First Look

First Look - 2011 Porsche Boxster Spyder

There are few cars on the road today that are as performance based as the new 2011 Porsche Boxster Spyder. The standard Boxster is a wonderful machine that has the best traits of a Porsche roadster packed into a brilliant package. The Boxster Spyder takes that formula one step further. As Porsche will soon be releasing a redesigned Boxster within the next year or two, they're not about to let the current generation go out with a bang.

The Spyder is a true roadster that's all about performance. Everything else is secondary. To put it more simply, it's a stripped-down, bare bones edition that takes every opportunity to cut so-called unnecessary weight. Here's the blueprint Porsche used: take the current Boxster and remove things such as air conditioning, radio, door handles, and then replace several pieces of the car with carbon fiber. From there, the suspension was modified, a slight horsepower increase, and some exterior changes and voila... the Boxster Spyder is born.

Make no mistake, this is not some marketing gimmick. It's the real deal that James Dean would surely be proud of. The Spyder has the same 3.4 liter mid-mounted direct-injected flat-six as the Boxster S, but with the modifications done for the Cayman S. Horsepower is rated at 320 with 273 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard, which purists will love. Porsche also offers the seven-speed dual-clutch PDK, but it actually weights a bit more. Just to get an idea of how Porsche made every effort to keep weight down, the Spyder even has a smaller fuel tank than the Boxster S.

The rest of the suspension components haven't changed from the Boxster S, but the chassis has been lowered an inch. The 19-inch wheels come complete with cast aluminum rims and are the lightest pieces available Porsche had in stock. Just to give you an idea of its precise weight loss, the Spyder does not even come with standard metal door handles. In their place are vinyl door straps you pull to close the doors. Combined with a lightweight soft top, aluminum trim door skins, special carbon fiber bucket seats, and an all-aluminum rear hood, Porsche cut off an additional 176 pounds from the Boxster S.

It weighs a total of just 2,811 pounds, making it the lightest car in the Porsche fleet. If you're looking for the best Boxster trim on the market but are a little nervous about not having air conditioning on a hot day, don't panic. Features like that (along with the radio, automatic climate control, etc.) are all optional. The Spyder drives very closely to the Boxster S. It has a lower center of gravity and is more aggressive when taking off when the gas is hit. Not only does it have a more aggressive sport suspension, but it also utilizes special summer tires which add increased road grip.

Other exterior traits to differentiate the Spyder from the rest of the Boxster lineup are special two humps behind the seats and unique Porsche name decals on the doors that are throwbacks to the 70s. The Spyder carries a base price of $61,200 but for those who need certain creature comforts, the price can quickly rise to $68,500. When looking at some of the competition, mainly the Nissan 370Z Roadster, Mercedes-Benz SLK55 AMG, and the BMW Z4 sDrive35is, the Spyder simply blows them all away. If you have the extra dough, there is simply no competition.

For Porsche and roadster purists, the Spyder may just be the car of your dreams.

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