Vital Stats

Engine:
3.4L Flat-6
Power:
350 HP / 287 LB-FT
Transmission:
7-Speed Manual
0-60 Time:
4.8 Seconds
Top Speed:
177 MPH
Drivetrain:
Rear-Wheel Drive
Curb Weight:
3,197 LBS
Seating:
2+2
Cargo:
4.8 CU-FT
MPG:
19 City / 27 HWY
Honesty time: Much like Editor-in-Chief John Neff, convertibles aren't really my thing. Oh sure, I love having a good droptop for a week every now and then, but I just can't see myself ever plunking down the cash to own one.

But whereas Neff cites specific areas of compromise as the big reason for not owning a cabrio, my argument lies mostly with design. Simply put, I can't think of a single convertible on the market that doesn't somehow look slightly worse than its coupe kin. Exceptions can be made for droptop-only models like the BMW Z4, Mercedes-Benz SLK and the lovely Mazda MX-5 Miata, but again, there are no dedicated hardtop versions of those cars to compare them to. And when you're working with a shape as iconic and precision-cut as the Porsche 911, lopping the roof off just doesn't do it for me.

So while I would never buy this Cabriolet over the beautiful coupe, there's still a lot to love about the wind-in-your-hair 911 experience. And as I learned over the course of a week, there's a whole lot of praise to be given to the Porsche's base powertrain, as well.

Driving Notes
  • I've spent a bit of time with the Carrera S and its 3.8-liter direct-injected flat-six, but even with 50 less horsepower and 38 fewer pound-feet of torque on hand, this 3.4-liter mill is still quite impressive. Even in 3,197-pound, two-wheel-drive Cabriolet form, the smaller engine's 350 hp and 287 lb-ft are more than enough to keep things interesting.
  • That's especially true when paired with the seven-speed manual transmission. I was initially worried that I'd be spending a lot of time changing gears, but thankfully, there's enough power available in each gear for most passing situations. Even so, with a nicely weighted clutch and a gearbox that's perfectly placed for quick steering-wheel-to-shifter movements, frequent use of the seven-speed stick is quite sweet.
  • One more word about that seven-speed unit: The actual action of shifting into seventh gear is neat, but the weirder feeling is downshifting into sixth. And since seventh gear really acts as a full-on overdrive, seven-to-five shifts are more appropriate for moments of power on demand.
  • The chassis of this 911 Cabriolet feels every bit as solid as the Carrera S coupe I drove earlier this year. Sporting convertibles are tricky business, but Porsche has absolutely nailed it here with this 991 generation. You really don't feel any sort of dynamic sacrifice by losing the added rigidity of the hardtop.
  • The best part about the roof-removed experience is being able to hear the 911's excellent exhaust note at full volume, especially with the sport exhaust in full swing. Push the button on the right side of the center console and you'll be treated to nothing but aural delight during acceleration, as well as that snap-crackle-grumble-burble wind-down when you let off the throttle. It's simply intoxicating.
  • Overall, topless driving is actually quite pleasant. Don't want to be in a flurry of wind noise? Flip up the electronic windscreen and the front passenger compartment becomes a place where you can actually hold conversations with your shotgun-rider at higher speeds. And since those rear seats are really only usable as parcel shelves anyway, the screen gives added protection for your shopping bags, as well.
  • Going back to my design discussion for a moment, the big area of offense is what happens to the coupe's sloping roofline when the top was chopped off. Basically, instead of a svelte, fluid design, you're left with a sort of hunchback over the engine when the soft top is folded. Things look fine with the cloth top in place, but if you are paying extra for the Cabriolet, you'd better be dropping that top as often as possible.
  • That said, I think the 991 generation 911 might be my favorite yet. I love specific design elements like the slim taillamps and LED accents up front, and while the 20-inch Carrera Classic wheels ($2,730) look one inch too large to my eyes, they're seriously handsome.
