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The Mercury Cars Guide : December 12th 2009
10--- Classifieds 62 300 400 • carsguide.com.au Saturday, December 12, 2009 WEIGHT WATCHER: The Porsche Boxster Spyder has trimmed down by 80kg. Lightweight Spyder driver's delight IN a world obsessed by obesity it seems oddly appropriate that Porsche should launch its latest lightweight hero, the Boxster Spyder, in the land of the super-sized. The Boxster Spyder has been called forth to pay homage to the classic Spyders and the philosphy of being a true topless roadster with the empha- sis on drive enjoyment over function. ''Weighing just 1275kg, this is the lightest model in the entire Porsche range,'' Hans-Jurgen Wohler, director for the Boxster line, says. ''This new mid-engined roadster represents the true purist's form of the Porsche sportscar --- light, powerful, consist- ently open and very efficient. ''The main objective of the Boxster Spyder program was to improve the performance, driving dynamics and agility by reducing its weight . . . something the engineers have suc- ceeded in doing.'' At its most basic --- minus air conditioning, radio, internal doorhan- dles replaced by pull straps, alu- minium doors and boot, smaller fuel tank, manual canvas roof with carbon-fibre bracing, a smaller bat- tery, lightweight seats and new 19-inch lightweight alloys --- the Boxster Spyder has trimmed 80kg off its bottom line. With the 3.4-litre flat six engine tuned to Cayman output with 235kW and 370Nm the Spyder can race from standstill to 100km/h in 4.8 seconds, utilising the seven-speed PDK gear- box and Sports Plus engine mapping. However, Australian buyers will not be offered the ''purist's'' Spyder with something in the order of 15kg being put back into the car by way of standard air conditioning, entertain- ment centre and satellite navigation. ''Our cars will have a considerably higher standard specification level than those in other markets,'' Porsche Australia's Paul Ellis explains. ''Air conditioning will be standard as will the entertainment system. Our cus- tomers expect a richer mix.'' Australian pricing hasn't been finalised yet, with the 5 per cent tariff reduction still to be factored in to the mix before the car goes on sale next May. However it will carry an 8 per cent premium over the Boxster S and best estimates have the launch price for the six-speed manual at around $145,000. The seven-speed PDK double clutch automatic will be offered as an option but Ellis believes the uptake will be below that in other models. As the engineers trimmed back the Spyder's mass, the man responsible for maximising the benefit of that effort was chassis and dynamics team leader Maurice Van De Weerd. ''The focus has been always on making it a wonderful driver's car,'' he says. ''The first basic was to get the car lighter because without that you couldn't take the next step.'' That next step was to tweak and massage the basic Boxster suspension to become something extra. ''With the target of getting as much grip as possible, we started by making a mechanical differential lock stan- dard and then worked on getting the suspension balanced to keep the tyres in contact with the road.'' To that end the car was lowered by 20mm for a lower centre of gravity, the tyres were widened --- 1.25cm on the front and 2.5cm on the rear --- and the pressures dropped a little. ''That all gave us a bigger contact patch for better grip and then to keep the tyres in contact with the road we put less rebound and more com- pression in the dampers, softened the front spings and stiffened the rear,'' Van De Weerd explains. ''The result was the best compro- mise we could have hoped for, meet- ing the targets we had been set. It is really a car for people who enjoy driving and are willing to sacrifice a little of the day-to-day practicality but trade that for better performance.'' From the car's head-turning profile with the twin humps on the rear deck and kick-up lip-spoiler to the stripper interior highlighted by the door-pull straps, lack of cup-holders and no- nonsense lightweight sports seats --- wonderfully comfortable and body- hugging --- the Boxster Spyder screams function. Even the initially intimidating two- part canvas roof makes sense. A couple of practice runs and it is quite possible for one person to install or pack away the roof (5kg) and weather shield (1kg) in three or four minutes. The volume of noise --- quite a bit --- is practically unchanged whether the roofisuporintheboot.Itisthe quality of the noise that changes. With the roof deployed there is wind noise, road noise, engine noise and exhaust noise. Drop the top and it is akin to inviting the Three Tenors to replace the Sex Pistols. Wind and road noise falls away to allow the howl of the engine and the crackle of the exhaust to take centre stage. The cars we drove at the launch were specified closer to the Aust- ralian model's radio, satellite navi- gation and air conditioning included --- thus we did not get the full effect of the Boxster's weight-loss program. That said, the Spyder is much more lithe and athletic than its donor car. The car tips into corners with a willingness that is truly confidence- inspiring and allows early throttle application to attack out of the curves with a surety rarely experienced. The ride is noticeably harder than in the Boxster but without being nasty. It is just one of the small compromises made to get the Spyder to the promised performance levels. Oh, and Porsche's signature steer- ing is well in evidence with feedback as complete and precise as in any of the Stuttgart stars. Things you need to know: 1 Max. sale price for Commodore International. 2 Max. sale price for Colorado LX 4x4 Crew Cab Turbo Diesel Pick Up manual. 3 Max. sale price for Captiva 7 SX AWD petrol automatic. Of fers available on models delivered before 31/12/09, unless extended, or while stocks last at participating Holden Dealers. Holden reserves the right to change or extend these offers. Not available with other offers. Private or ABN buyers only. Over $7,500 extra value based on RRP of extras. #Steel spare wheel. Bluetooth is a registered trademark and logo of Bluetooth SIG, Inc. Check holden.com.au to determine your phone's compatibility. *Recommended driveaway price includes 12 months private registration, 12 months compulsory third party insurance, Dealer delivery and stamp duty. †Limited time only. Holden Investment Allowance is a cash back available at the time of purchase on selected Colorado models. ◊Based on the Tax Laws Amendment (Small Business and General Business Tax Break) Act 2009. Eligibility criteria apply. HRE0423_HP3 _ A_HM Hobart Motors Hobart 195 Macquarie Street 03 6230 7300 Small businesses with an annual turnover of less than $2 million could claim an additional 50% ta x deduction on eligible vehicles bought before 31/12/09 with the Federal Government s Investment Allowance. Talk with your ta x advisor. Don t miss the chance to save thousands on a new vehicle. Hurry, ends 31 December. See holden.com.au/latestoffers for details.◊ Test drive today at your local Holden Dealer. For more great offers visit holden.com.au/latestoffers t . sunroof ry Captiva 7. time only. s additional den Investment owance.† Electric on ever Limited 7 seats Commodore International SIDI Direct In ection V6 6 speed automatic 18" alloys# Rear park assist Leather appointed seats Bluetooth rom only As shown with metallicpain t $35,990 $36,4901 Driveaway, no more to pay* Driveaway, no more to pay* Captiva 7 SX AWD 3.2L V6 engine 5 speed automatic Electronic Stability Control (ESC) Dual front & side curtain airbags 17" alloys# Cruise control rom only As shown with metallic paint $36,490 $36,9903 Driveaway, no more to pay* Driveaway, no more to pay* Colorado LX 4x4 Crew Cab Pick Up Turbo Diesel 120kW 3.0L Turbo Diesel Air conditioning 3 tonne towing capacity Dual front airbags ABS 4x4 shift on the fly ro y wn with metallic paint $35,990 $36,3902 Driveaway, no more to pay* Driveaway, no more to pay* Plus Hol Allo LX 4x4 Cr ew Cab romonly As show Over $7,500 extra value. d I t ti l ro mo nly As sho wn withmetallicpaint C P
December 5th 2009
January 9th 2010