2011 Porsche Boxster (S, Spyder) and Cayman (S) Review - Official photos, features, specs, pricing

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The new Boxster Sypder—which was revealed to the world at the Los Angeles Auto Show in late 2009 and went on sale in February of 2010—has brought even more excitement to Porsche’s renowned mid-engine model lineup that includes the Boxster and the Boxster S roadsters and Cayman and Cayman S coupes.

Photo: 2011 Porsche Boxster Spyder -Photo: 2011 Porsche Boxster Spyder -Check out more 2011 Porsche Boxster Spyder pictures in our 2011 Porsche Boxster Spyder photo gallery

For the 2011 model year, the Boxster, the Boxster S, the Cayman and the Cayman S now offer more standard features at the same MSRPs as last year. For example, standard equipment this year includes Bluetooth hands-free phone interface and a universal audio interface that provides connections for a MP3 player.

Photo: 2011 Porsche Boxster SpyderPhoto: 2011 Porsche Boxster Spyder

Also new for 2011 are popular equipment packages for the Boxster and Cayman models, with the exception of the new minimalistic Boxster Spyder. These new packages include the Convenience Package, the Infotainment Package, the Design Package, and the Design Sport package, all of which group attractive options at a value.

Photo: 2011 Porsche Boxster SpyderPhoto: 2011 Porsche Boxster Spyder

For example, the Design Package groups 19-inch Spyder wheels, as well as black treatment of the exhaust pipes, rollbars (Boxster line only) the side panel intake, the outside rear view mirrors, dashboard trim cover, gear shift/selector lever trim cover, and dashboard air vents.

Photo: 2011 Porsche Boxster SpyderPhoto: 2011 Porsche Boxster Spyder

Also new for 2011 are fresh metallic color options: Platinum Silver Metallic, Ruby Red and Amethyst Metallic.

The 2011 Boxster Spyder

Making headlines around the world, Porsche’s newest mid-engine sports car, the Boxster Spyder model, offers a very high level of pure driving enjoyment.

The newest member of the Boxster family stands out from the other versions of Porsche’s mid-engined roadster. Its low-slung, lightweight soft top – when closed – extends far to the rear to protect the driver and passenger from bright sunshine, wind and weather. This top, when combined with shorter side windows and two striking bulges on the single-piece rear lid, provides the Boxster Spyder with a sleek silhouette reminiscent of the Carrera GT super sports car.

Weighing in at just 2,811 lbs, the Spyder is the lightest Porsche available today – this from a company known for lightweight, proficient sports cars. In many respects, it represents the most pure form of the sports car – agile, powerful, open and efficient, combining maximum driving dynamics with minimum weight.

The Boxster Spyder features a 3.4-liter six-cylinder engine with Direct Fuel Injection upfront of the rear axle. Maximum output is 320 horsepower (hp), 10 hp more than the Boxster S.

Photo: 2011 Porsche Boxster SpyderPhoto: 2011 Porsche Boxster Spyder

Engineers were able to create the lightest Porsche by developing new weight-saving features and also by simply removing others. For example, the doors of the Spyder are made of aluminum—a decision that saves 33 lbs from the conventional Boxster doors. Also, Porsche engineers used two extra-light sport bucket seats that save 26 pounds, and side windows that are lower and lighter. Another example of weight-saving engineering is the use of a strikingly designed single-piece rear lid made of aluminum, which saves nearly 7 pounds. Also newly developed for this car were the lightest 19-inch wheels in the Porsche pallet.

The unique, two-piece manual top not only saves 46 lbs but it also helps in lowering the new Boxster’s center of gravity by almost one inch.

Of course, one of the most effective ways of saving weight is to simply leave out certain features that for the true driving purist are frivolous. For example, this new car does not come with a radio or with air conditioning (although both can be added as a no-cost option). Even interior door handles have been eliminated and replaced with light weight cloth straps.

