PORSCHE BOXSTER SPYDER
A BREATH OF FRESH AIR
This Porsche is very close to my heart. I always loved the mid-engine Boxster, celebrating its 25th birthday this year. I picked up the Spyder on a beautiful, wind still and sunny Cape winter day and took it across the sublime tarmac of Franschhoek pass and later on my home run Clarence Drive.
A couple of months ago I had the privilege of driving it’s closed brother, the Cayman GT4. A real driver’s machine, with a classic sportscar character. Also naturally aspirated with a once again 4.0-l. six-cylinder boxer engine, situated in the middle and a six-speed manual gear box. Very direct, light and agile with a brilliant background noise. Ticking all the right petrol head boxes. An impressive return to past glory. On my favourite piece of twisty tarmac, the R44 between Gordon’s Bay and Rooiels, the Cayman GT4 was in it’s element. Through those narrow bends with plenty of grip, it came alive.
Can one top this experience, I said to myself at the time? Yes one can. In the car I am in, the topless 718 Boxster Spyder. Naturally (aspirated) on Clarence Drive, With the same power output as the Cayman GT4, but much more fresh air in your hair – and an even better, unfiltered sound experience.
When turbos came out they were hailed as brilliant
Capturing exhaust fumes for forced induction, improving performance and efficiency. Getting a hell of a lot out of smaller engines. But they lacked one important sensual motoring ingredient: sound. Nowadays there are only a few left. The US of A are obviously still holding on to them. Dodge Charger and Jeep Wranglers feature 6.4-l. V8s, Ford in their F250s and F350s go up to monsterous 7.3-l. V8.
Some Japanese cars still go for unassisted breathing, like the iconic Mazda MX-5 with a 2.0-l. 4 cyl., or Lexus with their substantial 5.0-l. V8 in the LS500 and LC convertible. The Italians are still celebrating their 6.5-l. V-12 in some of their Ferrari models. Lamborghini has the same powerplant in their Aventador. And a 5.5-l. V10 in the Huracan, sharing it with Audi’s brilliant R8, which I recently experienced in the topless Spyder version on this piece of tarmac https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cuIYFzXCfAQ&t=1s&ab_channel=LOSSKARN
And then there is Porsche, with the 911 GT3 and the Boxster 718 Spyder, I am in just now. It is quite obvious, that the Porsche engineers in Zuffenhausen didn’t mean for you to drive this car with the roof closed. They want you to enjoy this roadster in a species-appropriate way. Topless. And while, when the sun comes out, you will have all the time in the world to open the roof, imagine a sudden down pour, while enjoying the fresh air around you. You have to be able to predict the weather in the Spyder, otherwise you will need a bridge – or Gore-Tex underwear. In all the other Porsche convertibles, the fabric roofs open, while you are sitting comfortably, warm and cosy inside, pushing a button – with speeds up to 50km/h. The Spyder needs manual work – and short fingernails.
I have to stop at one of the Clarence Drive parking bays. Once again adoring those beautiful lines of the parked Spyder. Especially the two humps in the rear, reminiscent of the legendary Carrera GT. After a while it is back into the bends. I must admit I prefer this 7-speed PDK with those cheetah-fast gear shifts to the six-speed manual I had in the Cayman GT4. And I can concentrate even more on the windy road ahead. In those tight bends it is obvious, that the Porsche motorsport team was involved in the development of the Spyder. And they had free access to some of the 911 performance parts, like electric power steering system as well as the suspension. Porsche is demonstrating impressively, that they can do both. Fully electric in a rather entertaining way, shown in the Taycan. And pure old school naturally aspirated bliss, I experienced today. Danke Porsche.
PORSCHE BOXSTER SPYDER
3.7-l. six-cylinder turbo, paired with an 8-speed auto PDK
4.0-l. naturally aspirated flat six, paired with a 7-speed PDK & rear-wheel drive
309kW & 430Nm
in 3.9 seconds
from R1 736 000
Driven by Dieter Losskarn
LossKarn 2021 ©