• Aug 4, 2008
Click the image above for a hi-res gallery of the Porsche Boxster RS 60

Our colleague Chris Tutor recently took the Porsche Boxster RS 60 Spyder for a few quick turns around Barber Motorsports. A tad more powerful than the Boxster S, and filled with red leather, he discovered it was plenty of car on the closed circuit. We recently had a chance to get the special edition RS 60 off the track and onto the back roads of Rhode Island and Connecticut, and got to see what the car could do on twisting country lanes – and unexpectedly, in the rain. The likewise unexpected result: damn near perfection. Follow the jump to find out how,and check out the gallery of hi-res and sometimes very damp images below.

All Second Drive gallery photos Copyright ©2008 Sergio Jurado / Weblogs, Inc.

The Porsche Boxster RS60 Spyder we drove costs $59,065. For that money, you do not get navigation. You do not get power seats. You do not get an iPod hookup, nor a manual trunk release, nor an 'Auto' setting for the headlights (which, along with that trunk release, will be a factor later on in our story). At times, the Plexiglass windscreen between the seats squeaks. When the aluminum-backed seats are pushed all the way back against the carpeted rear bulkhead, they might squeak as well. The red and metallic dash is almost constantly reflected in the steeply raked windshield.

And then there's the matter of purity. This particular blogger had a thing about Porsches: you either had a 911, or you had... whatever it is you had. We owned a 993 for a while, and simply could not understand how anyone could leave the Porsche dealership with anything other than The Icon. We didn't look down on Boxster drivers... we simply didn't quite... get it.

Now we do.

Porsche can charge you $59,065 for the Boxster RS 60 Spyder because, for all it doesn't come with, it comes with one thing worth every red pfennig: deliciously coordinated delivery of sublimely engaging driving sensations you will not find anywhere else outside of Porsche. It's been said ad infinitum. I will say it again: no other automaker has distilled the thrill of driving as perfectly as Porsche.

The steering wheel is the perfect size, in the perfect place. There are no buttons on its spokes for cruise control or volume or the dash information display. It says, "I am not a universal remote. I am for driving."

The seats – gasp -- leave one plenty of room in the cabin, something I couldn't entirely say of the last 911 I drove. The sports recliners also hug perfectly -- even during those Over-the-Road hauls -- in a way that keeps your lower back, kidneys, and rump far too busy being comfortable to bother you.

There is a Terminator-esque gearshift, a proper 6-speed snickity-snick dealy-o, that begs you to rest your hand on it. And when it's time to shift... egads... thank you, mother, can I have another?

There's that exhaust note. Like that third bowl of porridge, it is just right. It never goes away, but it never drones. And when you invite it into the cabin through the subtle flexing of your right calf, it fills the interior, fills your ears, fills the spaces between your solar plexus and coccyx with a magnificent resonance.

Everything we've discussed so far you can enjoy standing still. When it's time to move... ah yes, there's that aerospace precision we have come to expect from Porsche, the 1:1 ratio of driving input to engine and vehicular output. There are driver's cars that are more visceral, more luxurious, more thrilling. We've driven most of them. Not a one provides the same we-could-do-this-all-day driving experience.

What about that English bulldog sniffing around Porsche's marked territory, the V8 Vantage? We drove the '08 Vantage for two weeks all over Europe, and it is an undeniably terrific car. But in its luxurious leanings, it is just a hair less taut than the Porsche, less tight by one iota when it comes to the asphalt equivalent of Chutes and Ladders. Our colleague Damon Lavrinc recently tested the 2009 Vantage and came to the same conclusion. Which is no slight at all to the Vantage. But Porsche created this game. And still rules it.

Yet believe it or not, we came not to gush over the RS 60. We are simply forced to praise it.

The wet, green summertime woods of New England, threaded with an intertwined mess of 2-lane roads, were perfect for the car. At a stubby 14 feet, a little over 3,000 pounds, with 303 hp, 251 ft-lb, and a beautifully sorted suspension, cornering is done as it's meant to be. That is, a human being in charge of steering, throttle, and shifting, with no worries about The Walloping Weight Shift somewhere around turn-in, or heaven forbid, exit.

Hit the gas and the car goes... but it doesn't GO! And it's not supposed to, so as not to upset its jealous bigger brother. The RS 60 has just enough power for you to really get on it, exploit it around turns and down straights. It's plenty, especially if you appreciate the driving investment. Get on a 911 Turbo the same way, and the only things you'll be exploiting are the limits of your insurance premiums, both health and auto. For B-road fun, the Boxster is everything it needs to be.

And now to the issue of those non-Auto lights and no-manual trunk release. The only blight we endured from the special edition Boxster was what was required when the battery went dead, as it did when a valet left the lights on. Pay close attention:

You can't remove the key from the ignition when the battery is dead. To do so, you pull the cover off the fuse box in the driver's footwell. You remove the 6-inch long sliver of a metal rod with a bend at one end. You place the bend inside a tiny hole in the plastic ignition lock surround, and pull out a frighteningly tiny sliver of plastic. Turn the key to the left, then place the other end of that metal rod inside a hole in the ignition lock, and that releases the key. If you've managed not to lose that Lilliputian piece of plastic, you replace it in its housing.

