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Spyder-man too

I'll not hide the fact that I think the Spyder is the best value, best looking and all-round probably the best car Porsche make. Like Lotus did with the Sport 135, I think Porsche just hit the nail squarely on the head with this car. People may complain about the comedy roof, but they're missing the point. It's light and doesn't spoil the aesthetics of the car. When it's up, sure it's a compromise. It's noisy and clumsy, but it flows with the lines of the car and it's waterproof. But it's not made for people who never drop the lid on their convertibles, and as such the car is at it's best with it off. I drove it lidless in-between the snow during one of our worst winters I can remember, and it was a lovely place to be.

To the geeky stuff first. The Spyder has the new direct fuel injection engine which has four oil pickups instead of two to combat the inherent oil surge of the older engines when used with sticky tyres or on track. The intermediate shaft (IMS) bearing that was prone to failure on the pre-2007 engines and was apparently uprated from 2007 (mine), is not even present on the new engine. As such that issue has been totally eradicated. One would also suspect they've looked at the rear main seal (RMS) problems also, but it's too early to say for that. But it's all good peace of mind stuff. They have also sorted the power steering cooling issue, though that was only a problem when used on track.

In more real world applications, the DFI engine is more economical also. While running in and driving relatively sensibly, it has averaged 30mpg easily. Better for the environment too, emitting 221g/km putting it in the cheaper tax bracket versus the old S lump. It's having your cake and eating it.

The 3.4 is a bit different in character to the 2.7 in my Cayman. The 3.4 is effortless. It will pull hard in any gear at any speed. An extra 75 horsepower and 72 ft/lb of torque will see to that. But it's the delivery that is the biggest difference. The 2.7 loves to rev, you have to thrash it to get the most out of it and it's massively addictive. The 3.4 isn't lazy in comparison, that's the wrong expression, it's muscular. It has that 'press the pedal and you're gone' feel to it whereas the 2.7 you have to work. The Spyder is without doubt a much quicker car, but I think the Cayman may be a slightly more involving drive.

Other changes on the later car are the new stereo and slightly updated switchgear, which in my opinion look much classier than mine. Along with that is also has the new steering wheel. Nicer in the hands, but it still looks like it belongs in a dodgem car. It does however get the GT3 RS bucket seats which are marvellous.

Then we get to my own particular Porsche bug bear; ride. The Spyder has massive 19" wheels which worried me greatly given how badly mine rode on 18" wheels. What Porsche have done here is really quite impressive, it has the lightest 19" wheels they make and they've completely redone the suspension. The end result is bags of grip, great turn in, loads of traction and a ride that's every bit as good as mine. I'm struggling to decide whether it's better or not, but it's damned close either way.

It's also a feel good car, but isn't for the shy. It doesn't so much as turn heads as snap them off, and the consensus of opinion appears to be 100% positive. Where a lot of Porsches garner negative vibes from people, the lidless Spyder in the middle of winter got nothing but thumbs up all round. Another thing that helps it be noticed is the sports exhaust. It's the only thing on the car that's not standard that should be in my opinion. That engine should not be muted.

Would I buy one? If I wanted a convertible, without hesitation. Contrary to popular belief, the Spyder is not more expensive than the Boxster S. To get all the bits on the S that go to make the Spyder what it is, ends up costing a couple of grand more. The Spyder is as near perfect as I can imagine any car.

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