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Week at the wheel: Porsche 911 Turbo S Cabriolet (997). Image by Porsche.

Week at the wheel: Porsche 911 Turbo S Cabriolet (997)
For fast wind in the hair thrills there's nothing better than the 530hp 911 Turbo S Cabriolet.

   



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| Week at the Wheel | Porsche 911 Turbo S Cabriolet (997) |

Overall rating: 4 4 4 4 4

There's a train of thought that open-topped Porsche 911s aren't real driver's cars, aimed purely at those who like to show themselves off as they cruise by in a crescendo of flat-six noise. However, the 911 Turbo S Cabriolet is a car that is almost as fast, engaging and good-looking as its coupé brother, just about proving otherwise.

Key Facts

Model tested: Porsche 911 Turbo S Cabriolet (997)
Pricing: £133,663
Engine: 3.8-litre twin-turbo flat-six petrol
Transmission: seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic, four-wheel drive
Body style: two-door convertible
Rivals: Aston Martin V12 Vantage Roadster, Audi R8 V10 Spyder, Mercedes SL 63 AMG
CO2 emissions: 270g/km
Combined economy: 25.7mpg
Top speed: 196mph
0-62mph: 3.4 seconds
Power: 530hp at 6,250rpm
Torque: 700Nm at 2,100- to 4,250rpm

Inside & Out: 4 4 4 4 4

Our particular car was finished in a rather dubious shade of metallic turquoise (a special order colour in fact) that sat rather clumsily with the white leather seats inside. However, the wide bodywork, deep front and rear bumpers and integrated spoiler lend it real aggression, even if it isn't as dramatic as some of its more bespoke competitors. Those slightly humdrum 911 looks aside, details like the centre-lock alloy wheels and huge air intakes are real highlights.

There's less to be excited with inside, as it shares most of its cabin and materials with entry-level (and now replaced) 997-model 911s - though the basic cabin is still a great place to start. Every piece of switchgear feels solid and well built, the leather covering the dashboard and seats luxurious and the Turbo S Cabriolet is well-kitted out too. We'd lose the white seat centres at all costs, but you sit nice and low while the pair of rear seats is almost usable by small children - and the 105-litre boot up front is enough for a weekend away with ease. Unlike the new generation soft-top 911 this 997 car does require you to manually un-latch the roof at the windscreen before electrically lowering it, but the fabric roof is quick to stow and well insulated.

Ride & Handling: 4 4 4 4 4

This is the last generation 911 to use the non electro-assisted steering system, and while plenty have been harping on about the loss of information and transparency with the new model, the differences are minor. And for those choosing the soft-top over the coupé, it's likely that the nth degree of driving finesse and feedback feature further down the list than pose value.

Still, under all of this car's show it has plenty of go, and the steering is undoubtedly one of the highlights. Push hard and the Turbo S Cabriolet will bob its nose over bumps, the wheel kicking back slightly in your hands as the weight over the axle changes. Press the Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) button and you can choose just how firm you want it to feel. Unless you're on the smoothest of boulevard you'll likely leave it in default rather than sport modes though, as the loss of roof, combined with the low profile 19-inch rubber, can send the occasional shimmy through the cabin.

There's more grip than you'd expect too, the 911 holding on through the bends far longer than its now defunct rear-engined widow-maker reputation would have you believe. In fact, only if you're acting as hooligan with the Porsche Stability Management (PSM) turned off will you be surprised by the 911. And there's no real scuttle shake to speak of; for all intents and purposes the Cabriolet feels every bit as good to drive as the coupé.

Engine & Transmission: 5 5 5 5 5

Welcome to the star of the show, a 3.8-litre flat-six engine using a pair of variable vane turbochargers to provide 530hp and 700Nm of torque. That's enough to sprint from 0-62mph in 3.4 seconds and onto a maximum of 196mph, but mere numbers struggle to convey the brutal pace of this cabriolet.

The way this 911 launches itself towards the horizon is nothing short of astounding; and making its peak torque from only 2,100rpm means no matter what gear or engine speed, viscous acceleration is always available. There are few cars that have us lifting off the loud pedal as quickly as we've pressed it, but in our week with the Turbo S it happened time and time again.

Admittedly it doesn't have the cultured sound of a naturally aspirated 911, with the soundtrack heavily overlaid with induction roar, but it still proves addictive. And while we'd always prefer a manual gearbox in a sports car, the Porsche Doppelkupplung (PDK) automatic is now smoother than ever at low throttle openings and faster and slicker than before when you're driving hard.

Equipment, Economy & Value for Money: 3 3 3 3 3

Before you add any options, and almost no Porsche leaves the showroom without any additions to its spec list, the 911 Turbo S Cabriolet costs £133,663. That's a lot of money in anyone's eyes, and for something that is so clearly linked to a standard 911 Cabriolet it may be too much for many.

But for those with the required cash and desire, then at least the Turbo S Cabriolet comes loaded with standard kit - including the expensive ceramic brakes (distinguished by yellow calipers), Porsche Active Suspension Management, dynamic engine mounts and the Sport Chrono package. This 911 will return over 25mpg and with CO2 emissions of 270g/km it's actually quite clean considering the performance on offer.


Graeme Lambert - 7 Jan 2013



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2012 Porsche 911 Turbo S Cabriolet. Image by Porsche.2012 Porsche 911 Turbo S Cabriolet. Image by Porsche.2012 Porsche 911 Turbo S Cabriolet. Image by Porsche.2012 Porsche 911 Turbo S Cabriolet. Image by Porsche.2012 Porsche 911 Turbo S Cabriolet. Image by Porsche.

2012 Porsche 911 Turbo S Cabriolet. Image by Porsche.2012 Porsche 911 Turbo S Cabriolet. Image by Porsche.2012 Porsche 911 Turbo S Cabriolet. Image by Porsche.2012 Porsche 911 Turbo S Cabriolet. Image by Porsche.2012 Porsche 911 Turbo S Cabriolet. Image by Porsche.



2012 Porsche 911 Turbo S Cabriolet. Image by Porsche.
 

2012 Porsche 911 Turbo S Cabriolet. Image by Porsche.
 

2012 Porsche 911 Turbo S Cabriolet. Image by Porsche.
 

2012 Porsche 911 Turbo S Cabriolet. Image by Porsche.
 

2012 Porsche 911 Turbo S Cabriolet. Image by Porsche.
 






 

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