GTS costs £52,879 but test cars options took the price up to £61,582

GTS costs £52,879 but test car's options took the price up to £61,582

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Porsche's Europe-wide sales are by 43% so far this year. The addition of the Macan is obviously a big factor but so too is the firm's policy of adding derivatives throughout each model's lifecycle. The latest Boxster GTS is a case in point.

Since the second generation of this roadster was launched at the 2012 Geneva motor show, Porsche had left the initial line up of 195kW 2.7-litre Boxster and 232kW 3.4-litre Boxster S alone. A year ago at the New York international auto show, it revealed the GTS, this for the moment being the fastest variant yet, powered as it is by a 243kW (330hp) version of the 3.4-litre H6. Torque is also much improved, to 340Nm. The Cayman GTS, which also debuted at the NYIAS, has an extra 10kW, its power being 340PS.

The 3,436cc engine pushes this rear-wheel drive, mid-engined supercar to 62mph in five seconds exactly and if you can find the road, on to a V-max of 175mph. Possibly not with the roof down. And you're also unlikely to see anything near the official Combined consumption of 31.4mpg while pressing the right pedal that hard. The EC's worst figure (Urban) is 22.2mpg, with Extra Urban quoted as 39.8mpg.

The GTS' CO2 average is 211g/km, and given the available performance, that's quite a feat. So how did Porsche's engineers achieve those impressive consumption numbers? The answer is two-fold. Firstly, the Boxster, like the Cayman and 911, is light. Unladen, its DIN weight is 1,345kg. Gearing, given the crazy top speed, has to be high, so there's the other significant factor. Not that the lower ratios are badly chosen - quite the opposite in fact. You also get stop-start, which helps with the emissions number.

The test car came with a six-speed (manual) gearbox as well as the Sport Chrono package. Downchanges when in Sport Plus mode see the throttle automatically blipped, which results in the most wonderful popping and gurgling noises coming from the tailpipes. Keen for the rasping but not so keen on the firming up and lowering of the ride height? No problem, just press the button that has a little pic of exhausts.

We hear a lot about torque vectoring from certain OEMs but Porsche was one of the first to offer it. In the Boxster, you can certainly tell that it’s fitted if you corner the car perhaps slightly harder than you had intended. An LSD will lock and the system will also automatically give the inside rear disc a brief amount of braking but it’s subtle and doesn’t kill the fun. This, PTV, costs an additional GBP890.

Other extras you might be enticed by include a black leather and silver stitching package (GBP2,015), Rhodium Silver metallic paint (GBP558), ParkAssist front and rear (GBP599), aluminium-look rollover bar (GBP344), satin platinum paint for the 20" wheels (GBP503), ISOFIX passenger seat mountings (GBP122), heated seats (GBP284), a digital radio (GBP324) and Porsche Communication Management (PCM) with SatNav for a hefty GBP2,141. The test car was also fitted with the seven speaker Sound Package Plus (GBP396) and a phone module for the PCM (GBP527).

Some might consider the ride too jiggly and certainly compared to a standard Boxster, the GTS is a lot less compliant, especially at low speeds in town. Me, I preferred to leave Sport Plus off until I hit a motorway but even then, things can get a bit too abrupt at times.

The interior of the GTS is even better than that of other Boxsters, and that's saying something. The chief excitement is seeing the big tacho right in front of you, flanked by a speedo which reads to 190mph.

Acceleration isn't too ferocious and the gearchange is superbly weighted, as are the pedals. Steering is as sublime as you would expect, and I hope that when mid-life update time comes, Porsche won't ditch the current steering wheel - it looks and feels better than its equivalent in the latest Panamera and Cayenne, i.e. the plastic is a whole lot nicer.

For an open car, the way the frameless doors thunk when closed is impressive and betrays the overall obsessive attention to engineering detail. Likewise the beautifully machined and weighed interior latches - would that Mercedes-Benz SL-Class doors feel and sound as good as these ones. The whole car just seems so solid, thus proving that you don’t need to have lots of mass to make any vehicle stiff. Try as I might to see the rear view mirror move about blurring my vision, it never did: there’s never any flexing of the body, roof down or roof up.

The front and rear boots will take a lot of gear and even if there are only two seats, they are perfectly grippy though height adjustment for the seatbelts is missing. There are thoughtful touches such as hooks for your suit jacket on the backs of the seats, the headliner is beautifully soft but by contrast, the plastic covering the A pillars is nasty-hard. And seriously: exterior mirrors which don't fold electrically? In a sixty grand car? You also can't open or close the roof as you lock or unlock with the key but you do at least get buttons on the car-shaped fob to pop open each boot.

Ride and a few other minor observations aside, it's hard not to fall heavily for the GTS. It looks stunning, there's a lot of legroom and headroom no matter how lanky you are and the performance and roadholding will take your breath away but never scare the life out of you or your passenger. 

Porsche knows how to entice potential buyers to its cars: by adding ever more powerful derivatives. So it is that the Boxster range has just gained an even after faster variant, the Spyder. This one has had its global debut at the New York auto show and it features not only a new roof design plus the front and rear ends of the Cayman GT4, but a 3.8-litre engine from the 911. Its maximum power is 276kW (375hp) and it will be on sale from July. Until then though, the GTS remains the flagship of the Boxster line-up.