Since the dawn of time convertible sports car reviews have read as follows: blah blah, heavy floppy, blah blah, not as precise, blah blah, buy the coupe. With some justification, it must be said, as traditionally drop-tops have suffered dynamically compared to their hard-top siblings.
Their open roofs reduce rigidity, compromising the suspension setup, while to compensate extra bracing is added increasing weight. At first glance it appears the new Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Cabriolet falls into the same trap.
It’s 70kg heavier and 0.2sec slower to 100km/h, a gap that widens to 0.7sec by 200km/h, while being $21,900 more expensive.
Same old story, then? Not quite, as thanks to modern technology you’re not really making any performance sacrifices in choosing the Cabriolet. It might be 0.2sec slower to 100km/h but the result is still a scorching 3.6sec (when fitted with the optional Sport Chrono package at least) and by any standard the 992 Carrera 4S is an incredibly quick car, roof or not.
The 3.0-litre twin-turbo flat-six has a beautifully linear power curve and a pretty decent soundtrack in 992 guise, too. This is enhanced in the Cabriolet as suddenly your ears are privy to all manner of turbo noises muffled in the Coupe, the C4S whistling and chirruping like a late-’90s World Rally Car.
It’s virtually impossible to find fault with the eight-speed dual-clutch gearbox, which is as telepathic as ever when left to its own devices yet offers lightning-fast shifts up and down the ’box if you take control manually.
If you drove the Cabriolet back-to-back with the Coupe on a racetrack you’d probably notice the extra weight dulling its responses slightly; back-to-back on the road the differences are likely to be less pronounced as in isolation the Cabriolet effectively feels like a very potent, very enjoyable sports car.
Like the Coupe, the Cabriolet is remarkably playful in 4S guise. Whether as a driver you’re prepared to push harder thanks to the subconscious comfort of all-wheel drive or some quirk of the setup is unclear but a healthy dose of throttle mid-corner makes the 911 rotate sharply and adopt a subtle oversteer stance that’s extremely pleasing, even with the ESP in Sports mode.
The hardest pill to swallow regarding the C4S Cabriolet is the price. Starting at $313,700, a hefty options list including rear-wheel steering, a sports exhaust, fancy leather, special wheels to name a few swelling the ask to more than $350,000 before on-roads. That’s a very big number, but then this is a very good sports car.
Likes: Wonderful to drive; clever engineering; more exciting soundtrack
Dislikes: Heavy; very expensive with options; inevitable image
Engine: 2981cc flat-6cyl, DOHC, 24v, twin-turbo
Power: 331kW @ 6500rpm
Torque: 530Nm @ 2300-5000rpm
0-100km/h: 3.6sec (Sport+)