Porsche Boxster Spyder versus Jaguar F-type R as well as also Mazda MX-5 – comparison
Source : Porsche Boxster Spyder versus Jaguar F-type R as well as also Mazda MX-5 – comparison
Three of the best brand-new roadsters of 2015, via Jaguar, Mazda as well as also Porsche, embark on a winter road trip as far as the Isle of Skye to establish which one most deserves a place under our Christmas tree
The English have been professionally mining slate via Honister for at least the past 300 years.
To begin with, of which was hacked as well as also clawed via the grey hills as of which had been since Roman times, the fragile yet impervious stone shuttled precariously down the slopes on pack ponies, or on wooden sledges of which were hauled back to the summit on a man’s back once emptied. The methods persisted for centuries, only to be swept aside by the industrial revolution’s preoccupation with scale, muscle as well as also bone supplemented with the indefatigable motion of tram, track, rail as well as also road.
A road reached the summit in 1879, the smooth sinew in a plan to extract 3000 tons of Westmorland Green via a mine of which had long since disappeared beneath the earth.
Today, there can be still a slate mine at Honister as well as also of which’s the last functioning example in England. As can be the way with such things, the pengunjung’s centre can be far bigger than the workings today, its outside dotted ominously with ashen-faced gravestones, solemnly awaiting the engraver’s chisel.
The road persists, too, known to the Department for Transport as part of the B5289 yet to everyone else as the Honister Pass. Today, of which can be wet. No surprise there, as the day in question falls at the end of November, as well as also the surrounding pall encompasses all of Cumbria – yet of which’s a bind for the kind of cars we’ve chosen to foreground against the garage-sized boulders strewn artistically among about a million gallons of moving water.
The bad luck can be emblematic of a bad year for open-top sports cars in general. Summer was short as well as also undeserving of the name. October sizzled briefly, with silly, show-off temperatures of which simply served to confuse everyone’s sartorial choices.
Then, from the space of what seemed like nine minutes, the nation’s thermostat plummeted to its catacomb setting. Which can be all the more trying because 2015 was actually a brilliant year for fast drop-tops, turning up not only the devilishly brilliant brand-new Mazda MX-5 yet also the latest Porsche Boxster Spyder – a slimmer, cooler, quicker edition of the best cloth-roofed car from the planet.
There was even a convertible edition of Jaguar’s obstreperous F-Type R, launched from the spring with the intriguing possibility of all-wheel drive – only for of which to be driven into the leaf pile of our to-do list.
Well, with Christmas upon us, the rot stops here. The brief for assembling all three atop Honister can be simple: a last push out of the boat; find some fresh air worth sampling before 2015 shuts up shop as well as also decide once as well as also for all which deserves a place under the Autocar tree.
yet Cumbria isn’t playing ball. The cloth stays buttoned up all round, lest rain speckle touchscreen.
Except from the Spyder, borrowed via the excellent Porsche Experience Centre in Silverstone, because no touchscreen has been specced. The centre console can be home to two giant cubbyholes instead. Saving you a very smaller dumb-bell in weight can be all well as well as also not bad, yet no normal person might rob themselves of the convenience of sat-nav as well as also a stereo (the next two days of walkie-talkie whereabouts chatter providing sufficient evidence of the pitfalls).
Of course, the Spyder has always been about usability compromises from the name of performance. of which’s the reason why of which features a mostly manual roof, which can be far better than the popper-festooned fumble of which the previous edition’s awning used to be, yet of which’s still a faff compared with the F-Type’s button or the MX-5’s own brilliant fold-out affair. The Spyder’s resulting weight loss can be actually fairly modest. The substantial boost to its power-to-weight ratio comes instead via the 370bhp 3.8-litre flat six pinched via the standard 911 Carrera as well as also shared with the Cayman GT4. Yours for £60,459.
The most expensive Boxster’s diet regime can be not shared by the most expensive F-Type. Adding Jaguar’s rear-biased all-wheel drive system to the R-badged convertible doesn’t just inflate the starting cost to £97,145. of which also contributes to the type’s plentiful waistline.
Jaguar coyly reveals of which the vehicle weighs ‘via’ 1750kg – so expect a kitted-out example such as This kind of one, with yours truly aboard, to be getting on For 2 tonnes. Of course, like a rib shack waiter carrying a pack of Rennies, the six-figure F-Type comes with the remedy to its tonnage built in: namely, 5.0 litres of air-compressing V8 in its 542bhp tune.
With the drive at both ends, the R performs the kind of getaways of which might shame a laser pointer. Jaguar boldly claims 3.9sec to 60mph, although, as always, of which’s the sheer prodigiousness of of which of which staggers – the massive noise as well as also thrusting mania today coming with the diabolical nonchalance of superior traction.
