Thursday, November 05, 2009

Porsche will introduce a lightweight addition to its Boxster range next month at the Los Angeles auto show. The new Boxster Spyder gets exclusive styling touches, a bump in power, improved handling and a weight reduction.

Visually, the Boxster Spyder gains a lower-slung soft top that stretches farther back than the base and S cars. Together with the lower side windows and a rear lid that features two bulges, it harks back to the Carrera GT supercar.

Power comes from the 3.4-liter boxer six-cylinder used in the Boxster S, but with an additional 10 hp for a total of 320 hp. A new sport suspension with 0.8-inch lower ride height, standard limited-slip differential and specific wheels sharpens handling.

Tipping the scale at 2,811 pounds, the Boxster Spyder will be the lightest offering across Porsche's current range. With the help of aluminum doors and lighter-weight interior door panels from the 911 GT3 RS, the Boxster Spyder weights 176 pounds less than the Boxster S.

The result is a 0-to-60-mph time of 4.6 seconds on cars equipped with the ZF dual-clutch transmission and a top speed of 166 mph with the roof down.

The Spyder becomes the third regular production model in the Boxster lineup, joining the base and S versions. Previously, a Boxster Spyder was available in 2004 and 2008, but only as special limited-edition vehicles to pay tribute to the 550 Spyder race car and homologated road car of the 1950s.

Sales begin in February as a 2011 model with a base price of $61,200.