• Jul 26, 2010
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.



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

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


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 41 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      He represents the typical "pussification" of Americans. Just because its possible to build a sports car that is also luxurious, he expects that in every car. He misses the point obviously, but so does most of the general public. It is why less and less manufacturers bother to build manual transmissions, 2 door sport coupes, and rear wheel drive chassis.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Oh look. A Clarkson wannabe.
      • 4 Years Ago
      The spyder is little more than marketing hype to draw interest to the current boxster model at the end of it's life. Granted it is a very smart move to drop a bit of weight, jack up the price and sit back and cash in, because Porsche can. This 'hot' spyder is about to become old news when the new boxster S comes out and exceeds all of this cars performance figures while offering real practicality. I view this spyder not as a real model, just as a stop gap measure. If Porsche wanted a real lightweight spyder in the model line up they could go a lot farther toward making the car something truly special.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I have to admit I dismissed the Spyder when I saw the first description here on autoblog. Don't really care for the look (rear deck), and the description of the top made me say, "no thanks". I'll take a plain-jane S with a manual and a useful top, thanks.
      • 4 Years Ago
      What an awful review. I've never owned a Porsche before, but seems like the typical bull from writers in the wrong demographic.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I totally agree with Dan on the top. Porsche's are meant to be daily drivers and, if you live where it rains, you need a top that's easier to erect and dryer than a tent.
        • 4 Years Ago
        And they make a dozen daily drivers for you to choose from. Pick one of those.why would you spend more for the spider knowing what it's purpose is then complain that it's not like the cheaper one?

        Are they not allowed to make ammore drivers-car oriented car?
      • 4 Years Ago
      I haven't liked anything I ever read by Dan. I guess his sense of humor just escapes me, and his automotive opinions seem dubious at best.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Next up, Vegetarians reveiwing the best cut of meat............
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'd hate to see this guy review the Lotus Elise or Exige...

      "it's too rough riding, noisy, only has a manual configuration, it's got no boot space, etc etc etc!"
      • 4 Years Ago
      Love the look of this car. Closest thing to a Carrera GT without having to rob a bank.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Isn't it precious when 50 year olds tell people to go home and watch black and white TV? I bet Dan is a whiz at email too.
      • 4 Years Ago
      i guess the Pulitzer guys have no idea about cars either.
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