The Porsche 911 Cabriolet is a brilliant sports car – so what’s missing? asks Jeremy Taylor.
Road Test: Porsche 911 Cabriolet
Porsche 911 Cabriolet: At A Glance
PRICE: From £118,720
ENGINE: 3.0-litre 6-cylinder
0-62mph: 3.6 seconds
STREAMING: Fast Car – Tracy Chapman
A while back I came into some money and bought a Porsche 911 Cabriolet. A month or so later, it was sold. Somehow it lacked passion and character: it was too easy to drive fast, too benign at high speed, too soulless. That doesn’t mean the mid-range GTS model tested here is a bad car – far from it. But it just won’t touch your heart like an open-roof Aston Martin, or even a second-hand Maserati with an oil leak.
If Germanic precision is your desire, then the GTS is a brilliant, turbocharged rework of a car that will sparkle every time it’s driven. Purists will prefer this more demanding rear-wheel drive model but there’s also a four-wheel drive variant for extra grip.
The Porsche is lightyears ahead of a Jaguar F-Type on the road, or the Aston Martin Vantage for that matter. The extra weight of the convertible roof mechanism makes no difference to performance – the GTS absolutely flies on a cross-country jaunt and you will feel like a very good driver indeed.
Only the camel hump covering at the rear when the folding roof is lowered distorts the curvy lines, although that same lump has become a trademark feature of the Cabriolet in recent times.
Apart from that minor distraction, the seriously quick GTS will reward drivers every time with precision handling, telepathic steering and a 480hp engine that doesn’t know when to give up.
RATING: 4/5 WELLIES
Thankfully, the rear-engined 911 is far more practical for everyday use than it looks. While most shopping bags will likely end up on the back seat – a space otherwise only useful for small children – there’s a decent-sized, secure luggage stash under the front bonnet, too.
The cabin is a lovely place to sit, for any length of time. This being a pricey Porsche with a long and illustrious heritage, every button and switch falls perfectly to hand. That includes the mesh rear wind break, which takes the internal swirl of air out of the cockpit when the hood is lowered. The system is electrically operated but at the same time renders the rear seats useless for passengers when in place.
Everything inside the Porsche is fitted to the highest standards – it’s perfect. Even so, Porsche buyers inevitably end up paying considerably more for ‘must-have’ options, such as adaptive sports seats (£1,991), an upgraded BOSE sound system (£1,002) and not forgetting a carbon interior package (£2,231).
A throaty growl from the twin-turbo engine adds aural drama to the mix when provoked but the GTS can also behave in a civilised manner at motorway speeds – it’s not a tiring car to drive. Roof down, the Porsche is so well engineered it’s very easy to forget the canvass hood is even folded.
I want to fall in love with the 911, but I’m still struggling. It’s a thrilling car to drive, a dream machine in nearly every respect. If only Porsche could find a little soul…
RATING: 4/5 HANDBAGS