RE: Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Cabriolet | Driven

RE: Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Cabriolet | Driven

Sunday 1st December

Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Cabriolet | Driven

Of course the new 911 Cabriolet was nice in Greece; what about an autumnal England? Dan P finds out...



It was nine months ago that Matt drove the 992-generation Porsche 911 Cabriolet in Greece and declared the unthinkable: the droptop 911, he wrote, might just be the one to have. But he tested the Cabriolet on the fringes of the Mediterranean at the start of spring, his mind a little fuzzy from all that ouzo the evening before but full of hope nonetheless for the summer that lay ahead, the warm Grecian air swirling around his ears and the sun shining pleasantly on his forehead. Of course a topless 911 seemed agreeable at the time.

His idea that the 911 Cabriolet might somehow be a more wholesome vehicle than its fixed roof counterpart - the 911 having matured in nature and grown in size, a trend that began several years ago with the 991 - was conceived somewhere close to Athens. Since then the idea has developed slowly through the trimesters and now, nine months later, it's emerged fully formed into a frigid British autumn and not only been born, but borne out. By gum, I think the lad's right.

It's all about the allowances you have to make. For a very long time the 911 Cabriolet buyer was expected to overlook the flimsy hood that flapped in the wind and leaked in the rain, the decapitated body that would shudder on bumpy roads like a whippet left out in the cold, and the styling that was imbalanced with the hood lowered and even laughable with it in position. Nowadays, most of those things don't apply. The allowances you must make are almost non-existent, the most notable gains coming on three fronts.


The first, mentioned just now, is the way the 992-gen 911 Cabriolet looks. It's the most handsome droptop 911 so far, even if that only means it's the least ugly of the lot. That old issue of visual imbalance remains, because with the engine slung behind the rear axle there'll always be more mass out back than a designer would like. 911 Cabriolets have tended to look as though they're dragging along a swollen version of themselves and this one isn't any exception.

With the hood up, though, the old 911 silhouette is actually left intact, the roofline flowing seamlessly from the top of the windscreen to the engine cover. Porsche's designers were so dissatisfied with the wonky roofline of the 996 and 997 models they even gave it a name: the hungry horse optic. The fabric hood sagged between the spars that supported it, calling to mind the protruding bones of a skinny nag. For the 991 they made huge improvements, but now they've nailed it.

Secondly, the latest 911 Cabriolet is almost indistinguishable from the coupe to drive. Whereas you could once feel the entire body shaking and flexing, be that when driving over rough ground or even just when cornering, now you feel none of that at all. The giveaway is the crisp, 4K-quality image you get in the rear-view mirror that tells you the structure of the car is strong and inflexible. When the picture you see in the rear-view is so fuzzy you can't make out the make and model of the car behind, you know the body has lost much of its integrity.


That stiffer shell, the most rigid ever built for a 911 Cabriolet, is what underpins a very impressive set of handling traits. Impressive, but not tantalising. We know well enough that the 911 has grown up, that it isn't any longer the lithe and tactile or idiosyncratic thing it was for so long. But in spreadsheet terms it's arguably better than ever: more grip, rock solid body control, very good compliance over a bumpy surface, unerring stability, accurate steering response and all the rest of it. The Cabriolet carries a 70kg penalty over the coupe but you'll do very well to identify it. The point is this: an enthusiastic driver will have every bit as much fun in this model as the hardtop, even if that amount of fun is not what it once was. And that's a first.

Finally, this latest 911 Cabriolet is the most refined yet. For instance, I'm sure you could use this car throughout the winter months without ever feeling you'd bought the wrong one. And on the motorway there is more road and wind noise than you'd hear in the coupe, but only a touch. It's as though you're driving the fixed roof 911 with a window open a crack. Hood down at 50 or 60mph, the cabin is calm and settled even with the wind deflector stowed away.

For all those reasons and more, the latest 911 Cabriolet is the best one yet. It doesn't expect its buyer to make anything like the weight of allowances for it that earlier versions did. If you want a droptop 911, you can have one almost without compromise. But what actually makes the 911 Cabriolet a more complete car than the coupe is that it's very difficult to find fault with it, whereas the coupe - the sort of machine we should expect a little more from by way of thrills and spills - is not without its weaknesses. In simple terms, the Cabriolet nails its brief more squarely than the coupe does.


Only for the time being, though. When the more driver-focused models begin to emerge - by which I mean the Carrera GTS and perhaps the Carrera T, and not necessarily the GT models that exist in an entirely different stratosphere - the pendulum will surely swing back towards the hardtop models and they'll represent the sweet spot of the 911 Carrera range once again. But for now at least, in that place you will find the one with the fabric hood and the swollen derriere.

