What is it?
You’ll probably remember the previous Porsche Boxster Spyder. It was the particularly pretty one with an ugly, fiddly canvas roof that had to be raised and lowered by hand, the removal of its operating mechanism being part of a comprehensive weight loss programme that shaved around 80kg from the cooking model.
It received a new engine, too, in the shape of the 3.4-litre flat six from the Cayman S, so it revved a little more enthusiastically than the standard unit. Problem was, it was only slightly more powerful than the cheaper Boxster S, and as Porsche had gone to the trouble of stiffening the chassis, the car still felt like it might make good use of yet more power.
Five years later and the manufacturer has endeavoured not to repeat the same mistakes with this new version. Firstly, while there’s still a manual fabric roof to open and close, the hood is simpler and semi-automatic in its fastening - saving you from all the fuss of unfurling it like a newbie Caterham owner. Secondly, and most notably, Porsche has decided to drop the larger capacity 3.8-litre flat six from the current 911 Carrera S into the Spyer’s belly, a transplant already perfected in the Cayman GT4.
At 370bhp, it’s 45bhp more powerful than a 3.4-litre Boxster GTS and only 10bhp shy of the GT4. It’s the most powerful Boxster yet, and will be for the foreseeable future (a racier version was discussed but the idea was dropped). Almost as importantly, it shares the GT4’s proper six-speed manual gearbox and gets the same front and rear end.
What it doesn’t have are all the trick underbody elements that made that car a product of Porsche’s GT motorsport division. Instead, much as before, the Spyder is lowered by 20mm on the same firmed-up passive sports suspension that’s already available as an option on the GTS - only a tweaked rear anti-roll bar differentiates the two. Elsewhere, it gets the bigger brakes that were previously the preserve of the 911, and has a faster steering ratio to go with its marginally smaller steering wheel.