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
2023 BMW X7
Should Keep The BMW Faithful Coming Back For More
While BMW got serious about their SUV game around the same time as most other luxury brands, it took them until just a few years ago to deliver a 3-row example. This year, that X7 is updated with new style and new tech. So, let’s see if that makes it the ultimate premium 3-row family machine.
When it comes to utility vehicles, bigger seems to be better for a lot of people. So, for BMW, there’s none bigger or better than the X7 3-row utility, which for 2023 gets a comprehensive update after just 4-years on the market. That includes a facelift to bring it more in line with the new 7-series carline, which is to say joins the more vertical, aggressive grille party. Also, the actual headlights have been moved lower in the front fascia, with squinty DRLs above for the first time on a BMW. In back, taillights take on a 3D posture, with a new chrome bar connecting them.
There are also multiple new M Sport packages to choose from to spice up the exterior, with larger air intakes up front, high-gloss black trim, upgraded exhaust, cascade grille lighting, and 22-inch wheels, as well as M Sport brakes…
…and the interior too, with aluminum trim and exclusive steering wheel. But, by far the biggest change inside for ‘23 is a new dashtop curved display that eliminates the typical BMW well-hooded gauge pod and blends 12-inch Live Cockpit Pro into the 15-inch infotainment touchscreen, which now features iDrive8. Both a Head-Up Display and a large panoramic sunroof are standard.
Whether set up for 2 or 3 passengers, 2nd row seat room remains plentiful, and though the X7 doesn’t look ungainly large like many of its competitors, access to the 3rd row is quite good. Cargo space is reached through a fairly unique, Range Rover-style, split tailgate, which is quite oddly satisfying to watch unfold. There’s room for 48.6 cubic-ft. of goods behind the 2nd row, with a max of 90.4 cu.-ft.
The base xDrive40i has always been the sensible choice, even more so now with a new inline-6 turbo getting a significant bump in horsepower from 335 to 375, and a 48-volt mild-hybrid system that results in a total of 398 lb-ft. of torque.
At our Mason Dixon test track, there was enough to blast this big beast to 60 in just 5.4-seconds. That’s only about half a second slower than the V8 did the deed back in 2019. Making that optional 523-horsepower V8 simply overkill at this point. Our best ¼-mile pass was 13.9-seconds at 100 miles-per-hour. All X7s get a quick shifting sport-tuned 8-speed automatic transmission, which adds a new Sprint Function that finds the lowest usable gear instantly and maxes electric boost with a hold of the left shift paddle. What fun!
New looks and updated tech are cool, but BMW has also addressed dynamics as well, with a retuning of all chassis systems, including the optional Dynamic Handling Package which adds adaptive suspension with roll stabilization and uses GPS and camera data to prepare for what’s coming. We’re not sure if our slalom course was anticipated, but the X7 sure felt well-equipped to handle it. All-wheel drive is standard on all X7s, along with comprehensive drive modes.
In our braking runs, the pads bit down hard quickly, stopping us from 60 in just 115-feet with very little nosedive.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings for the 6-cylinder are 21-City, 25-Highway, and 22-Combined. We averaged just 21.0 miles-per-gallon on Premium.
There’s an average Energy Impact Score; 13.5-barrels of oil yearly, with CO2 emissions of 6.5-tons.
Pricing starts at $78,845, and it’s a significant step up from there to $104,095 if you want the V8. Even more reason to stick with the 6-cylinder as far as we’re concerned.
It took the ultimate driving machine folks quite a bit of time to enter the 3-row family crossover segment, but when they did, they were able to create their largest utility ever and keep it consistent with their values. For 2023, the BMW X7 gets even more dynamic, embraces new tech, and looks better too. All things that should keep the BMW faithful coming back for more.
- Engine: I-6
- Horsepower: 375
- 0-60 mph: 5.4 seconds
- 60-0 Braking: 115 feet (avg)
- MW Fuel Economy: 21.0 MPG
- Transmission: 8-speed automatic
- Torque: 398 lb-ft.
- 1/4 Mile: 13.9-seconds at 100 mph
- EPA: 21 City / 25 Highway / 22 Combined