And what about the rest of it? I think the twin-turbo engine is pretty much a masterpiece of the forced-induction art form with strong power and torque throughout, excellent throttle response, a reasonably tuneful soundtrack thanks to the optional (Β£1,844) sports exhaust and the kind of mid-range muscularity that makes light work of this model's substantial 1,710kg kerbweight - a portliness the old normally-aspirated flat-six would have laboured against.

The PDK transmission is basically faultless and seems to suit the easy-going nature of a convertible more than a manual might. Four-wheel drive doesn't add anything worthwhile to the driving experience, particularly now that the 911 has become a more safe-and-steady sort of thing, but the security it adds in wet weather will make it a no-brainer for some. Me? I'll save my fantasy six-figure sum for a 911 Carrera GTS coupe with a manual 'box. When that car arrives, I reckon you can pack the Cabriolet back off to Greece.


SPECIFCATION - PORSCHE 911 CARRERA 4S CABRIOLET

Engine: 2,981cc, flat-six, twin-turbo
Transmission: 8-speed dual-clutch auto, four-wheel drive
Power (hp): 450@6,500rpm
Torque (lb ft): 391@ 2,300-5,000rpm
0-62mph: 3.6 secs
Top speed: 188mph
Weight: 1,710kg
MPG: 31.4
CO2: 207g/km
Price: Β£108,063

Search for a 992 Porsche 911 here

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Author
Discussion

cerb4.5lee

Original Poster:

13,000 posts

128 months

Saturday 30th November
quotequote all
As I've got older and I have a family I do think that these would make a very good performance car. I appreciate top down motoring as well...I just need a lottery win though!

Augustus Windsock

1,849 posts

103 months

Saturday 30th November
quotequote all
Don’t know if it’s apathy towards the car/article or people are otherwise engaged on Black Saturday (?!) shopping but one comment up to this point? Surprising.

big_rob_sydney

2,387 posts

142 months

Saturday 30th November
quotequote all
Probabably in about 5 years or so, this would be an interesting second hand buy. I do marvel at the increasing size of these cars though. They are global cars, sure, but here in the UK, I find that cars are becoming bigger, and at some point, something has to give.

I wont be here much longer anyway (moving overseas probably), so not an issue for me personally.

Riverside Red

968 posts

83 months

Saturday 30th November
quotequote all
Massive backside means it's a big no from me....one of the most fugly cars that exist with its roof down unfortunately.

RR

NGK210

755 posts

93 months

Saturday 30th November
quotequote all
What is the point in owning the convertible version of a car if it’s uglier than its hardtop sibling?
Overhangs front and rear are too long, so the wheelbase seems disproportionately short and the wheels too large.
But if you want a fugly car that resembles a four-wheeled dung beetle, fill yer Lobbs. (Apologies to all dung beetles.)

Edited by NGK210 on Saturday 30th November 18:13

TyrannosauRoss Lex

23,634 posts

160 months

Saturday 30th November
quotequote all
NGK210 said:
What is the point in owning the convertible version of a car if it’s uglier than its hardtop sibling?

Edited by NGK210 on Saturday 30th November 18:13
I'm going to go out on a limb here and say the point is to offer open top motoring? I rarely think convertibles look better than coupes, but I think it's pretty obvious why people buy them.

cerb4.5lee

Original Poster:

13,000 posts

128 months

Saturday 30th November
quotequote all
TyrannosauRoss Lex said:
I rarely think convertibles look better than coupes, but I think it's pretty obvious why people buy them.
I also agree that the Coupe version of a convertible always looks better, and that is the sacrifice you have to make to enjoy roof down motoring for me.

Both the Roadster versions I've had(Z4M/370Z) the Coupe has been miles better looking to my eyes. But I do like the option to go roof up or down though.

NGK210

755 posts

93 months

Saturday 30th November
quotequote all
TyrannosauRoss Lex said:
NGK210 said:
What is the point in owning the convertible version of a car if it’s uglier than its hardtop sibling?

Edited by NGK210 on Saturday 30th November 18:13
I'm going to go out on a limb here and say the point is to offer open top motoring? I rarely think convertibles look better than coupes, but I think it's pretty obvious why people buy them.
If I were able, I’d post pics of the following as some examples of dropheads that are arguably prettier than their coupé siblings smile
R-R Silver Ghost (1925)
Jag XK 120 - 150
Porsche 356
Jag E-type
MG B
Triumph Herald/Vitesse
Jag XJ S
Porsche 944/964
Aston DB 5, 7 & 9, etc.

TyrannosauRoss Lex

23,634 posts

160 months

Sunday 1st December
quotequote all
NGK210 said:
TyrannosauRoss Lex said:
NGK210 said:
What is the point in owning the convertible version of a car if it’s uglier than its hardtop sibling?

