When my best mate inquired what car I'd be using to drive him to the register office on his wedding day, he wasn't impressed with the response of Honda Accord. These would be the last minutes of his life as a bachelor, he exclaimed. He did not want to spend them in something a cab office would send.
I protested, sounding not unlike my rave review of the Accord in last month's MT, but eventually gave in and arranged for the loan of a Porsche Boxster Spyder. If the Honda Accord is the vehicular equivalent of a sexless 40-year marriage, this car is the motoring manifestation of smoking crack and sleeping with someone half your age.
In order to make it as light as possible, this car has been stripped of many things that make it in the least bit practical: there are fabric loops not door handles; the entertainment system has been removed to save three kilos; the air-conditioning has been dispensed with to save 12 kg; and the one-piece electric hood swapped for a manual two-piece item (weight saving: 21 kg).
The press material plays down the importance of this last change. Apparently, it can be operated 'by one person alone, in just a few minutes'. Well, it took me 15 minutes to remove it by myself, 20 minutes to refasten it by myself, and I couldn't work out how to stow it, so ended up leaving it in London before heading off to Dorset for the wedding. Needless to say, it rained on the way. And then, on the way back, there was the opposite problem: a three-hour traffic jam stuck in 34-degree heat. I didn't think it was possible for Indians to get sunburned.
My girlfriend wasn't speaking to me by the end of it all. But you know what, as a blokeish driving experience, it was sensational. I've always been rather frightened of the 911 GT3 - which has been described as the Spyder's 'spiritual big brother'. And the last time I drove a Lotus Elise, I managed to spin it on a damp, mercifully empty road. But this car, which is essentially a Lotus Elise in 911 GT3 form, is inspired. Controllable, flattering, addictive. The groom actually screamed out loud when I put my foot down. Then again, he might have had other reasons to yelp out loud that morning. 5 OUT OF 5
Porsche Boxster Spyder, £49,847
|Engine: 3,436 cc, flat-six, petrol
Power: 320 bhp @ 7,200 rpm
Torque: 273 lb ft @ 4,750 rpm
Transmission: 7-speed auto
Fuel consumption: 30.4 mpg (combined cycle)
CO2 emissions: 218 g/km
0-62 mph: 5 seconds
Top speed: 165 mph