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.
- 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.
- 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.