The iconic sports car of the last century – there can be only one and it has to be the Porsche 911. It’s been equipped over the years with various body styles, from coupe to Targa-top, with choices between rear and all-wheel drive. The Cabriolet model is a favorite among many though, and in Carrera 4 and 4S guise, it provides the entry point to the all-wheel drive Porsche 911 Cabriolet family. Traditionally rear-engined, the new 991.2 generation of cars are now turbocharged across the range – even models that don’t wear the ‘turbo’ badge. Has the classic sports car been compromised?
Even in the base Carrera 4 and 4S specifications, the Cabriolet 911 features Porsche’s traditional 2+2 seating arrangement. The rear seats though are not suitable for adult occupants or even children at that, though they make for a decently sized area in which to store shopping bags and small luggage. It’s worth using as cargo space, as in this convertible guise the trunk volume is a paltry 5 cubic feet – below par for the segment, but made up for by the front trunk. However the two front occupants have exceptional head and leg-room, at least for a sports car. There’s a low slung seating position, comfortable standard seats, and impressively built interior. Though the infotainment system may be a decently intuitive touch screen, there’s an abundance of buttons beneath it that serve to suggest that the 991.2 generation 911 is still, at its core, just a facelift.
One of the finest handling sports cars in existence is also one of the most comfortable. Even on its low profile tires and spots suspension, the ride quality is incredible – small bumps being erased from existence whilst larger bumps get absorbed into the body without much fuss. In this convertible guise, the body shell loses some of its rigidity, but the loss in comfort is minimal. The change is noticed more from a handling perspective, where through corners there’s a bit more flex. Still, a soft Porsche 911 is still stiffer and better handling than almost any other sports car, even in their coupe versions. Body control and changes of direction are impeccable, and road manners over broken tarmac are exceptional. Even around corners, with minimal lean, bumps and broken tarmac fail to upset the balance of the 911, whilst the ‘4’ badge on Carrera and Carrera S models indicates that all-wheel drive keeps things sticky and grippy in all weather conditions.
In both Carrera 4 and 4S Cabriolet trims, a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter flat-six engine does duty, though in two different outputs. The Carrera 4 Cabriolet has outputs of 370 horsepower and a robust 331 lb-ft of torque, sent to all 4 corners with the choice of a 7-speed manual or 6-speed dual-clutch PDK automatic. The S version increases outputs to 420hp and 368 lb-ft, mated to the same all-wheel drive system and choice of gearboxes, but with a limited slip differential added to the rear axle as standard.
Porsche only crash tests its cars in Europe, though the 911 is built to the most stringent of standards, and includes safety features such as post-collision braking, automatic braking, active cruise control, and blind spot monitoring. When it comes to optioning equipment, it’s best to be careful as the base price can quickly double with the wrong options boxes ticked. But standard equipment is still decent, including leather upholstery, online navigation, park assist with reverse camera, and dual-zone climate. A worthwhile option, though, is the venerable Sport Chrono Package with additional drive modes, launch control, and rev matching functionality on manual-equipped versions.
The open-topped Porsche 911 experience is a tough one to beat. Against rivals like the Audi R8 Spyder, the Porsche is still the driver’s car of choice, especially with all-wheel drive. The Carrera 4S Cabriolet offers more power and improved handling, and is the pick between these two entry-level models.