2011 Porsche Boxster Spyder

Jeffrey Jablansky
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A lot of editors notebook reviews excoriate Michigan's Third World-quality roads. As a New Yorker, I don't think road surfaces get much worse than the undulating series of potholes along the East River's F.D.R. Drive. (Or the conduit section of Delancey Street that leads to the Williamsburg Bridge. Or John Street in its entirety.) My litmus test of a road surface is to trade four wheels for two, and subject my bike's ultrathin tires to the harsh reality of the pavement. Direct steering and low-profile tires expose the weaknesses of the road that my unwieldy SUV cannot.

Suffice it to say, then, that I was giggling madly as I stepped out of the stripped-out, direct-as-possible Boxster Spyder after just 15 miles behind the wheel. Want to talk about driver involvement? First try snuggling into the tight, grippy bucket seats. With that accomplished, working the somewhat heavy clutch and sweet gearbox is as satisfying as being back on the bike, wind sweeping through my hair. The windswept feeling might have just been because of the questionably loose rear window fitting, which might be better dubbed "peephole" for the amount of visibility it offers.

The last Boxster I drove was a garden-variety roadster equipped with Porsche's PDK transmission. Having stepped out of a BMW 135i fitted with a seven-speed dual-clutch right before entering the Boxster, I was taken over by the exhilarating palpability of driver involvement that an automatic of any caliber just can't match. I admit to happily popping the gearbox one cog too low just to hear the fiery howl of the boxer engine.

No, David, I'm neither a chick nor a balding middle-age man, but the raw goodness of the Boxster Spyder is more than appealing. Our tester's price, which pushed $72,000, makes the case for a less expensive Boxster S or Cayman that much more attractive.

Jeffrey Jablansky, Associate Editor

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