Porsche 911 Convertible review
The open-top Porsche 911 Cabriolet adds roofless thrills to the traditional rear-engined formula
There’s no mistaking the 911 Cabriolet for anything else. Traditional cues such as the round headlights, bulbous wheelarches, upright windscreen and curved rear end are all carried over intact from the last 911, while the Cabrio’s roof has the same profile as the coupe’s when it’s in place. Inside, the same high-quality interior is used, while the closed roof does a good job of keeping out noise. Opening the top takes 13 seconds and can be done at speeds of up to 35mph. Four-wheel drive versions get wider rear arches and a wider track plus a neat LED strip that links the rear light clusters. Inside the cabin used the same high quality switchgear and classy materials as the Panamera saloon and the driving position and visibility are both excellent.
The 911 Cabriolet is just as entertaining to drive as the coupe, and you get to revel in the flat-six soundtrack when the roof is down. The steering isn’t quite as alive with feedback as previous generations, but there’s lots of grip from the chassis, and decades of development mean the rear-engined 911 is one of the most entertaining cars you can buy. Power comes from a 345bhp 3.4-litre flat-six in the Carrera, while the Carrera S has a 3.8-litre six with 395bhp. In reality, the standard car has more than enough performance for most people’s needs, with a 0-62mph time of 4.6 seconds and 176mph top speed – the Carrera S is capable of 0-62mh in 4.3 seconds and 185mph. Refinement with the roof up is superb and even when its folded buffeting is kept to a minimum by the neatly integrated electric wind diffuser.
The latest 911 has been on sale a while now and few major problems have been reported. Previous 911s haven’t always run like clockwork, though, so time will tell if any major problems arise but the latest generation seems to have placed a bigger focus on interior quality as well as mechanical resilience. Whatever happens, you can expect dealer servicing to be expensive, although the service you get will be exemplary. The 911 comes with a variety of electronic ads to keep everything in check, and the usual raft of airbags and rollover protection all feature.
The 911 Cabriolet is surprisingly practical for a sports car, and is certainly a better prospect than the Audi R8 Spyder. The deep boot in the nose is the same as the coupe’s, while the tiny rear seats are ideal for use as extra luggage space – you’d be hard-pressed to get people sat back there even if they are good for small children or babt seats. In terms of size, the 911 has always been one of the smaller supercars, and the current version is no different, which means it’s easy to place on the road, as well as park and visibility is good with the roof up or down.
Top-end sports cars aren’t designed to offer ultra-low running costs, but the 911 Cabriolet is dffrent. It’s lighter than the last version, and the redesigned engines are more efficient, too. All cars come with a seven-speed manual as standard, but the PDK semi-auto gearbox boosts efficiency even further. The standard Carrera Cabriolet PDK – which also includes stop-start – can return 33mpg and 198g/km. Of course, a high initial purchase price is the biggest stumbling block to Porsche ownership, and the 911 Cabrio starts from just under £80,000. If you want the Porsche open-air experience for less cash, the Boxter costs around £40,000 less while the flagship Carrera 4S cabriolet costs clost to £100,000. Still it is cheaper than rivals like the Audi R8 Spyder and Jaguar XK-R S convertible.