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New York show: Porsche unveils Boxster Spyder

Streamliner: The twin streamlining bulges behind the headrests of the new Boxster Spyder are a styling throwback to the revered Porsche 718 Spyder.

Hump-backed Spyder sets new performance benchmark for Porsche Boxster

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Porsche logo1 Apr 2015

By RON HAMMERTON

PORSCHE has applied its iconic Spyder badge to a hard-edged new Boxster flagship roadster that would have made James Dean salivate.

Complete with twin streamlining bulges extending behind the headrests, the Boxster Spyder was unveiled at the New York motor show ahead of its mid-year roll-out in Europe and third-quarter arrival in Australia.

In a nod to the 718 Spyder of the late 1950s and early 1960s, air-conditioning and audio systems have been stripped out for purists, although Porsche will be happy to replace them for a cost. As well, the folding roof is only partly mechanical, shutting most of the way before being hand-closed.

And like Spyders of old, the new Spyder will be available only with a manual gearbox, thus missing out on Porsche’s slick PDK dual-clutch automatic.

But to make up for the omissions, the Spyder will be armed with a 276kW version of the 911’s 3.8-litre normally aspirated flat six, providing 33kW more power than the 3.4-litre engine of the current Boxster performance leader, the 243kW Boxster GTS.

The new variant will go on sale in Australia for $169,000, plus on-road costs – a premium of $23,500 on the GTS.

Porsche says buyers can look forward to “a genuine sportscar experience” from this Spyder that is the lightest Boxster available. No weight data was immediately available, but Porsche claims a 0-100km/h sprint time of 4.5 seconds – 0.2 seconds faster than the PDK-equipped Boxster GTS.

For improved handling, the ride height has been dropped 20mm and suspension firmed up, while steering is extra weighty. To suit the added performance, brakes have been adapted from the 911.

Rear downforce is applied by a fixed ducktail spoiler. The front and rear treatments are taken from the new Cayman GT4.

Porsche’s Spyder lineage started with 1955’s 550 Spyder – the car that American movie star James Dean helped to carve into legend by crashing and killing himself on a Californian country road in the same year the car was launched.

The 718 Spyder followed in 1957, adding a single streaming hump behind the driver’s head for racy appearance. More recently, the Spyder moniker has been applied to the Nurburgring-busting 918 hybrid.

Porsche Boxster pricing*
2.7 Boxster $102,800
3.4 Boxster S $128,900
3.4 Boxster GTS $145,500
3.8 Boxster Spyder $169,000
*Excludes on-road costs.

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