  • As tested, this 911 Carrera Cabriolet stickers for $119,530 including $950 for destination. Yes, that price includes lavish options like the Guards Red seatbelts ($540) and full leather interior ($4,120!), but even so, the cost of entry is still $93,700.
  • Considering the fact that you aren't really gaining any sort of functionality with those totally useless rear seats, I just don't see the argument for owning a 911 Cabriolet over a $60,990 Boxster S. It's arguably a more sporting performer – lighter, more powerful and will sprint to 60 miles per hour in the same 4.8 seconds as this 911 C2 Cabriolet – and with its two-seat roadster-only design, the whole package looks more appealing to my eyes, as well.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 50 Comments
      chris
      • 2 Years Ago
      No matter what article or video I watch regarding cars, some how, some way, somebody brings up the GTR.
        lewazzinaroillus
        • 2 Years Ago
        @chris
        yeah,..like ALWAYS!,..and for what reason?!,..the gtr is great for what it is,..a remarkably fast point and shoot supercar,..does everything for you,..computer nannied, techno wundercar,..nothing wrong with that at all,..if that's what you want,...some of us just prefer a little more driver involvement in our rides,..that's all,...and esp. if you're like me,..and prefer the manual tranny,..hence,..the 911,..it is the OTHER direction to go in,...more "analogue" to the gtr's more "digital",..it's all good,..glad both these cars are bein' made,...i definately just prefer the 911 is all,...not as fast as the gtr,..but WAY more involving to drive...
      Mike
      • 2 Years Ago
      I think the Boxster is definitely the more reasonable option. Waiting for this car to depreciate to a decent price is really not worth it because once it gets out of its warranty period, you'll be paying through the nose for parts. Sports cars are supposed to be fun to drive regardless of a few tenths of a second in their 0-60 time and I think that the Boxster offers enough of that fun to drive factor to justify saving over 40k.
      Steve
      • 2 Years Ago
      Can't wait to own one of these
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        ZenDriver
        • 2 Years Ago
        You are comparing apples to oranges. The 911 and GTR are designed to appeal to different customers. Clearly, you are a potential GTR customer. OK, actually a GTR customer wannabe, but a GTR fan nonetheless. This 911 is for Porsche customers. As in, not for you.
        Lab Rat
        • 2 Years Ago
        The GT-R is a sick ride, for sure. But its acceleration time isn't everything. The GT-R weighs almost 1000lbs more, so it has to have the copious amount of extra power to move itself like that. If the GT-R weighed what the 911 C4S did there would be no comparison at all, but as it stands, the GT-R is kind of a pig. The track times are comparable, and I can't see that you could afford either one, let alone to repair one after flogging it on the track. Second, Porsche has more ***** power, kid. If you want a fast car for picking up chicks, the 911 is the winner. The GT-R costs about what a C4S does, I can't see spending virtually the same cash on a car that just won't get the respect that a 911 would.
        jonnybimmer
        • 2 Years Ago
        Your SN is very appropriate considering your comment. As someone who's had the privilege to drive both a GTR and several 911s, the Porsches were easily the more enjoyable cars to drive. GTR feels like an extremely fast and heavy G35/7 where as the Porsche's felt more nimble and fun to drive. I haven't driven anything newer than 996s, so I can't speak for the current generation, but as much as I respect the GTR for it's capabilities, speed alone is not what I look for in a car.
        Eric Wong
        • 2 Years Ago
        Easily the Porsche.
        enderstc
        • 2 Years Ago
        Porsche
        MMM
        • 2 Years Ago
        Porsche
        Lachmund
        • 2 Years Ago
        the 911 hands down!
        superchan7
        • 2 Years Ago
        So, how are those GT-Rs selling? It's an awesome machine, but it just doesn't have the appeal of a 911. I think part of the problem is that it looks too big. Even the lean-looking R34 Skyline GT-R has more supercar appeal than the current one. People with the money are looking for more than 0-60 or lap times.
