Adversity, they say, is the best route to success. Those who usually have their backs against the wall are the ones who end up winning the gold. Don't believe this? Just look at the Porsche Boxster. The little German roadster that was a virtual nobody when it was first introduced in the mid-1990s is now on its third successful generation. And it's got a new model to boot--the 2016 Boxster Spyder.
The Boxster was fielded as sort of a Hail Mary shot back in 1996, at a time when Porsche was hitting rock-bottom. The two-seater roadster was Porsche's first new design in around 20 years, and featured a mid-mounted horizontally opposed "boxer" engine layout (hence the name), just like a true sports car, albeit at an affordable price. The gamble paid off, as the car was an instant hit around the world. The rest, they say, is history.
Fast-forward to roughly 19 years later and Porsche is introducing an all-new Boxster Spyder, the top-of-the-line model in the Boxster family. It's a mix of old and new Porsche design cues.
For instance, the classic roadster soft top is still manually operated. Apart from this, there is no automatic transmission option. These are just some of the refreshing things that are available to the Boxster--at a time when you've got electronic-folding roofs and dual-clutch automatics on almost every other sports car.
More "throwback" elements can be seen in various styling cues, such as the two wind streamliners on the rear lid behind the headrests. These pay homage to the classic Porsche 718 of the 1960s. The air outlet in front of the luggage lid is yet another classic Porsche styling cue. And of course, the car itself is reminiscent of the Porsche 550 Spyder of the 1950s.
Since this is a Porsche, expect nothing but the best engineering for the utmost driving pleasure. Well, drivers won't be disappointed, thanks to a 3.8-liter six-cylinder boxer engine that puts out 375hp, mated to a manual gearbox. Being a true lightweight roadster, the car can rocket to 100kph from rest in 4.3 seconds, and has a top speed of 290kph. Handling all that power is a 20mm-lower ride height, stiffer sport-tuned suspension, and brakes taken straight from the 911 Carrera S.
To complete the driving experience, Porsche treats the driver to a smaller-diameter (360mm) steering wheel compared to the other Boxster models (370mm). Both driver and passenger sit comfortably and firmly in Sport Seats Plus, while listening to the whine of the boxer engine and feeling the wind in their hair. That's because the German carmaker doesn't offer a radio or air-conditioning as standard equipment. You can order both at no extra cost. But with a car like this, why would you?
The 2016 Porsche Boxster Spyder will be launched later this year. Let's hope PGA Cars brings it in soon afterward.