If you’re a hack it’s always a delight when your predictions come true. One of the skills of this game is to take the asides, the unofficial comments and the ‘you didn’t get this from me but…’ briefings and turn them into news that’s as solid as possible.
You do this by applying the newly gained fact to what is already known and then hopefully bringing it all to life by using your experience and nose and extrapolating what else can be logically and therefore reliably deduced.
So when Porsche R&D boss Wolfgang Hatz told me some time ago that not only were they working on a hot Cayman – which turned out to be the GT4 – but a hot Boxster, I was left to surmise what kind of car might result. And yesterday’s unveiling of the new Boxster Spyder is, I am delighted to say, very much the kind of car I suggested Porsche would make.
What I still don’t understand about it is why it has not been accorded Motorsport status, that is to say that unlike the Cayman GT4, it has not been developed by the same wizards who do the GT3, GT2 and RS models.
The question I’ll find someone to ask today is why not? Is a Boxster in some way undeserving of such status, despite its Cayman sister qualifying with ease? Does Porsche Motorsport reckon there is something inherently namby-pamby about any open car? And should that fact alone automatically disqualify it from receiving its attentions? If so, no one told those in charge of that other Spyder known as the 918.
It could be completely innocent. The guru of the GT Porsches is Andreas Preuninger and he told me the only reason they’d taken so long to get around to doing a Cayman GT4 is that his is a small team, they are very picky about who they recruit, have no desire for vast expansion and there wasn’t space until now in their busy schedules to create such a car. If so there would clearly be no room for a Boxster, too.
But in one way at least, the new Boxster Spyder is actually a far more extreme car than even the Cayman GT4.
Yes it lacks GT3 suspension and many of the other refinements offered by the Cayman, but they use essentially the same engine and gearbox, and while the Cayman is actually a fraction heavier than a Cayman GTS, the new Spyder is said to be 100kg lighter than the Boxster GTS. And that is a massive difference.
I remember well the last Boxster Spyder, launched in 2011. I recall driving the wheels off it in the US and not being able to remember when I’d last had so much simple and pure fun in a Porsche. And I expect the new Spyder will be like that, but potentially even more so, especially as Herr Preuninger and his chums have been consulted through every step of its development.
A year or so ago we were all getting very excited about the GTS versions of the Cayman and Boxster, yet with the advent of the Cayman GT4 and Boxster Spyder, even they seem rather old hat.
Truth is that for all the hulking SUVs they make, Porsche has never in its history made a wider or more capable range of proper driver’s cars. And I would be astonished if one more was not added to their number this week in New York.