The car you are looking at, Porsche's new £60,459 Boxster Spyder, could well be the most exciting sports car we've driven this year.

Powered by the same sensational 3.8-litre flat six that you'll find in a Cayman GT4, and boasting the kind of sound track and performance that will make grown men go weak at the knees, the Spyder also happens to look 100% gorgeous in the metal. And on the road it is nothing less than brilliant to drive.

But it's not a car that will appeal to everyone, the Boxster Spyder, and nor is it intended to be. Its suspension is both lower and stiffer than that of a regular Boxster. There is just one transmission option; a six speed manual. And the roof must be raised or lowered using not merely your fingers, as per a regular Boxster, but your hands as well - because in the name of weight saving the hood is manual and takes a fair bit more effort to raise and lower than in the standard car.

The trade off comes, however, on the road. Tickling the scales at just 1315kg the Spyder is lighter, even, than the Cayman GT4. So although it isn't meant to be quite so focused as the bewinged coupe, in many ways it's the more desirable of the two to drive, with fractionally less weight to carry, providing it with even more agility than the GT4.

And then there's the not inconsiderable additional advantage of being able to lower the hood and enjoy the sunshine, which in turn allows you to listen to the machinations of the 3.8-litre flat six that much more readily, too.

The things you notice about the Spyder the most are its ride quality (surprisingly good beside that of Porsche's other sportier models), the clarity of response from its steering, the lovely feel underfoot from its brakes, and the extra shove that arrives courtesy of having an extra 400cc of engine capacity beneath your right foot. The Spyder's extra torque enables it to pull its long gearing a fair bit more effectively than in the 3.4-litre Boxster GTS. Yet at the same time it sounds and feels more energetic than ever up near the 7800rpm cut out.

Dynamically, you really do get the best of both worlds with the Boxster Spyder; greater ease of driving and more of a thrill factor at the top end to go with it.

And it's quick, the Spyder, no mistake about that. Zero to 62mph is quoted at 4.5sec with a top speed of 180mph, while at the other end of the scale emissions and economy are both significantly improved over the previous generation model at 230g/km and 28.5mpg combined.

It even has the same decent size front boot as the regular Boxster plus a slightly shallower affair at the back into which the remains of the roof get tucked away.

The only issue I had with the Spyder was its poor over-the-shoulder visibility with the roof up. And in the left hand drive version I drove it was quite some issue, especially when blending in to traffic coming from the right. But then you can solve this problem by dropping the hood, at which point visibility becomes the opposite; excellent all round.

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