Porsche has a knack for listening to its fans. When drivers complained about the PDK button shifters, the engineers got right back to work and replaced them with conventional paddles. This time, it’s put the six-cylinder back into the Boxster and the Cayman.
This means that yes, you’ll no longer be restricted to the turbocharged flat-fours that unfortunately, do lack the sound and character as the sixes.
While past Boxsters and Caymans have always used traditional flat-sixes, Porsche changed its mind in 2016 by outfitting all 718s — apart from higher-end models such as the Cayman GT4 — with the rumbly turbocharged powertrains instead. This really angered the members of the Porsche Purists Association, many of whom waved their virtual fists angrily online. Admittedly, they were quite right; the glorious roar of the naturally-aspirated six-cylinders were replaced by not only a vastly different noise, there was also turbo lag. Besides, it wasn’t that much more economical as promised.
This time, Porsche’s got the formula right. The Porsche 718 GTS 4.0 will see the twins being outfitted in a 4.0-litre flat-six that’s also currently in the Cayman GT4 and 718 Spyder, both of which are motorsport specials in the same category as the GT3 and GT2 RS. This detuned version gives 394hp and does the century sprint in 4.5 seconds, before moving on to the top speed of 293kph. This isn’t far off from the 414hp on the GT4 and Spyder, and is only marginally slower than both.
The mid-mounted engine will be paired to a six-speed manual gearbox — not only as standard, but as the only choice. Other performance options that been ticked on your behalf include active sports suspension (which drops the ride height by 20mm), a sports exhaust, torque vectoring with a mechanical limited-slip differential, and the Sport Chrono pack, which does its magic on the chassis, engine, and transmission simultaneously at the push of a button. If you’re within vicinity of a track, the Porsche Track Precision App will clock your laps too.
Following the tradition of GTS models, these 718 4.0s will receive special wheels and bodywork trim, with 20-inch black alloy-wheels. Ceramic-composite brake discs are an option, though the slightly amped-up price tag here might make you think twice. Inside, be prepared to be swathed in black Alcantara; in the Cayman, you’ll find it on the A-pillars and headliner too.
The pressure might be high on manufacturers to start thinking more about emissions and efficiency, but it’s nice to be able to remember when cars were purely made to be a multi-sensory experience instead of a mere mode of transport. These Porsche 718 GTS 4.0s are just that.