Porsche Boxster Spyder Quick Review

By Scott Newman, 15 Aug 2016 Car Reviews

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Porsche Boxster Spyder Quick Review

Not every version of the Boxster has taken a turn down the turbocharged road.

TELL ME ABOUT THIS CAR

It’s the most high-performance variant of the Porsche Boxster range, meaning a folding soft top, accommodation for only two occupants, and huge driving thrills and involvement.

It’s also now an anomaly to the current 718 Boxster line-up, using a naturally-aspirated (non-turbo) engine donated from the previous generation of its larger sibling, the 911.

STRENGTHS

  • Engine is smooth, wonderfully free-revving, and seems to urge the driver to extend it at every opportunity, rewarding with a vicious howl and incredible top-end acceleration once the needle passes 5000rpm.
  • Open-top body allows full immersion in the driving experience, and yet remains supremely stiff, exhibiting virtually none of the wobbles and tremors through the body that can afflict lesser convertibles.
  • Manual gear change has a beautifully slick, mechanical feel, enhancing the driver’s sense of connection with the car.
  • Steering provides an intimate picture of what is happening at ground level from the front tyres, and skilled drivers can push the car very hard with constant and ample rewards – until its high grip levels are eventually breached.

WEAKNESSESS

  • Engine is flexible at low revs, but really needs to be worked vigorously for the Porsche Boxster Spyder to feel quick and engaging. 
  • Clutch and gearshift are not light, and may become tiring in heavy stop-start traffic. 
  • Exhaust is loud in Sport mode, and may attract unwanted attention. 
  • Tyre noise is loud at highway speeds, reducing the Spyder’s abilities as a tourer. 
  • The roof does not have the electric operation of the regular Boxster range, so raising and lowering it is a fiddly exercise. 
  • Interior lacks some equipment, connectivity and premium finishes now standard on the new 718 Boxster. 
  • Price premium is high over lesser Boxsters. 

ANY RIVALS I SHOULD CONSIDER?

Not if you’re serious about owning the best-handling, most thrilling and involving open-top car in this segment. The Audi TT S quattro cabriolet is some $65K cheaper, but can’t touch the Spyder for dynamic genius. So-called ‘rivals’ – the BMW Z4 and the forthcoming Mercedes-Benz SLC – suffer from the same shortcomings: They are more convertible cruisers with sporting ability than outright performance cars. If a Boxster Spyder is out of reach, consider a base 718 Boxster and enjoy the punchy turbo engine, improved cabin and easier electric soft-top. It’s a sweet package and (comparatively) affordable.