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Driving Impressions

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I need rehab after driving the Boxster GTS!

Following our weekend with the Porsche Panamera in Fort Lauderdale, it was time for our sports car tour to Daytona Beach and back! My new ride for the next few days would be the sexy new Porsche 718 Boxster. I was handed the keys to the GTS version, which brings the best performance options coupled with the most popular options for everyday use– all at a price that is lower than if you ordered them separately. 


As I walked up to the car, it was easy to appreciate the vast difference in size between the Panamera and this diminutive but potent, lava orange two-seater. I jumped in, turned the key and the Boxster GTS’s rorty engine leapt to life behind me. In this car the engine sits between the single pair of seats and the trunk. There was also no 360˚ camera system guiding me through the spiraled driveway out of the building, but I soon realized that I didn’t need it.

As I walked up to the car, it was easy to appreciate the vast difference in size between the Panamera and this diminutive but potent, lava orange two-seater.


Truth be told, however, I was really missing the Panamera’s tech and abundance of touchscreen controls, its roomier cabin, its fantastic sound system and the immediacy of its electric motor’s torque. I worried still– now with just one seat to spare, limited luggage room, and what seemed like a very analogue car, I had three days to go and the seminar was over. Surely, we would end up in a mall somewhere.


Apart from the mode-switching Sports Response dial with its 20-second power-on-demand button, Sport Chrono package and PDK, it almost felt like a generation behind in terms of the controls and interface– an almost selfish and unreasonable thought as there is obviously less space in the two-seater’s little cabin. The Panamera had genuinely spoiled me. 


As I exited the parking lot, and accelerated, however, I could immediately tell how light, lively and agile the Boxster GTS was. And when I took the first real corner on a highway onramp, I had that defining moment of clarity where it all made perfect sense. This was not just a sports car; it was a precise, high-performance driving instrument– and it was playing the song of my people. The absolute delicacy of the 718 Boxster’s steering feel, and that perfect weight distribution of the car throughout the corner– entry, apex and exit, gave me wild, wild visions of canyon carving and track days at the Palm Beach International Raceway. All was forgiven as every one of my senses enjoyed the continued delivery of pure driving pleasure, from its squirrely, scampering launches and sharp corner exits to the rev-matching engine blips when decelerating. 

This was not just a sports car; it was a precise, high-performance driving instrument– and it was playing the song of my people. 


And although there was no torque-filling electric motor assist, I knew that for the next few days I was secretly a child in a candy store. An involuntary grin was now plastered on my face with every u-turn, sweeper, on-ramp and off-ramp I could possibly find.


If it isn’t obvious by now, few formulas can rival the balanced packaging and low centre of gravity driving feel of a flat-four engine in a mid-engine sports car built by race-bred German engineers, especially when braking and turning at the same time. And needless to say, the brakes were also top notch– throughout our entire weekend, we experienced consistent performance and no instances of brake fade.  

 

...the GTS packs a turbocharged 2.5-litre, flat-four engine, offering a burly [email protected] and 430Nm (317ft-lb) of torque from 1900-5000rpm.


Instead of the 300hp 2.0-litre turbo found in the standard Boxster, the GTS packs a turbocharged 2.5-litre, flat-four engine, offering a burly [email protected] and 430Nm (317ft-lb) of torque from 1900-5000rpm. That’s roughly 15hp up from the S models, and 35hp more than the previous flat-six-powered Boxster GTS model. This is achieved with the help of a new variable turbine geometry (VTG) turbo and higher boost pressure of 1.3bar (19.1 lb). The water-cooled engine also features dry sump oil lubrication, two intercoolers (one water-cooled), Porsche’s VarioCam Plus system, and a dual-tract exhaust system.


Redline is set at 7500rpm and the engine is happiest on Super Plus 98 RON fuel. All this awesomeness is shunted through Porsche’s seven-speed PDK gearbox, which off the line, operates like a manual. With a standard start, you mash the accelerator, the engine revs, the PDK engages first gear while riding the clutches slightly and you rocket off into the distance.

Using launch control in sport plus mode, the revs climb to 6000-6500rpm before engaging. I’d estimate around a 1.7-second 60ft time or thereabouts– that’s tuned 4WD Evo or STi territory.

Using launch control in sport plus mode, the revs climb to 6000-6500rpm before engaging. I’d estimate around a 1.7-second 60ft time or thereabouts– that’s tuned 4WD Evo or STi territory. There is no letting up as you blast through the perfectly spaced, PDK-shifted gears, taking just 3.9 seconds in this mode to hit 60mph, then quickly into triple-digit territory, with 200km/h (124mph) taking just 14.2 seconds, according to the factory. Don’t ask how, but we estimate that a quarter-mile run could be achieved in just under 12 seconds flat, with trap speeds nearing 115mph. Thanks to the flexibility of the gearing, the Boxster GTS is ready to leap forward at virtually any speed. According to Porsche, the Boxster GTS will keep on pushing all the way to 290km/h or 180mph– with the top up we imagine.


