Porsche 911 Carrera S Cabriolet Review

For the posey Porsche Patrons

By Shahzad Sheikh

We extensively reviewed the new 911 at the two-day Middle East launch drive in Abu Dhabi, earlier in the year, concluding that Porsche had done what it does with ever new generation of 911, somehow make it better in every single way.

Read part 1 of the 911 coupe launch review here

Read part 2 of the 911 coupe launch review here

The biggest and most obvious changes are inside the car, despite the fact that this is a slightly bigger car on the outside, it maintains the familiar look, style and proportions. However now there’s a Panamera-style dash and centre console in the cabin, which has suddenly been brought kicking and screaming into the 21st Century.

Still not much storage space, but otherwise thoroughly modern and inviting. Although in this cabriolet, with the roof up, it feels a little claustrophobic. It’s a canvas style top, but with a fairly solid double ceiling on the inside. The C-pillar ends up huge and restricts visibility out the rear, which makes the 911 more cumbersome than it’s ever been. Typical the 911’s compact dimensions have always made it a practical town driver, but if you can’t see out of it…

Put the top down and of course visibility is no longer an issue. But this time of year it’s way too hot to be putting the roof down in the middle of the day, although going roofless in the early morning run to take the kids to school and when out in the evening suddenly brought the Cabriolet to life – as you’d expect of course. It takes about 13 seconds to go down and you can do it on the move up to 50kph.

This car had the sports exhaust fitted and if you’re getting a Cabriolet, that’s an absolute must. The regular boxer engine can’t compete on aural pleasure when it comes to rivals with spine-tingling V8s. However keep the exhaust button pressed and there’s a deep guttural burbling that’s very appealing particularly on the overruns.

Perhaps because this car was brand new, or maybe because it’s slightly overburdened with the extra weight of the power roof, but I initially thought this was just a Carrera rather than the meatier ‘S’ variant.

No complaints from the gearshift though. Middle East Porsche owners can finally justify buying this auto with its double-clutch ultra-quick change over the seven – yes seven – speed manual. That sounds like a lot of work, but frankly speaking I’d personally still love to try stirring that stick myself. Still the PDK is snappy and quick, and you actually enjoy driving this using the sequential changer rather than leaving it in auto. Only issue is that I can never get used to the toggle switches on the steering wheel, so end up using the lever instead.

It’s got all the familiar traits of 911, the bobbing front end for example through the corners as the front lightens up, but more tech than ever so it will grip and go in the direction you want, nearly every time.

The electric steering may detract some, but is quick and responsive as befits the Porsche ethos, even if there is a slight suggestion of being artificial.

Frankly though there’s little to complain about, and it’ll be a perfect companion around town and up for a proper weekend blast at a moments notice, with the occasional track day thrown in over the winter.

Our Agate Grey Metallic car with the black top and bright Carrera Red leather upholstery has a base price of AED432,400 ($117k) but with options this car’s actual price was AED490,340 ($133k), including the Sports exhaust, Sport Chrono Package, 20-inch Carrera Classic wheels, leather interior and 14-way electric sports seats.

It’s got presence, pedigree, performance and pose-value, so what’s not to like? Well it’s also got one problem. And that is its little brother, the new Boxster. I hope to be bringing you a report on that car very soon. Stay tuned!

Specs

Price: AED432,400 ($117k)
Engine: 3.8-litre, Flat-Six, 400bhp @ 7400rpm, 325lb ft @ 5600rpm
Performance: 0-100kph 4.7s manual, 4.5s PDK, 4.3s Sports Chrono, 301kph manual, 299kph PDK, 9.7L/100km manual 8.9L/100km PDK
Transmission: seven-speed auto, rear-wheel drive
Weight: 1465kg manual 1485kg PDK

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