        lewazzinaroillus
        • 2 Years Ago
        and here it is!!!,..ya knew it was comin'!,..PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE just for once,..understand that for some of us,..it's not just all about the 0-60 time!,..and yes,..the gtr IS faster than almost any 911,..guess what?!,..the buying public has spoken here, and clearly prefers the 911!,..it outsells your gtr by a now whopping 8 to 1 margin,..[look it up on "nagtroc",..your gtr fan boy site,..gtr sells 100 or so a month nationwide,..911's sell 800 or so a month!,..and the 911 is now generally more expensive!],...it's that some of us like a manual,..some of us like more driver involvement,..some of us like the handling and feel of that sweet rear engine configuration,...you can have your gtr,..it's a great car,...just not for everyone,..and be glad there is diversity in the car market my friend,..something for everyone,..and god bless porsche for still honing to us old schoolers,..who prefer a real sportscar,.not some computer aided point and shoot fast car,...the gtr is great for that,..but,..it's not for everyone,..as you can see by it's sales numbers...
      domingorobusto
      • 2 Years Ago
      Seems like a good car, but that's a pretty ridiculous chunk of change. For less than the base price you can get a fully kitted Corvette 427 convertible that will demolish this car in ANY contest of speed. And that says nothing of the Grand Sport roadster, which you can get fully kitted for $20k less than this cars BASE price and that will still run circles around it. Yes, a Corvette is going to have nowhere near the interior refinement or likey the same level of handling feel, but they are both sporting convertibles, and Corvette's flat win in outright speed for dollar. But if you want to stay Porsche, as the author said the Boxster S seems to be everything this car is for a hell of a lot less money. It just seems like this car costs as much as it does just because there are people willing to get fleeced for that much just to have the status symbol. I see it as nothing more than a good car that is so hideously overpriced that I would never give it a second thought.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @domingorobusto
        [blocked]
        sparrk
        • 2 Years Ago
        @domingorobusto
        Hamburger vs Gourmet meal. the Corvette is great, so is a good hamburger when you're really hungry, but some people want more than just hamburgers.
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      HUMANMPC2000
      • 2 Years Ago
      The G.S. Covette convertible does it for me for half the price of this,based on performance ,styling & bank for the buck.
        superchan7
        • 2 Years Ago
        @HUMANMPC2000
        I agree, although the interior is a little hard to swallow. Vettes are also a little less practical than 911s, being lower and wider, with less storage space.
      handbraaaake
      • 2 Years Ago
      Why has no one done a comparison between the old 997 and the new 991? I mean yes the 991 looks great, fun to drive, and has lots of cool stuff in it all wrapped up in Porsche engineering. But some things about it really bother me. The sloping center console is too Panamera, there's no hand-brake, the steering is muffled, it's significantly bigger, it needs a sport button to be heard, and other things. What has Porsche done? made a 2-door Panamera? I feel all of the new models changes really rob it of it's sports-car-ness. Just look in the interiors of both, and you can just sense the more intimacy from the 997, there's less silly functions, and all of the buttons and switches are placed secondary to the main controls. Not to mention the better performing steering and actual hand brake. 911's were always made for the small group of people that cared about driving the car rather than having something with a Porsche badge. Now that this new one appeals to a broader audience, The intimacy of 911's just feels gone. Sorry for the rant. I'm just saying if it were my money, I'd buy a 997.
        IOMTT
        • 2 Years Ago
        @handbraaaake
        Perhaps to get the raw experience, they will push hardcore drivers to up the ante for the RS models sure to appear. I consider myself a Porsche enthusiast, but I am drawn more to their older product as I see I will probably never be able to afford a new model. If pushed to choose a new model, I would probably select a Cayman.
        lewazzinaroillus
        • 2 Years Ago
        @handbraaaake
        so with ya handbrake!,..we have a manny '08 911 turbo coupe,..a 997 obviously,..and this new 991 generation just ain't pushin' my buttons,...it may grow on me,..and i haven't had wheel time yet,..but,..i'm not likin' what i'm hearing,...so,..i'll have to test it out myself,..but,..i'm tending to totally agree with ya here...