Under the hood, the engine’s extra power is primarily the result of an even more consistent use of Porsche’s high-speed concept, with the power unit featured in the Boxster Spyder reaching its peak output at 7,200 rpm, or 800 rpm more than the maximum engine speed of the Boxster S. The redline on the Spyder is 7,500. And while the Boxster S develops it maximum torque of 266 lbs/ft between 4,400 rpm and 5,500 rpm, the power unit featured in the Boxster Spyder reaches it peak torque of 273 lb-ft at 4,750.

Designed and built as a classic Porsche engine, the flat-six power in the Spyder offers optimum qualities for the Spyder, including low weight, a flat engine structure with a low center of gravity, and a reduction of inner friction. Furthermore, the crankcase is split up into two sections and comes as a closed-deck structure, while the car’s engine mounts are optimized to firmly connect the power plant to the body and thereby minimize movement.

Of course a particular highlight of the 3.4 power unit featured in the new Boxster Spyder and Boxster S is Direct Fuel Injection (DFI) with a homogeneous fuel/air mixture formation. DFI ensures a particularly smooth and consistent distribution of air and fuel within the combustion chamber. The result is a more optimum combustion quality at all times.

Photo: 2011 Porsche Boxster SpyderPhoto: 2011 Porsche Boxster Spyder

DFI has a positive impact not only on the efficiency of the engine, but also on its performance characteristics. With fuel being injected within fractions of a second prior to the actual combustion process, the engine responds spontaneously to even the slightest movement of the gas pedal.

The gas charge cycle in the engine is masterminded by VarioCam Plus camshaft control with adjustment of valve timing on the intake side and variable valve stroke, offering the ability to handle even very high engine speeds and a rapid change in revs. The result is optimum power and torque, on the one hand, and greater fuel efficiency, enhanced emission management, and smoother running refinement, on the other. When combined with DFI, this provides a more ideal combination that results in more power and torque with increased fuel economy and reduced emissions.

Also contributing to the Spyder’s outstanding engine performance is the use of four oil sumps with on-demand controls. The oil follows the principle of an integrated dry sump, and as a result, the oil pump does not consume more energy than required and ensures exactly the right level of lubrication at all times.

Feeding the Spyder engine with lots of fresh air is a high-flow intake system. This system uses a resonance distributor manifold between the right and left intake distributor pipe. Switching according to what is required at the time, the resonance flap adjusts the oscillation of air within the system to the current engine speed and demand, providing high torque at low speed, a smooth and consistent torque curve, and a high level of maximum power.

The combination of 10 more hp and 176 pounds less weight than the award-winning Boxster S, plus an all-new sport suspension that lowers the Boxster Spyder 20 mm, a lower center of gravity, a standard limited slip differential, and exclusive wheels provides the kind of driving dynamics that back up the unique look.

When equipped with Porsche-Doppelkupplung (PDK) transmission and the Sports Chrono Package, the new Spyder, using Launch Control, accelerates from a standstill to 60 mph in 4.6 seconds. Top track speed is 166 mph – with the roof open.

EPA figures are 19 city/26 highway and 20 city/29 highway with a manual and PDK gearbox, respectively.

The 2011 Boxster Spyder is priced at $61,200, plus $950 for destination.

The “Basics”: the 2011 Boxster

The 2011 Boxster continues to offer customers sure-footed agility and the unequaled exhilaration of top-down high-performance driving that is a match for the world’s most demanding roads.

The Boxster’s 2.9-liter ‘basic’ power plant develops 255 horsepower at 7200 rpm, and delivers a wide torque curve of 214 lb-ft from 4400 to 6000 rpm. In addition, the Boxster’s engine also offers the efficient performance of Porsche’s VarioCam Plus variable valve lift and timing system on both intake and exhaust camshafts.

Coupled to this engine is the Boxster’s standard six-speed manual gearbox that allows it to accelerate to 60 mph in just 5.6 seconds, while the same car fitted with the highly-acclaimed PDK gearbox covers this distance in 5.3 seconds (with Sport Chrono Plus). EPA figures are 19 mpg city/27 mpg highway with a manual gearbox and 20 city/29 highway with the optional PDK gearbox.

