The 2016 Porsche Boxster Spyder is a time machine. Not literally, of course, because those don’t really exist (in this dimension).

No, the Spyder is a curious amalgamation of various generations of Porsche greatness. The very name Spyder takes us back to the fifties and sixties, when the moniker was appended to numbers such as 550 and 718, and could be found running at playgrounds like Sebring, Targa Florio, and other legendary venues. The Boxster is a child of the nineties, and the original platform soldiered on with relatively few systemic changes until the arrival of the third generation in 2012 bearing the 981 platform code, this time receiving a thoroughly reworked platform fitting for a 21st century sports car. Not a roadster, a sports car. But it’s a roadster too. And very good at both functions, I must add.

On racing circuits, a mid-engine layout is common enough, but only a handful of cars available for sale to the public in this day and age feature such a dedicated performance layout. The Boxster, I dare say, is the greatest, taking into consideration value.

In Canada, the Boxster starts for as little $60K, the cheapest car in Porsche’s lineup, and only a few hundred more than a base Macan and a few hundred less than the starting point for Cayman. That price, is, in fact, a very large part of its greatness. While not as affordable as Corollas or CR-Vs, or even sports cars like the Toyobaru twins or the MX-5, it’s not astronomical as so many of the performance sedans, muscle cars and supercars that fill the interwebs with our lust and desire. While it can take another good $10-20K before the Boxster is a performance powerhouse, and the best-of-breed Spyder starts at $93,700, the example you see here cresting $100K, its elemental goodness is part and parcel of even that most basic Boxster (or Cayman for that matter). My point: the value is there, but if you have the credit, you can improve it to your heart’s desire.

From a distance, you might not look at it and think that this is a $100K car. There’s no flashy colour scheme, just stormtrooper-scheme black accents on a pristine white background. Look closer, or spot the aerodynamic buttresses on the rear deck, calling to mind the 918 Spyder’s hunched stance, and it begins to seem a little more exotic. While unassuming, this car drew a lot of looks with its dramatic contrast, big black air intakes and accents and stunningly perfect proportions. Okay, if you stare at the profile for too long, the large wheels seem to grow even larger, but it’s appropriate given that this car feels like it is all wheels, like you are simply strapped, tightened on a rack, to a set of four sticky, grippy tires.

This, or the 911? 2017 Porsche 911 First Drive

Every bit of tension between those four corners vibrates through the chassis like the harmony of the spheres providing a sense of oneness with the universe, but with cupholders. Vestigial cupholders, but hey, it still has cupholders. Okay, they’re not so bad, but anything over a Timmy’s Medium or Starbucks Tall is riding in a precarious perch that promises instant wardrobe malfunction at the first exploration of this car’s capabilities, and those capabilities are prodigious. Moral of the story: Make friends with espresso.

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