First Look: Porsche splits yet more hairs with the 2018 718 GTS twins

After a one-year hiatus, and following a significant refresh of the company’s entry-level sports cars for 2017, a tweaked and tuned GTS variant returns to the 2018 Porsche 718 Boxster and Cayman lineup, equipping the cars with a more aggressive appearance, improved performance, and added equipment.

First Look: Porsche splits yet more hairs with the 2018 718 GTS twins

Aside from GTS lettering on their backsides, these new and more powerful 718 Boxster and 718 Cayman variants are distinguished by subtle differences.

(Porsche)

Aside from GTS lettering glued to the cars’ rumps and embroidered on the front seat head restraints, visual cues include a Sport Design front end, tinted lighting elements, black model designations and center-exit exhaust tips, and a black lower rear bumper.

Black, matte-finish 20-inch wheels complete the look, fronting red brake calipers.

First Look: Porsche splits yet more hairs with the 2018 718 GTS twins

Modest power increases for the 2018 Porsche 718 GTS models produce nearly imperceptible performance gains.

(Porsche)

Mounted amidships, a turbocharged 2.5-liter flat 4-cylinder engine continues, equipped with modifications that extract an added 15 horsepower for a total of 365. Torque is unchanged with the standard 6-speed manual gearbox, measuring 309 lb.-ft. With the optional 7-speed PDK dual-clutch transmission, twist climbs to 317 lb.-ft.

A Porsche Torque Vectoring mechanical rear differential lock, Porsche Active Suspension Management with a lowered ride height, a center-exit Porsche Sport Exhaust system, and a Sport Chrono Package are all standard for the 718 Boxster GTS and 718 Cayman GTS.

According to Porsche, with the PDK, the 718 GTS twins can accelerate to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds, shaving a tenth of a second from the slightly less muscular S models. Top speed is 3 mph higher, rising to 180 mph.

First Look: Porsche splits yet more hairs with the 2018 718 GTS twins

In the new 718 GTS models, better seats wrapped in Alcantara face a dashboard crowned by a chronometer.

(Porsche)

Centrally mounted on the top of the dashboard, a chronometer signals the inclusion of the Sport Chrono Pack, which maximizes performance. Equip the car with an optional navigation system and Connect Plus service package, and as part of the Sport Chrono Pack a Porsche Track Precision App transfers driving data from closed-course track events from the car to the owner’s smartphone.

Upgraded Sport Seats Plus are standard, upholstered in Alcantara suede with leather trim and “GTS” embroidered lettering. Alcantara also covers the steering wheel, door panels, and center console armrest.

First Look: Porsche splits yet more hairs with the 2018 718 GTS twins

Prepare to drop $85,000 for the quickest version of the 2018 Porsche 718 GTS, at a minimum.

(Porsche)

When these cars go on sale in March of 2018, the 718 Cayman GTS will start at $79,800, before factoring in the $1,050 destination charge. The 718 Boxster GTS convertible costs an additional $2,100. You’ll also need the PDK transmission for maximum engine output and the fastest acceleration capability, and that’s another $3,730, bringing the price to nearly 85 grand before adding so much as metallic paint.

Still, you’ll be spending thousands less than what it would take to get into a stripped down 911 Carrera, which is also slower than the 718 GTS.

So, what’s it going to be? The classic 911 with no extras? The more elemental and better performing 718 GTS? Or a 718 in S specification, with PDK, and thousands left over to custom tailor the car to your personal preferences?

No matter which way you go, one thing is certain: It won’t be cheap.

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