        bcsngan
        • 2 Years Ago
        @handbraaaake
        +1. I was so lucky that I got to test drive a 991 C2S with the sport exhaust, PDK, sport chrono options. It just simply didn't push my buttons the right way. The exhaust sounds good as the author mentioned, but it felt fake to me. It's synthesized through the press of a "sport exhaust" button. The new electric feel was lacking, and interior was too posh, luxury and distracting for a sports car. The tail looks too Aston Martin like. The entire car was stretched to hide the fact that they've pushed the engine forward. All in all, made it into a more broader appealing, more balanced and expensive looking sports car but ultimately, effectively less Porsche like. Having said that, I went and bought a 997 Turbo Cabriolet instead. It looks less impressive than the 991, but my god what a feeling it gives you. The Cabriolet is necessary to hear the industrial hair dryers which are the turbos at work. Most people don't give me a second look when I cruise down the street. That's the way I like it.
      mtbgrove
      • 2 Years Ago
      If it is not a convertible it is not a sports car. It is not about horsepower or 0 to 60. I saw a real 1954 MG TD in traffic the other day (I was driving my 1991 Miata, a true sports car). The MG TD made my heart race more than a GTR or a 911 ever will.
        tylermars.design
        • 2 Years Ago
        @mtbgrove
        Supremely subjective. Some people like their cars to handle rather then feel the air through their highlighted hair.
        IOMTT
        • 2 Years Ago
        @mtbgrove
        I hear you, I would take a Porsche Speedster any day over a modern Porsche. I used to have a 1993 MX5, 64 Spitfire and a 62 TR4 and they were all fun to drive but slowish. I got my speed jollies from motorcycles so no need for fast cars.
      mikeybyte1
      • 2 Years Ago
      I find the author's argument of coupe over convertible to be a bit odd. It's obvious you really do not like convertibles and see no use for them. People don't pick a convertible over a coupe based on styling. Your style argument does not make sense. They pick the drop top because they want the wide open air, wind in the face driving experience. Coupe of convertible, I think $120k is insane when you can get similar performance at half the price. But I guess plenty of people that have the cash will spend double just to show that they can.
      prince_david
      • 2 Years Ago
      Why are the 911 generation names so stupid? 996, then 997, then 991? What? What is up with these numbers?
        jonnybimmer
        • 2 Years Ago
        @prince_david
        The naming could be worse. - a BMW enthusiast
        IOMTT
        • 2 Years Ago
        @prince_david
        They are project numbers not intended to be a model name in the market. The 911 was initially going to be the "901" until Peugeot spoke up about road going cars using 3 digit model numbers with zero in the middle. It gets even murkier when discussing project numbers like transmissions/transaxles. 915,G50,etc.
      bleexeo
      • 2 Years Ago
      Wow, what's up with Ewing? Apparently, his most important criteria for a performance car is the way it looks and not how it drives. He should get a job at 'Vogue' instead a car enthusiast website.
        Steven J. Ewing
        • 2 Years Ago
        @bleexeo
        Design isn't my most importnat criteria for a performance car -- I'm just saying that when there are coupe and convertible options of the same thing, I always prefer the coupe, no question. But in terms of driving assessment, the 911 is spectacular, and I point that out. I'm just saying that if it's a droptop Porsche you want, the Boxster is totally the way to go.
          lewazzinaroillus
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Steven J. Ewing
          i have to agree here,..and i'm a died in the wool total porschephile,..having owned now 13 of them over the years,..cabs and coupes,..and i ALWAYS prefer the coupes,..just a "purer" ride,..and, to me at least,..much prettier to look at,..wife prefers the cabs,..so we switch it up every couple a years,..and yes,..it IS nice to be able to do that!,...work hard,.and it can be you too!,..and as for the aston,.."meh",..test drove one once,..made me feel VERY old,..which i am!,..but,..don't like to be reminded of it all the time,..car felt heavy and cumbersome,..not nimble and lithe like the 911,..just my humble 2 cents...
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