What is it?
The Porsche 911 Carrera S Cabriolet is the open-top version of the latest 911 Carrera coupé and is due to follow its closed-roofed relation onto the UK market next month.
Like its sister, the 911 Carrera Cabriolet is significantly lighter, slightly longer in wheelbase and wider in track, more powerful and more fuel-efficient than the previous generation of 911 Carrera soft-tops.
Despite lopping at least 45kg from the kerb weight of the cabrio, Porsche also claims to have improved dynamic torsional rigidity by 18 per cent over the previous iteration.
Cabrio 911s have the same flat-six engines as the coupés, with the £79,947 Carrera featuring the 3.4-litre version that has 345bhp, 236lb ft of torque and a standstill to 62mph figure of 5.0sec.
The £89,740 Carrera S is fitted with the 3.8-litre powerplant that produces 395bhp and 325lb ft and can cover the 0-62mph sprint half a second quicker.
Both variants come with seven-speed manual gearboxes as standard but, providing you can pronounce ‘Porsche Doppelkupplungsgetriebe’ to your dealer, you’ll be able to order the Stuttgart manufacturer’s excellent dual-clutch transmission.
With PDK come slighter quicker 0-62mph times, fractionally lower outright top speeds and, more significantly, improved fuel economy. On the subject of efficiency, all 911 Carreras are now fitted with stop-start as standard.
If you’re still not impressed by the eye-widening acceleration of the PDK-equipped 911, you can specify the optional Sport Chrono Package. It comes with a ‘Sport Plus’ setting that further sharpens up the car’s dynamics and transmission, with a claimed 0-62mph time of 4.3secs.
What’s it like?
Structurally, the Porsche 911 Carrera S Cabriolet is fractionally lower than the hard-top variant, but we’re talking a difference of a few millimetres. The car’s interior, too, follows the coupé and takes some styling cues from the Porsche Panamera.
The main head-turning feature is the all-new ‘panel bow top’ roof, the frame of which is constructed from fabric and composite plastic and sits on a frame made of magnesium and aluminium.
This new roof has several packaging benefits, not least that Porsche has been able the follow the profile of the coupé’s roofline more closely than it could with the old-style multi-layered fabric structure. Dropping the roof is a case of pushing a button on the centre console – 13 seconds later the structure is neatly stowed away under the compartment lid.
The 911 Carrera S Cabriolet features a wind deflector that can be deployed from the cockpit, so there’s no faffing around trying to fit a deflector that lives in the boot. Although it can’t eliminate all wind noise and buffeting, the reduction in the amount of cockpit ‘swirl’ with the deflector raised is dramatic.
Despite weighing 50kg more than the coupé and losing that roof, the cabriolet handles deftly and with composure on most roads. Dreaded cabriolet ‘scuttle shake’ seems pretty much non-existent – at least it did on our test drive on a comprehensive selection of road surfaces in Gran Canaria. Even pressing hard over some broken, uneven asphalt didn’t seem to untowardly unsettle the car thanks to Porsche’s Active Suspension Management (PASM) – a ride-smoothing system that isn’t featured on all versions.