Car review: Porsche Cayman and Boxster GTS

Handsome beast: the Cayman GTS

Welcome to driving Nirvana. This week we have a pair of cars that deliver total vehicular enlightenment; it doesn’t matter whether you opt for the convertible Porsche Boxster GTS or the hardtop Cayman GTS coupé, both are simply sublime.

With those three letters (which stand for “Gran Turismo Sport”) Porsche has injected attitude into the regular Boxster S and Cayman S. These are not hardcore “RS” race track refugees, with unyielding suspension that’ll shake your molars out of place. No, these cars represent the ultimate blend of performance and every-day usability.

Both the Boxster and Cayman GTS get a 3.4-litre flat-six engine behind their two-seater cabins, providing 330hp in the Boxster and 340hp in the Cayman. Marginally more power means the Cayman is the faster of the two, and quicker still if you opt for the razor-sharp PDK paddleshift gearbox.

Yet it’s not performance alone that makes this pair such a joy to drive; you don’t have to be Lewis Hamilton to appreciate the superb chassis and grip from the GTS. Hit an urban area and you’ll find both cars effortless. You will, however, attract plenty of attention as onlookers bask in the beautifully musical exhaust note. When you find yourself on a deserted country road, both GTSs are infectiously involving.

I got to grips with them on a grey October day, skulking around Porsche’s Silverstone Experience Centre. It’s times like this – when you’re sat in traffic next to sales reps in their diesel saloons – that £50,000-plus sports cars make the most sense.

Inside, the GTS Porsches are trimmed exquisitely. You can opt for a mix of leather and Alcantara seats, all leather or some figure-hugging sports bucket items if you’re planning on attacking the North Circular like the Nurburgring.

The shapely dash and cocooning centre console are cloaked in more leather and soft, tactile Alcantara, giving a sporty feel and a fuzzy, attenuating edge to refinement. Even in the soft-top Boxster you don’t get much noise – not unless you want it.

Prod the button that opens the roof – nine seconds, even at up to 30mph – turn on the sports exhaust, and find the nearest tunnel. The sound is amusingly, childishly loud.

This is how the Boxster and Cayman GTS take your breath away – and they’ll do it again when you visit the options list. Want some extra carbon fibre trim inside? That’ll be £1,008. Sat nav and Bluetooth, £2,587. That automatic gearbox – £2,351. Start playing noughts and crosses on the order form and your Boxster or Cayman GTS could easily top £80,000.

But with genuinely decent luggage space, extra sporty kit as standard, and increased power over the regular S models, the £53-£55,000 price tag actually represents good value in the slightly crazy world of German sports cars.

These cars offer all of the £73,000 911’s usability, plus the all-important Porsche build quality, and a bigger driving thrill than any Porsche 911 this side of a GT3. So, it’s official: the Cayman GTS is the new sports coupe benchmark and the Boxster GTS is the new convertible king.

Price: £52,879

0-62MPH: 5.0 secs (4.7 with PKD)

TOP SPEED: 174mph

CO2 G/KM: 211g/km

MPG COMBINED: 31.4mpg