t’s been 30 years since Porsche unveiled the original Boxster Concept during what was a challenging time for the brand.
Porsche was showing deficits on its ledger, and its expensive product line was showing its age against foreign competitors. The Boxster – a then-new two-seat convertible concept – was meant to not only excite the brand-faithful with a fun, fresh toy, but also draw in new buyers with a more affordable offering, all in the name of hopefully turning around the company’s financial misfortunes.
It worked, and by the end of the 1990s, things were looking up. The Boxster was adored by the automotive media, with strong sales suggesting the buying public shared that adoration, too. And even with a modest 201 hp in the beginning, driving enthusiasts gushed over the highly engaging experience behind the wheel that was more about feel than fast lap times. Above all else, the Boxster was meant to be fun.
To celebrate the significance of this mid-engine marvel, the 2024 Porsche 718 Spyder RS arrives as the wildest, fiercest, highest performing Boxster variant yet. With electrification set to replace gas power in the next generation 718 Series that includes the Cayman coupe, consider this the ultimate farewell.
Most of what lies beneath the Spyder RS’s surface is shared with the astounding Cayman GT4 RS, but Porsche’s spokespeople were adamant that while the tin-top version is a true track weapon, this topless car is meant for having fun on the street.
Porsche first used the Spyder name 80 years ago for the 550 Spyder in 1953, and again six years later on the 718 RSK Spyder. In both cases, they were lightweight, pure driving machines, and the theme carries over with this thoroughly modern successor. (Porsche considers its Spyder models true roadsters, which are essentially open-top cars that can offer occasional weather protection, versus a cabriolet that has a more substantial top, making the non-Spyder Boxster a cabrio, not a roadster.)
Affixing or removing the Spyder RS’s top is a fiddly, multi-step affair best managed by two people. Facing unpredictable weather during our drive through southern Germany’s Swabian Alps, we weren’t given the keys to our test cars until we could prove we could attach the top with some proficiency. The fabric toupee that makes up the top portion gets rolled up and stuffed into a cubby just behind the cockpit, and is held in place by a series of clips, snaps and guide wires to keep it taut when stretched over the cockpit.
- Alloy Rims
- Steering Adjustment
- Xenon Headlights
- AM/FM Radio
- Brake Assist
- Rear Parking Sensor
- Air Conditioning
out of 10
Three decades ago, Porsche’s mid-engine roadster was born into a tumultuous and changing industry and company. It was a car meant to celebrate Porsche’s history with open-top two-seaters, but also to be a pure, exhilarating driving experience. Most of all, it was meant to be fun for every driver lucky enough to pilot one.
The principles that made that first Boxster such a success have been amplified and fortified with the 2024 Porsche 718 Spyder RS, creating one of those most thrilling automotive experiences available today. As Porsche’s last 718 model with an internal combustion engine, it’s one hell of a send-off. It’s available for order now, starting at $188,800.