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Drive Review: Is the perfect Porsche number 718?

Porsche’s 718 series is now available in GTS trim in South Africa and if you are a Porschephile that is very good news indeed. Beyond all the GT3s and GT4s, those studied in the history and capability of all things Porsche know that for real-world ownership, GTS is the best of all things Zuffenhausen: tasteful styling upgrades and a touch more intensity from the driving experience, without having to explain outrageous spoilers and cabin scaffolding.

With the 2018 GTS specification both Cayman and Boxster 718 gain 26kW of power, peaking at 269kW, supported by 430Nm. That torque number is especially significant if you consider that most Porsches in South Africa are sold to customers in Gauteng, where the 2.5-litre turbocharged flat-four is a better driving experience in every way than the atmospheric 3.4-litre six-cylinder it replaces.

Porsche traditionalists will take issue – in principle – with the acoustics, but this four-cylinder GTS has a distinguished burble, and it’s mightily quick too: 0-100kph in 4.1 seconds, and a top speed of 290kph. Remarkable numbers for a four-cylinder car. In fact, there are not many four-cylinder production cars in the South African market which could run a true 290kph top end. Not many at all, aside from these Porsches.

Dynamically these GTS 718s are glorious driver’s cars, benefitting from standard fitments of all Porsche’s celebrated chassis assistance systems: torque vectoring and active suspension management. The mid-engined configuration ensures terrific agility, delivering that unique feeling of a car which pivots around it centre, instead of being weighed down at the front. In some ways, GTS 718 is a purer car to drive, offering up its rewards easier, than any 911.

Purists have option on the six-speed manual, but if your 718 GTS is ever going to be used a weekday driver too, it’s got to be a PDK. With standard Sport Chrono, the PDK’s shifts are phenomenally quick, controlling the tempo perfectly.

Options? There aren’t really many. You could add Porsche Exclusive package flaming red dials and gloss black exterior styling trim, or a reversing camera, but those at their core, the 718 GTS Cayman and Boxster derivatives are simply terrific value.

Priced at R1 112 200 for the coupe and R1 137 000 for a soft-top, if you want a similar mid-engined driving experience, you’d have to pay three time more. And for your million and a bit Rands, you buy the unique appeal of owning the fastest four-cylinder car in South Africa too. Deal.

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