The Porsche 911 Carrera 4 Cabriolet. Long name! well, they do not actually write “Cabriolet” on the back. The car is a beauty and I do not really care how long the name is, as long as I got to drive it and thanks to Porsche Center Dubai, I did.
Porsche Center Dubai has been very supportive with Ihabdrives and I cannot express how much I enjoy driving their cars, so I guess it’s a win for me.
Porsche 911 Carrera 4 Cabriolet Introduction
The new 991 Series of the 911 is really special, especially with the car enthusiasts world wide. It has grown a bit from the previous generation being 2.2 inches longer. They have also extended the wheelbase by 3.9 inches. Surely, these are hardly noticeable numbers just by looking at it.
The 911 is one of the finest sports cars available today, although it constantly tackles people going on about the engine being in the wrong end, They have developed the car so far over the past 50 years that it has become perfect, and with the Carrera 4 it has become incredible. The car is 4 wheel drive (hence the “4”) but most of the power goes to the rear and when the Porsche Stability Management (PSM) and Porsche Traction Management (PTM) senses harsher driving styles or wet/unstable road conditions it can it manages the car’s traction across all 4 wheels making sure every one of them has maximum available traction and would send up to 40% of the power to the front wheels when necessary.
In all Carrera 4 models (Cabriolet and Coupe) the engine is a boxer 3.4 litre with direct fuel injection producing 350 HP and 390 NM of Torque with the stated 0-100 times of 5.1 seconds on the Cabriolet and 4.9 seconds on the Coupe. They have taken a lot of measures, to keep weight down, and efficiency and performance high up.
That isn’t the end of the story because the power is fed through their 7 speed Porsche Doppelkupplung (PDK) gearbox which is a double clutch set-up with a constant flow of power with the low fuel consumption ratings. Top speed can be achieved on the 6th gear as the 7th is a longer ratio for maximum fuel economy. The vehicles are also equipt with a dry-sump lubrication where the oil tank is in the engine itself with an electronic pump pushing oil pressure based on requirement only, maximising efficiency and fuel consumption.
The 911 is certainly a beautiful car, I was lucky enough to get one in Black, which in my opinion, is one of the sexiest colors a car can have, just look at it!
Porsche really stepped up with the new 911 and although most people cannot tell much of a difference in terms of looks, this is a totally brand new car with everything engineered and designed to be ultra modern and sleek.
Up front the new Bi-Xenon headlights are cleaner in design, more efficient and provide a beautiful stance to the front “shoulders” as I like to call them but it isn’t all show, these are actually coupled with Porsche Dynamic Light System (PDLS) which handles cornering angles and speed sensitive light adjustments, with individual headlight washers. Down below sits a multi-use strip of LEDs. These work as daylight running lights that dim at night and also hold the indicator lights turning into orange when activated. The car does have front and rear sensors which are fairly accurate.
The car has a very beautiful stance, and does have the supercar look to it.
One of the things that make the 911 a daily supercar is the fact that it has well thought out ride height. Yes, Yes, the driver does sit down low and the car is fairly low too, but I mean it is a super car after all and it isn’t too low like on most super cars, and driving it over bumps and speed humps is not an issue, and boy is that a relief compared to having to slow down at bad bumps.
The car seems a little lower than the previous gen and that is because it is; it has a lower roof line, a 46mm wider front and a 44mm wider rear on the Carrera 4, it gives a more swoopy feel to the car’s overall design, just perfect.
Moving along to the side is where the Carrera 4 Cabriolet has a lot to show.
Of course, this being the cabriolet, it has a folding soft top roof that goes right between the rear seats and above the engine. The overall operation of the roof opening/closing with the windows being rolled down or up takes less than 17 seconds (Porsche states 13), can be done while driving up to 50 kMPH, and operated by the remote keyfob as well.
Back to the car’s side profile. The car does appear a bit smaller than the previous generation because of one more factor, aside from lowering the roofline and widening the front and back a bit, they also reduced the overhangs (Which essentially is the parts of the car that hangs outwards after the wheels on the front and rear). The car has a lovely rear wing than raises up with speed and is manually controlled, as far as I am concerned it is always raised, it just does so much justice to the way the car looks!
