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Driven: Porsche unleashes 718 GTS 4.0 in Oz

Six-pot Porsche 718 GTS 4.0 could result in more sales of high-end Boxsters, Caymans

5 Nov 2020

THE recent Australian debut of six-cylinder GTS 4.0 variants for the Porsche 718 Cayman and Boxster coupe and convertible sportscar range could result in a richer mix of high-end 718s leaving local showrooms, as well as a welcome sales boost for the brand.


A major factor is pent-up demand from current and aspiring Cayman/Boxster customers who have been denied a mainstream six-cylinder option since the current 982 generation launched in 2016 with a controversial four-cylinder turbo engine line-up.


Speaking with GoAuto at the recent 718 4.0 GTS launch in South East Queensland, Porsche Cars Australia (PCA) head of PR Chris Jordan said the bulk of 718 volume had been for entry and S variants but anticipated that the introduction of GTS 4.0 could result in “a more balanced mix” of variants sold.


“There was a bit of pent-up demand from people waiting for us to bring a six-cylinder back … definitely a lot of owners who just wanted a six-cylinder, who had owned a previous-generation six-cylinder and wanted another.”


Asked whether overall 718 sales would receive a boost from the arrival of GTS 4.0, Mr Jordan said PCA was “pretty confident as there are a lot of people who have been keenly waiting for the six-cylinders to arrive”.


He added that there had been “strong interest” for the GTS 4.0 that launches this week with a six-speed manual gearbox, with a PDK dual-clutch automatic option arriving in the first quarter of next year.


While the majority of four-cylinder 718 buyers go for the PDK option, Mr Jordan claimed “a lot of people are really keen on the manual” when it came to the more enthusiast-focused six-cylinder variants.


Six-pot power re-joined the 718 range earlier this year with the Boxster Spyder and Cayman GT4 flagships, although the appeal of these is arguably limited by their hardcore, track-ready nature and prices in the region of $200,000 before options and on-road costs.


That said, GoAuto understands that the six-cylinder GT4 variant has contributed to the 1.7 per cent increase in Cayman sales year-to-date, while its wilfully impractical Boxster Spyder counterpart has been less popular – compounded by Boxster sales (down 6.9 per cent) being historically reliant on the Victorian market that has been worst affected by COVID-19.


Mr Jordan said the introduction of a six-cylinder GTS resulted in the nameplate representing “something closer” to the flagship Spyder and GT4 compared with the outgoing four-cylinder GTS.


The two GTS 4.0 models are priced within a few hundred dollars of four-cylinder GTS they replace, while the price difference between an S and GTS variant has increased from $27,600 to $36,500 due to the S now commanding a smaller premium over the base grade 718.


“It directly replaces the GTS, but the 4.0 (engine) is an important differentiator and that’s why it says GTS 4.0 on the side of the car,” said Mr Jordan.


Priced from $172,000 plus on-roads in Cayman coupe format and $2800 more for the Boxster convertible, the GTS 4.0 pair sits below the hardcore Boxster Spyder and Cayman GT4 flagships that respectively start at $196,800 and $206,600 plus on-roads.


As their GTS 4.0 badges suggest, behind the passenger compartments of these hotly anticipated 718 variants lives a 4.0-litre six-cylinder naturally aspirated boxer engine.


Derived from the powerplant used in the Spyder and GT4, the GTS engine develops 294kW of peak power and 418Nm of torque, as well as revving out to 7800rpm. For comparison the Spyder/GT4 revs to 8000rpm, yielding an extra 15kW of power and 2Nm of torque.


The enthusiast-sating benefits of this mid-engine, rear-drive duo continue to trickle down from the Spyder/GT4 with the standard inclusion of a mechanical limited-slip differential.


Joining the six-speed manual transmission early next year will be a seven-speed PDK dual-clutch auto option costing $5990.


With three pedals, both GTS 4.0 models are said to reach 100km/h from rest in 4.5 seconds and achieve a 293km/h top speed once wound fully out.


Porsche also claims the fast-shifting PDK – which includes the benefit of launch control – slices a half-second off the 0-100km/h run, while improving the 0-200km/h benchmark 0.4s quicker at 13.7s.


The GTS pair rides 20mm lower than four-cylinder 718 variants courtesy of standard-fit Porsche Active Suspension Management adaptive sports suspension.


Like the Spyder/GT4, there is also torque vectoring, and a Sport mode that frees up the stability management system for spirited driving.


The standard Sport Chrono pack includes active drivetrain mounts that stiffen as engine revs rise. It also enables compatibility with Porsche’s Track Precision smartphone app, that records lap times and onboard video footage in sync with real-time vehicle telematics and GPS data to help owners to analyse and improve their track driving.


As with the engine, GTS braking is a slightly toned-down version of the Spyder/GT4 set-up, sharing the six-piston aluminium monobloc front callipers and four-pot rears but with the two-piece rotors reduced in diameter from 380mm all round to 350mm front and 330mm rear. Rear discs also drop from 30mm in thickness to 28mm.


Australian-delivered GTS 4.0 models come kitted out with dual-zone climate control, 7.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay, DAB+ digital radio, onboard Wi-Fi hotspot and vision from the reversing camera.


Further inclusions are front and rear parking sensors, cruise control (adaptive cruise being an extra $2570), heated seats and steering wheel, blind spot monitoring, keyless entry and start, auto-dimming interior and exterior mirrors, security alarm, adaptive Bi-Xenon headlights and dimmable interior lighting.


Visually differentiating the GTS 4.0 from regular 718s are unique blacked-out inserts for the front and rear bumpers – the latter making way for greater distance between the tailpipes – to go with the smoked LED taillights, 10-spoke satin black 20-inch alloy wheels and black decals on the doors and tail.


Inside, lashings of Alcantara on the seats, steering wheel, gear lever, door panels and centre console armrest set the scene for these performance-oriented variants. This suede-like fabric also covers the windscreen pillars and ceiling of the Cayman. Both body types have a grey tint strip at the top of the windscreen.


As with any Porsche, equipment and personalisation options are extensive and expensive. The optional GTS Interior Package ($9,910) is available in Carmine Red or Crayon hues and includes contrast-coloured seatbelts, stitching tachometer dial, floor mat edging and GTS motifs on the headrests.


Upgrading to adaptive 18-way adjustable sport seats with position memory is $2850, a Bose audio system is $2470, LED main beam headlights are $2320 and speed-sensitive power steering is $550.


Above the four standard exterior colours, eight metallic finishes are available for $1870 and a further five special colours are offered for $4920. Beyond that, an extended range of colours – including from Porsche’s back catalogue – will set the customer back $18,490 while a Bunnings style colour-to-sample one-off paintjob comes in at $36,960.


2020 Porsche 718 4.0 pricing*

Cayman GTS 4.0 $172,000
Cayman GTS 4.0 (a) $177,990
Boxster GTS 4.0 $174,800
Boxster GTS 4.0 (a) $180,790
Spyder $196,800
Spyder (a) $201,890
Cayman GT4 $206,600
Cayman GT4 (a) $211,690

*Excludes on-road costs

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