Ruf Boxster RK Spyder

When Porsche created the original Boxster, the development cost was £350million in all. That was enough to produce what is generally regarded as one of the best roadsters ever built... but not everybody thinks it's perfect.

Lamborghini and Ferrari had better adjust their sales targets, as they stand to lose 49 customers in the next two years. That's the number of RK Spyders set for production. The Ruf is a unique roadster, built and engineered with breathtaking precision. But a standard Boxster costs only £32,320, making this a very pricey

When Porsche created the original Boxster, the development cost was £350million in all. That was enough to produce what is generally regarded as one of the best roadsters ever built... but not everybody thinks it's perfect.

So German Porsche specialist Ruf and Italian coachbuilder Stola of Studiotorino have joined forces to conjure up what they consider to be the ultimate money-no-object sports car.

And with no ceiling on the price tag, it has gone through the roof. The Ruf RK Spyder seen here costs a massive £130,000, compared to the standard Boxster's £32,320. Can such a huge hike really be worth it?

Taking a standard Boxster as a starting point, designers have added plenty of visual muscle to the shape. Virtually every body part is brand new, and made from aluminium, steel or carbon fibre.

Under the skin, the basic Porsche chassis has survived after the technicians went to work on the suspension and, amazingly, fitted the 911's 3.8-litre unit into the Boxster's mid-engined, rear-wheel-drive chassis. And they also supercharged the motor, which now gives 420bhp and 450Nm of torque. Performance is predictably sparkling.

The sprint from 0-62mph takes only 4.5 seconds, while the 0-124mph dash is perhaps even more impressive at 13.8 seconds. Maximum speed is 177mph.

While these figures aren't enough to beat Ferrari's F430 Spider or the forthcoming Lamborghini Gallardo Roadster, the Italo-German production certainly outdoes them when it comes to exclusivity, sound and thrills. Not to mention nimbleness and ease of driving.

The RK Spyder is a pure sportster, and its engine note reaches new heights for a flat-six powerplant, matching if not bettering a Ferrari V8. Yet you can drive the Ruf away from home with a very discreet rumble at low revs. Only under full throttle does the Spyder show its wild side. Power delivery doesn't peak until 5,000rpm, at which point the two-seater launches itself forward with supercar acceleration. There is plenty of grip and, with all the electronic aids turned off, the handling credentials are confirmed as the tail slides out in a controlled, predictable manner.

This is due in part to the wheels and tyres being developed specifically for the car. The seats are created from scratch, too, and while the bespoke red trim is verging on brash, the costly chairs offer ample support and are comfortable over long distances.

Ruf also offers a naturally aspirated version for £112,000, but that's still a lot of money to pay for a car which, at a squint, could be mistaken for one of Porsche's standard machines. Yet for some, the exclusivity of a Pagani combined with all the usability of a Boxster will make the Spyder worthwhile.

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