2011 Porsche Boxster Spyder
Ever since the brash Cayenne utility hit dealers in 2003, Porsche purists have been understandably uneasy, and with the arrival of the front-engine, four-door Panacea earlier this year, perhaps more so now than ever. But the new Boxster Spyder should be reassuring. With bare bones styling from the iconic 550 Spyder, it’s a 100% classic, but modern, Porsche.
The Boxster’s basic sports car shape is becoming iconic in its own right, but the 2011 Porsche Boxster Spyder cranks it up a notch. Carrera GT-style twin-hump fairings aft of padded roll bars replace the Boxster’s simple deckled. A nicely done stoplight bridges the gap between the fairings.
And for even more fun, a Spartan two-piece manual soft-top gives the Boxster Spyder a definite ‘50s speedster look. And those vintage rocker panel stripes, especially on our sleek black tester, are easily as cool as the ones you get on the 911 GT3 RS. The stripes connect lightweight 19-inch alloy wheels that are unique to the Boxster Spyder.
The Spyder’s front fascia gets only a subtle freshening from the regular Boxster. While, out back, there’s a fixed spoiler and rear fascia borrowed from the Boxster S. But the Boxster sits 8/10ths of an inch lower than the S, and is 176 pounds lighter. Without the power top, and with new aluminum doors and trunk lid, the Spyder is the lightest of current Porsches.
Top down reveals much of the same cozy two-seat cockpit we’ve come to expect in a Boxster. But a closer look reveals red seatbelts, and more weight saving details like GT3RS-style pull-strap door releases, doors stripped of their storage bins, and a gauge cluster stripped of its shroud.
Seriously track-ready Alcan Tara-trimmed, well-bolstered bucket seats prove more comfortable than they have any right to be. Radio and cupholders are no-cost options, but you’ll have to pay for the privilege of A/C. Like any Boxster, there’s meager trunk space split front and rear, displacing 9.9 cubic feet, total.
The sole engine is a direct-injected 3.4-liter horizontally opposed six borrowed from the tintop Cayman S. Output is the same, at 320 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque. And we’ve gotta say, the Spyder’s exhaust note is pitch-perfect.
A six-speed manual transaxle is standard, but Porsche’s excellent seven-speed dual-clutch PDK automatic is a worthy, quick-shifting alternative. Both transmit power through a mechanical locking differential.
Running through our manual Spyder’s precise ratios at the track resulted in a 5.1-second sprint to 60. That’s the same as the last Boxster S we tested. A result we blame on our tester’s heavy option list. But the quarter mile arrived quickerâ€”13.5 seconds at 106 miles per hour, even with an unavoidable last-minute shift into fourth gear.
The Spyder was much happier in the slalom. The Boxster’s mid-engined layout allows near perfect 50/50 front-to-rear weight distribution, and the Spyder adds to that a lower center of gravity, not to mention tires pumped to a lower PSI for more grip. The high-speed lane change couldn’t faze this chop-top Boxster, either. Inputs and outputs were near-telepathic. The Spyder is the best handling production Porsche we’ve ever driven.
Braking was also impressive, with stops from 60 averaging a concise 113 feet with firm, short pedal travel and very little nosedive. Credit for all the fade-free stopping goes to our Spyder’s large rotors and four piston calipers.
The Boxster Spyder’s short, stiff springs, anti-roll bars, and dampers tuned to near bone-jarring levels of sportiness never let you forget that this car is most at home on the track.
Government fuel economy ratings for the Boxster Spyder are as good or better than its less focused Boxster stablemates. The automatic rates 20 mpg city/29 highway, while the manual rates 19 city/27 highway. We averaged a respectable 23.9 miles per gallon on premium gas.
Including destination, the 2011 Porsche Boxster Spyder starts at $62,150. That’s four grand more than the much better equipped S. But then the Spyder is much rarer.
So, less car, but more performance, and more head turning, for more money. That’s the Porsche way, and we can’t help coming back for more. Plus, the 2011 Porsche Boxster Spyder is a total reassurance that Porsche is still committed to building true, and cozy, sports cars.
- Engine: 3.4-Liter Six
- Horsepower: 320
- Torque: 273 Lb Feet
- 0-60 MPH: 5.1 Seconds
- 1/4 Mile: 13.5 Seconds @ 106 MPH
- 60-0 MPH: 113 Feet
- EPA: 19 MPG City/ 27 MPG Highway
- Mixed Loop: 23.9 MPG
2024 Subaru Outback
The Outback Continues To Deliver
In a world that’s SUV crazy, it’s easy to forget that the Subaru Outback has been delivering capable and comfortable all-weather and all-road capabilities to adventure-loving Americans for years. In fact, it’s now well into its 6th generation. So, it’s time for us to check in with the latest Outback and find out what’s new.