So you've got your key back. But you still can't get to the battery. Since there's no manual hood release, you have to go back to the fuse box, extending a specially marked red fuse. Place the positive jumper cable on that fuse, the negative cable on the door hinge, but don't pull the automatic hood release, because that still doesn't work. You have to press the hood release on the key. Then the hood pops open.

Then you cart the charge box to the front of the car and hook it to the battery. Then you get back in the car and it starts, and lights up like the Sydney Harbor Bridge at New Year's since the low voltage has thrown things out of whack.

Then you drive. And all is, yes, forgiven.

Our verdict: personally, we'd still take a 911, but not for puritanical reasons. We happen to like the 911 better, and we wouldn't mind the extra power for the straights. But after seven hours, two hundred miles, a Woodstock Burger, and two enormous scoops of ice cream in the RS 60, we have just one thing to say about it: We-Li-Kit.

All Second Drive gallery photos Copyright ©2008 Sergio Jurado / Weblogs, Inc.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago

      (will trade my first born)
      • 6 Years Ago
      Summary of the second drive for those who can't be bothered to read everything:

      • 6 Years Ago
      Like every Porsche, this is a lovely piece. But when only their $200k GT2 can catch a Nissan around the Ring it does beg the question as to why this vehicle is so sought after. Their Cayman S, properly equipped with their rapaciously priced options, is about the price of a Z06 or GT-R. This car is for the poseur who'll never see the redline in 4th gear or 0.5g's on any corner but will certainly buy a jacket with "Porsche" embroidered on the back.
        • 6 Years Ago
        GTR 7:29min factroy laptime after several hundret laps of trying and testing to get one perfect lap...
        GT2 7:32min car magazine laptime driven in a 30minute test window sportauto was given to make one traffic free time attack run...

        I am curious what the GT-R reach under similar conditions..
      • 6 Years Ago
      ......."A tad more powerful than the Boxster S, and filled with red leather, he discovered it was plenty of car on the closed circuit."

      Chris is doing well to have more horsepower than a Boxter S, but eating too much red leather is not good for him.

      try: "Writing with not too much care for clarity or the English language, Jonathan's sentence which would earned him red marks from the Teacher."

      Them rules is there for good reason, Boy -- computer age or not.
        • 6 Years Ago
        wow! awesome job on the photography!
      • 6 Years Ago

      I like the 911 a lot, but I would probably take a boxster/cayman first. I love mid-engined layouts, especially with boxer engines.

      IF the Cayman had versions of the 911 coupe's longer rear quarter windows, and a double-bubble roofline, like an FD RX7, or porsche Carrera GT, to lower the height of the roof in the center, it would be better looking than the 911.

      The Boxster (especially the RS60) already looks as good as a 911 Cabrio, except perhaps a 4S or turbo cabrio, with wide fenders.

      It was interesting to see the battery procedure. Porsches might be excellent candidate for aftermarket battery backup devices, or battery drain voltage cutoff, or remote external battery charging posts, or something.

      I thought that newer Porsches, 987 and 997, had an emergency cable-pull hood release somewhere, for this sort of issue. Maybe not. Still want one, though.

      This is 'the' sports car, IMHO. The layout is right, the size and weight are good, the handling and braking are there, the style and build quality are too. It could use more power, and a limited slip, but power is the last thing to add when everything else is good. And ~300hp out of a naturally aspirated flat 6 isn't too bad at all. Just a couple years ago V6s were boasting about having 300hp.

      Yet dreams of a DI 3.6 997 GT3 engine swap into next year's 987 Cayman S, with PASM/SportChrono/PDK and a LSD are still very nice.

      One day I will have an all-boxer garage. Subaru daily and winter driver, Porsche sports car, and BMW Motorcycle. Or multiples of any of them. :D
      • 6 Years Ago

      (I don't have anything to trade)
      • 6 Years Ago
      The Boxster has almost made its way back to being as impressive as the prototype from well over a decade ago. If only Porsche would just do it and make the prototype into a car for sale. Forget the dated headlight design, I want those lavish (and expensive to produce) flanks, the exposed vent fans, the road-debris-catching low-slung intake and cooling ducts and the swooping, muscular, yet sinuous and almost ballerina- or gymnast-like lines --there's still not been a car in production to better the lines of the Boxster prototype.
      • 6 Years Ago

      (Will trade my New Beetle and left nut)
      • 6 Years Ago

      (Will trade my gf)
      • 6 Years Ago
      A 9V battery connected to a cigarette adapter plug would pop the hood in no time. A nice kit to have in the glove compartment.
      • 3 Years Ago
      OK - While the above bit about the key in ignition getting stuck once the battery goes flat was helpful - the actual removal was rather different!!! You basically remove the cover of the fuse box - pick out the thin metal stick with a hook on the end and stick into the hole in the ignition - turn the key to the left - a small piece of the ignition will pop out - and key will be able to be removed...watch out for the piece when it pops out, as it is easy to lose. Then proceed as above for the battery. If battery is super flat - you will need at least 15minutes before the engine will start - but then things proceed as normal...
      • 6 Years Ago
      Beautiful pictures. Thank you! And, like everyone else has said: "WANT!!!" Except, I don't think I'll be able to trade my wife - will my Yaris do?
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