£130,163 - £151,797 Price range
Porsche has been making convertible versions of its iconic 911 for thirty years and during that time, it’s had to put up with comments regarding the 911 Cabriolet’s “deficiencies” when compared with the coupe.
This time round though, the naysayers are somewhat quieter. The majority of critics agree that, in most conditions, the convertible 911 is just as capable as the hardtop. A 911 for sunseekers with seemingly no drawbacks – what’s not to like?
Much like the coupe, the 911 Cabrio features an updated interior which draws styling cues from the Panamera – everything is top notch and well screwed together, as you’d expect from a modern Porsche. Luggage capacity is also identical to the hardtop’s as it’s stowed in the nose – so it’s a bit tight. Then again, most buyers will only be using it to carry light luggage, so it’s not too much of an issue.
Compared to the regular 911 there are a few new toys to play with – the main one being the switch that operates the folding roof mechanism. It’s fully automated, as is the wind deflector, so you don’t have to fiddle around with any clips and catches. As is the vogue these days, it’ll operate on the move at up to 31mph, raising or lowering in 13 seconds.
With Porsche 911s becoming more user-friendly in every new generation, it shouldn’t be surprising to hear that it’s the most usable variation yet. The car rides very well, especially when equipped with the optional PASM active suspension system. It’s exceptionally refined when the roof is up – some critics go so far as to say unless you really search for differences, it’s pretty much as quiet inside as the coupe. Good visibility all-round and light controls also make the 911 a doddle to drive at slower speeds.
Of course it’s still a Porsche so it’s likely you won’t be driving it in stop/start traffic and 30mph speed limit zones for long, and it’s at higher speeds where the new 911 Cabrio excels. All the reports state the 911 Cabrio is just as good as the coupe to drive, with hardly any flex in the chassis on even the roughest and tightest of roads whether the roof is up or down.
The cabriolet uses the same electromechanical steering as the coupe and it’s one of the more controversial aspects. It’s still accurate and has a good amount of feedback, and is one of the top full-electric power steering systems on any car today, but 911 purists still reckon it doesn’t have the feel of the hydraulic rack of the previous model.
There’s still the basic 350hp 3.4-litre flat six in the Carrera and the warmer 400hp 3.8-litre Carrera S, but if you want to turn on the pace there’s a few more options. The GTS turns the 3.8’s wick up a bit to 430hp, but if that’s not enough for you, Porsche will strap a turbo to the 3.8, for 520hp. If you really have to have the last word in power, there’s a Turbo S with 560hp.
In all cases you get a characteristic boxer wail when prodded and even the slowest 911 won’t take more than 5 seconds to sprint to 60mph from rest – no need to worry about looking foolish at the lights if you plump for the cheapest option. As with many 911s before, the entry-level ones are often the best – and quite why you’d need a 195mph convertible is an entirely different question.
Surprisingly, given the levels of performance, all the 991s are rated to between 28.2mpg and 30.7mpg on average (10% better still if you spec the PDK gearbox). This means that all versions avoid the top road tax bracket and some will even slip into Band K for a relatively small bill.
Despite the slight weight increase over the coupe, the Carrera Cabrio is still a quick car (as you’d expect something with ‘911’ on the bootlid) – thanks to the 3.4 350hp flat-six, Porsche claims it can hit 60mph in 5 seconds and crack 178mph with the manual, or 4.8 seconds and 178mph if equipped with the PDK auto. The Carrera also seems to be an ace driver’s car, as both critics agree that, bar the slightest hint of flex and scuttle shake on the worst of roads, it handles with the same delicacy and precision of the Coupe.
However, such speed and pace doesn’t come at much of a price with regards to running costs, as even in its least efficient guise, the 911 Carrera Cabrio can return 30mpg. Of course, such a figure will be nigh on impossible to achieve if you drive the car quickly.
Which you will. Because it’s a 911.
All in all, unless the marginally superior performance of the Carrera S is, in your opinion, worthy of the £10,000 premium, we recommend you won’t find a better convertible sports car in this class than the 911 Carrera Cabrio – it may be a bit down on pace, but it’s nigh on impossible to detect in the real world and you’ll be having just as much fun behind the wheel.
With the same 3.8, 395hp flat-six from the Carrera S Coupe slung over the rear axle, the 911 Cabrio Carrera S was always going to be a quick car – with the PDK ‘box and the launch control that comes with the optional Sports Chrono Pack, Porsche claims the current flagship 911 cabriolet can hit 60mph from rest in 4.3 seconds, and onto a top speed of 186mph. And, just like the 911 Coupe, the Carrera Cabrio is just as capable as an cruiser (perhaps more so on sunny days with the roof down) as it is engaging to drive down tighter roads.
Porsche has also managed to make the Carrera S Cabrio an incredibly efficient car, considering the performance and power it has to brag about. In fact, the only car of this type that can claim to beat the Carrera S’s 210g/km of CO2 emissions and 31mpg is, the 911 Carrera Cabrio. Which also happens to be noticeably cheaper, yet doesn’t sacrifice much in terms of outright pace.
In fact, it’s that little ‘niggle’ that we reckon is the biggest hurdle into Carrera S ownership – would you rather have the faster Carrera S, or use the money you saved from buying a Carrera on other goodies for either yourself or the car? That said, the Carrera S Cabrio does make a very good case for itself, so if you can afford one and are tempted by the lure of more power and speed, we can easily see why you’d opt for the ‘S’ over the Carrera.
Euro NCAP hasn’t crash-tested the 911 – not even the US-based IIHS or NHTSA agencies seem willing to bash a 911 – but the Porsche is built with racing in mind so you should expect it to shrug off any prang at most speeds, short of a serious misbehaviour.
If you’re not keen on relying on the body structure or the massive brakes, the 911 is stuffed with electronic safety gizmos. All models come with Porsche Stability Management, which incorporates a stability control system, traction control and brake force distribution. If you fancy a bit more on-road poise, you can specify Carrera, Carrera S and GTS models with four-wheel drive. Turbo and Turbo S models get it as standard.
You can’t really call an £80,000+ sports car good value, but the Porsche does make a very compelling case for itself when compared with other cars of this calibre and in this price range. Most of its competitors are noticeably more expensive to buy and the relatively low running costs mean you really can have your metaphorical cake and eat it.
That said, as with quite a few other premium car manufacturers, some of the options cost quite a lot of money. A handful of noteworthy rivals do cost less and residual values for convertible 911s aren’t usually as high as they are for coupe equivalents. A few critics even reckon the Boxster S is worth considering over the 911 Cabrio as well, given it’s just as involving to drive yet is worth almost half as much money.
Previously a 911 Cabriolet was the car you bought if you wanted to look better than you could drive. This time round, the gap has been closed up – with the 911 Cabriolet you can do both. It drives just as well, it handles the same, and the folding roof design and mechanism offers all the thrills of a roadster with hardly any of the drawbacks.
It might irritate the purists and cost £8,000 more than the coupe, but it’s undeniably one of the top cars in this class and is definitely worth considering if you’re in the market for a capable and desirable sports car in this price range – convertible or not.