Top test track speeds are 163 mph and 162 mph with the six-speed manual and the PDK gearboxes, respectively.

The 2011 Boxster MSRP is $47,600, plus $950 for destination.

Photo: 2011 Porsche Boxster SpyderPhoto: 2011 Porsche Boxster Spyder

The Powerful Boxster S

The 3.4-liter engine in the Boxster S, benefits from the proven Direct Fuel Injection (DFI) technology, delivering 310 horsepower at 6,400 rpm and 266 lb-ft at 4750 rpm. The Boxster S fitted with the standard six-speed manual accelerates to 60 mph in 5.0 seconds, while the same car with PDK and activated Launch Control in the optional Sports Chrono Package covers the distance in just 4.7 seconds. EPA figures are 19 city/26 highway and 20 city/29 highway for the Boxster S with a manual and PDK gearbox, respectively.

Top test track speeds for these two Boxster S versions are 170 mph (manual) and 169 mph (PDK).

The Boxster S MSRP is $58,000, plus $950 for destination.

The Renowned Cayman and Cayman S

To many purists and students of the Porsche sports car, the Cayman and Cayman S coupes are clearly the modern descendants of the groundbreaking and legendary Porsche 904 and its precursor, the Porsche 550 Coupe.

The standard Cayman comes equipped with a 2.9-liter horizontally opposed six-cylinder engine developing 265 horsepower at 7200 rpm and 221 lb-ft of torque from 4400 to 6000 rpm. This translates to a 0-to-60 mph time of 5.5 seconds and a top test-track speed of 165 mph when fitted with standard six-speed manual gearbox. Adding the PDK gearbox drops the 0-to-60 time to 5.4 seconds, and adding the optional Sports Chrono Package further improves this sprint time to 5.2 seconds. The top test-track speed for a PDK-equipped Cayman is 163 mph.

The Cayman S pushes the performance envelope with its 3.4-liter engine producing 320 horsepower at 7200 rpm and 273 lb-ft of torque at 4750 rpm. A Cayman S with a standard six-speed manual gearbox will sprint from 0 to 60 mph in just 4.9 seconds on its way to a top test-track speed of 172 mph. Adding PDK lowers the sprint time to 4.8 seconds (4.6 seconds when using the Sports Chrono Package) while providing a top test-track speed of171 mph.

Yet all this performance does not mean one must sacrifice fuel efficiency. The 2011 Cayman delivers 19 mpg city/27 mpg highway with a manual gearbox and 20 city/29 highway with the optional PDK gearbox. The Cayman S achieves 19 mpg city/26 mpg highway with a manual gearbox and 20 city/29 highway with the optional PDK gearbox.

The 2011 Cayman MSRP is $51,400, while the Cayman S MSRP is $61,500, plus $950 for destination.

The Rest of the Story

A Choice of Transmissions

All Porsche mid-engine sports cars come equipped with a six-speed manual gearbox as standard equipment. While the gearboxes for the base models and the S versions are similar in design and construction and have reinforced synchromesh rings on all gears, each has gear ratios carefully mated to optimize either the 2.9-liter and 3.4-liter engines’ outputs and characteristics.

All Boxster and Cayman models can also be equipped with Porsche's innovative and blazingly fast seven-speed, double-clutch PDK, transmission as an option. The PDK, like the Tiptronic S automatic transmission it replaces, allows the driver to shift up and down using either steering-wheel mounted gear selectors or the console-mounted lever. Or the driver can simply leave the PDK in automatic mode and allow it to operate totally on its own.

But unlike a traditional automatic transmission with a torque converter, essentially PDK is two manual gearboxes combined into one unit. At its crux, the PDK has a sophisticated electronically controlled valve body overseeing the operation of two separate multi-plate wet-clutch packs, each with its own gearset. One clutch activates First, Third, Fifth, Seventh and Reverse, the other acts on Second, Fourth and Sixth. In manual mode, under load, the PDK upshifts sequentially, alternating between odd and even numbered gearsets. During downshifts, however, the PDK can skip gears, even going from Seventh to Second.

