Porsche 911 Cabriolet Review
Porsche 911 Cabriolet: New 911 loses its lid but retains its astounding ability.
Porsche 911 Cabriolet
Here's a shock - 40 percent of all Porsche 911s sold last year were cabriolets. The new-generation Cabrio is the first time a drop-top 911 has maintained the coupe's silhouette and looks stunning with the turret raised or lowered. The roof can be opened and closed at speeds up to 50km/h and takes just 13sec.
Part of the huge appetite for open 911s is due to there being no performance trade-off. The chassis is as rigid and as sweet as its coupe brethren and buyers have the same engine (3.4- or 3.8-litre) and transmission choices (seven-speed manual or twin-clutch PDK) in this all-new 911.
Everywhere you delve, subtle improvements have taken place. Body rigidity has improved 18 percent despite a 45-60kg weight reduction, depending on spec. There are improved acoustics, more comfortable suspension with enhanced dynamics, bigger front brakes on the S and Porsche Torque Vectoring (which delivers variable torque distribution by controlling the braking on the rear wheels).
Dumping a 911 signature - the communicative hydraulic steering - in favour of the lighter electro-mechanical system should have been an extraordinary gamble. Yet it has actually improved in some ways - sending all the right signals without that straight-line sensitivity and transmission of road imperfections, and lacking the slight loading on the tiller when turning hard into corners. Only when pushed damned hard into tight bends does it lose a teeny bit of its famed communication. And then only fleetingly.
A wider track and longer wheelbase add to the 911's poise. Transitions from accelerator to brake and back to accelerator bring less of the pitching detectable in past models. No hint of scuttle shake, naturally, and the ride smooths out the bumps in the normal suspension setting while Sport and Sport Plus firm things up, quicken the PDK shifts and increase exhaust volume.
The entry Carrera's smaller 3.4-litre flat-six is downsized from 3.6 and yet offers slightly improved power (257kW/390Nm) and reduced consumption (8.4L/100km). The manual belts from 0-100km/h in 5.0sec, the PDK in 4.8, or 4.6 with the Sport Chrono Package.
The gruntier 294kW/440Nm Carrera S maintains the same gearbox choices but with a 3.8-litre engine. It's capable of 0-100km/h in 4.3sec, all the time barely tousling your coif thanks to an electric wind deflector. Consumption is a still-efficient 8.9L/100km. Top whack is about 300km/h.
Prices have moved northwards - starting at $255,000 for the Carrera manual and $288,300 for the Carrera S manual with PDK an extra $5950 - but the new car has been improved in every way you can think of. It may have a soft top, but the performance remains hard edged.
Porsche 911 Cabriolet
ENGINE: 3436cc flat 6, DOHC, 24v
POWER: 257kW @ 7400rpm
TORQUE: 390Nm @ 5600rpm
GEARBOX: 7-speed dual-clutch
0-100km/h: 5.0sec (claimed)
TOP SPEED: 286km/h (claimed)
ON SALE: April 2012
PRICE: $255,100 (Carrera manual)
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