My friend Kevin Yeung has been in California for a few days and was lucky enough to grab an early morning drive in a Porsche Boxster Spyder. Here’s his write-up of the drive.
5:27AM – The Pacific Palisades: I’m woken by the ping of a text message from Wifie in HK. I return a call to her to check whats going on at home. I’m wide awake now but it’s still dark – Alex and his family are fast asleep. With 5 hours to kill before my flight to New York, I grabbed a bottle of water and the keys to Alex’s Boxster Spyder, carefully folded the top and programed the GPS to: Mulholland Highway.
I descend from the Palisades onto a deserted Pacific Coast Highway on route to the Malibu Canyons. I cruised to allow the Spyder to warm up as I filled my lungs with the freshest air on the planet. Allan you will love this area.
The Malibu Canyons are an incredibly scenic mountain pass. Today they presented the most technically challenging ribbon of a asphalt I had ever tackled – for those of you in Hong Kong imagine Shek O Road multiplied by 10. Rock lined and punctuated by steep drops off cliffs without any safety barriers, this road demanded my full attention.
I arrive at the entrance of the canyon pass. With the Spyder properly warmed up, I unleash it in 3rd, engage a full throttle upshift to 4th followed by a brief moment in 5th before approaching a delicious wide left hander. Brushed the huge ceramic brakes, heal toed down to 3rd and dialed in the wheel to indulge in my first power slide in California – many more would follow this glorious morning. Thanks Master Charles Ng for your on the limit car control tutorial in the SLS – it came in handy today.
Back on full throttle, with plenty of visibility I devour an incredible succession of fast corners feeling all the irregularities of the canyon road at all times on my finger tips. The super slick gearbox, sharp steering and throttle are perfectly married. It’s super easy to keep the Spyder on boil as I carve my way up the first peak making use of the rev range to extract maximum horse power of 320 at 7,200 rpm with a boot load of useful torque. The Boxster Spyder was born for challenging roads like this. Dancing effortlessly from corner to corner to corner, it’s accomplished chassis showed off its incredible depth of talent as I vigorously worked the wheel and throttle.
While the Boxster Spyder is not super car fast it’s very quick and proved to be THE perfect weapon for my canyon assault. There are no Sport or Suspension or Throttle settings to select on the Spyder -there’s no need. It’s set up is already sensational!!!! The Spyder’s natural abilities are unbelievable. Quick, light footed, sharp, adjustable and planted!?!?!?!!!!! WTF!!!! It’s impossibly fluid. Yes!!! That’s the word I shall forever use to describe the Boxster Spyder. Fluid!!!
I make a quick stop to capture a few photos on top of the first peak at sunrise. For me, the Spyder always looked stunning. Compact, simple and purposeful – I loved its minimalist good looks the first time I saw one. With the California sun gently bathing over it’s silver paint, Alex’s Spyder looked sensational.
No time to admire its beauty. I pushed on. The Spyder magic was repeated as I tackled my descent and assault on the second peak. This time, I engaged with slightly more aggression, dialing in increasing doses of lock on wider corners. It helped me that established “racing lines” were already highlighted in black rubber by other “spirited drivers.” They clearly showed me where to put down the power. The tires provided plenty of grip but the 3.4 flat 6 engine allowed me to easily overpower them to pivot the chassis any way I wished. It’s truly surreal just how accomplished and polished the Boxster Spyder’s package really is. I encourage you to experience one to believe it.
Alex is one of the best technical drivers I know – a regular contributor to Excellence Magazine. My friend is a self confessed “Laguna Seca track refugee.” He sold his 997 GT3RS 3.8 after getting this Spyder because he found it more fun to drive and he has never looked back. Jason, Matt, Dominique Lee and Weng know how much I already loved the Spyder. I certainly didn’t need any convincing that it was a fantastic car. But this morning’s exhilarating drive significantly deepened my love towards it. So much so that it’s become my favorite drivers car of all time!!!!
I enjoyed a final descent, one that treated me to breathtaking views over the Pacific Ocean that filled my entire windshield. I must bring Wifie and Bear here someday. Nothing compares to Mother Nature’s beauty.
I refuel the Spyder and returned to the Palisades via the Pacific Coast Highway and pull into Alex’s driveway at around 9:30AM. He opened the door and greeted me with a smile. His delightful son Miles ran over and handed me a warm pop tart – this kid is awesome!!!! I uttered only one word as I handed Alex back his keys: FLUID. Alex nodded knowingly then grinned like the Cheshire Cat and replied “yeah fluid.”
The tale of two Porsche Spyders. Friends asked me for a review on the Porsche 918 Spyder that I recently drove on track. While loaded with innovative technology that provided genuinely super car levels of performance, it felt heavy and vague. Beyond Porsche’s marketing’s hype, the 918 provided me with a disappointedly and rather boring experience. As they say, there was really nothing to write home about. Frankly, I had a hell of a lot more fun driving another technologically advanced 4 wheel drive sports car in the form of Alex’s stock Nissan GTR later in the same evening in identical wet conditions. The mega Nissan felt almost as quick as the 918 but it’s delivery was more satisfying.
It’s 3:40PM now as I finish my write up relaxing on my flight to New York. My adrenaline is still pumping from my morning drive in a “humble” Porsche Boxster Spyder – a brilliant car that costed USD70k new or aprox 1/12 the price of the 918 Spyder. It demolishes the notion that the most expensive cars are the best. They are not. This one is THE BEST. Fluid. Remember this word.