(2015-2016) Porsche Boxster Spyder (981) – Ultimate Guide
Date of unveil by Porsche AG: 2015 April 1 / Premiere: 2015 April 1 at New York Auto Show / World market launch: 2015 July
Following in the footsteps of the nineteen fifties and sixties 356 Speedsters, 550 Spyders, different 718 Spyders and the two thousand ten Boxster 987 Spyder, the Boxster 981 Spyder is by far the most powerful of them. The power-to-weight ratio of the original 718 Spyder 1.7- and 2.0-litre 4-cylinder models was better though already 55 years earlier. Visually the Porsche Speedsters and Spyders are characterized by their unique side view silhouette – the result of the low windscreen and low roofline when the temporary canvas top is fitted.
While the 987 Spyder had a Cayman S engine (a little bit more powerful than Boxster S), the 981 Spyder got a 911 Carrera S engine – like the 981 GT4, it had a modified 3.8-litre engine from the 997.2/991. To use the rear engine in mid-position, it was not just rotated 180 degrees, it had to be modified a bit – the 3.8-litre engine was given a different crankcase and naturally different intake system. This purist’s version of the Boxster was equipped with limited slip differential and the Porsche Torque Vectoring electronic turn-in aid. The exhaust system is naturally the louder sports version and the suspension is 0.8″/20 mm lower than on the standard Boxster. The suspension is sportier, but not the racing suspension of the 981 GT4. The brakes have the same size as the ones on the 991 Carrera 3.4, just that the calipers are painted red. Although 25 kg / 55 lb lighter than the GT4, the 981 Spyder is not as race-oriented as the Cayman GT4. Like in the GT4, in order to reduce weight, radio, loudspeakers and air conditioning were deleted from standard equipment (could be put back at no extra cost), the fuel tank size was only 54 litres (64-litre tank was available at no extra cost). What was not the case with the 987 Spyder, the roof of the 981 Spyder is more suitable for everyday use (with the 987 Spyder the top speed with roof on was limited to 124 mph/200 km/h).
The range-topping Boxster retains the independent character of the previous Spyder, which has already attained cult status. For example, the classic fabric roof is still opened and closed by hand, and the sports car is available with only a manual transmission. As a true original roadster, the Boxster Spyder offers a traditional sports-car driving experience but with contemporary performance. This means firm sports suspension with a 20 mm lower ride height, powerful brakes taken from the 911 Carrera, even more direct steering, and a 3.8-litre flat six-cylinder engine with an output of 375 hp (276 kW).
Drivers and passengers can thus look forward to a genuine sports-car experience with outstanding driving dynamics in the lightest yet most powerful Boxster. It takes only around 4.5 seconds for the Boxster Spyder to sprint from 0 to 100 km/h, while the model’s top speed is 180 mph. NEDC overall fuel consumption amounts to 28.5 mpg (9.9 l/100 km).
The distinctive design of the Boxster Spyder includes visual elements that recall the legendary sports and race cars from Porsche. For example, as a tribute to the 718 Spyder from the 1960s, the new Boxster Spyder has two prominent streamlined bulges that extend down along the long rear lid behind the head restraints. The partially manually operated, lightweight top is suitable for everyday use and brings to mind roadsters from the past, while the fins that stretch back to the rear lend the vehicle’s silhouette its characteristic design. The front and rear end of the model are taken from the Cayman GT4.
More so than in any other Boxster, the interior of the new top model creates an atmosphere that elicits a feeling of pure driving pleasure. The driver and passenger sit in light sports bucket seats with large side supports, while the new steering wheel with a diameter of 360 mm helps ensure the mid-engine roadster can be driven precisely and with great agility. In line with the model’s purist design neither a radio nor air conditioning is included as standard equipment in order to reduce weight. However, both can be ordered ex-factory as optional equipment at no extra cost. In addition, the entire range of Boxster audio systems is available for customers to choose from as an option. The Porsche Communication Management (PCM) system with all of its special features can also be ordered as optional equipment, for example.
The new Boxster Spyder will be launched on the market in July and is available to order now from Porsche Centres. UK recommended retail prices start at £60,459 (112,186 EUR).