From £120,5988
Better than ever, in terms of its handling and the characteristically ballistic performance, and with little compromise for the soft-top

Our Verdict

Porsche 911 Turbo

Is the forced-induction 911 still the supercar you can use every day?

  • First Drive

    2016 Porsche 911 Turbo Cabriolet review

    Better than ever, in terms of its handling and the characteristically ballistic performance, and with little compromise for the soft-top
  • First Drive

    2016 Porsche 911 Turbo S UK review

    Porsche's ballistic 911 Turbo S range-topper has its engine and turbos tweaked to allow yet crazier performance. We drive it in the UK

What is it?

The Porsche 911 Turbo is a hammer-blow of a car. And we’re talking about a proper hammer. Thor’s hammer, that sort of thing. None of your flimsy budget tools.

Even in the Cabriolet variant tested here, the technology that underpins the Turbo could virtually be the stuff of mythology because it’s further enhanced the endearingly bonkers, two-faced nature of the 911 Turbo; stomach-writhingly brutal one moment, and pussycat pleasant the next.

The twin-turbo 3.8-litre flat-six engine gets new turbos with bigger compressors that lift power and torque to 532bhp and 489lb ft (524lb ft with overboost), with the latter in full force from 1950-5000rpm.

Adaptive dampers, Sport Chrono pack complete with driving modes, four-wheel steer and the seven-speed dual clutch PDK automatic gearbox are all standard, as is – of course – the active four-wheel drive system.

The problem is that the Turbo has always been seen as somewhat less dynamically effervescent than its more purist, rear-wheel drive counterparts. More about the straight-line pace, and less about the twisty stuff – and that goes even more for the heavier convertible.

So, have the upgrades made the new 911 Turbo Cabriolet more thrilling and purist-appropriate, or does it remain one of the least recommendable 911s?

What's it like?

Better than ever, and critically – better handling than ever. Our test car did without the active anti-roll bars (PDCC), but still delivered an edge of playfulness to its handling that’s new to the previously more neutral-feeling Turbo. It turns in with the same gut-twisting grip levels, but a well-timed lift introduces some cheeky, manageable oversteer, or you can simply adjust your line with more prudent throttle adjustments. It’s subtle, and there’s no doubting that the Turbo remains a more heavy-handed thing than the rear-wheel-drive Carrera models, let alone the sublime GT3, but it is now more engaging than it was.

And the sufferance brought about to the handling by the soft-top? Honestly, while the extra weight might tell in understeer kicking in a fraction earlier, you’d need to drive the Cabriolet and Coupé models back-to-back to really feel the difference. By any standard, scuttle shake is pretty much non-existent, and anybody who likes a drop-top really isn’t going to be disappointed in any way.

The more noticeable compromise is in ride comfort, where the Cabriolet resorts to a more jarring initial bump absorption than the coupé. It’s still more than acceptable (despite standard 20in alloys) given that this is a seriously intense sports car, but even in Comfort mode, you’ll occasionally be wincing at the very short vertical spring travel and – over sharp-edged intrusions - slightly brittle-feeling damping.

Overlaying all of this is the devastation of that engine. It’s a proper kick in the guts, the way it goes from mooch to rampage in a heartbeat. Provided it’s in Sport or Sport Plus modes to gee the gearbox into rapid-fire mode, you get a fraction of a pause before it fires you forward. In the more moderate ebb and flow of real-world use, it remains a gut-twistingly potent scale of performance that you can use as aggressively or sedately as you wish given its unintimidating power delivery.

The easy living continues inside the 911 Turbo Cabriolet. Electrically adjustable sports seats are standard and move in every direction you’d want while delivering plenty of support. It’s refined in there, too – an electronically raised wind deflector is included, and with that up you’re well protected from buffeting with the roof down, even at higher speeds.

The standard colour touchscreen and nav system are easy to use and offer all the connectivity and audio functions you could want.

Road roar is the most intrusive aspect to the rolling refinement with the roof up – a constant background rumble even at lower speeds – but few will be bothered, and it’s easily quiet enough to have a conversation at fast cruising speeds without raising your voice.

