2011 Porsche Boxster Spyder

Jeffrey Jablansky

Let's skip over the marketing puffery about the Boxster Spyder "taking an idea back to the basics" and talk about the real reason this lighter roadster exists: testosterone. You see, the regular Boxster and Boxster S are very good vehicles -- nearly perfect vehicles, actually -- but they're often dismissed as chick cars. This is a problem for Porsche, since much of the market for $60,000 sports cars is made up of middle-age men looking to compensate for their receding hairlines and expanding beltlines.

The Boxster Spyder solves this perception problem by becoming much more masculine, which is to say a lot dumber. The power-retractable convertible top has been replaced by a glorified piece of tarp that somehow requires nine steps to fold into the trunk. The brilliant suspension has been retuned for just a bit more grip at the cost of a less comfortable ride. The inner door handles have been replaced by little pieces of red rope to save weight, but somehow it's still okay to have a navigation system and air conditioning (Spyders can be ordered with no radio or A/C). Oh, and all of this costs extra over a Boxster S.

Of course, the car itself is astonishingly good -- exceptional steering, a wonderful manual gearbox, and lovely mid-engine balance. And I'll admit I am quite taken by the snug carbon fiber seats, not to mention the Carrera RS style decals. But as a whole, the Spyder treatment is that proverbial extra brush stroke on a perfect painting.

David Zenlea, Assistant Editor

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