2018 Porsche 718 Boxster GTS Review

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First introduced in 1996 as the company’s entry-levelsports car, the Porsche Boxster is now in its third generation, which was launched in 2012. Redesigned to include styling cues from the 911 and 918 Spyder, the third-gen Boxster also received a new, more rigid chassis, revised engine, and a small weight reduction compared to its predecessor. The engine lineup included three flat-six units at first, but this changed in 2016 when a comprehensive facelift replaced them with smaller, turbocharged flat-four powerplants. The update also brought a new name, with the “718” denomination added to the “Boxster” badge as a tribute to Porsche iconic race car from the late 1950s.

With both the base model and the higher-performance S version already in showrooms, Porsche has two more variants to launch before the fourth-generation car steps in to replace the current one. The models in question are the GTS and the Spyder, and the former has already been spotted testing on public roads.

Not much is officially known about the upcoming 718 Boxster GTS and the test car doesn’t look quite ready to hit the assembly line, but the its design isn’t much of a mystery given the fact that we already know what the base and S versions look like. However, the engine is a complete mystery at this point with two scenario being discussed in recent months. Will the GTS continue to use the naturally aspirated six-cylinder or will it get a turbocharged flat-four? How much extra power will it get over the Boxster S? These are the two most important questions that revolve around the new GTS and I plan to answer them in the review below.

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Exterior

The spy shots don’t provide too many hints about the roadster’s design, but if the previous model is any indication, the new GTS should get a more aggressive front fascia with larger air intakes below the headlamps and a wider lower grille for improved cooling and aerodynamics. Although the prototype doesn’t have the correct bumper yet, the added spoiler lip suggests Porsche is already testing the car for downforce. All these extra features should be finished in dark, matte grey for a more menacing appearance compared to the standard model.

The new GTS should get a more aggressive front fascia with larger air intakes below the headlamps.

Around back, look for a more aggressive air diffuser with vertical fins and a redesigned exhaust. The GTS will most definitely keep its center-mounted exhaust, but the rectangular outlet seen on the standard Boxster will probably be replaced by a twin-pipe layout similar to the S version. The redesigned taillights with 3D LED technology and the black strip with “Porsche” lettering between them will give the GTS a more aggressive look. The beefed-up roadster should also get a couple of new paint colors and new, lighter wheel designs.

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THE COMPETITION

Thanks to the new 911-inspired styling, the Boxster GTS wil be one hot roadster, but that’s not to say that the competition doesn’t have attractive design. Introduced for the 2018 model year, the Audi TT-RS (left) sports the company’s latest styling language, which is based on the previous design but incorporates more angular lines and a sportier stance overall. Although not as sleek as the Boxster, the TT-RS benefits greatly from the massive “Singleframe” grille and big bumper intakes, which give it the kind of menacing look you wouldn’t want to see in your rear-view mirror. The carbon-look mirror caps, fairly big spoiler, and beefed-up wheel arches also contribute to its race-inspired design.

The BMW M2 (right) is equally impressive and the Convertible model, which has yet to be unveiled in production form, will have the same attractive features as the Coupe. Also a bit more massive looking compared to the Boxster, the M2 is essentially a smaller M4with better proportions. The more compact size also makes it look lighter compared to the bloated M4, and many even went as far as to consider it a spiritual successor to the first-generation BMW M3. While the M2 appears to be a sportier alternative to the TT-RS, it’s not that easy to choose it against the Boxster as the Porsche has a completely different layout with the engine in the rear. Some say that the Boxster has the engine where it should be on all sports cars, so it’s mostly a matter of taste.

porsche-718-boxster-8_800x0w

Interior

The interior of the upcoming GTS is still a mystery as of this writing, but the facelifted, standard Boxster model provides plenty of hints as to what we’ll find inside. Much like the previous GTS, the revised cabin will be heavily based on the Boxster S, which means it will benefit from the new dashboard with revised A/C vents and an updated instrument cluster. Also look for a steering wheel with new spokes and new center section for a closer resemblance with the one seen in the 911.

Porsche 718 Boxster

Porsche will also offer some upgrades in the technology department.

In addition to these features borrowed from the regular model, the GTS should get Alcantara on the steering wheel and center console armrests, new leather/Alcantara upholstery for the seats, optional carbon-fiber trim, and bespoke displays for the instrument cluster and infotainment system. Porsche will also offer some upgrades in the technology department. The standard Porsche Communication Management system will get cell phone preparation, audio interfaces, and a 110-watt Sound Package Plus, as well as a navigation module with voice control.

