Born to be driven

* New lightweight range-topper * 315bhp in a 1275kg car * On sale in February for 44,643...

Born to be driven

Born to be driven
'Pure' and 'open' are words that crop up all the time when 'Porsche people' discuss the Spyder. This is a car that's meant to be driven with the roof down Porsche even advises a speed limit of 125mph when the roof is raised, whereas you're free to hit the maximum 166mph with it removed.

When you see the canvas contraption it will all make sense. Frankly, it's a bit of a Heath Robinson affair: not the sort of thing you'd want to start wrestling with in a sudden summer shower. Best leave it furled in its nest above the engine.

Anyway, the driving experience is so much more alive with the roof down. Can you feel the absence of weight? After driving the Spyder, we reckon you can. From the moment you set off there seems to be little or no resistance to movement.

The engine's variable cam phasing and direct injection is a recipe for terrific flexibility. Obey the gearshift indicator while on light throttle loads and you'll be in sixth gear before you've reached 40mph. On the other hand, you can rev it beyond 7000rpm the flat-six snarl sounding all the better at the higher rev limit that the Spyder allows.

On the road
The whole car feels lithe, and alert and darting. The reduction in weight, with most of what's left concentrated between the axles, means there's little to stop the car flicking wherever you point it, instantly, and staying glued to the road as it does so.

You can feel everything the car is doing a bit too much so at times. The ride is firm, there's no doubt about it, and on really patchy roads you might just wish Porsche had softened it off a little. The Boxster Spyder also has a tendency to follow contours in the surface, although not in a way that makes you tighten your grip on the wheel.

Nor are there any shakes or rattles. The car is as solidly built as any Boxster; the cabin if anything even more snug and cosy, despite the loss of a few home comforts.

The Spyder be a car for the committed Porsche enthusiast. You could use it every day, but in a country with such a variable climate as Britain, that's going to entail a lot of faffing around with the hood. No, the people who buy it will probably already have a Porsche a 911 maybe, or a Cayenne and will want to treat themselves to a plaything. In which case Porsche has hit the nail smack on the head.