Porsche Boxster GTS

October 2014

picture of car from the front

The handsome Boxster is visually enhanced in GTS form


Overall Rating 9Overall rating

Value for money Rating 9Value for money

Space and Practicality Rating 6Costs

Space and Practicality Rating 6Space and practicality

Controls and display Rating 8Controls and display

Comfort Rating 8Comfort

Security Rating 8Car security

Safety Rating 8Car safety


  • Enormous fun to drive in a variety of conditions
  • Certainly the prettiest generation of Boxster by some margin
  • Represents good value despite a sizeable price tag
  • High-quality interior materials give a premium feel


  • Running costs still likely to be relatively high
  • Shape and outright volume of luggage spaces hinders practicality
  • Low seating position restricts visibility
  • Basic Boxster is a very close rival costing significantly less

The Boxster may take the position as the entry-level model into the world of Porsche, but the 981 model is no poor relation. Squeezing scintillating performance into its compact roadster body, the Boxster is a first-class sports car in its own right. And in range-topping form the GTS takes the experience to an even higher level.

The Boxster GTS takes the Boxster S as the starting point and in many ways it makes the S somewhat obsolete in the process. The GTS has the 3.4-litre petrol flat six engine mounted amidships as in the Boxster S, but here it benefits from an additional 15bhp and 10lb.ft of torque, as well as active engine mounts designed to improve smoothness.

The GTS is available in both manual and PDK dual-clutch automatic forms, while the mechanical changes also extend to revised suspension settings, lowering the car by 20mm overall. GTS models also benefit from the Porsche Active Suspension Management system as standard, allowing the driver to alter the settings depending on the conditions.

Visually the Boxster GTS has some small but significant differences to both the standard Boxster and the Boxster S. 20-inch wheels are fitted as standard, smoked front lights, unique front and rear spoilers and additional exterior colour options. The GTS is also marked out by a discreet badge on the tailgate.

As you'd expect, the subtle modifications to the 'S' donor car result in a hugely engaging and rewarding driving experience. The on paper performance upgrade might not seem much, but out on the road it's just enough to give the GTS the extra kick it deserves to make the most of the suspension tweaks. Docile when you want to go shopping yet a mile-eater when you want to have some fun, the car's split personality is actually a plus.

Our verdict on the Porsche Boxster GTS

Anyone owning a regular Boxster S need not worry, but if you're in the market for a sporting roadster the Boxster GTS is the cream of the crop. It balances power, grip and handling to deliver a superlative driving experience that is as good as cars costing thousands more. It also is perfectly liveable in everyday use and is a quality item throughout.

Costs rating 6

This generation of the Boxster has seen many significant changes and improvements over the previous one, and is more expensive to buy. In the way of partial compensation for that it uses less fuel and emits less CO2, which could particularly benefit business users. As an entirely new and even more desirable model it's also likely to hold on to more of its value in future when compared to past models.

Space and practicality
Space and Practicality Rating 6

Porsche's engineers deliberately engineered more cabin space into the 981 Boxster versus the outgoing 987. As a result of a series of changes making the 981 more grown up, even tall drivers will be able to stretch out and enjoy the car. Where things are better for the occupants they aren't much improved for luggage. Under the bonnet there is a relatively large space, but the dimensions prevent typical medium-size cases fitting easily.

picture of car from the rear

The subtle GTS badge at the rear signifies increased performance

Controls and display
Controls and Display Rating 8

The extent to which the car prioritises driving enjoyment is shown by the large, central rev counter in the instrument cluster, which is flanked by a speedometer and digital display. The large, central touch-operated screen is bright and sharp, and although the design of the menus isn't particularly attractive the system is exceptionally clear and easy to use while the car is stationary. It's more awkward to use on the move, however.

Comfort Rating 8

Although the GTS wears 20-inch wheels as standard the ride quality is barely affected, and for a car of this sporty nature it rides with impressive composure. The seats are also excellent, offering first class support and plenty of adjustment. Noise levels are inevitably a little higher than the fixed-roof Cayman but compared with rivals the Boxster is refined.

