Porsche is introducing a new, lightweight version of the mid-engined Porsche Boxster roadster at the Los Angeles Auto Show in December, the distinctive styling and technical specification of which represents the true, purist form of the Porsche sports car – light, powerful, open-roofed, and very efficient.
This is precisely the formula already applied in creating the most successful road-going sports and racing cars throughout the history of Porsche, ranging from the legendary 550 Spyder of the 1950s to the RS Spyder Le Mans Prototype race car so successful in motorsport today.
Weighing 1,275kg, the Boxster Spyder is the lightest model in the Porsche line-up, and continues this clear-cut philosophy in a package offering full homologation for the road, reflecting a common wish expressed by Porsche customers.
The new model becomes the third version in the Boxster range, joining the Boxster and Boxster S, yet stands out clearly at first sight from the other versions of the mid-engined roadster, quite simply because the Spyder has been developed first and foremost for driving in the open air. The low-slung, lightweight soft top extends far to the rear and serves to protect the driver and passenger from bright sunshine, wind and rain. When closed, the soft top, together with the bespoke extra-low side windows and the two unique, striking bulges on the single-piece rear lid, boasts a stretched and sleek silhouette reminiscent of the Carrera GT.
Significantly, the new model weighs 80kg less than the Boxster S which, combined with a lower centre of gravity and revised suspension, gives the Boxster Spyder the calibre of driving dynamics that clearly reflect the unique look of the car.
The Boxster Spyder features a tuned version of the proven 3.4-litre flat six ‘boxer’ engine with Direct Fuel Injection, which is located ahead of the rear axle. Maximum output is 320 bhp, 10 bhp more than in the Boxster S.
Equipped with the Porsche-Doppelkupplungsgetriebe (PDK) twin-clutch transmission and the Sports Chrono Package, the new Spyder, using Launch Control, accelerates from a standstill to 62mph in 4.8 seconds. Again with optional PDK, fuel consumption is a mere 30.4mpg (9.3 litres/100km) in the NEDC New European Driving Cycle and top speed, in turn, is 166 mph (267 km/h) – with the roof removed.
In terms of its fundamental concept, the entire Boxster family is the successor to the legendary 550 Spyder built back in 1953, both models sharing the same mid-engined roadster concept offering low weight and supreme agility combined with equally outstanding driving pleasure – in essence, an authentic roadster experience.
The 550 Spyder was the first Porsche sports car from Stuttgart developed specifically for racing but also homologated for the road. Weighing only 550kg, this unique Spyder scored numerous victories in the years following its production on the race circuits and in road races popular at the time. The 550 Spyder was followed by other extremely successful Porsche Spyders, such as the 718 RS 60 in 1960.
In 2004 and 2008 Porsche dedicated a limited edition of special Boxsters bearing the additional name Spyder, inspired by these legendary racing cars. By contrast, the new Boxster Spyder is a regular, specially developed and upgraded production model with far-reaching modifications versus the Boxster and Boxster S.
Market introduction of the new Porsche Boxster Spyder will start worldwide in February 2010, and will be priced from £44,643 in the UK. Included in the purchase price is the invitation for customers to explore the dynamic attributes of their Boxster Spyder, and develop their own skills behind the wheel, courtesy of a Driving Experience Programme at the Porsche Experience Centre at Silverstone.