayman S when changing direction and more spritely when accelerating, but not by much, in my opinion.

There is barely 0.1 of a second separating the GTS and S when going from zero to 100km/h, and just 0.6 of a second separating them when going from zero to 200km/h. That’s how close the current Cayman S can get to the new Cayman GTS.

Not so close, though, is the $53k price jump to the GTS model. No matter, because the 718 GTS pair will still find favour with hard-driving petrolheads who like to hit the racetrack, where the Porsches’ extra boost and split-second acceleration advantage could make a difference when gunning for the chequered flag or a better lap time.

There is Alcantara aplenty in the latest GTS cockpit, plus the standard-fit Sport Chrono Package.
There is Alcantara aplenty in the latest GTS cockpit, plus the standard-fit Sport Chrono Package.
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ENGINE 2497cc, 16-valves, flat-4, turbocharged

MAX POWER 365hp at 6500rpm

MAX TORQUE 430Nm at 1950-5000rpm

POWER TO WEIGHT 259.8hp per tonne

GEARBOX 7-speed dual-clutch with manual select

0-100KM/H 4.3 seconds

TOP SPEED 290km/h

CONSUMPTION 12.2km/L (combined)

CO2 EMISSION 186g/km

PRICE EXCL. COE $385,688 (after $20k VES surcharge)

Compared to the 718 Cayman S, the GTS provides greater cornering precision and slightly higher performance.
Compared to the 718 Cayman S, the GTS provides greater cornering precision and slightly higher performance.
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