What is it?
Sniffier car enthusiasts look on scornfully at any sort of rag-top Porsche 911, but we know Top Gear readers are a much more enlightened bunch. After all, the coupe is the world’s best sports car, so how can its open top cousin be anything other than brilliant too? Sure, there are certain white sock connotations with 911 Cabriolets but if you’re a sunworshiper who loves driving, best get over them. This, see, retains all the core strengths of the coupe but adds a new charm of its own too.
Naturally, the roof is the centrepiece. But this time, Porsche has redesigned it, sandwiching magnesium panels within the fabric material so that, roof up, it effectively forms a hard top. The silhouette also looks more elegant and, when down, it folds into a smaller space than the old one for better open top visuals too. Porsche is determined to give you no reason not to like this car.
The 911 remains an absolutely epic sports car, even in supposedly compromised open-top form. If you really concentrate hard, we’re sure you’ll be able to detect a slight loss of rigidity. But on the road, any shake and twist is as close to indiscernible as makes no difference. It grips hard, has a kind of composure and stability the old 997 911 Cabriolet simply wouldn’t recognise, and has a magically charismatic flat-six in either of its two incarnations (now with either rear- or four-wheel drive). The standard 3.4-litre is supercar fast, with the Carrera S’ 400bhp 3.8-litre motor simply adding to this potency. Mesmerising traction underlines the dynamism while lowering the roof increases the interaction.
Unlike before, the new 911 Cabriolet makes a fine long-distance car too. There’s vastly less tyre noise and, if you spec the PASM adaptive dampers, it has a remarkably comfortable and pliant ride – by any standards, not just with a sports car proviso.
On the inside
Cockpit aerodynamics are superb. With the roof down, you can be driving into the eye of a storm yet things still remain calm inside. It even has an electric roller-blind wind blocker behind the front seats, so you don’t have to wrestle with putting it up yourself. Oh, and volcanically powerful seat heaters mean you can motor roof-down in the most grimly inclement of weather. As for the dashboard, it is more upmarket than the old 997, with an almost Panamera-like feel to the layout.
With child seats in the back and a decent boot in the front, the 911 Cabriolet lives up to its reputation of being the world’s most practical sports car. Build quality and integrity are peerless too, and it’s now also the most economical, lowest-emitting sports car of all. This all makes even its £81k entry-level prices seem like a trifling sum. You can soon recitfy it by hitting the options list.