Lightweight Boxster’s got the makings of one of Porsche’s finest driver's cars

Our Verdict

Porsche Boxster Spyder

The greatest driver’s Boxster ever, and far enough removed from the GTS to be worth the compromises its complex hood demands

  • First Drive

    2015 Porsche Boxster Spyder review

    Extra firepower and pared-down kerb weight conjure even greater brilliance from the Boxster's chassis. Pricey – but superb to drive
  • First Drive

    Porsche Boxster Spyder

    Lightweight Boxster’s got the makings of one of Porsche’s finest driver's cars

What is it?

Drive a standard Porsche Boxster S and you’re unlikely to think, “What this car really needs is less weight and more power.” That’s because the Boxster is about as complete as sports roadsters get.

But somebody at Porsche clearly saw the potential to do just that, and so here is the Boxster Spyder. By using various weight saving techniques including aluminium door panels and engine cover, Porsche has shaved off 80kg and to complete the experience the Spyder gets 10bhp more power and firmer, 20mm lowered suspension than its stable mate.

What’s it like?

Despite the more hardcore nature of the Spyder, it’s no less usable on British roads.

The damping is supple enough to prevent breaks in the surface from unsettling the car or causing any jarring, which helps with comfort as well as keeping the tyres in contact with the asphalt.

That’s not to say that some of the very severe potholes and eroding road surfaces don’t cause some bone-shaking if you tackle them in the Spyder, but in general use over a reasonable British B-road, few other sports cars manage to offer such a well judged blend of body control and damping.

Needless to say, the familiar 3.4-litre boxer engine is a delight. Power is easily accessed thanks to a linear delivery from the naturally aspirated engine, although you’ll have to climb a long way up the rev range – 7200rpm – before you find the 320bhp peak.

If there is any criticism about the handling, it’s that the chassis feels like it could cope with a lot more power. Even so, the Spyder comes close to perfection if you’re after a car that has the immediate responses and outright pace required of a track car but with plenty of on-road usability, too.

Turn-in is very sharp and mid-corner adjustments can be made swiftly and without drama. Plentiful grip also makes the car’s performance easy to plunder, although a smaller steering wheel might be welcome for circuit work.

Even motorway driving is relatively painless. Provided you don’t mind a lot of wind noise battering through the canvas two-piece roof and you’re happy to live without such comforts as a radio and air conditioning (they are available as options), the refined engine, ride quality and comfortable cabin make the Boxster easy to live with over long stretches of motorway.

This is the real joy of the Spyder; you get the extra drama of the Carrera GT looks, the more immediate responses of a truly focused performance car and a healthy dose of the usability for which Porsches are known.

Should I buy one?

The difficulty is that there are still compromises that many will find hard to justify. With prices starting at £46,387, it costs almost £4k more than a standard Boxster S, which has a much more practical electric folding roof and similarly engaging (if less immediate) handling and performance. That canvas hood really is a lot of hassle to remove and replace, and it restricts visibility.

The Spyder would be easier than a Lotus Elise to live with every day, mainly thanks to the better refinement and more spacious cabin, but realistically it’s likely to be a second car that’s reserved for fair-weather driving, and not a cheap one at that. Still, for one of the best-handling cars in the Porsche’s stable, some would consider it a bargain. If you fall into that bracket, don’t hesitate. You won’t be disappointed.

Join the debate

Comments
19

20 April 2010

Eh? The very first thing one would think after driving a Boxster is 'what this thing really needs is less weight and more power'. A year or so ago I drove a 380 bhp Sportec conversion of the Cayman S and that felt just about right...

20 April 2010

Sounds familiar, you pay more money for less car - then most customers will probably specify the optional air-con and radio, spending even more money and offsetting a large proportion of the 80hg weight saving... So your left with a primitive canvas roof and an extra 10 horsepower, which is an extra 3 percent, and probably within production tolerances anyway. Great marketing though.

20 April 2010

They have manage this trick for years i.e sell a lightweigh special for more than the base model.

It would make more sense to sell Spyder as the base model and charge extra for an electric roof, air conditioning etc but obviously the marketing department knows it can get away with this.

21 April 2010

First Boxster I'm aware of that doesn't look as if moving forward and back simultaneously. Shame it costs more and is far less practical.

21 April 2010

How does one open the doors from the inside of the vehicle? What is the purpose of the red loops on the door?

More importantly, why complicate the simple? I cannot believe the door opening mechanism can be that weighty...

4 December 2009

This is the best looking Boxster yet - the new rear deck has, at last, eliminated the "pushmepullyou" look of all other Boxsters.

4 December 2009

a genuine, honest to goodness bargain. great car.

4 December 2009

I like this far more than any other current Porsche. Simple, light, honest, pretty, quick, nimble, supple.

4 December 2009

Loving the shot of the car parked up in a tunnel waiting for the rain to stop. It's just like being a biker! Agree with previous comments about the styling. The detailing will make this car really stand out in the metal. Makes it look almost like a new model, rather than a derivative of an existing one. Can't be doing with those cheap looking instrument binnacles though.

4 December 2009

If Porsche can make a car this good on the Boxster platform, compromised only for the British climate by the fussy roof, just imagine how good the result would be if they did the same job on the Cayman. The 968 Club Sport re-born.

Come on Porsche ... it's staring you in the face. DO IT!

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