The two cripplingly uncomfortable seats in the back still feature, and remain excellent for luggage alone, although smaller children will undoubtedly endure when necessary.

Should I buy one?

This is always a tricky question with a 911 since there isn’t a bad one in the bunch, yet we also have definite favourites in the form of the more vivacious-handling and substantially cheaper rear-wheel-drive Carrera and GT models.

Having said that, if you really fancy mind-blowing performance with the added security of four-wheel drive and the flamboyance of a soft top, then this is hard to fault. Certainly, even with the standard carbon ceramic brakes and active anti-roll bars of the even more potent Turbo S, there is absolutely no need to step up from this standard Turbo. You’re not going to feel the extra 10th of a second to 62mph that the S offers, and this car is more performance than anybody anywhere ever wanted or needed, or indeed is ever likely to make use of. Plus, the non-S is expensive enough as it is.

We would also suggest that you wait to try the forthcoming Audi R8 Spyder before committing to this, and seriously consider the Aston Martin V12 Vantage S Roadster. It won’t see which way a 911 Turbo went down a B-road, and doesn’t offer four-wheel drive peace of mind, but the noise and general presence are likely to mean that you won’t care.

If you’ve considered all that, and you still want a 911 Turbo Cabriolet, then you absolutely should buy one. There is an addictive quality to the easy devastation of its performance; a sort of revelling in the sheer madness of being able to go so quickly with so little effort. We can see why you’d love it, and we can see why you might want to love it with the roof down. So if this seems like your flavour of 911, go for it. It’s extraordinarily good.

Porsche 911 Turbo Cabriolet

Location Surrey; On sale Now; Price £135,766; Engine 6cyl horizontally opposed, 3800cc, twin-turbo, petrol; Power 532bhp at 6400rpm; Torque 489lb ft at 1950-5000rpm; Gearbox 7-spd dual-clutch automatic; Kerb weight 1740kg; Top speed 198mph; 0-62mph 3.1sec; Economy 30.4mpg (combined); CO2/tax band 216g/km, 37%

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Comments
7

7 May 2016
Great car, great interior, best in class. But I'm bored of the Porsche 911 look. So not for me.

Think I'd wait for the Audi R8 or buy an Aston. I might even save some money and buy a Jaguar F type.

7 May 2016
My thoughts exactly, I'd rather have an F Type R 4 x 4...

7 May 2016
If anyone living in the SE of England considers that the Turbo and Turbo S is in any way relevant, then they're either on drugs or should consider taking them. Boring at going slow, unfathomable depths of performance on any public road....I guess you must buy one 'cos it looks so gorgeous........

BertoniBertone

7 May 2016
BertoniBertone wrote:

If anyone living in the SE of England considers that the Turbo and Turbo S is in any way relevant, then they're either on drugs or should consider taking them. Boring at going slow, unfathomable depths of performance on any public road....I guess you must buy one 'cos it looks so gorgeous........

Can you give us an example of the most relevant car in your opinion?


8 May 2016
Amazing!The Porsche 911 Turbo is a hammer-blow of a car.My best choice 11 Turbo Cabriolet.Anybody still want a 911 Turbo Cabriolet,you should buy one.Addictive quality and easy devastation of its performance.Thank you for awesome post.

8 May 2016
I don't understand how anyone could own a car like this when you know that to use even a fraction of its potential on the road will cost you your driving license. I could not restrain myself, and even if I could, the frustration of doing so would make driving this car a more unpleasant experience than driving a London Cab. And so the world's best cars have become in some senses the worst.

Time was...but it ain't no more...

9 May 2016
I think most people on these forums would love a car with this kind of performance, but having just returned from the UK, it is painfully slow driving at 70mph, especially with a speed camera on every corner country that the UK has become. That makes such cars either a guilty and too often illegal pleasure or a track day car only... Sad but true.

I can see why in the US comfort rules over sporting, as no one can drive fast there, yet everyone can enjoy the comfort/luxury barges.

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