Car security
Security Rating 8

The Boxster's key has an in-built transponder without which it is almost impossible to start the car. The alarm is sensitive to exterior contact, but not necessarily intrusions through the windows. Customers need to request a radar-based interior surveillance system to enhance the alarm's effectiveness, should they want it. A Porsche-manufactured tracking device can also be fitted retrospectively, since the necessary pre-preparation is present on the car as standard.

Car safety
Safety Rating 8

A great deal of consideration has been given to safety, with dual roll-over protection hoops and a comprehensive array of airbags that account for the severity and angle of impacts when they inflate. Porsche Stability Management helps manage the power and available grip at each wheel, keeping the car as stable as possible. The powerful brake system incorporates Brake Assist, which anticipates an emergency braking situation and applies the necessary braking force for maximum deceleration.

Driver appeal
Driver Appeal Rating 9

A number of detail changes transform the Boxster S into a GTS and while the difference may be small, judged on its own merits the GTS is unquestionably a superb driving machine. The weight and accuracy of the major controls makes any kind of driving a pleasure, and the way in which it responds to a keen driver is enough to shame cars costing thousands more.

picture of car interior

The increased specification includes the Sport Chrono system

Family car appeal
Family Appeal Rating 5

As a two-door, two-seat roadster the Boxster is simply not a family car in any sense. On top of the obvious lack of seating, there isn't enough 'boot' space for typical family duties and it's not cheap to own or run. The shortcomings in its suitability as a family car don't stop there either, because the low seating position and potential awkwardness to manoeuvre around tight car parks also count against it here.

First car appeal
First car Rating 4

As one of the most accessible Porsches the Boxster GTS undoubtedly has vast appeal to young drivers. But its purchase price is still way beyond the reach of a typical first-time car buyer and insurance would be unobtainable for those without huge financial resources. Aside from that, the sheer power, performance and lack of visibility that the Boxster presents would be unsuitable for an inexperienced driver.

Quality and image
Quality and Image Rating 9

Porsche is heavily linked with the Volkswagen Group, which owns Audi, and yet despite the obvious comparisons with the Ingolstadt-based prestige brand, Porsche still has much the more desirable badge. In the past the Boxster has come in for fair criticism about the quality of materials used, but the 981 generation addresses almost all the past failings convincingly.

Accessibility Rating

The seats are mounted very low, so getting in and out is harder than in some less overtly sporting convertibles. The doors are, by virtue of the sculpted body shape and aerodynamic lines, very deep and need to be opened relatively wide before getting in and out. Some people will find accessing it more of a stretch than they are comfortable with. The luggage compartments are easy to get at, but not ideally shaped.

Stereo and ICE (In car entertainment)

The standard stereo system uses the seven-inch centre console screen as the media interface. The screen is touch-operated and the menus are very clear, with large on-screen 'buttons' that are easy to hit accurately. There is quite a lot of potential audio adjustment via submenus, but navigating through them never poses a problem or gets confusing.

picture of car detail

The folding roof adds to the overall driving experience

Colours and trim

Whether a potential buyer is after something extrovert, striking, understated or classy, Porsche has prepared a deep, glossy finish to suit, including a new Carmine Red finish available exclusively on the GTS. The interior trim is of a very high quality as well, with expensive leathers and solid plastics almost everywhere. Inside and out it's a great looking car.


Visibility is restricted by the low seating position and relatively high bodywork, making parking a little trickier than it could be. While the Boxster is not a particularly big car and drivers can be fairly confident about fitting it into most bay spaces, the doors are long and tend to need a large amount of space beside the car to allow for a dignified entrance or exit. Packs including rear or both rear and front parking sensors are available as options.

Spare wheel

Emergency tyre repair kit supplied as standard.


Range information

Petrol engine options - 2.7-litre (261bhp), 3.4-litre (311bhp and 325bhp). Transmission options: six-speed manual gearbox standard, seven-speed PDK twin-clutch automatic optional. Trim levels: Boxster, Boxster S, Boxster GTS.


Alternative cars

Mercedes-Benz SLK Not in the same dynamic league as the Boxster, still has strong kerb appeal

BMW Z4 Ageing although still fun to drive, security of folding metal roof a bonus

Nissan 370Z Roadster High-revving underdog is a different but excellent alternative

Jaguar F-Type Gorgeous design, excellent powertrain and an entertaining drive

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October 2014