2011 Porsche Boxster Spyder

2011 Porsche Boxster Spyder

Episode 3006
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

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 quicker—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.

Specifications

  • 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 Solterra 3/4 Front

2024 Subaru Solterra

The Solterra Gets Subaru Into The EV Game

Episode 4339
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

You could say that Subaru is one of the more conservative brands out there. So, it’s no surprise it took them a little longer than most to venture into pure EV territory. But now that they’ve staked a claim with this Solterra, it’s time for us to see if Subaru buyers should plug in.

The Subaru Solterra is indeed the brand’s first full battery-electric vehicle; and while it took partnering with Toyota to make it happen, as we’ve seen with the BRZ and GR86 sport coupes, that partnership can lead to some great things.

So, we’ll start there; the Solterra’s counterpart is the Toyota bZ4X, and they do share most powertrain elements, specs, and features; but Subaru has done a few things to establish some unique vibes for their brand. That starts with the drivetrain, as all-wheel drive is standard here as in most Subarus, and in similar tradition, power won’t overwhelm you, it’s more safe and familiar feeling than overpowering as some EVs can be. Called StarDrive, this Subaru’s dual-motor setup rates 215 horsepower and 249 lb-ft of torque. Subaru loves to tout that their drivers are second only to Jeep owners when it comes to venturing off pavement, so capability is a must.

2024 Subaru Solterra Dead Front
2024 Subaru Solterra 3/4 Front
2024 Subaru Solterra Headlight
2024 Subaru Solterra Front Emblem
2024 Subaru Solterra Wheel
2024 Subaru Solterra Profile
2024 Subaru Solterra Dead Rear
2024 Subaru Solterra 3/4 Rear
2024 Subaru Solterra Rear Detail
2024 Subaru Solterra Badge
2024 Subaru Solterra Charge Port
2024 Subaru Solterra Dead Front2024 Subaru Solterra 3/4 Front2024 Subaru Solterra Headlight2024 Subaru Solterra Front Emblem2024 Subaru Solterra Wheel2024 Subaru Solterra Profile2024 Subaru Solterra Dead Rear2024 Subaru Solterra 3/4 Rear2024 Subaru Solterra Rear Detail2024 Subaru Solterra Badge2024 Subaru Solterra Charge Port

We did find Solterra as competent as every other Subaru. Their X-Mode has been programmed to work seamlessly with the electric motors, and its 8.3 inches of ground clearance is higher than the bZ4X; plus, you can use Grip Control to moderate speeds and maximize traction.

While most new EVs seem to be hovering around 300 miles of range, max here in the Solterra from its 72.8-kWh battery pack is 227 miles, 222 here in Touring trim. Our results were much less than that, on pace for just 172 miles in our driving loop. But that may be a fluke since we managed 210+ in our bZ4X test.

Only 100-kW max for DC fast charging. But even though it has only been on the market for a year, they’ve already cut down charging times for ‘24 models. An upgraded battery conditioning system, needs 35 minutes for an 80% charge. Subaru always seems to come out on the right side of being cool while remaining authentic, and the Solterra’s styling works, as does its beefier roof rack for ’24 which now holds up to 700 lbs. for tents and the like. Touring trim comes with some great looking 20-inch alloy wheels and there’s lots of body protection, but they did go a little overboard with all of the EV badges everywhere.

We found ride quality to be quite good, and handling spunkier than expected.

In addition to being a good-looking small SUV, it’s a highly functional one too with plenty of room for 5, durable materials, and a bridge-type center console with lots of storage space underneath, though there is no traditional glove box. Subaru also claims it was designed to be dog-friendly, so that’s a plus too. It does have the roomy feel of an Outback, and rear cargo capacity is pretty close, too, at 29.0 cubic-feet.

We found ride quality to be quite good, and handling spunkier than expected. It really shined in the handling course at our Mason-Dixon test track; the EV low center of gravity giving it a very planted feel through the cones. There was minimal body roll and great all-wheel-drive grip; though when it came to us getting a grip on the steering wheel. Well, it’s an oddly shaped steering wheel that took some getting used to. It’s another thing that separates it from the bZ4X, though it seems a little bit like just being different for the sake of being different.

2024 Subaru Solterra Dashboard
2024 Subaru Solterra Instrument Cluster
2024 Subaru Solterra Central Display
2024 Subaru Solterra Shifter
2024 Subaru Solterra Front Seat
2024 Subaru Solterra Rear Seat
2024 Subaru Solterra Trunk
2024 Subaru Solterra Dashboard2024 Subaru Solterra Instrument Cluster2024 Subaru Solterra Central Display2024 Subaru Solterra Shifter2024 Subaru Solterra Front Seat2024 Subaru Solterra Rear Seat2024 Subaru Solterra Trunk

On the other hand, while not insanely fast like some EVs, there was good punch off the line; enough to get us to 60 in 6.2 seconds. And rather than rolling back the power, the Solterra kept it consistent the whole way down the track. We finished the quarter-mile in 14.8 seconds at 93 mph. There wasn’t much feel coming through the brake pedal, but panic braking stops were fade-free with an average amount of nose dive; our stops from 60 averaged 120 feet.

Using 33-kWh of electricity per 100-miles, the Solterra earns a good efficiency rating. Pricing starts at $46,340 for the base Premium, and tops out with Touring at $53,340, with Limited in between.

Being the rugged and lovable outdoor types, Subaru owners have proven to be willing to sacrifice certain things for the good of the environment they spend so much time enjoying. Whether that will translate to them going all-in on the 2024 Solterra remains to be seen. It’s no surprise Subaru has finally gone all-electric, and it shouldn’t come as a surprise they’ve entered the EV game conservatively. Something tells us Subaru owners wouldn’t have it any other way.

Specifications

As Tested

  • Motor Setup: Dual Motor
  • Battery Size: 72.8-kWh
  • Horsepower: 215
  • Torque: 249 lb-ft
  • EPA Range: 222 miles
  • 0-60 mph: 6.2 seconds
  • 1/4 Mile: 14.8 seconds at 93 mph
  • 60-0 Braking: 120 feet (avg)
  • MW Test Loop: 172 miles