What is it?
We won’t go on about this being the new turbocharged Porsche 911 Carrera S Cabriolet that replaces the old naturally aspirated blah, blah… That’s yesterday’s news, and you are well informed enough to know all the technical stuff already.
This is, however, the most powerful of the ‘regular’ Porsche 911s, and these days that makes it phenomenally quick. I'm not joking; fit this car with a PDK dual-clutch automatic gearbox, Sports Chrono Package - which gives you a 918-style rotary selector on the steering wheel – and select Sport + mode, and it’ll crack 0-62mph in 4.1sec. And in case you hadn’t noticed, this is the convertible model that some bloke down the pub will inevitably try and claim is for sissies. Yeah, right.
Our manual test car isn’t quite that quick - it’ll ‘only’ do 0-62mph in 4.5sec – but sticking with the seven-speed manual transmission instead of the PDK ’box is arguably worth a few tenths for the added interaction it gives.
In case you struggle to tell the second-generation 991 apart from the previous car, the biggest tell-tales are the vertical slats on the pop-up rear spoiler and the two centrally positioned exhausts. The other tweaks - to the bumpers, door handles and head and tail-lights - are a little harder to spot.
Inside it’s also very similar to before, except for the revised infotainment set-up. Now there’s a much sharper screen, better graphics and revised software, which includes Apple CarPlay to pair up your iPhone.
What's it like?
It feels just as quick as the numbers suggest it will. There is lag, but it’s more of a momentary pause, and providing you have at least 2000rpm dialled up the 3.0-litre engine will pull much more vigorously than the old 3.8 ever would. That means you can surf a usable wave of torque for everyday driving, which, objectively, is why this engine is better than the old one.
Happily it still revs keenly and gets ever more fervent as it climbs towards the 7500rpm limiter; subjectively, however, it’s missing some of the previous car’s aural deliciousness, although the turbos try to fill in with their whizzing. Even with the sports exhaust fitted, it’s like listening to the London Symphony Orchestra playing Ride of the Valkyries while you're standing just outside the concert hall, with someone whistling in your ear. However, we’re talking small details; it’s still a lovely thing to listen to, especially echoing through a tunnel with the roof down.
For me the manual is more fun than the PDK. Fair enough, it’s not as effortless in heavy traffic, but it’s slick and has a much lighter clutch action these days. And when you're braking hard for corners and heel-and-toeing your way down the box, it makes the experience more analogue than digital.
Inevitably the convertible gives away some of the coupé’s stiffness, meaning you can detect a slight shimmy on bumpy roads, but still, the 911 Cabriolet is extremely good. Although it feels like a relatively heavy car these days, it turns in eagerly with masses of grip. The steering is accurate and weighted beautifully, although it doesn’t quite fizz in your palms as 911s once did. But traction is as good as ever thanks to that weighty rear end, so you can pour on the power out of corners, although the gutsier low-end does necessitate a little more judiciousness with the throttle than before.