2020 Porsche 911 Carrera S Cabriolet Takes The Stage
As we watch Porsche enter its 992 911 generation, our gearhead conscious ticks away with internal dialogues regarding coupes versus convertibles. The Porsche 911, now a fifty-five year old moniker, has always offered the two choices across various trims. But from a driving perspective - the one missing a solid roof tends to also miss out on some of the excitement when it reaches your hands on the steering wheel. That’s because all convertibles are slower than their coupe counterpart, given the same engine and chassis. They’re heavier from bottom end reinforcement and fewer fore-aft points of contact reduce their rigidity. They accelerate slower, turn with lesser finesse, have a lower top speed, cost more to buy up front, and depreciate faster. Worst yet, driving with the top down exposes you to the eyes of nearby motorists.
And unless you have the miraculous anti-aging properties of Patrick Stewart, you’re going to look like a geek when sitting in traffic. You paid $126,100 for this? Damn
But we have to remember - this is a dialogue. Its counterpoint is a 3.0-liter twin-turbo flat-six producing 443 horsepower for a zero-to-60 mph in 3.7 seconds. 3.6 seconds if it’s the AWD 4S. And 3.5 seconds if the Carrera S Cabriolet is equipped with Sport Chrono package (3.4 for 4S). Top speed? A mere 190 miles per hour. 188 for 4S. Numbers that surpass the Audi R8 V10 Spyder with a 90 horsepower deficit.
Since the 992 Cabriolet is based on the coupe chassis, it too gains improvements over the previous generation. Its body is 1.8-inches wider (45 mm) with a wider front and rear track. It has new PASM Sport Suspension option, dropping the ride height by 10mm with stiffer sway bars and springs. A new 8-speed PDK dual-clutch transmission is standard, as are its fully aluminum body panels, LED headlights, and flush electric door handles. It’s also potentially lighter and handles better, but those kinds of details are not announced yet. Standard tires are 245/35 ZR20 with 305/30 ZR21 Michelin Pilot Sport 4S treads over new 20- and 21-inch wheels.
In the cabin, the 992 ups the infotainment screen from 7-inches to 10.9. Here, the driver is privy to a redesigned menu, toggle switches, dual multi-information screens in the gauge pod, new ‘wet’ driving mode, standard camera based automatic emergency braking, wet road detection, wind deflector and predictive driver warnings. Optional interior features include night vision camera with thermal imaging, 18-way Sport Seats Plus, and (in Porsche tradition) adaptive cruise control - a feature that’s standard on an $18,000 Honda Fit.
Setting the roof to fold down takes 12 seconds at speeds up to 31 mph. The fabric soft top has a glass rear window for improved isolation, and Porsche says they’ve reworked its hydraulics to operate faster than before. But once the bulkhead is finished doing its work, our internal dialogue starts up again. The Carrera 4S Cabriolet with Sport Chrono pack, in its fastest specification, is still 0.2 seconds slower than a 992 Carrera 4S Coupe - while costing (brace for it) $12,800 more. It’s also not as pretty - both because the only time a four seater convertible looks good is when it’s a Rolls Royce Phantom Drophead and because the 911’s iconic bulging rear end no longer has a sweeping roofline to sweep to. And you look like a geek. Maybe our dialogue would change if we had enough money to not care that we’re paying more for a slower, uglier car. But we don’t.
2020 Porsche 911 Carrera S Cabriolet models start at $126,100. Carrera 4S at $133,400. U.S. deliveries expected to begin late summer 2019.