The Boxster GTS is a genuinely fast sports car with genuinely sublime handling but let’s get to the hotly debated 718 four-cylinder engine sound. To me, the Boxster GTS still sounds racy and refined, especially when you engage the sport exhaust system. Yes, the idle can sound a bit VW/Subaru-ish, but when hurtling to redline, that’s where the comparisons end– you can thank the dry sump lubrication system and sport exhaust tuning for that. And besides, if the driving experience easily impresses your millennial passenger and most bystanders, is it really a problem?

To me, the Boxster GTS still sounds racy and refined,
especially when you engage the sport exhaust system.

And besides, if the driving experience easily impresses your millennial passenger and most bystanders,
is it really a problem?

The current Porsche 918 and 919 Le Mans-bred racecars rely on hybrid electric and four-cylinder power, albeit a V-4 for more compact packaging. The 718 model designation continues the tradition of the proven four-cylinder concept and history of distinguished Porsche sports cars. Overall, the new Boxster GTS is likely to be faster and more balanced than many older 911s in the hands of seasoned drivers. And thus, I rest my case.


31.05.1959, Porsche 718 RSK, Ricardo Rodríguez, Meadowdale/USA 


Porsche 919 Hybrid Evo, Porsche LMP Team

On the way to Daytona Beach, as I predicted, we made it to the mall. This was also an opportunity for me to test the Boxster’s practical storage capacities. Lunch and a few hours of shopping ensued and the many bags soon filled a small cart. At a storewide sale, I scored a luxury leather travel bag of my own that perfectly matched the height of the Boxter’s rear storage compartment. After some unboxing and re-packing, there was just enough room for the day’s purchases, while the travel luggage was easily accommodated in the front trunk (frunk?). With its rear and front storage compartments, the car makes a decent case against its 911 siblings, which make do with just a front storage area and the plus two/parcel shelf spaces behind the driver and passenger seats. 


With some fruit to snack on and an iced coffee in the pop-out cupholder, Daytona Beach was our next port of call due north. On this leg, we completed the fuel economy portion of our test. I wondered how the Boxster GTS would do now that there was no hybrid system to assist. With suburban driving conditions in and around the Fort Lauderdale area, the 245-mile journey would tack on a heap of highway miles. For good measure, and enhanced driving pleasure, I decided to complete this segment of the drive with the top down. Although it had the potential to hurt the fuel mileage, if I owned this car, I know I would probably drive top down some of the time, especially when cooler. 


The Boxster was actually very nicely appointed for a two-seater. The abundance of Alcantara, including on the heated seats that were very comfortable yet supportive when cornering, and a Bluetooth-ready audio system made the journey a pleasant one. It’s nice when luxury and functionality come together. 


As fate would have it, we reached the Daytona area on the map, but had to do some minor re-routing as the highway exit was closed for repairs. This meant heading south for ten minutes and working our way back through some minor roads further mixing up our driving cycle. Throughout the journey, we were expertly guided by the proprietary Porsche navigation system, which always adjusts itself to the next best route, even if you take a different turn.


As I stood in the gas station filling the tank, positioned at the front of the car with Super Plus fuel, the Boxster's trip odometer indicated that we managed 337 miles on a single tank, i.e. 542km for you metric readers. This, in my opinion, is Toyota Corolla territory, in terms of range at least– a mind-blowing stat, considering we were zorcing around in in a 2.5-litre turbocharged sports car! I’m also happy to report that even at highway speeds, your hairdo remains largely intact, even when you blow past a few trucks. 

...the Boxster's trip odometer indicated that we managed 337 miles on a single tank, i.e. 542km for you metric readers.


Craig Fonseca of Sparktech Ignitions and yours truly in Daytona giving the Boxster a cleanup after the journey from Miami, in preparation for our photo shoots. 

The next morning after a thorough wash-down, our Boxster GTS was ready for a few on-location photo shoots.
 

Our hosts at Daytona Beach– Craig and Kavita Fonseca, owners of Spark Tech Ignitions, guided us to a number of lovely vistas from the beachfront itself on Daytona’s touristic downtown strip, to the Ormond Scenic Loop where they even did some drone footage for us.


We also made our way to the Daytona International Speedway and the business park opposite where we located the NASCAR and IMSA head office and hurriedly snapped a few photos.


After being kicked out for being on private property without an appointment with pro cameras (we didn’t really have much time to visit and chat with them anyway, but didn't mind seeing their trophy collection), we made a mandatory Krispy Kreme Donuts run, and headed back to our home base for some much-needed R&R. 


