Porsche’s Boxster is great. It has been since the first generation was introduced in 1996 with barely 200 horsepower. Porsche improved the Boxster’s performance year after year, particularly when the 987 Boxster became available with over 300 horsepower in 2009. Even with the sometimes-attractive hardtop Cayman, Porsche had never done for the Boxster’s looks what it had done for the Boxster’s engines and dynamics.
That is, until the Porsche Boxster Spyder came along and broke the hearts of everyone who couldn’t afford the less practical $60K Porsche roadster. Appearing long and low and wide, the Boxster Spyder evokes early Porsches like no slowly-evolving 2011 Porsche 911 Carrera can. The swollen rear deck proffers a race car vibe you’ll be keen to accept once your rear is firmly ensconced in the driver’s seat. Indeed, more than almost any other car on sale today, the Porsche Boxster Spyder’s excellent exterior design writes a prophetic story that’s bound to come true the first time its new owner drives through the winding Texas hill country.
Besides, Porsche didn’t just improve their roadster’s styling when they turned it into a Boxster Spyder. Horsepower is up, weight is down, suspension is dropped, aerodynamics are slicked, and steering is quicker and more communicative. The regular 2011 Porsche Boxster seems almost normal by comparison.
Engines: 320 horsepower; 273 lb-ft of torque from a 3.4L boxer 6-cylinder
Base USD/CAD Price: $61,200 / $72,900
City Fuel Economy: 19-20 miles per gallon
German Rivals: As a model within the Porsche Boxster/Cayman range, the 2011 Porsche Boxster Spyder is competing with the regular Boxster and Cayman sports cars plus the tasty S versions of those two Porsches. But you can’t discount the stylish Audi TT, a former Good 12 winner, the gorgeous hardtop convertible BMW Z4, a strong candidate for The Good 12 last year, and the Mercedes-Benz SLK, particularly the raunchy SLK55 AMG.
Sales Stats: The Porsche Boxster Spyder is a niche version of what is already a niche-market car. Boxster sales in Canada won’t reach 200 units in 2010. In all of 2009, Porsche Cars North America only sold 1909 Boxsters, a 36% decline from 2008 levels. American sales in 2010 aren’t going to reach 2008 levels, either.