Porsche 911 cabriolet
Price £81,852 - £154,614
- Stunning design
- Well refined
- Great to drive
- Costs £40,000 more than a Boxster
- Auto gearbox can be unpredictable
- Visibility isn't great
At a glance
"The Porsche 911 Cabriolet sets the standard for soft-top sports cars. With the roof up, it also looks as good as the coupe."
The Porsche 911 Cabriolet is a rival for the Audi R8 Spyder and Jaguar XK – and it's a huge leap forward over the car it replaced. It is lighter than the old car and has a stylish new folding fabric roof that matches the handsome profile of the Coupe. It gets an electric wind deflector as standard, as well as an automatic rear spoiler, parking sensors and a pair of small rear seats. The gorgeous Cabriolet also gets the 911 Coupe's longer wheelbase for improved cabin space, a lighter body and identical range of 365bhp and 414bhp 3.0-litre turbocharged six-cylinder engines from the Carrera and Carrera S. These are more efficient and come with the option of either a seven-speed manual or a seven-speed dual-clutch PDK transmission and two or four-wheel drive. Yes, it's expensive, but few convertibles are this great to drive or have such a sense of occasion from behind the wheel.
MPG, running costs & CO2
Impressive considering the performance on offer
The new 911 Cabriolet is much more efficient than before, claiming 33.2mpg and 195g/km of CO2 - good figures for a car with the 911's performance. This is mainly thanks to the new turbocharged 3.0-litre engines Porsche fits to this generation of 911. It should hang onto its value, too – 911s are always in demand on the second hand market. But while you’ll be able to get 30mpg on the motorway if you’re gentle with the accelerator, insurance, tyres and servicing will be very steep indeed.
Engines, drive & performance
Great to drive regardless of engine choice
In a word? Brilliant. The 911 Coupe sets the benchmark in this class for driver thrills, with amazingly precise steering and stable yet involving handling. The Cabriolet feels the same, but it's even more fun because if you drop the roof – which takes just 13 seconds and can be done at speeds of up to 35mph – you can hear every note of the amazing flat six-cylinder engine. The standard Carrera cabriolet can do 0-62mph in 4.8 seconds and reach 181mph. That's likely to be more than enough performance for most drivers, but the S has even more punch and can do 0-62mph in just 4.7 seconds and reach 190mph.
All these figures are for the standard manual gearbox, and the 911 is even faster when fitted with Porsche’s automatic PDK gearbox. This allows for faster gear changes than the seven-speed manual, although it has an annoying tendency to kick down sometimes even in ‘manual’ mode. The four-wheel drive Carrera 4 and 4S get a wider rear axle and are marginally slower – but they benefit from supreme all-weather traction, feeling enormously surefooted in the wet. If you want the ultimate in roofless 911 performance, the flagship Turbo Cabriolet model reaches 62mph in just 3.1 seconds – although it’s a pricey proposition, costing over £135,000.
Interior & comfort
As quiet as the Coupe with the roof up
The 911 has always been the world's most useable supercar, combining great visibility with relatively compact dimensions and lots of easily accessible performance – and the Cabriolet continues that theme. It's certainly as quiet as the Coupe with the roof in place, while roof-down you can raise the wind deflector to reduce buffeting. That said, it's still a noisy place to be thanks to the engine being situated right behind your head – and it's difficult to hold a conversation on the motorway with the roof-down. However, the pay-off is you can hear even more of that superb six-cylinder exhaust note, which roars into life as you accelerate. With a longer wheelbase, there's more room inside the cabin, too, and the driving position is easily adjustable and very comfortable. The sports seats are firm and supportive, but the rear seats are barely big enough for children, let alone adults over any considerable distance. The ride is pretty good, especially given the grip available, and you can stiffen it up by pressing a button on the centre console.
Practicality & boot space
Rear seats are small but useful
With a deep boot at the front, you’ll be surprised at just how practical the 911 is. The Cabriolet has exactly the same amount of space as the Coupe, with enough room in the front luggage compartment for a medium-sized suitcase and several squashy bags. Do note that in 911s with four-wheel-drive, boot space shrinks from 145 to 125 litres, thanks to the extra mechanicals.
The 911 Cabriolet's back seats are so small that only the tiniest of children will be able to fit – but they’re not really for sitting on anyway and really should be treated as an extra stowage shelf, for coats and bags. Being about as wide as an Audi TT and only slightly longer, the 911 is easy to park and place on the road, too – both in town and on the motorway.
Reliability & safety
Quality craftsmanship inside and out
Build quality is beyond reproach – from the way all of the controls have an expensive-feeling precision, to the chunky buttons and beautifully stitched leather seats. You certainly feel like you’re sitting in an expensive sports car. However, in our 2015 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey the old model came 109th out of 200 cars, so there are some questions over the 911's durability It’s got plenty of useful safety tech though, with big ABS brakes, a variety of airbags and ISOFIX anchor points for when you need to carry a child seat. Porsche has an enviable reputation for producing enormously fast sports cars that don’t seam to suffer from mechanical or electronic gremlins either. The company finished an impressive 6th in our 2015 Driver Power survey – ahead of BMW or Audi – and we’d expect the current 911 Cabriolet to carry on this tradition.
Price, value for money & options
A Porsche Boxster is much, much cheaper
The Porsche 911 is an expensive sports car designed to rival the Audi R8 and Aston Martin Vantage. As standard you get the electric roof, climate control, a 7-inch colour screen on the dashboard, leather sports seats and 18-inch alloy wheels – a fair amount of equipment, if not particularly generous. Options include upgraded stereo and a wide variety of alloy wheel designs. If you want the open-top flat six-cylinder Porsche experience but don’t have the price of a 911 to spend on a new car, you could always buy a Boxster – which is brilliant in every way and costs around £40,000 less.