Everywhere we went people were giving us nods of approval or taking the opportunity to ask about the Boxster GTS. It seems that in a racing-friendly city like Daytona Beach, people seem to have an appreciation for genuine sports cars. Perhaps this is due to the presence and popularity of international sports car races such as Daytona International Speedway’s annual Rolex 24 At Daytona. 

Everywhere we went people were giving us nods of approval or taking the opportunity to ask about the Boxster GTS.


After some more touring, Orlando beckoned next. It was an unusually long journey due to wet weather and a dose of downtown rush hour traffic. The Boxster remained unruffled despite the slippery road conditions.


When we finally arrived,  we met my cousin, who owns the first BMW i8 that was sold out of the Orlando dealership. Which one would be faster in the quarter mile at the Orlando Speedway we wondered?


A pitstop at PriceChopper Wristbands to visit the cousins before dinner.

Although we never found out, her curiosity was piqued, especially when her brother, who drives an older modified Mercedes E550, was genuinely impressed with the Boxster’s launch control, handling and overall pace. We left him scratching his head, and making plans to test drive one at the Porsche dealership. Prior to this, he had no plans to sell his project Benz, despite his wife’s preference to the contrary. 


One day later, it was time to return the faithful little boxer-engined roadster (aha!) to the Porsche office. By now I was accustomed to the Boxster’s simpler controls and user interface, superb driving dynamics and penchant for attracting curious and well-tuned European machinery on our cruises back to the good ole 305. I ran late for the airport check-in and, regretfully, left behind a coffee cup and water bottles in the car. I was secretly feeding my new-found driving obsession and got carried away– perdóname, Carlos! Perhaps a little stereotypical Porsche owner arrogance rubbed off, or maybe I just felt right at home in one. All I know is that I’m still having withdrawal symptoms and may need to spend a few days at the local dealership until it wears off. 

All I know is that I’m still having withdrawal symptoms
and may need to spend a few days at the local dealership
until it wears off.
 


If you’d like to spec out your personal Porsche Boxster, you can contact the guys at Lifestyle Motors / Porsche Centre Trinidad & Tobago or use Porsche’s online configurator. Local prices on the standard 2.0-litre Boxter begin in the TT$700K+ range, while the 2.5-itre GTS model like the one we drove, with the larger, more taxable engine, and numerous performance-oriented upgrades, starts around TT$1.1M. Our synopsis? The Porsche Boxster GTS is quite possibly one of the world’s most luxurious and addictive go-karts in disguise– all you need is an interesting route and a lovely companion to share the experience with, and you can tick it off your bucket list– along with a proper track day of course!

The Porsche Boxster GTS is quite possibly one of the world’s most luxurious and addictive go-karts in disguise...

 

Technical Specifications: Porsche Boxster GTS

Engine Power [email protected]
Combustion Engine Torque 430Nm/[email protected] (PDK) ; [email protected] (6-sp. manual)
Engine Displacement/Type 2497cc/F-4 Turbo, Intercooled
Max. Engine Speed 7500rpm
Transmission 7-speed PDK (dual clutch) ; 6-speed manual
LSD mechanical rear differential lock  
Top Speed 290km/h
Acceleration 0-60mph 4.1s (PDK); 3.9s (PDK, Sport+) ; 4.4s (man.)
Acceleration 0-100km/h (0-62mph) 4.3s (PDK); 4.1s (PDK, Sport+) ; 4.6s (man.)
Acceleration 0-160km/h (0-100mph) 9.3s (PDK); 9.0s (PDK, Sport+) ; 9.6s (man.)
Acceleration 0-200km/h (0-124mph)  14.5s (PDK); 14.2s (PDK, Sport+) ; 15.0s (man.)
1/4-mile pass  11.945 @ 114mph (estimated)
Drag coefficient 0.33
Estimated Fuel Consumption (City/Hwy/Combined) 19mpg/33.6mpg/26.1mpg (PDK) ; 21.6mpg/35.6mpg/28.6mpg (man.)
Fuel Type  Super Plus 98 RON 
Emissions Standard Euro 6 
Fuel Tank Capacity 64L
Weight empty (DIN) 1405kg/3097lb (PDK) ; 1375kg/3031lb (man.)
Wheels with tyres, front / rear 8 J x 20 ET 57 with 235/35 ZR 20 tyres / 10 J x 20 ET 45 with 265/35 ZR 20 tyres
Luggage compartment volumes 275L (150L at front, 125L at rear)
Approx. starting price in T&T (Boxster GTS) $TT1.1M

Continue to: The Launch of the 718 in Trinidad & Tobago

   

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