Another week, another Porsche that’s going to be bothering the fifth star of the verdict panel. This is the Boxster Spyder, and you might remember the previous one: it was a faster, lighter, more powerful, special Boxster that had a manually operated, emergency-style hood that was difficult to remove; unless you were doing 120mph, at which point it apparently removed itself with impressive vigour.
The thinking, this time, is in part the same, only there’s more power. Quite a lot more. Instead of a Cayman S engine, which raised the power to not a lot more than a Boxster S last time, this time the Porsche has taken its cue from the recent Cayman GT4 and given the Spyder the 3.8-litre engine from the Porsche 911 Carrera S.
It makes 370bhp, rather than the 380bhp of the GT4, but that shouldn’t be a deal-breaker when you consider that the Spyder is 25kg lighter than the GT4. That’s despite the fact that the hood, this time, shaves only 10 kilos from the regular Boxster’s weight, because it’s a rather more serious affair than before.
It still requires manual dexterity – and a jog around the rear of the car – to lower or raise it, but it only takes a minute or two, rather than five or 10. It’s also fine in an automatic car wash, and can cope with the car’s full performance, of which there is plenty: a 180mph maximum speed and a 0-62mph time of 4.5sec.
Underneath, the Spyder’s suspension is more GTS than GT4. The only difference from the Boxster GTS is a tweaked rear anti-roll bar, to cope with the various demands of a slightly heavier engine, marginally lighter body, quite a lot more power and wider, 265-section rear tyres.
What that extra power gives the Spyder is more accessible performance than in the GTS, with which it shares its gearing. You still have to work it – 310lb ft of peak torque arrives at 4570rpm and peak power not until 6700rpm – but there’s enough power from low revs to punch the 1315kg Spyder down the road in higher gears with decent vigour.
To get into the real meat of the naturally aspirated engine’s range you’ll need revs, so you can find yourself travelling a gear or two lower than usual. Unsettling the tail for the cornering shots you see here required first gear. But, hey, this is a sports car, after all, and there’s a shorter-throw gearlever, with one of the crispest, cleanest shifts around to make best effect of it. Swapping ratios is one of the purest driving pleasures there is.