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A nice time to drive my boxster top down is when its kinda of cloudy and maybe even a thunderstorm in the distance in the summer. Seeing all the clouds and feeling the colder breeze before a thunderstorm on a hot day is nice on a drive.

I have had a lot of experiences where I needed to quickly get the top up before the rain starts to flood in. Sometimes I could have planned it out better, other times it was sudden or I happen to be traveling through a small storm (left work on cloudless day and then drove into a thunderstorm on the way home). Happens a lot in the summer. Its an easy problem with the standard boxster top, but I imagine it would be a disaster with the spyder top. There are other reasons people care about how fast and easy a convertible top goes up and down.

Also, I like to drive around and only have the top down for certain roads. So it goes up and down multiples times in a single trip. It might be because I am getting too hot (or cold), getting too much (or little) sun, stinky city, or a cow farted. Who knows, but I like the ability to raise and lower it in a pinch. This wouldn't be practical in the spyder.

I'm also in a rush to get to work every morning and don't have time to manually roll a spyder top down. Nor do I have time to raise it back up once I park at work. Having to do this when I'm not in a rush like at the grocery store might be okay, but I think I'd end up not taking the top up/down if I determined it was a hassle.

Overall, from what I read, the spyder top is not that much a hassle actually (especially when compared to previous generations), but still it appears to take more time than I'd like.
 

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To me, it probably comes down to this. If you ride a motorcycle (as I have done for 36 years), then a Spyder is no more of a compromise for fresh air motoring and interacting with your environment. Or dealing with rain or cold or heat. The 987 Spyder was great, because you can actually leave the roof at home, creating a 2800 lb car that is truely special. The 981 is a powerful car, but the roof is a fashion statement. Fashion over function. How else can you explain not being able to open the trunk with the buttresses buttoned up? But it is a cool idea.

As to what people prefer? 2011 Boxsters are selling at half of their original price. Spyders are selling near, at or above their original list. Tells me what people want. Will be interesting to see how the 981 Spyder fares in 5 years. It is very handsome, yet not quite as iconic as the 987. Nor does it have the hydraulic steering and the weight advantage that the 987 has. The market will speak in time.

Car & Driver says the 987 Spyder is probably still the best handling stock Porsche. That's saying something. What compromise are people willing to make to have such a car ? Me ? I sold my bikes and retired from the sport with all limbs intact.

Valid points. I'm all about function over form as well. I owned a Lotus Elise for several years and if the darn thing weren't so comically tiny, I would've had an Alfa 4c Spider over my Spyder. This was the next step up, but compromises are aplenty.

The roof IS, more or less, a marketing gimmick. Ditto the AC / radio delete which no dealer or buyer would ever not add back as an option.

The hydraulic steering is sorely missed. And this big engine changes the character of the car completely from the 987.

All that conceded, there aren't many cars being made with this level of involvement, performance, low weight, open roof, and pure joy. And there are almost none under $100k. I haven't driven a C7 Z06. I was cross-shopping one with this car, but not seriously. A Jaguar F Type R roadster? Maybe. They say the engine is demonic and sinister. Doesn't seem cut from the same cloth as its counterpart from the world's foremost sports car manufacturer. But I haven't driven one (that will change in a few hours when I land in SF-- I rented one!).

So whether we buy it from the factory or take it to a tuner to drop in a sweet new motor, all we are really doing is taking the best of what's available -- the best sports car experience combined with functional usefulness on real roads -- and making it our own. We are limited with what the U.S. Nanny state will let us have. FFS, we can't even get a GT3 with 4-point harnesses, which are indisputably safer, because someone might not know how to remove them (I assume that's the reason).

if you look at the Spyder as a 981 with a 3.8l swap, you're missing the point. It's more like a Boxster S with some weight removed, aero kit, and all of Porsche's go-fast goodies in a car you can buy off the showroom floor. And it costs, what? $17-20k more than your averaged spec'd out Boxster S and even less than many GTSs?

It's an effing bargain from that perspective, innit!?
 
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