The GTS gets a whole dang slew of standard upgrades, all for the better. While it may not look very different from the outside — the changes are evolutionary, not revolutionary — it’s a different beast under the sheet metal. With the GTS models, the drive is tauter and the car looks a lot meaner too, especially with the wider sheet metal and all kinds of aero styling. The GTS looks like a villain in the first Die Hard movie – sleek, angry and totally Euro.
There are a lot of standard features to write home about on the new GTS models. A new front fascia, bi-Xenon headlights, an interior resplendent in leather and Alcantara and trimmed in the finest carbon fiber you can weave, as well as some swell looking 20″ Carrera S Wheels.
The GTS comes with the Sport Chrono Package and Porsche Active Suspension Management with a 10mm lower suspension standard and, as an added bonus, a nice 15 horsepower bump over the “S” model counterparts. With the The 3.4-liter 6-cylinder boxer engine — as close to a perfect engine as we’ve had the chance to drive — producing 330 hp in the Boxster GTS and 340 hp in the Cayman GTS.
In either model, you can opt for the manual transmission or Porsche’s innovative double-clutch PDK gearbox, which, in sport-plus mode on the track, holds the gears longer and gives you some very precise shifts and, if you’re stuck in traffic driving through the canyons, gives you a free hand for drinking a latte or updating Waze.
We really love the two cars, and while the experience of the new GTS models is not like driving the rear-engine Porsche 911, it’s not supposed to be. What the Boxster and Cayman offer is really pure, unadulterated two-seater fun, as the mid-engine cars deliver near perfect balance and make for a ride that’s both playful and planted.
Unlike some of the mega-horsepower 911 variants out there – I’m looking at you 550 horsepower Turbo S — the mid-engine models aren’t going to scold you for driving beyond your limits or kick you back in your seat with brute force. Like The Dude, they just abide. Also, in L.A., where it’s better to look good than to feel good, the base model Boxster and Cayman are 30K less expensive than the 911s too.
Now, you may be asking, how is it to drive one of these GTS models?
Few things come close to surpassing the thrill of driving at the famed Laguna Seca race track, just over the Laureles Grade from Carmel. Both GTS models serve up an iconic track experience with a well-balanced, lithe ride. Behind the wheel of the six-speed manual Cayman GTS, the Gentleman Journalist had a smooth line though the track and felt the 340 hp wasn’t overpowering.
That’s not to say that mid-engine Porsches are for the faint at heart, as we had a chance to drive the Porsche 918 supercar from — base price, $845,000 — on the track at Laguna too (and shoot some video, see below)
The Cayman GTS with its $75,200 dollar price tag gives you one of the best price-to-awesome ratios on the market and looks just as good parked at the valet at Craig’s as bombing down the track; same goes for the $73,500 Boxster S (pictured). It’s everything you’d want in a two-seater Porsche, but with an air of exclusivity and power. A perfect car to sooth the driving soul and assuage the fears of not fitting in — an L.A. car in a nutshell.