That flat-six was specifically developed for the Spyder and GT4, and is a beaut’. The four-cylinder isn’t a dead experiment by a long shot, but developing a whole new engine like this and only using it in one car is just not economical. Which is a boon for the Boxster. The 4.0-litre unit produces 400PS (295kW) and 430Nm (318lb ft) of torque. That means the Boxster GTS will hit 62mph (100km/h) in four seconds flat and sprint on to 179mph.
The engine is actually producing around 20PS fewer than in the Cayman GT4, thanks to a reduction in the red line (down to 7,700rpm), but torque is the same, as is the sonorous dual exhaust system. This time though, it is harnessed by a seven-speed PDK gearbox. The Boxster GTS 4.0 launched earlier in 2020 with a six-speed manual but it is now here with the premium auto ‘box. The addition of that gearbox isn’t just there for convenience and speedy changes. Oh no, actually the PDK is able to handle a little bit more than the manual. Torque in the manual is 400Nm, giving the PDK an extra 30Nm. That, coupled with the faster shifts, mean that that sprint to 62mph is a few tenths faster than the manual.
The experience is no less for being an auto either. The PDK is an excellent ‘box and the Boxster GTS underneath is a car so engaging it puts some Porsches costing double to shame. Shoehorning that flat-six in was totally worth it. Natural aspiration brings a linear, almost old-fashioned surge of torque all the way to its peak somewhere around 5,000rpm. All the time this is sound tracked by that magnificent exhaust note, screaming a proper Porsche sound. Stick the car in Sport mode and it’s just a joy to drive. With power delivery this linear you can predict exactly when to apply a bit of right boot. The front end is sharp, although in the greasy December conditions we drove it in can be easily provoked to understeer. But no fear, keep the ‘box in manual and the revs up around 5k and you can easily fix that push. The balance in Sport is just so nice, the steering weighty, quick and full of feel, the chassis excellent, the engine singing – it just all comes together. Sport+ is a bit too much on the firm side to be honest – get the engine and steering in the top end, leave the chassis in sport and there are few experiences to beat this, roof up or down. Speaking of a roof, this doesn’t feel like much of a compromise any more, as the Boxster’s chassis is stiff and willing to take the heft that big engine can provide.