The 997 Porsche 911 Turbo Cabriolet is, as these things go, something of an on-paper whitewash: 0–62mph in 3.5 seconds, a top speed that scrapes 200mph, AWD traction for that ballistic 524lb ft, very nearly four seats and a good-looking fabric roof that stows in 13 seconds, up to 31mph. It claws at the road surface with 520bhp, through helpful systems including Porsche Traction Management – which drives the rear wheels in normal conditions and uses a water-cooled differential to bring the front axle into play under duress – anti-slip regulation and an automatic brake differential to produce the kind of natural-feeling grip that can nevertheless make all the spit pool in one area of your mouth during a long corner, or hard braking. This effect is less noticeable during acceleration, due to the fact that you’ve already probably swallowed your tongue. Quick tip: engage ‘Sport Plus’ mode in a Turbo, left-foot brake, press down the accelerator, see ‘Launch’ on the dials, pick up your left foot and see if you can prevent yourself from swearing. It’s like a mechanical Tourette machine.
And it gets better. Potter and it’s no harder to drive than a hatchback. The vision is acceptable – though not so great around the rear three-quarters with the hood up – there’s a decent space under the front bonnet for shopping, and you can put smallish children or largish bags in the back pair of seats. The PDK seven-speed ’box is largely lovely, though slightly elastic if you jump on and off the throttle in traffic and the stop/start feature is enthusiastic enough to cut the engine before you come to a complete stop. We managed 24.8mpg, and didn’t feel worried leaving the car parked outside, seeing as it looks nice, but not exactly outlandish. Even the standard integrated electric wind deflector just behind the seats gave a warm feeling of design integrity when the sun happened to make an unscheduled appearance. Top stuff.
And yet this isn’t the best Porsche. Go fast with the roof down, and in a Turbo you’ll be far too busy to enjoy the view, and the noise is toothy rather than operatic. Better to have a Coupe, and just concentrate on annoying less practical supercars, or have a sonically more inspiring Carrera S and go a tad slower. So it’s a bit of top-end box-ticking, but there are more intelligent, satisfying choices in the Porsche range.