Porsche Boxster Spyder Premiere: NYC

2016 Porsche Boxster Spyder Photo Credit: Porsche

2016 Porsche Boxster Spyder Photo Credit: Porsche

This week Porsche debuted the latest incarnation of the Boxter Spyder at the 2015 New York International Auto Show, just in time for convertible weather. According to the press release, Porsche is characterizing the car as a “pure sports car”.

From a performance perspective, the Boxter Spyder is right on par. They’ve given it a firmer suspension by lowering it 20mm, given it the 911 Carrera S braking system, better steering and a beefier 3.8-liter horizontally opposed six-cyclinder engine that will now deliver 375 hp instead of the 265-315 hp found in the 2014 model.  This lady has also lost some holiday weight and is the lightest and most powerful Boxster to hit the assembly line yet.  She’ll do 0-60 mph in 4.3 seconds and top out on the track at 180 mph, which means you’ll definitely feel the wind whipping through your hair.

2016 Porsche Boxster Spyder Photo Credit: Porsche

2016 Porsche Boxster Spyder Photo Credit: Porsche

What I find less impressive about this car is the still manual top.  If I’m paying $82,000 for a car, I’d like to be able to push a button and have the top lowered for me.  Another issue for me is that neither air conditioning nor a radio are standard equipment. According to Porsche this ensures the Boxster still retains its “traditional roadster character”.  The car is lighter weight without the aforementioned characteristics, so from a performance perspective, a die hard would happily give up these features.  For me, I need an automatic top, some tunes and cool air to accompany my need for speed.  The saving grace is an audio system and air conditioning are available at no extra charge for those who don’t mind a little extra weight.

2016 Porsche Boxster Spyder Interior Photo Credit: Porsche

2016 Porsche Boxster Spyder Interior Photo Credit: Porsche

One thing I do love about this model is it’s only available in a manual transmission.  I know you LA drivers are probably cringing, thinking of battling traffic in a manual. However, I applaud Porsche for this decision.  Real sports cars should be stick shift and they should be driven by people who know how.  As nice as the new dual clutch automatic transmissions are, there is just something about an old-school manual transmission.  YOU are in full control of the car and YOU say when it’s time to shift gears.  For me, that is the ultimate driving experience, and Porsche has taken great care with this model to ensure their consumers get it.

2016 Porsche Boxster Spyder Photo Credit: Porsche

2016 Porsche Boxster Spyder Photo Credit: Porsche

I also think this is the most beautifully designed Boxster Spyder to date.  The lines are elegant and refined and Porsche kept it classic by paying tribute to the 718 Spyder of the 60’s with the streamliners that extend along the rear lid behind the headrests.  They also made sure to keep the vehicle’s silhouette in tact with the fins that stretch from the top to the rear and with the front and rear fascias.

Overall, the look and styling of the car make it appealing, as does the faster engine. Porsche continues to keep its cars uniquely “Porsche”, which is perfect considering that’s why most people buy the brand.  If you’re okay with putting the top down with your own two hands, then based on the specs, this could be the car for you.

The McLaren 650s: The Perfect Supercar for Enthusiasts

The new McLaren 650s in the Calabasas showroom ©automobheels.com

The new McLaren 650s in the Calabasas showroom
©automobheels.com

This past weekend I had the opportunity to get behind the wheel of the new McLaren 650s and I have to say, it was arguably one of the best test driving experiences I’ve had to date.  The 650s, modeled after the McLaren P1™, joins the still in production 12c in the family of McLaren vehicles.

What is unique about this car is the combination of Formula 1™ race car performance and luxury.  This car will take to the track like a bat out of hell in one moment, and provide you with a smooth ride to the grocery store in the next.  Yes, the 650s incidentally does provide trunk space in the front of the car with room for your groceries, making this the most capable supercar available on the market.  Do not let that fool you though.  This car is very much a supercar.

