How recognisable is it as a drop-top – or a 911, for that matter?
Just as deliveries of the new 992-generation 911 coupé are getting under way, Porsche has launched the drop-top model as well. For the time being, you can only order the 911 Cabriolet in Carrera S specification and with a PDK gearbox, although Porsche will invite you to choose between two driven wheels and four. In due course, there will be a more affordable and slightly less powerful Carrera version and the option of a manual transmission, too.
Porsche has done a lot of work on the fabric hood so it better mimics the graceful roofline of the coupé when it’s raised, and also to stop it from ballooning inelegantly at speed. It now better insulates the cabin and it can be raised or lowered in only 12 seconds, at speeds of up to 31mph.
Like-for-like, the 911 Cabriolet is 70kg heavier than the coupé. For the most part you aren’t really aware of the extra mass, but on a twisting mountain pass the car’s responses are dulled slightly. At least the decapitated body doesn’t feel short on rigidity. In fact, only on very rough surfaces do you sense the structure shimmying and fidgeting slightly.
You tend to overlook the car’s weight when you consider its 444bhp power output. The 3.0-litre flat six has bigger turbos than
before that are nonetheless faster to respond to throttle inputs, reducing turbo lag. The PDK transmission, meanwhile, now has eight forward ratios rather than seven.
Inevitably, the ride is tight and firm, but it isn’t unbearably so. The steering is very good, far better than the helm in the four-wheel-drive Carrera 4S Cabriolet, while grip and traction are both vast, as are body control and stability. This new Cabriolet is crushingly effective along a twisty road, but only when you really start pushing does it become engaging and rewarding as well. At moderate speeds, you could be driving one of however many mid-engined sports cars, whereas the 911 so many of us fell in love with was the one that felt unique, challenging and distinctly rear-engined.
Engine 6 cyls, 2981cc, twin-turbo, petrol
Power 444bhp at 6500rpm
Torque 391lb ft at 2300-5000rpm
Gearbox 8-spd automatic
Kerb weight 1585kg
Top speed 189mph
CO2, tax band tbc
Rivals Audi R8 V10 Spyder, Mercedes-AMG GT Roadster