Porsche 911 Cabriolet Review 2021 | Top Gear
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BBC TopGear
Car Review

Porsche 911 Cabriolet

£ 148,960 - £ 170,410
810
Published: 11 Mar 2019
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An almost irritatingly complete GT and sports car. Feels like £100k’s worth, top up or top down

Good stuff

Super-stiff body, not blustery with the top down, massive performance

Bad stuff

Well, the Cabrio’s never the most delicate 911, to look at or drive

Overview

What is it?

The new 992-generation Porsche 911, with a folding fabric roof that retracts in 12 seconds. It is, to be honest, a pretty known quantity in the car world. Porsche builds eleventy thousand versions of each 911 – roofless ones, lighter ones, faster ones… the Carrera Cabrio is a pretty heartland, predictable stalwart of the range. As you’d expect, it copies the Carrera coupe’s specs to the letter. At launch, there’s only a ‘S’ model, using a 3.0-litre twin-turbo flat six to generate 444bhp and 391lb ft. The standard Carrrera is £10k cheaper, and gives away 62bhp and 59lb ft. It's actually the one to have...

A seven-speed manual gearbox will come in time, but for now the more popular eight-speed PDK paddleshifter is the only option. You can have a Carrera, with rear-wheel drive, or a Carrera 4, with four-wheel drive. And as per usual, a whole array of items and gadgets to make the car faster, more complicated and more expensive are waiting on the options list. Things like four-wheel steering, carbon-ceramic brakes, and the stopwatch-tastic Sport Chrono package, with launch control and multiple driving modes.

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That’s the way of the Porsche world these days – even the least focused, most boulevard 911 has the power of a full-blooded supercar from a generation ago, will quite literally dry your eyeballs with its straight-line pace, and can be optioned up with more computing power than the Apollo space program, so it’ll embarrass supposedly more focused cars with its lap times. Should you ever take it to a racetrack. We suspect you won’t.

A 911 Cab’s natural habitat is slower paced. Maybe it’s in town. A motorway schlep. The 911 prides itself on everyday Swiss Army knife user-friendliness and the Cabrio’s ready for all of that, while giving you a suntan. Course, because it’s a 911 drop-top, it’s not the most elegant of cabrios. It’s not just physically weighty at the rear – there’s a lot of visual mass, and with the 992’s full-width rear lightsaber and fillets of plastic around the diffuser… it’s a slightly lumpy looker with the top down. Angry robot frog from the front, Kim Kardashian meets Robocop from behind.

It’s arguably prettier with the roof motored swiftly into place. The polymer fabric sandwiches four magnesium panels, so it’s actually a sort of lightweight folding hard-top without the panels gaps. Good for security, refinement, and for avoiding the ribbed ‘hungry horse’ look of a saggy soft-top. That classic 911 teardrop shape stays just about intact.

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What's the verdict?

Can you cut the top off the world’s best luxury sports car without ruining it? Most definitely

No, it’s not the 911 hardcore Nürburgring addicts and classic Porschephiles lust after, but there’s no getting away from the fact that the 992’s Cabriolet offering is spectacularly well-engineered. The aerodynamics, the refinement, the pace and poise and everyday fuss-free aplomb it offers… it’s a sublime all-rounder.

Perhaps it doesn’t tug at the ol’ emotional heartstrings as hard as the AMG Roadster, but other than that it’s in a class of few rivals. An F-Type Jag feels medieval inside and on the road in comparison, there’s no drop-top Aston Vantage yet (which will cost fifty per cent more) and nothing else with 450bhp and no roof is either as useable, or as laser-sighted on a winding road. So it’s not the most endearing of Porsche 911s, perhaps, but it’s an undisputably brilliant luxury sports car. Honestly now, were you expecting anything else?

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