What is it?
This is the open-top version of the latest all-wheel-drive 911, and it’s also a chance to try the revised 997 in entry-level form with the 3.6-litre engine and a conventional manual gearbox rather than the new double-clutch PDK unit.
Don’t scoff at the thought, either. Choice of gearbox aside, this is just about the best-selling of all 911 variants, and Porsche has proved in the past that it can do open-top cars that don’t wobble and shake (much).
It may not be the 911 of choice for enthusiasts, but it’s still a 911, and that means it’s still a bit special.
Like the C4 coupé, very little has changed on the outside compared with the previous model – new LED lights, a reflective strip running across the rear – but quite a bit has been going on under the skin.
Although the impressively rigid structure remains unchanged, the C4 cabrio benefits from the same new electronically controlled all-wheel drive system as the C4 coupé, as well as the new direct injection flat six engines that are being rolled out across the 911 range.
It also gets a 44mm wider rear track than the rear-drive model. For the pleasure of open-top 911 motoring you’ll pay around £7k more than for the equivalent coupé, and all-wheel-drive security demands a premium of around £4300 over the equivalent two-wheel driver.
What's it like?
The cabriolet is 85kg heavier, model for model, than the C4 coupé, which isn’t a bad penalty to pay, but the extra weight does have the effect of blunting performance just a little and making the open car feel a little softer riding.
The entry-level 341bhp 3.6-litre engine is a cracker – arguably sweeter and more tuneful than the 3.8 in the S – and when linked to Porsche’s slick six-speed manual gearbox the C4 cabrio doesn’t feel all that much slower than the more powerful 3.8. Which is to say that it’s actually very quick.
Specifying the optional double-clutch PDK gearbox in theory shaves a couple of tenths off the 0-60mph time, but on the road it’s the conventional manual gearbox that works better with the less powerful engine for a crisper, more energetic and more involving experience.