Porsche’s sports car rivals should be seriously worried. Not content to rest on its laurels, the brand has decided to improve our favourite roadster – the Boxster – by adding a whole range of performance upgrades and three new letters across the boot: GTS.
They stand for ‘Gran Turismo Sports’ and represent the flagship model of each range. So, this new Boxster follows in the footsteps of the Cayenne and Panamera GTS, except of course its two-seater layout should make it more fun than either of those two larger cars.
Essentially, the GTS ticks every desirable option box and fits it as standard. The kit list includes Porsche's adaptive (PASM) suspension, a set of dynamic engine mounts, the Sport Chrono Pack (which includes a launch control system), a sports exhaust system and a subtly upgraded interior.
Exterior styling tweaks include a set of 20-inch gloss black alloys, black headlight surrounds and a new front bumper and rear light cluster, all to help the GTS stand out from the other models in the Boxster line-up.
What is the 2014 Porsche Boxtser GTS like to drive?
Utterly exceptional. Few - if any - other sports cars manage to blend the supple ride and everyday usability of the Boxster with such an incredibly high level of handling precision.
The 3.4-litre six-cylinder engine in the GTS might get only an extra 15bhp and 7lb ft of torque compared with the standard Boxster S, but it feels stunningly quick on the road. There is a real step up in aggression near the top of the rev range - particularly between the peak power output at 6700rpm and the 7400rpm redline.
Our car came fitted with the optional seven-speed PDK automatic gearbox, which is superb, flicking through the ratios with real precision. Fitted with this optional transmission – and with the standard launch control mode activated – the dash from 0-62mph takes just 4.7 seconds. That's faster than a 911 Cabriolet.
The GTS comes with adaptive dampers as standard, which drop the ride height by 10mm, but also allow the driver to choose between normal and comfort settings for the suspension by pushing a button.
In normal mode, the ride is remarkably smooth, with the suspension absorbing the worst road surfaces with staggering ease. Activate Sport mode and the springs feel noticeably firmer, with more kickback through the steering wheel over bumps and cambers.
Either way, the GTS floats over the road surface in a way that, say, a Jaguar F-type could never manage, and it has more grip at both ends than any rival can muster, which gives the driver huge confidence on twisting roads.
You get slightly more road noise from the standard 20-inch alloy wheels than in the regular Boxster, but overall refinement is decent (with roof up or down) and the standard sports exhaust sounds awesome, with every rapid gearchange accompanied with a series of theatrical crackles and pops.
What is the 2104 Porsche Boxster GTS like inside?
Not much has changed in here. That means the GTS's cabin is every bit as exceptional as the standard car's, with quality materials throughout and an excellent driving position.
This model does comes with some choice optional extras as standard, though, including deeply bolstered sports seats trimmed in leather and Alcantara, a soft Alcantara steering wheel and gearknob and a few GTS badges on the dials and door sills.
This added equipment does make the Boxster feel that little bit more special inside – but garish no-cost options such as the contrasting red stitching on the seats and red-striped seatbelts won't suit all tastes.
The familiar dash layout is logical and easy to use, with three clear analogue dials and touch-screen sat-nav system mounted high on the centre console. Both driver and passenger get plenty of head- and shoulder room, and the deep front and rear boot mean the Boxster can carry a surprising amount of luggage - certainly several soft weekend bags or two medium-sized suitcases.
Should I buy one?
Our favourite Boxster is still the standard 2.7-litre car fitted with a manual gearbox, as it offers most of the driving excitement and style you get in the GTS for a lot less cash.
However, this new car runs it a very close second indeed. It might cost £5844 more than the Boxster S, but it comes very well equipped, and it seems a bargain next to the £58,520 you'd need for a Jaguar F-type V6, or even the 911 Carrera Cabriolet, which is £82,169.
The extra power actually makes little difference to the way the Boxster drives, but as a package the GTS extras turn the Boxster into a more visceral, engaging sports car that's still just as easy to live with.
What Car? says...
3.4 GTS PDK
Engine size 3.4-litre petrol
Price from £52,879
Torque 273lb ft
0-62mph 4.7 seconds
Top speed 175mph
Fuel economy 34.4mpg