Porsche 911 Cabriolet vs Audi R8 Spyder

Is the new Porsche 911 Cabriolet the best drop-top supercar? We find out as it meets the Audi R8 Spyder

Porsche 911 Cabriolet vs Audi R8 Spyder
The 911 Cabriolet has been a fixture in the Porsche line-up for nearly 30 years. With its blend of wind-in-the-hair thrills, strong performance and sharp handling, it’s proven a massive hit.
So Porsche hasn’t messed with the winning formula for the latest 991 version. The evolutionary looks, rear-mounted flat-six engine and practical four-seater cabin will be familiar to owners of the old car.
However, under the skin there’s a stiffer chassis for even more engaging handling, plus the same choice of powerful and efficient 3.4 and 3.8-litre engines that feature in the brilliant coupe version.
Going head-to-head with the new 911 is one of the most exciting soft-tops in the business: the Audi R8 Spyder. With jaw-dropping looks, a rumbling V8 and grippy four-wheel-drive chassis, the mid-engined car is a tough rival. So will the Porsche be sunning itself at the top of the podium?

Verdict

It took Porsche 20 years to chop the roof off the 911, but ever since the first drop-top arrived in 1982, the Cabriolet has been a firm fixture in the line-up. And the new car is the finest yet. Smarter looking, sharper to drive and more refined than ever, it’s a hugely desirable soft-top.

But then so is the Audi R8, with its supercar looks, thunderous V8 engine and all-wheel-drive poise. However, the Porsche is more agile and has a more spacious and modern cabin. Plus, its hood is better looking and folds more quickly, while refinement when it’s down is noticeably better than the Audi’s. The 911 is also cheaper, cleaner and more fuel efficient than the R8, while small rear seats and a deep nose boot add a dash of practicality.

Both cars are style statements, but the subtle Porsche won’t appeal to attention seekers as much as the glitzy R8. Yet with its taut fabric hood and classy roof-down profile, it’s the best-looking 911 Cabriolet yet. More importantly, it demands hardly any compromises over the talented coupe on comfort, refinement or dynamics.

Yes, you get an amazing sense of occasion every time you climb behind the wheel of the R8 Spyder. But even Porsche purists will like the latest 911 Cabriolet, and it wins this test.

WinnerPorsche 911 ★★★★★

Drive the all-new 911 Cabriolet and Porsche’s legendary attention to detail is clear to see. The sleek hood looks superb and isolates road noise really well when in place, plus it folds quickly and the clever automatic wind deflector keeps wind buffeting to a minimum. The cabin is superb, and in nearly every situation the open-topped 911’s ride comfort and handling are a match for the coupe’s.

2nd Audi R8 ★★★★

The tactile open-gate manual gearbox, tuneful V8 and reassurance of quattro all-wheel drive help make the R8 Spyder a special car. The stunning looks attract attention and the cabin still feels special. But if you want an automated gearshift, the R tronic transmission is outdated. Plus, the Audi isn’t as strong as the 911 dynamically, and is less efficient and pricier.

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