It is March in London, the pathetic fallacy of Brexit is reflected in the rainy scenes I can see from my equally dreary office desk. I’ve spent so much time indoors hiding from precipitation, I’ve started to lack vitamin D (insert lack of D joke). The doctor has prescribed sunshine and less stress. Before I have time to scurry over to the Pharmacy, Porsche call with a cure of their own – the 992 Cabriolet and a flight to Greece. Just what the doctor ordered…
A couple of days later I find myself in Attica, a short drive south of the history festooned city of Athens with the keys to a 992 Cabriolet. My expectations are high, fuelled by the logic that the Cabriolet will be just as good as the Coupe that I drove in January. Porsche engineers have a habit of sprinkling magic and witchcraft on everything they touch as of late, the 992 Coupe was a prime example of this – the Carrera S & 4S represent the bulk of sales and as a result, they’ve made them both so bloody good that it’s difficult to imagine just how magnificent the GTS and other future models are going to be.
Back to the present and the Cabriolet – the car I’m filling with my bags, and bananas, is a 4S – I saw this car yesterday evening and laughed at it’s gold wheels and the idea that there was a German with a sense of humour in the PR department that specced this Indian Red 911 with wheels that would look more at home on a Ferrari or classic Lotus. The very jester that configured the car reciprocated my jibe by making sure it was the car I would be driving for the rest of the trip…touché.
Enough clowning around, what is this 4S packing? Well, as you would imagine, this is essentially the same as the coupe just with the roof lobbed off. That means in S & 4S guises, the only currently available, there is a 3.0-litre twin-turbo flat six pushing out 444bhp and 391lb ft. 444bhp doesn’t sound huge, but the numbers are eye opening.
0-100 is abolished in 3.7, or 3.6 if you check the Sport Chrono box (this takes off a tenth and adds the essential driver mode rotary dial on the steering wheel and the iconic stopwatch/clock). Three point six. That is supercar quick.
Traction in this 4S is mind bending and altered my driving style. You can enter corners with speed that is frankly ridiculous and there isn’t any understeer. You have to be an utter Neanderthal and completely misjudge a slow speed corner to make the front axle push away from the apex. Like I said, magic. The handling is spot on, as is the driving position, steering and brakes.
One criticism is the PDK gearbox – yes, it is lightning fast and handles multiple shifts with ease, but when it is in sport mode and auto, you merely brush the throttle pedal it fires in a couple of downshifts with a spike in the revs. It’s is a little nervous and makes you weary. Drive it in manual and you start to fathom why it has been calibrated with such a nervous disposition – turbo lag. Yes, this really is knit picking, but when you choose which gear you want and you pick one that leaves the analogue rev counter below 2,500 rpm, you start to feel the lag. Again, this is me trying to find fault and the gearbox will almost instantly fire the revs above this laggy layer when left in auto or if you drive it as it should be driven in manual.
Would I have the Cabriolet or the Coupe? This is a tough call and one I suspect will come down to personal preferences. Where the Pista Spider, Huracan Performante Spyder and new AMG GT R Roadster are topless track hardened supercars that make no sense to me given structural rigidity loss and added weight (take a bow McLaren with your carbon tubs), having a Carrera Cabriolet is far more understandable. Carreras are not cars for setting lap times in. The appeal of cruising and enjoying the drive is infinitely more alluring. The added wright in strengthening is far less relevant.
The interior is sublime as it is in the coupe, my gripes with the infotainment and lack of buttons and reliance on the touch screen still stand firm. It still feels alien and difficult to navigate a touchscreen whilst driving. Whether this will be alleviated over time and experience with the system is yet to be seen.
With the roof down the cabin is still comfortable and well shielded from the elements. The innovative wind deflector puts cars like the Bentley Continental GTC to shame as there is no manual labour required, just the touch of a button. The roof can be lowered or raised on the move up to 50 km/h in just 12 seconds. You can also enjoy the turbocharged whooshes and whistles far more clearly.
If I was in the market for a convertible sports car that had large luggage space and rear seats, tiny ones at that, there is only one car for the job – the 992 Porsche Carrera Cabriolet.