Honestly, I’ve never been a huge fan of the 911’s rear, but the 991 series is where my opinions change, entirely. The rear looks absolutely gorgeous and with the rear wing it looks phenomenal. The rear lights are LED as well while being much thinner than the previous generation. A lot of people think the only difference between the coupe and the cabriolet is obviously the roof, but there is one more rather distinct difference; the red strip connecting both rear lights are only available on the cabriolet. So there you have it, not sure whether it is a cabriolet or not? look for that red strip.
The rear window is small but does enough for the basic necessities (It is heated and scratch resistant too) but overall, while driving the car, those thick side panels on the soft top roof do cover a lot of visibility, looking over the right shoulder seemed mostly useless, but there is a cure for that, a huge one, a cure so big you get free 360 views around the car!
One thing that flagged a question for me was, on the Carrera 4 models, there are two oval exhausts and on the 4s models sits a set of quad exhaust pipes, weirdly though on the Carrera 4 Cabriolet I tested, it had 4 exhaust pipes and as it turns out these are an optional sports exhaust package. Tick that option when you’re ordering one, I mean look at it.
The model tested came with the 20 inch Carrera wheels and 330mm (diameter) brake discs on all 4 corners that are cross drilled and ventilated, and let me tell you, it knows how to stop, well!
Being that the engine and the soft top roof are in the rear, there is only one trunk in the 911 and that is at the front, and it is fairly sufficient for shopping bags or a small suitcase, but where the cayman has a rear trunk, the 911 has rear seats! You’re not going to be using them for people now are you? (More on that in a bit)
At one point, fiddling with the keyfob and lowering the roof, I realized that I haven’t seen the engine.
I still want to see the engine, because the view you see above, is the best you’re ever going to see of the engine. Surely, when there is need for maintenance the cover can be raised even more or removed and the rear soft top bay shall be removed.
The car’s exterior is a gorgeous thing to look at, but its at its best when the roof is down!
The top folds in completely with a small little gap for air intake (which I think is a smart move) behind the rear seats sit two rather interesting things, first, a wind deflector (which can only come up with no one in the rear seats) and secondly, emergency bars that eject upwards in the case of you landing your 911 on its roof, to keep the occupants safe. The cover is of a nice soft touch material, makes the overall look rather classy too.
Where do you begin with a lovely interior as on the 911! Oh well, I’ll just start from the left..
Jumping into the 911 from the Cayman S a few weeks ago makes the car feel very familiar, yet somewhat distinct.
Porsche didn’t totally individual designs radically different from each other, but created the best looking and fitting layout for their vehicles and adapted each vehicle individually to that layout.
The dashboard is high and everything is nice and ergonomically fit. The riding positions is really good and can be really adjusted to the drivers liking and everything is built brilliantly. Every touch is either leather or soft touching materials fit and finished to a very high standard indeed.
The car had the Porsche Dynamic Light System (PDLS) which has automatic Bi-Xenon lights. To the right of it was something I had wondered quite abit about. In essence the car has Porsche Entry & Drive option which essentially means the actual keyfob can be left in one’s pocket or bag. The car can be locked and unlocked by touching the handle to enter the car (unlocks upon touching) and locking by pressing the little button on the handle. Starting the car is often handled by a starter button as is very common on most cars today, but in the 911 it isn’t a button, but a plastic fob that you’d have to turn, like a key. Just under that is where Porsche hide their E-Brake, nevermind, “P” should do.
Moving along, the steering wheel is a beautiful design that I have become fairly familiar with especially since it has been implemented in a few models. It has controls on the left and right for the volume, telephone, driver information system and a driver selected shortcut button. The steering wheel does have Porsche’s implementation of shifters, where on either side, the driver can pull to downshift and push to upshift. As with before, I am not a fan of this design (found on quite a handful of cars these days) and I always prefer traditional paddles, although this setup is very neat for one handed gear changes. Above the steering’s center, is the PDK wording and on the left of it is the Sports and Sports Plus illuminated plates and on the right is the launch control illuminated plate that lights up when activated.