Almost 50-years ago, long before all-wheel-drive became an option for just about every car on the road, Subaru released the first four-wheel-drive passenger car in the U.S. Immediately, they knew they had a good thing going with that wagon, but it wasn’t until the 1990s that the marketing folks got on board and helped launch the Subaru Outback Sport Utility Wagon.
While the 2024 Outback is approaching the end of its 6th generation, its not slowing down when it comes to delivering tons of value to adventure-minded families.
The Outback is the sole remaining wagon available here in the U.S. from a mainstream brand, though even Subaru doesn’t use the “W” word anymore.
Now strictly referred to as a mid-size SUV, when it comes to selling any vehicle, attractiveness is always a bonus, and the Outback’s unique blend of rugged and refined has set the tone for many followers over the years. The exterior was recently updated, and while it looks big and more like a true SUV than ever, it’s only about 5-inches longer than the 1990’s original.
Some trims do get additional standard content for ’24, but our top Touring XT showcases everything Subaru has to offer, with an 11.6-inch Starlink infotainment screen that controls more features than ever, includes navigation, and pumps tunes out with Harmon Kardon sound. EyeSight Driver Assist Technology remains an Outback standard.
Cargo capacity is a great 32.6 cubic-ft., 75.6 with rear seatbacks folded, and despite the high ground clearance, the floor is lower than SUV typical, which makes for easier loading.
Outback seat comfort has improved greatly over the years, and despite the increased reliance on the touchscreen, everything about the cabin is simple to operate and logically placed.
The XT part of our Touring XT means there’s extra power under the hood with a 2.4-liter flat-4 turbo engine which rates 260-horsepower and 277 lb-ft. of torque. It’s a big upgrade over the standard 182-horsepower naturally aspirated 2.5-liter.
Both engines are unchanged and work with Subaru’s Lineartronic CVT; all-wheel-drive is of course another Outback standard.
At Mason-Dixon Dragway, our XT had plenty of grip off the line, hitting 60 in 6.0-seconds flat. That’s a couple of tenths quicker than our last time out with this turbo-4. We’ll chalk that up to better weather this time around.
Like many Subarus, it doesn’t feel overly fast but it’s snappy off the line, and perfectly adequate from there.
Power delivery stayed very consistent down the track; the CVT definitely keeps engine revs maxed out the whole time, but noise is far from annoying. Our best ¼-mile time was 14.6-seconds at 97 miles-per-hour.
The Outback boasts 8.7-inches of ground clearance, which is more than many mid-size SUVs; and while it felt plenty competent through our slalom course, there was noticeable body roll and understeer to deal with. Yet steering was light and predictable, plus Active Torque Vectoring and Vehicle Dynamics Control are hard at work to keep you stable and safe no matter what.
In panic braking, there were only moderate amounts of nosedive, and mild ABS pulsing. Stops averaged a fine 115-feet from 60 miles-per-hour.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings are 22-City, 29-Highway, and 25-Combined. We averaged a great 27.9 miles-per-gallon of Regular; a feat most SUVs can only dream of.
That’s an average Energy Impact Score; with use of 11.9-barrels of oil yearly, with 5.9-tons of CO2 emissions.
Base Outbacks have plenty of standard content, and remain a real bargain, starting at just $30,240, top trims, including Wilderness, take you into the low 40s.
Decades of loyal Outback owners have helped Subaru grow the 2024 Subaru Outback into what it is today; a highly capable and comfortable, thoughtfully designed, adventure-ready family truckster that’s as adept at backwoods exploring as it is soldiering through the daily grind. Your family activities may not take you far off the beaten path, but life itself is an adventure, and the Subaru Outback is outfitted for your adventure better than ever.
- Engine: 2.4-liter flat-4 turbo
- Horsepower: 260
- 0-60 mph: 6.0 seconds
- 60-0 Braking (avg): 115 feet
- MW Fuel Economy: 27.9 MPG (Regular)
- Transmission: CVT
- Torque: 277 lb-ft.
- 1/4 Mile: 14.6-seconds at 97 mph
- EPA: 22 City | 29 Highway | 25 Combined