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Open Air Perfection


Porsche’s 911S Cabriolet delivers for enthusiasts


If you’re not a Porsche aficionado, you might be perplexed about why someone would spend serious six-figures for a sportscar that looks a lot like it did 50 years ago. And for the buyer who values upper-luxury branding over performance, our well-equipped Carrera S Cabriolet retailed in the neighborhood where Aston Martin and Maserati roam.

While the 911 series cars are still instantly recognizable, Porsche has transformed the iconic sportscar in the most important aspects. So the new Carrera is not only thoroughly modern, it’s one of the best driving cars on the planet, regardless of price.

Larger, Lower, Lighter, Faster

The newest iteration of the 911 stretches its wheelbase nearly four inches for a smoother ride while keeping the overall body length looking trimmer since that measurement increased just 2.2 inches. The result is less overhang, and when that’s combined with a lower roofline, this new Porsche appears even more athletic.

To assure that the performance equals the appearance, Porsche upped the “S” horsepower from 385 to a scintillating 400. Then engineers got busy with the weight, mixing aluminum with high-strength steel to drop 100 pounds from the previous model. Zero to 60 now takes just 3.8 seconds and the top speed is 188 mph while delivering improved fuel economy. That’s progress we can believe in.

The Road Beckons

Over the decades, Porsche has maintained the 911’s classic layout with a horizontally opposed, six-cylinder mounted at the rear of the car. It’s hardly a popular engine style and placement, but Porsche engineers have tuned the scheme to such perfection that it’s hard to imagine anything better for pure driving enjoyment.

Our 911 was equipped with a manual transmission sporting seven speeds, a novelty that works nicely despite the added gear. For those who prefer a computer to shift, an optional PDK seven-speed is just as direct. Both transmissions allow the driver to precisely match the engine’s torque to the terrain’s demand for spirited motoring.

When weather and mood permit, the snug new top, smoothly styled without bulging bows, disappears in 13 seconds with a push of a button, even at speeds up to 25 mph. And when you hear the sport exhaust system in full rhapsody, you’ll want the top down at every opportunity. And Porsche’s wind management is clever enough to provide relative serenity at highway speeds.

In short, this Porsche can dance with nearly any supercar that adorns the bedroom wall of a teenage gearhead. But it doesn’t strut its stuff like a raging bull or prancing horse, and it doesn’t start at a quarter million before options. Of course if that’s what you wish, Porsche’s exotic 918 Hybrid Hypercar may fill the bill. But you’ll have to wait a while and put your name on a long list.     BRIAN DOUGLAS

Photography courtesy of Porsche


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