Photo: 2011 Porsche Boxster SpyderPhoto: 2011 Porsche Boxster Spyder

For those enthusiast drivers who want even more direct control of the Porsche double-clutch gearbox, Porsche engineers have configured the optional Sports Chrono Package and Sports Chrono Package Plus to provide added performance. At a touch of a button, the PDK’s character changes to a more aggressive set up. Gearshift points are delayed until the upper rev range. The shift times are shorter and the gear changes are sportier. At low rates of deceleration, the system initiates a swifter, brake-induced downshift. In manual mode, gear changes are faster and more dynamic.

Regardless of transmission, these mid-engine sports cars also boast Start-Off Assistant as standard. This feature allows the driver to get moving from a standstill on a hill without rolling backward.

An optional mechanical locking differential for improved traction on uneven or slippery surfaces is available. It works seamlessly with the standard equipment electronic Automatic Brake Differential (ABD) and the standard Porsche Stability Management (PSM) system, to further improve traction on varied surfaces and when driving enthusiastically, especially around curves.

Sure-footed Chassis and Outstanding Brakes

Porsche’s mid-engine sports cars ride on fully independent suspensions. The suspension tuning is fully refined to provide both ride comfort and dynamic response. To maximize both, Porsche engineers specified the tires for the Boxster and Boxster S, resulting in reduced rear tire pressure, yet reduced rolling resistance.

The front and rear suspensions are of Porsche-modified McPherson strut configuration, with trailing links and twin-tube gas-charged dampers. In addition to the standard suspension, the Boxster, Boxster S, Cayman and Cayman S offer Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) as an option. PASM offers the driver a choice of two basic damper settings, Normal and Sport. PASM is not offered on the Boxster Spyder, as its suspension settings are already specially-tuned for its lighter weight, lower ride height and high-end sports performance.

Like all Porsches, the mid-engine sports cars are equipped with enhanced Porsche Stability Management (PSM) as standard equipment. This computerized system relies on data from an assortment of sensors to help maintain the car's intended path as the driver pushes it to the edges of its dynamic limits.

By comparing many variables such as the speed of the individual wheels, vehicle speed and engine speed, PSM can determine if the car is beginning to slip sideways or that a tire is losing traction and beginning to spin. Since it is Porsche’s fervent belief that the driver always be in total command of the vehicle, PSM can be switched off. Yet if the situation demands it, PSM can re-activate to help the driver regain control of the vehicle. Still, while PSM can help a driver maintain control, it cannot overcome the laws of physics.

As you would expect, four-wheel disc antilock brakes are standard on all models. Cross-drilled rotors and four-piston monobloc aluminum calipers are used on all four wheels. Drivers who desire even greater braking power than standard may opt for Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes (PCCB). Developed for the extreme use of motorsports, PCCB replaces the standard metal brake rotors with ceramic discs. Besides delivering otherwise unobtainable levels of consistently superb braking performance under repeated heavy use, the ceramic rotors weigh approximately 50 percent less than the standard discs.

Sport Chrono Package Plus

The PDK offers greater performance for the enthusiast driver when utilized with the optional Sport Chrono Package Plus, available as an option on all models.

The Sport Chrono Package Plus allows more aggressive control maps for throttle response, the engine speed limiter, Porsche Stability Management (PSM), Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM), as well as the PDK.

The feature is activated by pressing a button on the center console. The package also includes a separate stopwatch gauge on top of the instrument panel.

Photo: 2011 Porsche Boxster SpyderPhoto: 2011 Porsche Boxster Spyder

Multiple wheel and tire choices

The Boxster and Cayman ride on standard 17-inch wheels, and the Boxster S and Cayman S come with 18-inch wheels. Larger wheels are optional for all the mid-engines, except for the Boxster Spyder which already comes equipped with 19-inch rims.