The steering wheel is nice and grippy while being wrapped in nice soft leather. The horn feels very air boosted and it only works either on or off, so those light little “thank you” horns don’t work.
The 911 comes with all the gauges Porsche can deliver, counting 5 on this model. Starting from the left are the temperature gauges, speedometer with an odometer and a mind bogging 330 KMPH top speed, the rev counter with gear selection indicator and digital speedomter, driver information screen (more on that in a bit) and finally another temperature and fuel gauge.
These are once of the clearest and nicest set of gauges i’ve seen in a while and they light up so well. If I have any concern, it would be that I think the steering wheel might be a tad too big at times, perhaps if they had reduced it by a cm in diameter, still, I cannot complain!
Porsche Communication Management (PCM) is what Porsche call’s their info-tainment system on a 7 inch touch screen. All the control buttons for the system are under the screen along with an in dash DVD slot.
Below that one will find the two zone air conditioning unit. A special thing I realized is that the air conditioning in this 911 seems to be rather powerful, and with the ability to drop the top, having it on and being powerful can make a lovely sunny day just a little bit more fun.
The model I tested did not have air conditioned seats, but if it did, it would have been perfect. Sun? What sun.
The PDK gear leaver sits nicely in the middle in all its metallic glory. Finally, below that comes the controls for the car’s driving. There are three rows, and the first on the left has toggles for Sport Mode, Sport Plus Mode, and Traction Control. The second and center row has three buttons; one to lower the roof, one to raise the roof and one to erect the wind deflector. The same button can put it back down. One will need to press and hold the button till the operation is complete or it will stop mid way and the button operation will reverse. So if you’re half way up with the deflector and you left go, pressing the button will put it back down. The last row of buttons handle the Rear Wing and turning off the Start/Stop function.
Yes, a Start/Stop function in a Porsche 911! In very hot regions like the UAE, it does get rather annoying when the engine stops because the air conditioning is almost always on and it will affect the cooling power with the engine off, but with a cabriolet with the wind in your hair, who cares whether the engine is off!
Up above the center console is a lovely touch by Porsche
I admired this feature on the Cayman S and it looks even better on the 911 with its high rise dash. It really looks very sporty!
I want to talk a little about cabin space.
The new 911 comes with a little more room than the previous generation and that added 25mm of leg room does come in handy. The car has rear seats, which as can be seen from the above images, don’t come with very much space, they never did, but with the additional 25mm of room, one can actually fit (thin people and children only) in the back seats if the front seats are pulled a bit forwards.
In the picture above, the passenger seat could move forward by a few more cms and the rear passenger would, in essence be able to sit for a short trip without any issues.
Surely this isn’t a cabriolet to brag about its 4 seater abilities but it can get the job done. In my opinion, those rear seats will serve more as storage than seats, and they do not have any cup holders either. See? They weren’t made for people!
The cabin in the 911 is rather roomy, especially for a supercar, and with the roof down, you now have infinite space.
In simple terms, its fantastic.
The 911 Carrera 4 has 350 HP, but it is a bit heavier than the coupe, in fact, it’s about 70 KG heavier stated at around 1595 KG. It is 4 wheel drive that is rear wheel biased. It has a roof that can be lowered into the rear.
Covered the facts? Needs there be more to talk about?
The car drives superbly, power delivery is really good, especially being sourced from the 3.4 litre boxer engine, its near immediate. The gearbox works perfectly with the power delivery and the mode selections is really good. There is a slight heaviness to the car when driving in normal mode. I guess because the car isn’t focused on high performance and quick throttle response, you get to feel the rear engine, 4 wheel drive lack of balance, but only rarely.
In normal mode, the car isn’t shouty or ready to pounce as one would expect, it drives rather smoothly, and dare I say a tad slow moving into higher gears as soon as it can for maximum fuel economy, this being a Porsche there is no ECO mode, the normal mode is their ECO mode. The Sports mode is the normal driving mode of a Porsche 911. The car revs nicely, gives a quicker throttle response and the PDK gives you the necessary gear ratios to accelerate and drive fast but without being too aggressive on the driver. The Sports Plus is when the car knows you mean strict business, the power delivery is faster than instantaneous I believe, and the PDK gearbox, shows no mercy, in fact, it hardly ever wants to change a gear until it believes it can no longer go on. It is that good!
