By accident scheduling two totally different appointments for a similar time slot might be one thing all of us have carried out no less than a couple of times. In my case, that meant mistakenly reserving a pair of take a look at vehicles for a similar week late final yr. They usually could not have been extra totally different vehicles. I’ve already written in regards to the Toyota Venza—it’s an attractive and efficient hybrid crossover that charmed me far more than I expected after I drove from DC to upstate New York and again. I used to be already anticipating good issues from that week’s different automobile—a 2021 Porsche 718 Boxster GTS—but it, too, exceeded them.
The 718 Boxster is the entry level into the Porsche sports activities automobile vary, however there’s nothing entry-level in regards to the $88,900 GTS. It sits virtually on the high of the tree, between the cheaper, extra on a regular basis 718 Boxster S and the dearer 718 Spyder, a automobile with which it shares an engine, which on this case is a 4.0L flat-six, an engine that makes Porsche nerds get just a little weak on the knees.
Most of Porsche’s energy models have turned to turbocharging up to now few years—together with the lesser variants of the 718—however not this four-liter lump, which stays resolutely naturally aspirated. Put in within the GTS, it makes 394hp (294kW), 20hp lower than within the stripped-out Spyder. (Each GTS and Spyder make an an identical 309lb-ft/420Nm). Though the engine is not fairly as rev-happy within the GTS as within the Spyder, it is not far off—the torque peak is between 5,000 to six,500rpm, and peak energy arrives at 7,000rpm, with a 7,800rpm redline to name time on issues.
Porsche’s engine specialists have loads of experience tweaking flat-six engines, and their bag of methods right here features a dual-mass flywheel, cast high-strength metal crankshaft, a giant primary bearing, piezo-controlled direct gas injection, and a variable consumption system that enhances torque by altering the frequency of the air pulses that feed the cylinders. There’s additionally cylinder deactivation for low-speed, low-load conditions, which disables the spark to one of many two banks of cylinders to spice up gas effectivity. (The engine will alternate cylinder banks each 20 seconds on this mode so it is not simply the identical three cylinders being deactivated each time.)
Underlining the driver-focused nature of the GTS is the truth that the default transmission is a six-speed handbook, with Porsche’s PDK dual-clutch computerized as an possibility. Our take a look at automobile turned up with three pedals within the driver’s footwell, and the gearbox is a delight to make use of. The motion of the shift mechanism is clean and direct, and there is a rev-matching perform that blips the throttle on downshifts (which could be deactivated if you wish to heel-and-toe by yourself).
As you would possibly count on, gas effectivity will not be the GTS’ first precedence, even with stop-start and cylinder deactivation. The promise of 24mpg (9.8l/100km) on the freeway was one purpose for selecting the Venza for that lengthy, boring drive.
The dearth of adaptive cruise management additionally factored into my determination—it is out there as an possibility, nevertheless it’s one which Porsche did not add to the demonstrator that we drove. And you’ll add the light-weight single-piece bucket seats to that record as properly. These had been implausible at holding me in place throughout spirited pre-dawn drives, however I discover they could be a little too slim for my shoulders, and the shortage of padding counted towards them within the context of a 13-hour drive. Once you take into consideration that the bucket seats price $5,900, it looks as if an possibility it’s best to solely choose in case you plan to spend so much of time together with your GTS at monitor days.
Boxster-lovers have lamented that the two-seat convertible left behind Porsche’s iconic naturally aspirated flat sixes for turbocharged flat fours when the 718 debuted in 2016. The return of six-cylinder energy and no turbocharging provides a way of event to what was already a reliable sports activities automobile. However then that applies to the Boxster Spyder, too. That automobile’s MSRP is perhaps $7,400 dearer, however the distinction can disappear fairly rapidly when you begin ticking packing containers on Porsche’s possibility record, and the Spyder does get some distinctive bits like a light-weight folding roof that solely heighten the drama. For many who can afford both, it should be a pleasant dilemma to have.
Itemizing picture by Porsche