According to Porsche, the headline news with its new 991 Carrera Cabriolet is that the design of the hood ensures the iconic 911 roof line is retained in its entirety.
So, at last the silhouette of the soft top matches that of the coupe, and Porsche have achieved this without resorting to one of those silly folding hard-top devices which double the weight of the car.
The Cabriolet’s new roof mechanism features an innovative, intelligent lightweight design to reduce weight (I do wish the Germans would stop using the word ‘intelligent’ in their product titles, as if implying that other car makers aren’t), including the use of magnesium in the hood frame.
There are no details as yet on the weight penalty, but usually Porsche manage to keep the Cabriolet within 40-50 kg of its sibling, with a lower centre of gravity due to most of that weight being added when strengthening the body frame. As is the case with the Coupe model, the new 911 Cabriolet is significantly lighter overall than its predecessor.
Combined with lower weight, the new 911 Cabriolet models share the longer wheelbase, wider front track and the new electro-mechanical power steering of their Coupe siblings, ensuring the open-roofed models offer the same sporting driving characteristics, greater precision and agility compared to the previous 997 variant.[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FP2yF-J1-t4&w=635&h=391]
Likewise, front and rear overhangs are shorter, maintaining the compact footprint that has been a longstanding 911 attribute. In addition, there are further standard or optional active control systems available that further enhance the driving dynamics.
The same charismatic line-up of rear-mounted, flat-six engines are on offer in the Cabriolet as were introduced in the Coupe a few months ago. The entry-level Carrera Cabriolet features a 3.4-litre engine generating 345 bhp, driving the rear wheels through a seven-speed manual transmission.
The Carrera S Cabriolet offers a 3.8-litre engine developing 394 bhp, also coupled to a seven-speed manual transmission as standard. The 991’s outstanding fuel efficiency is carried forwards into the Cabriolet, with both models returning over 28.0 mpg (combined).
Porsche’s seven-speed Porsche Doppelkupplungsgetriebe (PDK) double-clutch transmission is available as an option, delivering even lower fuel consumption and shorter acceleration times.
The 911 Carrera Cabriolet models go on sale in the UK on March 3 2012, priced from £79,947 for the base 3.4-litre model and from £89,740 for the 911 Carrera S Cabriolet.