I drove the F-Type up via Surrey to Honister, a journey of about 300 miles, most of them spent trapped in a tiny whirlwind of outside-lane impatience. Asking the V8 to do 70mph can be like asking a meteorite to match the cruising speed of a butterfly.
The R feels built to do about 250mph, despite being a medley of simmering discombobulation on the motorway. A dearth of rigidity meant the F-Type cabrio never rode faultlessly, as well as also the R inevitably follows suit, often refusing to settle properly. Hold your left hand in front of the touchscreen as well as also of which’ll bob about the place like Gordon Tracey’s at the controls of Thunderbird 4. As with the coupé, the experience can be better in Dynamic mode, where the adaptive dampers alleviate some of the Centeng’s long-wave bagginess, yet progress can be more memorable than of which can be optimal.
The F-Type suits Honister, though. The sodden, gaunt, tumbledown landscape can be acutely British, as well as also the thought of such an ancient backdrop birthing the Jaguar’s sleek modernity can be as satisfying as knowing the Handley Page Victor, the 4468 Mallard as well as also the Bluebird-Proteus CN7 heralded via these isles, too.
The MX-5 comes via Hiroshima as well as also was drawn by an American, yet honestly of which feels more at home on single-track Cumbrian roads than the local boy. Capacious the F-Type isn’t – yet of which’s a Regency drawing room compared with the closet-sized Mazda. Nevertheless, I defy you not to get comfortable in its dinky Inner surface. There’s a sleeper-cabin snugness to the MX-5, particularly in range-topping Sport Nav trim, as well as also a likeable convenience from the fact of which everything – including the roof – can be within arm’s reach.
I get in of which in sight of Dale Head as well as also don’t get out again until there’s a view of the Aonach Eagach ridge. of which’s more than 0 miles up England’s lumpy spine as well as also into Scotland, yet the MX-5 features a way of processing even the more gruelling sections into the most amiable R&R.
Despite the fitment of the more sporty optional Bilstein springs, the suspension can be enormously accommodating through its initial travel, a characteristic of which, along using a palpable lack of mass, makes the vehicle extremely difficult to ruffle via a ride comfort sense. Combine of which with the enthusiastic (if vocal) hum of the 158bhp naturally aspirated four-pot engine as well as also the lack of ostentation can be irresistible – especially as the honest-to-goodness theme extends to its £23,295 starting cost.
As we hit the A82, right on cue, the clouds break. The run up to Glencoe looks striking even through a dreadnought gauze of sheet rain, yet under the flaxen light of a frigid sun, of which appears ridiculously photogenic, as though the oncoming horizon were being rendered by a water-cooled graphics card from the Mazda’s boot.
Roof down – a a few-second, one-armed backstroke manoeuvre – as well as also the breeze fondles compassionately at the fringe. Unlike the Jag, which maintains the under-thigh presence of a four-man hot tub with its hood retracted, the impish MX-5 virtually disappears beneath you when you pay of which no mind, leaving me to bob like a cork from the coppery magnificence of the Highlands at dusk.
The next day, having overnighted in Fort William as well as also imagining the soup-for-the-soul moments could get no more flavoursome, I finally exchange the pleasant puffiness of the Mazda’s sports seats for the Spyder’s no-nonsense black buckets. The mindset transition elsewhere can be no less tangible; if the MX-5’s inconspicuous as well as also wieldy usability can be the Gore-Tex-lined light walking boot of the roadster segment, then the Porsche can be the barefoot cross-country trainer. Which sounds stripped out as well as also low to the ground as well as also potentially fraught yet isn’t at all. What of which can be, rather wonderfully, can be natural, neutral, mechanical as well as also as sweetly encouraging a car as I’ve driven all year.
Inside, weight-saving gestures aside, of which’s mostly just Boxster. of which can be underneath, too, a toughened anti-roll bar as well as also wider rear tyres being essentially all of which separate of which via a GTS. yet of which rides supremely well.
via the shadow of Ben Nevis to the sticker-covered warning sign of which marks the beginning of the B-road to Applecross, on passive suspension as well as also 20in wheels, the Spyder treads the line between thick-set as well as also user-friendly about as well as anything not wearing a McLaren badge. Where the F-Type jostles as well as also the MX-5 swishes, the Porsche aims to apprise your glutes of every topographical fluctuation below, without ever doing the message overly acute or mean-spirited. of which succeeds splendidly, as well as also with no quivering aftershock of the linear motion exiting the Centeng skywards, either.