The McLaren 650s ©automobheels.com

The McLaren 650s ©automobheels.com

The 650s gets its moniker from the amount of horsepower (650) available, with the “s” standing for ‘Sport’.  This beauty will do 0-100 km/h (62mph)  in three seconds flat, powered by the British-built 3.8-liter M838T twin-turbo V8 engine.   The car sits on a Formula 1™ inspired carbon-fibre chassis that weighs in at a mere 75kg.  The full wishbone suspension, mid-engine design, standard carbon ceramic disc brakes and active aerodynamics, along with the lightweight body, all contribute to the overall driver experience.

McLaren 650s carbon fibre chassis ©automobheels.com

McLaren 650s carbon fibre chassis ©automobheels.com

The first thing I noticed when I got into the car was the simple, elegant and functional interior design.  The car is loaded with features you would find in a luxury vehicle, such as navigation, bluetooth, streaming audio, and a touch screen, yet it was so perfectly understated in its design, it offered no distraction to me while driving.  While the car is quite lightweight, it feels solid around its passengers, and the cockpit still manages to feel spacious even though it is a two-seater.

McLaren 650s Interior ©automobheels.com

McLaren 650s Interior
©automobheels.com

Paired with a race car driver for my test drive, I began the loop in the passenger seat.  As we pulled away from the dealership, he gave me an overview of the car’s features, where everything was located and what the car was capable of.  Then, a short ways down the road, the moment of truth came.  I slipped behind the wheel, adjusted my seat and mirrors, put the top down (I test drove the Spider of course), put my foot on the pedal and away we went.

Taking the 650s for a spin ©automobheels.com

Taking the 650s for a spin ©automobheels.com

The responsiveness of the car was incredible.  The 7-speed dual clutch system, with McLaren engineered clutch control software, ensures there is no drop in speed as the driver upshifts.  The acceleration was so smooth I didn’t realize how fast I was going until I looked at the speedometer.  The car also has a high level of torque, at 500 lb.-ft.  Quite a bit of attention is also put towards aerodynamics and downforce on the 650s.  Downforce levels are increased 24 percent at 150mph and the door blades located just behind the front wheels are designed to send air from the edges of the front splitter, which gives more grip and balance.

©automobheels.com

©automobheels.com

During the test drive, I hit the acceleration from second gear at 15mph and got up to about 80mph, then slammed on the brakes to test the Airbrake.  The result was impressive.  The Airbrake technology swiftly slowed the car with little to no force felt in the cockpit.  The car felt so stable I had no reservations it would stop on a dime under any circumstances.  The steering is also very stiff and responsive, a characteristic I love.  While driving you feel very much engaged with the road while not having to experience every single pothole.  McLaren’s mission to fully engage the driver in the experience is more than met.  Cruising on Mulholland Drive, wind in my hair, I was able to fully experience the power of the engine while appreciating the luxury of the car.

©automobheels.com

©automobheels.com

When taking in the complete McLaren 650s package, it’s hard to find fault with the car.  For those consumers looking to buy a supercar, it checks every box.  McLaren has set out to create a supercar that provides the expected level of performance (and then some) as well as luxury and they have absolutely succeeded. The power and performance aspect is spot on, the styling impeccable.  You can see the care that went into designing the 650s, even down to the LED lights, which incidentally, are designed in the shape of the McLaren logo.  The interior is well thought out, both simple and elegant.  My only complaint about the drive is I didn’t get to really open it up on the road or test it in ‘Track’ mode.  The event was on day three and the local police were clued in to the test route, handing out tickets.   Toward the end of the course I did have a Mazda 3 come flying past me on a two lane road as I was cruising at 45mph, taking in the features and asking questions.  He was pretty proud of himself for blowing past a McLaren until I sidled up next to him at the light, put the 650s in ‘Sport’ mode, spun out and left his everyday runaround car in my Supercar’s dust.  I think my race car driver companion was sufficiently impressed.