2013 Porsche 911 Carrera S Cabriolet

2013 Porsche 911 Carrera S Cabriolet 2013 Porsche 911 Carrera S Cabriolet
Instrumented Test

The salient thing about the 2013 Porsche 911 Carrera S cabriolet is that you can comfortably carry on a phone conversation at 70 mph with the top down. Seriously, the automated wind deflector is that good.

So, too, is the rest of the car. In our testing, we found the 400-hp Carrera S cabriolet to be roughly equivalent to the 350-hp Carrera coupe, sprinting from 0 to 60 mph a 10th faster, in 4.3 seconds. The quarter-mile times of the base coupe and S cabrio were separated by an additional 10th, with the slightly quicker S droptop crossing the line in 12.7 seconds at 114 mph. The convertible stopped from 70 mph in 149 feet, and on the skidpad it pulled 1.03 g. These are not trifling numbers.

Carrying an as-tested price of $144,400, the S cab impressed us just as much away from the track. We’d like to tell you that the Monroney was inflated with a lot of unnecessary frippery, but after driving the car in the real world, we feel the $30,000-plus in options is mostly justified. Porsche’s dynamic engine mounts (included in the $1850 Sport Chrono package) and Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control ($3160) help the car ride and handle like the world’s most-agile Hovercraft. The new electric power steering always plays smooth music, even if you start in with the jazz hands. And the car has a high tolerance for shenanigans, sticking to the pavement like Manti Te’o to a story.

The cabriolet’s magnesium-panel-laced softtop looks good, is quick to deploy, and does a fine job insulating wind noise, although the howling of the tires is fairly constant. Countering that annoyance are the Burmester audio unit ($5010) and a sport exhaust system ($2950) that really makes the 3.8-liter flat-six sing. Porsche’s adaptive sport seats plus ($3465) with 18-way adjustment start out comfortable and supportive but become less so after a few hours behind the wheel.

As we’ve written before, the new Type 991 version of Porsche’s 50-years-old-this-fall sports car is longer, wider, and easier to drive. The convertible version is also all those things, just with more Vitamin D. But the $11,900 more you’ll pay for a cabriolet over a coupe buys a lot of supplements. Even the $97,150 Carrera cabriolet—sans S—is only a leather interior away from six figures.

If you want to make a case against the 911 cab, that’s it right there—no need to trot out mostly specious arguments about compromised chassis rigidity or reduced performance. Besides, the 911’s true Achilles’ heels are still the Boxster S and Cayman S, the former more so in this open-air context. Just as Porsche’s “lesser” sports cars are every bit the performance equivalents of the Carrera coupe, the Boxster S comes within a 10th or two of matching the Carrera S cabriolet in acceleration and even outbrakes its sunshine sorority sister. Yet the base price differential between the two is almost $50,000. Yes, that’s enough to buy a regular Boxster, but such is the perversion of Porsche pricing.