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 The power-retractable convertible top has been replaced by a glorified piece of tarp that somehow requires nine steps to fold into the trunk.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 The inner door handles have been replaced by little pieces of red rope to save weight, but somehow it's still okay to have a navigation system and air conditioning (Spyders can be ordered with no radio or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