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Review of the 2016 Porsche Boxster Spyder: It's about time.

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On: Fri, Jun 10, 2016 at 12:10PM | By: Lou Ruggieri

Review of the 2016 Porsche Boxster Spyder:  It's about time.

Nineteen years ago, Porsche inadvertently created a monster. In their quest to bring some new blood into their lineup, they created a car in the Boxster that was actually too good for its time. How can that be, you ask?  Well, because Porsche purists basically worship a flawed god. For the last half-century or so, the 911 has been the face of the Porsche faithful, but its rear-engine/rear-drive setup has always been its biggest source of character, as well as its biggest Achilles heel. It has been something that Porsche engineers have in some ways acknowledged, and have been trying to overcome. And while their progress has been good, the appearance of the Boxster with its mid-engine setup and nearly perfect weight balance seemed to all but set the 911 back decades.  

But, slowly but surely, the Boxster has kept on keepin' on, and, nearly twenty years later, the Boxster has become an accepted member of the Porsche family, and has the guts and gumption to rise above the mockery of its early years and drop the "Poor Man's Porsche" moniker once and for all. The Boxster has quietly risen the performance ladder and may even bring enough to challenge the venerable 911 with its latest iteration. Enter, the 2016 Porsche Boxster Spyder.

This droptop dynamo comes to party with a a magnificent hand-me-down in the form of a 3.8-liter flat-six, donated by the 911 Carrera S. Finally, it seems, after almost two decades, Porsche is letting the Boxster see what it can do with some real power. How does 375 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque sound? Good. How does that much power sitting in a chassis that weighs only 3,000 pounds? Even better. Oh, and you can have any transmission you want in the Spyder, as long as what you want is a six-speed manual. None of that pansy PDK automatic garbage.

Now, the Porsche faithful might just pick up on a little number discrepancy with those power figures, as a true Carrera S has 400 ponies, yet the same-engined Boxster Spyder is 25 short of that mark. When asked, Porsche will tell you that due to a slightly shorter intake manifold the power is down. We think that it is still a genuflection to the halo car that made the brand so famous. Either way, this Boxster moves. Strap in to the form-fitting bucket seats, pull the nylon-strap door handles (why are they necessary?), and you'll be engulfed in a very sparse, yet sporty and elegant interior that seems to mold itself around you. Sure, you could check out the infotainment LCD screen to get whatever feedback you might want, but all you really need to keep your eyes on is that wonderfully visible tachometer standing front and center on the dashboard, begging you to make it dance all the way up to its 7,800 RPM redline. You will have to work a little harder in the Spyder, however, as the once-power top has been converted to a manual version in the name of saving 24 pounds.

From the outside, the Spyder looks fast standing still. Credit the aluminum tonneau cover and the revised decklid for giving the already enticing lines of the Boxster that much more visual appeal. But this little Porsche is no poser. Oh no, this car has power and isn't afraid to use it. The Spyder runs from 0–60 mph in only 3.7 seconds, to 100 mph in 8.6 seconds, through the quarter mile in a blistering 12.2 seconds, on the way to its top speed of 180 mph. Oh, and this near 11-second quarter mile car also manages to get 18/24 city/highway mpg and top 1.00 g on the skid pad. That's nothing short of ridiculous.

The Spyder is everything you could ever want in a two-seat roadster. It's a nimble, tossable, quick, agile, fast, and fun machine that feels like it is some hybrid (not that kind) of an Italian sports car and some German interpretation of an American muscle car. And, with a base price of $83,095, it almost feels like a bargain. Sure, it's not cheap, but neither is the car the engine is sourced from. So by all means shop around and see if you can find yourself a drop-top roadster that can run elevens, pull a full g on the skidpad with perfect balance, have Porsche-level clout, and also be a blast to drive on any paved road, all for less than 90 grand. There might be one or two, but the Boxster Spyder is on a very short list of amazing machines out there. So we'd like to first thank Porsche for finally putting a serious engine into their best balanced chassis. So when is the turbo version coming out?

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