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Review

Last updated: 7th November 2014

Review

Porsche Boxster Convertible (2004 - 2012) review

Read the Porsche Boxster Spyder convertible (2010 - ) car review by Auto Trader's motoring experts, covering price, specification, running costs, practicality, safety and how it drives.

Last updated: 7th November 2014
The Auto Trader expert verdict: 3.6 The Boxster Spyder is a hard-riding, stripped-out version of Porsche’s popular roadster. It offers one of the purest, most hard-core and satisfying drives of any car on sale, but it could be difficult to live with.

Pros

  • Build quality
  • Performance
  • Handling

Cons

  • Lack of standard equipment
  • Fiddly roof
  • Firm ride

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Equipment Our rating 3/5

Porsche believes that luxury equipment simply adds unnecessary weight to the Boxster Spyder, which is why it has such a meagre specification, with features such as air-con not even appearing on the options list. Despite this, there’s a large choice of expensive extras to personalise your Porsche, including special leather interior finishes, a sophisticated stereo package and a sports exhaust.

Exterior Our rating 5/5

The biggest visual difference between the standard Porsche Boxster and the Boxster Spyder is the rear deck, which raises up to meet the seats and wind deflector. Other changes include the lightweight 19-inch spoked alloy wheels, the retro-styled ‘Porsche’ side stripes and black mesh inserts for the side intakes.

Interior Our rating 3/5

At first glance the Spyder may look identical to the regular Boxster, but Porsche has removed equipment to save weight. Neither a stereo nor air-con are fittted, there are no door pockets and even the instruments have had their plastic cowls removed. The fabric door handles are reminiscent of the 911 GT3 RS, but the colour-coded transmission tunnel section looks cheap, and with no air-con, the cabin can get hot and sweaty with the hood up.

Performance Our rating 5/5

A 10bhp power increase and an 80kg weight reduction over the standard Boxster help deliver excellent performance, with the Spyder capable of sprinting from rest to 60mph in just 5.1 seconds and on to a potential 163mph top speed. Customers have the choice of a six-speed manual, or a smooth-shifting seven-speed PDK double clutch gearbox, which is available at extra cost.

Practicality Our rating 2/5

Removing and refitting the roof is a long-winded and fiddly process and it’s obvious that the Boxster Spyder was designed primarily for open-top driving. Technically Porsche describes the hood as a ‘cap’, it weighs less than 6kg, but when it’s raised, drivers must not exceed 124mph. The Boxster Spyder’s driving position is excellent, as the standard lightweight front sport seats are comfortable and supportive, however headroom is limited with the hood in place.

Reliability Our rating 4/5

Porsche performs consistently well in customer satisfaction surveys. High standards applied during the design and build processes help create reliable products, and the Boxster Spyder should prove little different.

Ride and handling Our rating 4/5

The Boxster Spyder feels like a faster, harder-riding Boxster S and is enormously satisfying to drive on a twisty road. The steering is more positive and communicative than the normal Boxster’s, allowing the car to change direction sharply and quickly. The downside is that the very firm ride can be uncomfortable on poor roads.

Running costs Our rating 3/5

Servicing, parts and tyres do not come cheap, although at least the service intervals are set at a reasonably lengthy 20,000 miles. The automatic version is more fuel-efficient than the manual, returning an average 30.4mpg as opposed to 29.1mpg for the manual, but the CO2 emissions of both models exceed 200g/km.

Safety Our rating 4/5

There is no EuroNCAP rating for the Boxster, but the body is strong and standard equipment includes electronic stability programme, driver, passenger and side airbags, side impact protection elements in the doors and roll over bars.

Why buy? Our rating 3/5

If you’re after one of the purest, most hard-core, open-top driving experiences, then the Boxster Spyder should be on your list. Sadly, the fiddly roof and lack of luxury equipment limit the Spyder’s appeal. It could never be used on an everyday basis, but when the sun is shinning, it is a very attractive proposition indeed.

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Our recommendations

Best on a budget
Boxster 2.9
Awesome drive, cheap to run but options are expensive
Best seller
Boxster 3.4S
More power gives greater driver enjoyment at a price
Blow the budget
3.4 Spyder
The ultimate driver’s Boxster – but not easy to live with