The Boxster and Cayman models come with 7-inch wide front and 8.5-inch wide rear wheels. All tires are Z-rated radials, 205/55 aspect in front and 235/50 in the rear. The Boxster S and Cayman S ride on 8-inch wide front and 9-inch wide rear wheels with standard 235/55ZR front tires and 265/55ZR rear tires. The Boxster Spyder comes with 8.5-inch wide front and 10-inch wide rear wheels with 235/35ZR front tires and 265/35ZR at the back.

To save 22 lbs. (10 kg) and increase cargo capacity, all Boxster and Cayman models are equipped with an electric air compressor and emergency tire sealant. There is no spare tire, jack or tire-changing tools.

Porsche’s engineers know that correct inflation pressures are not just critical for safety, but also mandatory for exacting the full measure of a car's dynamics. Therefore all of Porsche’s mid-engine sports cars come equipped with Porsche's Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) as standard equipment, individually checking and reporting on each tire.

Family resemblance

The Boxster and Cayman sports cars feature hot-galvanized all-steel bodies on monocoque structures. Their low, lithe bodies have a coefficient of drag of just 0.29 when equipped with manual gearbox, 0.30 with PDK.

Clearly, these agile sports cars look like no other vehicles on the road while and at the same time have a distinct Porsche appearance.

In front, the Boxster’s LED positioning lights and fog lamps are arranged horizontally above the side air intakes, while on the Cayman the round positioning lights and fog lamps are placed on the outer edge of the air intakes.

Though the headlamps have the traditional Porsche look, the fog lamps are separate and positioned low and away from the car’s centerline.

In the rear, the taillights and brake lights boast LEDs. This technology ensures further safety through their instantaneous response time and improved clarity when lit. The light units are broken into three separate elements on each side of the car, with clear demarcation between the elements.

All Boxsters and Caymans are available with optional BI-XENON headlights with an integral daytime running light function, dynamic curve lights, headlight washing system and automatic headlight range control that eliminate the need for foglights.

Lightweight and compact folding top

The convertible tops on the Boxster and Boxster S are power operated. And since Porsche engineers fully understand that conditions may warrant closing the top in a hurry, it can be raised or lowered in just 12 seconds even if the car is moving at speeds up to approximately 30 mph.

A wind deflector is available to reduce passenger cabin turbulence during top down driving.

The Inside Story

The Boxster and Cayman models are two-passenger sports cars that provide a surprising amount of cargo capacity due to their mid-engine design. The Boxster models have 5.3 cubic feet of space in the front compartment and 4.6 cubic feet of room in the rear trunk. The Cayman, with its coupe design and rear hatch, provides 5.3 cubic feet up front and an amazing 9.2 cubic feet in the rear.

Customers can still choose among a variety of seating options beyond the standard sports seats, including full or partial leather seats, Adaptive Sport Seats and Porsche’s unique Sports Bucket seats, essentially a racing seat with a folding backrest and a thorax airbag.

Porsche offers seat-ventilation as an option combined with seat heating. What is unique about Porsche seat ventilation solution is that instead of blowing air, they pull moisture away.

Photo: 2011 Porsche Boxster SpyderPhoto: 2011 Porsche Boxster Spyder

Occupant protection

While Porsche engineers stress the importance of active safety by designing agile vehicles with outstanding brakes to help drivers avoid accidents, they also provide occupants with a safe passenger compartment. All models are equipped with three-point inertia-reel seat belts with belt-latch tensioners and belt-force limiters as well as six airbags.

In addition to two-stage frontal airbags, these mid-engine sports cars feature the Porsche Side Impact Protection (POSIP) system with airbags mounted in the seatbacks and head-protecting side-impact airbags which deploy from the doors' windowsills.

To help protect small children, the passenger seat sensors automatically defeat the passenger front airbags if the sensors detect a lightweight occupant.

Check out more 2011 Porsche Boxster Spyder pictures in our 2011 Porsche Boxster Spyder photo gallery:

2011 Porsche Boxster Spyder and Cayman specifications, review, photos and imagery courtesy of Porsche.

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