What is it?
Just as deliveries of the new, 992-generation 911 coupé are getting underway, 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 dual-clutch (PDK) automatic 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.
Apart from all the revisions and upgrades we’ve seen already on the fixed-roof model, such as a body structure that’s now two-thirds aluminium and the same width across the rear arches whatever the power output and driveshaft count, plus a front track that’s wider by 46mm and, of course, the more arresting exterior design, the updated Cabriolet boasts a number of small but significant features.
The canvas hood, for instance, has a series of metal bows within it that maintain its shape whether the car is travelling at 189mph or not at all. As well as preventing the hood from ballooning inelegantly at speed, they also mean the Cabriolet almost perfectly mimics the roofline of the coupé. As recently as the the 997 generation, Porsche’s designers cheekily referred to the drop-top's disjointed roofline as the ‘hungry horse optic’, because when viewed side on, the canvas hood didn’t so much sweep gracefully from front to back as call to mind a malnourished pony, its thin skin hanging loosely from protruding bones.
The new powered hood can be raised or lowered in only 12 seconds while the car is moving at speeds of up to 31mph. Run your hand across the underside when it’s raised and it feels solid, more like a fixed roof that’s upholstered in hardwearing canvas than a fabric covering that can be peeled away. In terms of refinement and insulation, it’s therefore not very different to the coupé’s metal roof, and that, combined with the improved profile, means the compromises one must accept when choosing the Cabriolet are slimmer than they’ve ever been. There’s a very effective windbreaker, too, while the roof now contorts itself into position more compactly and so takes up less space.
There is still a weight penalty, however, and 70kg is hardly negligible. Like for like, the new 992 is around 55kg heavier than the 991 it replaces (which means the 911 Cabriolet Carrera 4S PDK now sits at the kerb more than 1700kg, with a driver). The rear-wheel-drive version tested here is lighter by 50kg.
The 911 Cabriolet’s substantial weight seems less significant when you consider the 444bhp it has beneath its engine cover. The 3.0-litre flat-six has bigger turbochargers than before that are nonetheless faster to respond to throttle inputs, reducing lag. The PDK, meanwhile, now has eight forward ratios rather than seven.