RAISING THE ROOF

BEN BARRY

PORSCHE 911 CARRERA S CABRIOLET

ROOF CLOSED, rapid run up a hairpin-littered mountain road and already I’ve forgotten I’m driving the new 911 Carrera S Cabriolet. You know, the ‘soft’ one that purists swerve for a coupe? Last night, even product-line director Andreas Pröbstle admitted the Cabriolet is less than half as stiff as the coupe (15,000Nm plays 40,000Nm) and weighs 70kg more, but right now it feels pretty coupe-like to me. Steering with a pacy accuracy, it totally absorbs you in its adjustable dynamics. Porsche has even fitted rear-wheel steering and 10mm-lower sports suspension to our car, the latter a first for a Cabriolet (bit niggly around town, eases with speed).

Then I remember the roof. I slow to 50km/h, press a button so the taut fabric motors back over my head; 331kW flat-six roaring, turbos whooshing like rocket launchers, sky rushing overhead … you don’t want to be stuck at a party with a petrolhead who can’t see the appeal in that.

Best hit them with the 3.9sec 0-100km/h and 306km/h bragging rights first, before revealing the roof opens or closes in just 12 seconds – two seconds quicker than the previous model, courtesy of a higher-performance electro-hydraulic mechanism, which is the key to the extra speed. A new fleecy layer between outer and inner sections of the roof reduces noise inside.

Folding a roof below a metal tonneau cover and above a flat-six lifts the rear end 10mm or so – a tiny amount that gives it a slightly bulkier appearance, especially roof-down – but it still looks sharp, you’ve still got rear seats, the boot is the same size, and this soft-top continues to drive like a 911 should.

I’ll admit to being one of those bores who’d err towards the coupe, but ignore me at the party – it’s the Carrera S Cabriolet that’s arguably the more versatile 911.

BEN BARRY

Model Porsche 911 Carrera S Cabriolet

Engine 2981cc flat-6, dohc, 24v, twin-turbo

Max power 331kW @ 6500rpm

Max torque 530Nm @ 2300-5000rpm

Transmission 8-speed dual-clutch

Weight 1585kg

0-100km/h 3.9 sec (claimed)

Economy 9.1L/100km

Price $310,663

On sale Now