Edited by NGK210 on Saturday 30th November 18:13
I'm going to go out on a limb here and say the point is to offer open top motoring? I rarely think convertibles look better than coupes, but I think it's pretty obvious why people buy them.
If I were able, I’d post pics of the following as some examples of dropheads that are arguably prettier than their coupé siblings smile
R-R Silver Ghost (1925)
Jag XK 120 - 150
Porsche 356
Jag E-type
MG B
Triumph Herald/Vitesse
Jag XJ S
Porsche 944/964
Aston DB 5, 7 & 9, etc.
Each to their own but not sure about all of those personally..... So yeah.... It's a personal thing. Funny, I'd never want a DB9 convertible!

Tim bo

1,458 posts

88 months

Sunday 1st December
quotequote all
Riverside Red said:
Massive backside means it's a big no from me....one of the most fugly cars that exist with its roof down unfortunately.

RR
Indeed the bulbous rear-end is a little hard on the eye.

For 911 open-top motoring it has to be the Targa really.

Tim bo

1,458 posts

88 months

Sunday 1st December
quotequote all
NGK210 said:
If I were able, I’d post pics of the following as some examples of dropheads that are arguably prettier than their coupé siblings smile
R-R Silver Ghost (1925)
Jag XK 120 - 150
Porsche 356
Jag E-type
MG B
Triumph Herald/Vitesse
Jag XJ S
Porsche 944/964
Aston DB 5, 7 & 9, etc.
Jag F-type too. The sloping roof at the rear end of the coupé doesn't work so well for me, but the convertible looks fabulous without any roof.

Chubbyross

319 posts

33 months

Sunday 1st December
quotequote all
NGK210 said:
TyrannosauRoss Lex said:
NGK210 said:
What is the point in owning the convertible version of a car if it’s uglier than its hardtop sibling?

Edited by NGK210 on Saturday 30th November 18:13
I'm going to go out on a limb here and say the point is to offer open top motoring? I rarely think convertibles look better than coupes, but I think it's pretty obvious why people buy them.
If I were able, I’d post pics of the following as some examples of dropheads that are arguably prettier than their coupé siblings smile
R-R Silver Ghost (1925)
Jag XK 120 - 150
Porsche 356
Jag E-type
MG B
Triumph Herald/Vitesse
Jag XJ S
Porsche 944/964
Aston DB 5, 7 & 9, etc.
I’m with you on some of these, especially the E-type. The coupe is utterly gopping, yet the cab version is one of the most beautiful cars ever made. I remember reading as a kid that the drag factor on the coupe was worse than a VW camper van. Not quite sure if that’s true though.

chelme

701 posts

118 months

Sunday 1st December
quotequote all
So, as I read this article, I came to understand that what makes the convertible acceptably good now, is the fact the coupe version is even more sensible and boring, and therefore reducing the gap between the two cars.

If this is so, then I doubt the GTS version is going to be enough to change the car to what 911s were once about: tactile, lithe machines that still exuded character due to a N.A. flat six.

Honestly, if I had to buy one of these , I'd rather just buy a 911 2.4 MFI, or at worst a 993. 996/7 GT3s would in contention too.

Edited by chelme on Sunday 1st December 09:22

ATM

10,052 posts

167 months

Sunday 1st December
quotequote all
The discussion on size is a flimsy excuse to post this picture but F it. Also that's not a focus it's a fiesta.


kaikyoung

11 posts

51 months

Sunday 1st December
quotequote all
Yes why did you post that?

Lt. Coulomb

120 posts

2 months

Sunday 1st December
quotequote all
kaikyoung said:
Yes why did you post that?
Because SIZE DOES MATTER?

ATM

10,052 posts

167 months

Sunday 1st December
quotequote all
996 is smaller than a new fiesta

TyrannosauRoss Lex

23,634 posts

160 months

Sunday 1st December
quotequote all
ATM said:
The discussion on size is a flimsy excuse to post this picture but F it. Also that's not a focus it's a fiesta.

The picture is incredibly misleading. A 996 is over a foot longer than a new Fiesta and it is also wider. So basically, you've posted a picture of a newer car with a smaller footprint and compared it to a larger older car.

Augustus Windsock

1,849 posts

103 months

Sunday 1st December
quotequote all
Isn’t the the UK the largest market for convertibles in the EU? And yet we have some of the crappiest and unpredictable weather; go figure
On the way out of Chesterfield this morning I saw an old boy in a red Triumph TR6, hood down and flat cap on; a braver man than me as it’s not much above freezing
I guess that some people will drive top-down no matter what but I preferred the warmth of my new estate car thank you very much...

ATM

10,052 posts

167 months

Sunday 1st December
quotequote all
TyrannosauRoss Lex said:
ATM said:
The discussion on size is a flimsy excuse to post this picture but F it. Also that's not a focus it's a fiesta.

The picture is incredibly misleading. A 996 is over a foot longer than a new Fiesta and it is also wider. So basically, you've posted a picture of a newer car with a smaller footprint and compared it to a larger older car.
It's wasnt meant to mislead. I just took a picture of my car parked. It certainly looks like the fiesta is bigger to me.