June 7, 2010
Get in and drive. That’s all you want to do when handed the keys to a new Porsche Boxster Spyder. But exuberance aside, you’d be remiss if you didn’t take a few moments to ogle the body before you get in, because this $61,200 car looks good from every angle.
With its fixed rear-spoiler, sweeping taillights and pair of domes aft of the cockpit, the Boxster Spyder looks great, with a silhouette evocative of the Carrera GT.
Viewing the car in profile, the Spyder’s air intakes (between the door and rear axle) feature a black mesh grid, which lead the eye right to special Porsche stripes, just like those of the Porsche 908 from the 1970s. And with its new 10-spoke alloy wheels, 20-mm lower ride height than the Boxster S and low-slung canvas top, the new Spyder clearly has a racy look.
From the front, it’s all business with two, large intakes enclosed within titanium-color surrounds, and a spoiler with two black lips that improve balance and handling. Overall, the Spyder delivers the classic and refined Porsche styling one would expect, yet with a vibe that’s both modern and sexy.
On the road, the Boxster Spyder makes use of its upgraded direct-injected 3.4 liter flat-6, producing 10 bhp more than the Boxster S for a total of 320 bhp. It will easily hit 60 mph in 4.4 seconds (Road & Track, January 2010 Issue), although the manufacturer claims a respectable 4.6 seconds. And with its top down, the Spyder reaches a maximum speed of 166 mph, says Porsche. The responsive Spyder rewards its driver with effortless steering, precise braking and satisfying short-throw shifting.
When creating this 3rd addition to the Boxster lineup, Porsche emphasized weight reduction, and inside you’ll find that everything is pared down to the essentials. The traditional door handles are replaced with pull straps, which just seem to make sense in this racy vehicle. There is no radio, air conditioning or power seats. All can be added as options, but for the purist who wants to feel the full 176-lb. weight reduction on this lightweight 2810-lb. machine, the sacrifice of a few creature comforts is required. And I’m not sure you’d miss them. The sport-bucket seats (which save 26 lb.) were quite comfortable. And who needs a radio when you’ve got the top down? That goes for the air conditioner, too…when you’ve got speed and wind, do you really need a/c? Nah!
Other weight reducers? Aluminum trunk lids front and rear, aluminum-skin doors, and a reduction in fuel capacity of 2.6 gallons. Interior items such as inside door compartments have been removed, and the binnacle above the circular instruments has been replaced with body color trim.
As for the convertible top, it’s my only beef with the Spyder. It comes apart in two pieces and fits into a compartment in the rear. While romping around Malibu, I put it up and down on the side of the road, and this was not an easy task. Not because the top is heavy (it only weighs a scant 13 lb.), but because there are so many steps to getting the thing on and off. On a positive note, the result is a car that looks and feels good with the top either up or down, but getting it there really takes some origami skills.
It’s hard to believe it has been 14 years since the Boxster was introduced, and with each iteration Porsche has continued to improve and refine the model line. And lucky for us, this year’s newest addition is exceptional. Its one of those once-in-a-lifetime cars that is actually attainable, and the driving experience is worth every penny. And for me (who does not yet have enough pennies to buy a Boxster Spyder) at the end of the day, it was bittersweet to hand over the keys. There were even a few jokes made about my having made a run for the border because I got back late… Funny thing is, the thought actually crossed my mind when I was opening it up on a particularly good stretch of PCH.