THE COMPETITION

In recent years, both Audi and BMW have positioned themselves in the premium segment with just about every nameplate, and the TT and 2 Series are no exceptions from this rule. Much like GTS compared to the standard Boxster, the TT-RS and M2 borrow the interior layouts and features of the base models, but get several extra features that make them unique and even more luxurious.

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The Audi (left), for instance, is enhanced by sportier features such as red accents and stitching on numerous elements, “RS” badges, added leather, and a revised instrument cluster in addition to all the goodies that come with range-topping TT models. The sportiness of the TT-RS is further enhanced by the carbon-fiber and aluminum trim on the center console and door panels, the sports pedals, and the bolstered seats. The coupe is also loaded with high-end technology, but there’s still room for options like MMI Navigation Plus with MMI Touch, Audi Connect module with Wi-Fi hotspot, and a Bang-Olufsen audio system.

The M2 (right) sports the oldest interior design in this niche, but that’s not to say it is dated. When it arrives, the Convertible should get the same goodies as the Coupe, including the Dakota leather with blue contrast stitching, carbon-fiber dashboard inserts, an M-spec gear shifter, and bespoke dials and needles for the instrument cluster, as well as a 200-mph speedometer. Other highlights include M logos on the tachometer and door sill plates, and the GoPro and M Laptimer apps. The GoPro app allows the driver to film their laps at the race track, while the M Laptimer records the car’s speed, longitudinal and lateral acceleration, engine’s speed, steering angle and fuel consumption.

Drivetrain

With no official information as to what will motivate the upcoming GTS, it’s not yet clear whether the roadster will continue to use the naturally aspirated flat-six or get the new turbocharged, four-cylinder engine. But, given the fact that the previous model was technically a beefed-up S model, the new GTS is likely to arrive with a 2.5-liter flat-four under the rear lid. The engine is brand-new and made its debut in the Boxster S for the 2017 model year with 350 horsepower and 309 pound-feet of torque. Given that the outgoing GTS received only 15 extra horses, I’m not expecting Porsche to go wild with the new car’s output, but the GTS should get around 375 and 320 pound-feet to play with.

Porsche 718 Boxster GTS

The new GTS is likely to arrive with a 2.5-liter flat-four under the rear lid.

Both manual and PDK transmissions will be offered, with the latter to provide the quickest sprints. The extra oomph and the revised transmission should shave at least a tenth-second off the Boxster S’ already impressive 0-to-60 time. Expect the GTS to hit the benchmark in 4.3 seconds with the manual, 4.1 clicks with the PDK, and 3.9 seconds with the PDK and Sport Chrono package. All told, it should be at least a half-second quicker than its predecessor in just about any configuration. Top speed should also increase significantly, from 175 to 180 mph for the manual version and from 177 to 182 mph for the PDK-equipped car.

Further updates will be made to the chassis, in the form of new suspension components, some likely borrowed form the 911, and more powerful brakes. The revised, stiffer suspension will deliver greater agility, while the electric steering system should be more direct. The Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM), which will be a standard feature, will lower the roadster’s ride height and offers the perfect balance between ride comfort suitable for long road trips and stiffness necessary for spirited driving on back roads or race tracks.

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COMPETING PERFORMANCE

The new TT-RS Roadster carries over with Audi’s award-winning 2.5-liter five-cylinder, but a handful of upgrades make it more powerful than ever before. Now featuring a lighter construction, reduced internal friction, and increased power delivery, the turbocharged unit delivers a whopping 400 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torque. That’s significantly more than what I expect the Boxster GTS to get, and it enables the German roadster to sprint from 0 to 60 mph just as fast, in 3.9 seconds. On the other hand, the Audi falls behind when it comes to top speed, limited to 155 mph standard and 173 mph upon special request. Moving over to the M2 Convertible, expect it to arrive with the same turbocharged, 3.0-liter inline-six as the coupe, and motivated by the same 365 horses and 343 pound-feet of twist. But, despite being only marginally less powerful than the Boxster S, the M2 Convertible will be notably slower, with the 0-60 mph sprint likely to be achieved in 4.3 seconds with the automatic transmission. The manual will be even slower, needing 4.5 ticks to get to the same speed. In case you’re wondering what makes the M2 slower, the main culprit is the extra weight.

