Performance You Can Live With | 2013 Porsche 911 Carrera S Cabriolet

June 2013 View more


The 2013 Porsche 911 Carrera S Cabriolet is a 400-horsepower reminder of all that is wonderful and rewarding about driving. From its steering, to its acceleration, to its gear shifting, to its braking, sitting behind the wheel of this car is like taking a master class in connecting with the road.

This level of connectedness is only a bad thing if the 911 is your second car. Because after driving the 911 for any length of time, you will swear that something is wrong with your sedan or SUV the next time you take that vehicle out of the garage. The steering will feel too loose, the brakes will feel too soft, the suspension will feel too sloppy, and the acceleration will feel lifeless and boring.

N2013_06_01_007ROADHigh praise? Indeed. Well-deserved, too. The 911 Carrera S Cabriolet will get you to highway velocity in the mid-four-second range, but can also content itself while conveying you through school zones. It will readily storm through curvy back roads at extra-legal speeds, or loaf along on the interstate at a 27-mile-per-gallon pace. It will also absorb potholes and speed bumps as well as a high-end sports-tuned sedan.

If you decide you need the top down after you have already pulled away from the curb, you can lower the roof in about 13 seconds while the car is moving—up to a brisk 31 mph.

N2013_06_01_006ROADWeep not if you believe that practicality trumps driving enjoyment: The 911 has a trunk and a back seat, and it handles as well in a heavy downpour as on a sunny day, so it technically qualifies as a car you can drive every day.

In short, this is a flexible car—one that requires few sacrifices to your daily routine.

Perhaps surprisingly, given the trend toward automatic transmissions even in exotic cars, the 911 can be commissioned with an honest-to-goodness manual—although it is a manual with seven gears, which makes it an interesting conversation piece.

And what a transmission. With a clutch that requires an entirely reasonable amount of left-foot pressure and a gear-shift that slides satisfyingly into place, it is a pleasure to work the gears even in stop-and-go driving. When the road opens up, the short ratios make for an intensely satisfying progression from first through sixth. Seventh gear, which has lower torque, is reserved for steady interstate cruising.

For the sake of your reputation, remember to tell your passengers that the 911 has automatic stop/start technology just like a Prius; when the engine cuts out at a stop light, it’s not a stall, the car is simply saving fuel while you idle.

Although it is putatively a four-seater, the 911 Carrera S is most suitably a conveyance for two. Children will fit in the back seats, but only if both they and the front seat occupants are on the short side. The trunk is spacious enough for a mid-week grocery run or a long weekend’s worth of luggage.

The 2013 Porsche 911 Carrera S carries a base sticker of $98,900 (hardtop) or $110,800 (Cabriolet). Add all-wheel-drive to the mix, and you have the 911 Carrera 4S ($105,630 hardtop, $117,530 Cabriolet). Or, if you do not need all the power, the 350-horsepower 911 Carrera starts at $84,300 for the hardtop or $96,200 for the convertible.

Because Porsche has turned the options list into an art form—enabling buyers to customize their cars down to leather-wrapped air vent slats—your final tally will reflect how much you want your 911 to express your personal taste.

© 2013 Porsche Cars North America, Inc.