Cut to the bone

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

Cut to the bone

With the Porsche Boxster Spyder, it appears that the designers' brief must have read as follows: 'If it doesn't add to the driving experience, ditch it.'

Porsche probably didn't express it quite as bluntly as that, but that's what it amounts to.

Cut to the bone
The stripped-down design is all to do with reducing weight the goal of motor engineers the world over. Weight wastes energy and hinders agility, and with the Boxster Spyder, Porsche wanted to get back to the feel of its white-knuckle sports cars of the '50s and '60s.

The air-conditioning and stereo found in other Boxsters have gone. The cupholders, too. Even the interior door handles have been sacrificed.

Comfort-hungry buyers, however, can put most of it back from the options list with all but the air-con at no extra cost. The door handles, however, are gone for good a couple of pull-straps will have to suffice.

The result is a car that weighs in at a pretty trim 1275 kilos and has the 315bhp 3.4-litre engine from the Cayman S to move it a power-to-weight ratio of just 3.9 kilos per bhp.

Altogether, Porsche has shaved 80 kilos off the weight of a Boxster S by fitting a two-part manual cloth roof, making the doors and the new one-piece engine cover with its humps out of aluminium, reducing the size of the fuel tank and adopting lighter sports seats. There are also 19-inch alloy wheels to go with the cannibalisation of the cabin.

There's stiffer and lower suspension, and the option of six-speed manual or seven-speed semi-automatic gearboxes. Buyers can also have all of Porsche's electronic chassis tricks with the exception of adaptive shock absorbers.