Audi TT-RS Roadster BMW M2 Convertible Porsche 718 Boxster GTS
Engine 2.5-liter five-cylinder 3.0-liter inline-six 2.5-liter flat-four (est.)
Horsepower 400 HP 365 HP 375 HP (est.)
Torque 354 LB-FT 343 LB-FT 320 LB-FT (est.)
0-60 mph 3.9 seconds 4.3 seconds TBA
Top Speed 155 mph 155 mph TBA
Curb Weight 3,196 LBS TBA TBA

Safety

Just like the standard Boxster, the GTS will feature full-sized driver and passenger airbags which are inflated in two stages, depending on the severity and type of accident. The car will also be fitted with driver and passenger knee airbags. Additionally, there will be the Porsche Side Impact Protection System (POSIP), which comprises side impact protection elements in the doors and two airbags on each side. An integral thorax airbag is located in each seat side bolster, while the door panels contain an upwards-inflating head airbag. Finally, each roadster will feature a front roll-over protection element made from super-high-strength steel and rear roll-over bars located behind the seats made from an aluminium and steel composite. These are supposed to enhance protection in the event of a crash, especially a situation when the car rolls over.

Prices

Porsche 718 Boxster GTS

With the production model still a few months away, there’s no word as to how much it will cost, but I expect the facelifted GTS to cost a bit more than the outgoing model given that prices for the Boxster and Boxster S have increase by more than $3,000. The previous GTS came with a 19-percent premium over the Boxster S and it’s safe to assume that the upcoming model will fetch something similar. The 718 Boxster S starts from $68,400, which means that the 718 Boxster GTS could cost around $81,500, some $5,000 more than its predecessor.

COMPETING PRICES

The TT-RS Roadster has yet to cross the pond to the U.S., but it should be significantly more affordable than the Porsche once it arrives. In Europe, the Roadster starts from €69,200, which should be almost €10,000 less that what the Boxster GTS is expected to fetch. In North America, the beefed-up could start from around $70,000. The M2 Convertible will be even more affordable than the GTS. With the Coupe priced from $51,000, the drop-top is expected to come in at $56,000 before options, a whopping $25,000 less than the Porsche.

Porsche 718 Boxster $56,000
Porsche 718 Boxster S $68,400
Porsche 718 Boxster GTS $81,500 (est.)
Audi TT-RS Roadster $70,000 (est.)
BMW M2 Convertible $56,000 (est.)

Competition

JAGUAR F-TYPE

Jaguar F-Type

The F-Type may be a bit longer and wider than the Boxster and uses a front-engined lineup instead of a mid-engined configuration, but it’s one of the best options you have besides the Audi TT-RS and BMW M2 in this small niche. Launched in 2013 and regarded as the vehicle that revived Jaguar, the F-Type is available with many drivetrains, starting with a supercharged V-6 that’s good for 340 or 380 horsepower. But, even though the F-Type S is as powerful as the Boxster GTS, it’s a full second slower due to all the extra weight. To get a similar 0-to-60 mph sprint, you’re going to have to look at the R version, which comes with a 5.0-liter, supercharged V-8 rated at a whopping 550 horsepower and 502 pound-feet of torque. On the other hand, the V-8 model is an all-wheel-drive model, whereas the Boxster is RWD only. If you can settle for the slower acceleration of the V-6 cars, the F-Type is a more affordable choice at $61,400 for the base model and 79,100 for the S. The R version comes in at $105,400, which makes it far more expensive than the Boxster GTS.

Conclusion

Porsche 718 Boxster GTS

The facelift that Porsche developed for the third-generation Boxster brought important changes not only to the current model, but the entire nameplate as well. I’m obviously talking about the turbocharged flat-four engine, which is very likely to find its way into the GTS too. This change alone is huge for the GTS, which will ditch the naturally aspirated engine for the first time since it was created. Much like Boxster and Boxster S, the GTS will benefit from more power, significantly better performance, and enhanced fuel economy. Naturally, some purists won’t agree with the switch and to be honest I’m not too happy about it either, but turbocharging is the future and Porsche has no choice but to use forced induction in order for its drivetrain to remain reliable and fuel efficient.

LOVE IT

  • More power and better performance
  • Turbo engine will enhance fuel economy
  • Sportier exterior and new features inside
LEAVE IT

  • Pricier than most competitors

(topspeed.com, https://goo.gl/JrcMxp)

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