The car has their VarioCam Plus system working alongside the PDK gearbox where it can smartly identify different driving dynamics and styles. It can have an idea when the car is being driven nicely, on a normal crusing daily-driving style or if you’re trying to run away from the police. This is one aspect I really love about the Porsche system because, in a brief moment while driving slow, when I would need to suddenly accelerate and drive like a maniac, it wouldn’t stay calmly driving along but it would in fact shift into manual mode on the dashboard, drop down to second gear, hold the revs high and play Mr. Black Monster for as long as I need it to, and when it realizes the fun stuff is over, it would climb back into 7th gear.
The stability on this car is unbelievable, surely most of the power does go to the rear wheels, but having power at the front wheels means that corners can be taken at stupid speed and the car wouldn’t blink its eyes even ones. I took the car to a lovely spot with plenty of quiet deserted corners and I would take every corner a bit faster than the last and the car doesn’t seem to care, the 4 wheel drive system makes this car planted to the ground. Exceptional stability, and with all the electronics calculating grip, stability and road conditions, loosing control sounds like its not physically possible.
The braking on the car is incredible, 4 brilliant cross drilled discs with perfect braking management systems means the car can stop in very short distances and handle much abuse.
As far as fuel economy goes, I haven’t had the ability do to much testing on the 911 Carrera 4 but with some basic math, and a lot of hard acceleration, everything on, and start/stop off, I managed to average nearly 12 MPH, which is nearly 19.6 L/100km where Porsche claims nearly 10. I believe with sensible driving, having start/stop turned on, the car can reach 15-16 MPG, but it’s a Porsche 911, these numbers do not make the buying decision.
The only real thing I felt the car needed was more power. Being that it was a cabriolet, tipping the scales near 1600 KG, having 350 HP and 4 wheel drive, it did have great performance, but with 400 or more, it would have been unbelievable. Thankfully, that is why the Carrera 4s exists, and I believe the 911 Carrera 4S Cabriolet would be at the perfect sweet spot of 911 Cabriolet epicness.
The car, as with modern Porsche models have two main information systems, one on the 7 inch touch screen in the center dashboard and the driver information system which is in the instrument cluster beside the rev counter on a 4.6 inch circular display.
For the main Porsche Communication Management (PCM) on the 7 inch display, it is identical to the one I had reviewed earlier in the Porsche Cayman S Review.
As for the driver information system, there are some subtle changes found in the 911.
From the left: The Vehicle information panel where it shows the current vehicle liquids information, Audio controls (Radio channels can be selected through here as well), and Phone where information about connect phone, phone book, etc can be accessed.
Next comes the Nagivation map which shows precise location of the vehicle, clicking into the panel (using the right steering control) would show written information about destinations last used or the one headed to. The trip computer shows the latest statistics from the time the trip computer was initiated.
The All Wheel panel is specific for 4 wheel drive models of the 911 as it shows, in real time, the amount of power that is spread between the front and rear wheels. The Chrono is a simple stop watch that can assist in 0-100’s and laptops. Finally, the G-Forces which is a beautiful read out that shows, in real time, the G’s one is achieving and keeping the maximum reached static on each of the 4 sides.
The Porsche 911 Carrera 4 Cabriolet is a very special car. It sits low on the range of 911 models, but it does not loose out on any of the others’ character. It has a wonderfully well built interior with amazing materials, gorgeous looks with stunning detail and to best all those, it has an electronic soft top roof (which by the way has magnesium built in for strength, this isn’t all show!) that can be dropped down for infinite head room in a few seconds, even while driving along.
The car drives phenomenally well, after all, it is a Porsche 911, one of the best engineered sports cars today, with sufficient power to pump one’s adrenaline when required and a fairly economical engine when driving along in normal mode.
All in all, one of the most exciting cabriolets in the market today, the only things I wished for were more time with the car, and better weather!
Thank you Porsche Center Dubai.