2011 Porsche Boxster Spyder – Click above for high-res image gallery

When we look at the 2011 Porsche Boxster Spyder rap sheet, it's hard not go get a bit excited. It looks seriously terrific, it weighs but 2,811 pounds, and it packs 320 mid-mounted ponies. Good stuff. When we spent some time behind the wheel of the Spyder, we fell more than deeply in love with this, the purest of Boxsters. If only automotive super-journo Dan Neil agreed.

Neil's review of the Boxster Spyder in The Wall Street Journal falls somewhere short of glowing prose – in fact, it's about 500 miles short of glowing and a mere six inches past poor. The Pulitzer prize-winning author pans the Spyder's top as beyond difficult (we called it "trick"). Okay, so a convertible top that was designed to save 46 pounds is probably going to shape up as less than ideal (Neil: "Find me the guy who designed the canvas top. Bring me his head on a platter"), but if Neil thinks this top is Erector Set hell, he should get his hands on a Lamborghini Murcielago Roadster.

Anything else wrong here? Well, there's the power for starters. Neil feels the Spyder's 320 horses are hamstrung by 273 pound-feet of torque that can only be best accessed when pushing the flat-six hard. And then there is the six-speed manual transmission, which Neil feels is inferior in every way to the PDK dual-clutch tranny ("Those purists out there still clinging to your six-speed manuals, please go home. Your black-and-white TV is on the fritz.").

So... is the Boxster Spyder God's gift to lightweight roasters or is it a reason to fire the engineers who designed this Porsche's lightweight top? We know Dan – he's a swell guy and one hell of a writer, but even though we're decidedly short on Pulitzers, we can't help but think that to slate the Spyder for not being a great everyday car is to miss its point altogether. Factory lightweight specials like this one are always a bit silly for street use, always ask for more concessions of their drivers, and, if they're German, they always cost a bunch more, too. And yet... we'd still rock the top Boxster any day of the week and twice on Sundays.

Oh, and we're just fine with the three-pedal setup, thanks – like seemingly every dual clutch gearbox, the PDK still has lousy low-speed drivability – and you can call us hopeless romantics, but when it's not about chalking up lap times, we still love to row our own gears.

Head over to the WSJ to read Neil's scathing review for yourself.


Related GalleryFirst Drive: 2011 Porsche Boxster Spyder

Photos by Michael Harley / Copyright ©2010 Weblogs, Inc.

[Source: The Wall Street Journal - sub. req.]