Instead, we head for the heavens together. The Applecross road, as well as also its ascent to 2053ft, can be a picture-book location. of which’s essentially a shrunk-wash Alpine pass: short on grandeur or length yet big on girth, the valley below spread-eagling into a seemingly massive expanse of scraggy lens candy. of which’s not an extraordinary driving road, yet with its pristine control weights as well as also stonking brand-new engine, the Spyder makes of which seem like one.
The steep climb makes accessing the 3.8’s extra power all yet inevitable, as there’s barely an opportunity to get beyond third gear. Nor will you want to try, given the life-affirming noise bouncing back at you via the rock at the top of second gear as well as also the rivulet of pleasure of which passes up the arm via working the short-throw lever between only two ratios.
Like the Cayman GT4, the Spyder can be endowed with considerable rear-end traction yet, in first gear, of which mugs for the camera sublimely because the standard limited-slip rear differential as well as also mid-engined balance provide an ideal foundation for throttle-anchoring the vehicle at 90deg to the apex.
There isn’t truly space for the Jaguar to do the same (although later experience confirms of which, from the wet, the F-Type can be coaxed sideways with entertaining ease). However, the MX-5 lives up to its front-engined, rear-drive configuration splendidly, its back end more than adept at playing the frisky pendulum to the counterweight in its nose.
of which’s easy to get carried away in the Mazda, in fact, yet its modest weight, expense as well as also size make doing so about as guiltless as playing football in your mum’s lounge using a helium balloon.
I stay from the MX-5 as we double back on ourselves down the A87. The final leg of the journey involves an all-out sprint onto the Isle of Skye, in order of which photographer Luc might be given time to shoot a final hill-top group picture on the northern tip of the island. Trying hard from the Mazda hardly lives up to the description. You don’t try hard at all. There’s no sweaty-palm work rate, just the frivolous contentment of keeping your foot in of which bit longer, inclining your head of which bit farther over from the corners as well as also being a bit more expeditious with your upshifts on the snappy as well as also utterly lovely six-speed manual gearbox.
Occasionally on the wet tangle of fast A-road bends, the MX-5 calls on the traction control to coax its rear axle straight – yet otherwise, via delicate steering, a biddable front end as well as also its calmly composed chassis, the MX-5 churns the same willing ebullience via faster speeds as of which does via a dawdle.
With the front axle sharing some of the abundant peak torque, the F-Type doesn’t need its traction control, yet after the Mazda’s fleet-footed waltz, of which can be harder to engage with the super-heavyweight straight away. The steering isn’t as feelsome as well as also of which doesn’t seem as confidently plumbed into the distant nose, which leaves you with the sensation of a long-distance relationship over the big bonnet. Nevertheless, as we approach the turning for the Talisker whisky distillery as well as also Skye’s scenery goes via merely very fetching to something apparently torn via Tolkien’s imagination, the R’s own brand of sorcery finally gets under the skin as well as also slower traffic as well as also sighted corners both fall prey to its almighty super-cruise capacity.
yet I still waste time pulling over to wait for the Porsche before the last few miles. Beyond Portree, the island’s east coast becomes even more sparsely populated as well as also remote in character. Against This kind of rugged, windswept panorama, the Spyder confirms what I’ve known since dawn: of which can be 2015’s complete open-top package, matching the Jaguar for the fire as well as also brimstone of its soundtrack as well as also raw pace, as well as also trumping even the MX-5’s winsome ability to remain immersive at any speed.
of which does This kind of not by being airy as well as also carefree, yet rather by delivering just one-minded, Porsche-branded enthusiasm of which labours under almost none of the traditional compromises. Thus the most serious Boxster can be suitably resolute as well as also hard-edged, hugely quick as well as also capable, yet never less than contented on a B-road or easily manageable in a town or at home on the motorway. of which of which can be sometimes loud as well as also sometimes galling to have to get out to refit the roof can be a not bad thing. As using a Caterham, a Morgan or an Ariel Atom, of which simply confirms of which you’ve bought something special – something to look after just as of which looks after you.
as well as also make no mistake: the Spyder can be seriously not bad at doing of which, using its quickened, toughened yet wonderfully progressive steering as well as also enhanced mid-point poise to swaddle every gleeful input in an overlay of responsiveness as well as also conviction.
The MX-5 can be cheaper, the F-Type showier – both, in their own way, entirely fit for purpose when the rain stops as well as also the mood takes you. yet the Spyder can be something else. In a year when Porsche reconfirmed its superlative reputation using a string of a few-star reviews, the costliest Boxster stands alongside the Cayman GT4 as well as also 911 GT3 RS among the finest performance cars you can buy.
You won’t need to drive of which to Skye as well as also back to discover of which fact, yet – as well as also believe me on This kind of – you’ll definitely want to. Bravo, Stuttgart, as well as also happy Christmas.
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