BMW’s classiest tuners work their thoughtful magic on the ultimate diesel X3
You are here
£103,868 when new
But there’s a weight and bulk here that the Cabriolet can’t disguise. The turn-in feels slightly delayed, and not because of the steering, which is very precise, if lacking in the ultimate levels of feel you’d expect of a Porsche. This is all relative, of course, because, in the grand scheme of things, the Cabriolet handles extremely well and, with four-wheel drive, traction levels are high. The extending rear wing helps here - it raises by an extra 30mm over the Coupe - and makes this the only four-seat drop-top in the world to generate downforce at the rear. But there’s a lack of edge that stops the Cabriolet becoming a great drive. The chassis doesn’t encourage you to press on in the way you’d hope. Scuttle shake isn’t an issue. The Turbo Cab has got some, because there’s no way of entirely engineering all the stiffness back in once you’ve sawn the roof off a car without adding three tonnes of weight, but it feels extremely rigid and not like it’s about to fall apart when you hit a series of bumps. Given the extra welding and the addition of metal Porsche has made to keep the Cabrio as stiff as reasonable, the lack of weight difference between it and the Coupe remains impressive - at 1,655kg, the soft top is only 70kg heavier. It’s also 5kg lighter than the old 911 Turbo Cabriolet. The roof mechanism works quickly and smoothly. You can operate it at up to 31mph and it drops neatly behind the near-useless rear seats. This leaves the roof to make up part of the profile when it’s folded, much like the Audi TT, but the 911 does a better job, as there aren’t any unsightly holes or flaps left exposed here. It’s incredibly neat. Remember to choose a roof colour that matches your leather though - you wouldn’t want the two to clash when you’re cruising. What this roof-down option does mean is that the 911 Turbo suddenly becomes less endangering to your licence. We had the Coupe in the office just before Christmas, and it proved extremely difficult to avoid speeding in. It was actually hard work to drive, because you had to be so careful. Roof down, though, and things are very different. All that wind and noise mean that the 911 Turbo becomes easier to drive slowly. Preferable in fact, because you don’t want your barnet getting too messed up. Put the roof up, and it keeps on impressing. All credit to Porsche, because this is an extremely refined soft top. The three-layer roof does a seriously good job of isolating noise, to the point where you wonder whether folding hard-tops are OTT. All of which makes me believe that this is, in fact, the 911 Turbo of choice. If you’re buying any 911 Turbo, you’re not interested in the last word in handling dynamics anyway, or you’d have a GT3. And if you’re rich enough to buy a Turbo, the Cabrio’s £8,340 extra cost should make scant financial impact. So, there you have it, a cabrio that is better than a coupe. Never thought I’d say it, especially of a Porsche.
£55,810 – £116,195
The Jaguar F-Type is a real cracker, and while not as practical as its Porsche rivals, has at least as much charm. Probably more
£74,645 – £115,970
The SL name is more than six decades old but remains a worthy two-seat luxury convertible