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2011 Porsche Boxster Review

This review was written when the 2011 Porsche Boxster was new.

The automotive press has always considered the Porsche Boxster a great sports car, but after test driving the new 2011 Porsche Boxster Spyder, reviewers are floored. They say it’s one of the best luxury sports cars they’ve driven in a while.

The Porsche Boxster has always been a favorite -- it’s luxurious, powerful and the perfect companion on the race track. With the introduction of the 2011 Boxster Spyder, Porsche has revolutionized the Boxster lineup.

In comparison to the Boxster and Boxster S, the Spyder is a completely different animal. It produces 320 horsepower, 65 more than the base model and dropped 176 pounds by loosing basic amenities like air conditioning, a radio and cloth bucket seats. Why did this Boxster undergo such a strenuous weight loss program?  Porsche wanted to make it faster and more agile. After test driving the Spyder, reviewers say it’s more than agile -- it’s one of the best handling sports cars on the market.

The press cautions, however, that the Spyder is not for the faint of heart -- don’t buy the Spyder if you want one just for the Porsche nameplate. "Here's some clarity: this car is not for you if you just want to putter around with a crest on the hood and a flat six behind you,” says Autoblog. “The Boxster Spyder is a serious piece, and if you want a cushy Boxster, the S is your ride."

For a closer look at the Boxster, check out our Boxster video.

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Other Sports Cars to Consider

If you’re looking for a sports car that’s a tad more practical, test drive the Chevrolet Corvette. It’s not as luxurious as the Porsche Boxster, but it does have 22.4 cubic feet of cargo space, which makes it more useful for daily life. It also has 110 more horsepower than the Spyder, and its handling capabilities are just as impressive -- if not better. On the downside, the Corvette’s fuel economy ratings of 16/26 mpg are lower than the Boxster’s.

The Boxster is often compared to the Lotus Elise, which is also a favorite among auto journalists. While many reviewers say the Boxster Spyder trumps the Elise, if you’re thinking about getting the base or S Boxster, you might want to consider this sports car. It’s not luxurious, but if you want to go really really fast, the Elise is a good option. You won’t have any problems when you’re powered by its 1.8-liter engine that produces 218 horsepower. That said, the Elise is a lot more impractical and best suited for the race track.

If owning a luxury sports car like the Porsche Boxster is an unobtainable dream, check out the Mazda MX-5 Miata. This affordable sports car is a great roadster as well. Starting at $23,110, the Miata doesn’t offer the same luxury as the Corvette or Boxster. And while it’s not ugly, it doesn’t sport the Boxster’s famous exterior that’ll get you noticed.

For more information about other cars to consider, take a look at our Boxster video.

Details: 2010 Porsche Boxster

For 2011, in addition to base and S trims, Porsche added the Spyder to the Boxster lineup.

  • "It is a roadster, which means it's fundamentally impractical. It's tiny with a convertible top and is best enjoyed on clear spring days with the top down. It has seats for two people and scant room for their stuff. It does not care. It is a celebration of life as ballet, not a champion of heavy lifting." -- Washington Post
  • "Strength? The Boxster Spyder's got it." -- Edmunds
  • "We are big fans of the Porsche Boxster, but so is nearly everyone else. With an optimal mid-engine design, near-perfect suspension tuning and famously effective brakes, the only thing the entry-level Porsche has been missing is long-term model-range excitement. " -- Autoblog
  • "The key object of the exercise was to deliver was what Porsche sportscar product planner Tim Cup calls an "intense roadster experience." That means out went things like an electrically operated folding top, which has been replaced by a carbon-fiber framed manual top that is as slick as the latest piece of high-tech mountaineering equipment. Out went steel doors, which have been replaced by aluminum-skinned units. Out went the cover over the instruments; out went the cupholders, the air conditioning and the radio." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The Spyder is noticeably nimbler. By deleting the power top, Porsche lowered the center of gravity. The spring rates are stiffer, and the car sits nearly an inch lower than the S." -- New York Times
Review Last Updated: 8/9/12

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