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2020 Porsche 911 Carrera

Porsche 911 Carrera (2020) review

The new Carrera coupe is the meat and potatoes of the Porsche 911 range. Or perhaps a bratwurst and fries, washed down with a refreshing pilsner, for those with Teutonic taste.

Stepping up to the recently-launched 911 Turbo swaps your sausage for a spicy currywurst and beer for a full-bodied bock.

Then there’s the forthcoming, track-focused GT3: a lightweight salad with a crisp Riesling to vivify your senses.

And finally, the fearsome GT2: a liquid lunch of Jägerbombs to utterly blow your mind.

Sadly, the Carrera isn’t as cheap as chips. Have one-too-many Jägerbombs before tackling Porsche’s online configurator and its £82,793 price can swell to six figures.

Still, the basics are what matter most: chiefly a 3.0-litre flat-six located, as ever, behind the back axle. It serves up 385hp and 332lb ft of torque from 1,950rpm, driving the rear wheels via a PDK semi-automatic transmission.

A seven-speed manual arrives this summer, although most 911 buyers now prefer paddles.

Despite its same-again styling, the 911’s 70 percent aluminium body is all-new. Look closely and you’ll spot pop-out door handles and different alloy wheel sizes (19in front, 20in rear), plus a high-level brake light that illuminates like an ‘11’ alongside nine grille slats. See what they did there?

One feature you won’t find, though, is the ‘narrow body’ that used to characterise the Carrera. All 911s now share the same wide track and muscular haunches. More on that shortly.

Inside, the minimalist cabin looks futuristic and is brimful of cutting-edge tech. A traditional analogue rev counter stays front-and-centre, but is flanked by digital dials, including an (optional) infra-red night vision display. The 10.9in touchscreen looks super-sharp and connects seamlessly with your phone, while knurled metal toggle switches add some retro charm.

And, lest we forget, the 911 has rear seats. They meant I could ferry my nine- and six-year-old kids around all weekend, when most rival cars would have stayed at home.

Even this ‘basic’ 911 is blisteringly quick. Standstill to 62mph takes 4.2 seconds, or four seconds flat with the Sport Chrono pack and launch control. That’s on par with the 2001 ‘996’ GT2. The Carrera’s twin turbos use smaller compressor wheels than more powerful 911s, so they spool up faster, giving instant right-foot response.

Also, the use of forced induction, while anathema to Porsche purists, means impressive economy. Keep it smooth and you should see 30mpg.

In Normal mode, the 911 does a convincing impression of a luxury GT. Its suspension is taut, although not at the expense of ride comfort, while the gearbox shifts up early – and almost imperceptibly – to save fuel.

Twist the steering wheel controller to Sport or Sport Plus, though, and its inner sports car is emancipated. The engine barks, yelps and howls, racing to its 7,500rpm redline with gleeful abandon, and shifts are now rifle-bolt rapid. Whisper it, but for driving around my home of London, I’d choose the speed and convenience of PDK every time.

A new Wet mode is also standard, which uses acoustic sensors behind the front wheelarches to sense water spray and ramp up the car’s stability systems. In the depths of Storm Dennis, it made the 911 feel planted and predictable, without muting its nuanced steering or athletic cornering balance. This still feels like a car developed by drivers, for drivers, combining explosive performance with finely wrought feedback.

Just the 911’s size – those hips are almost wider than a Mercedes S-Class limo – holds you back on rural roads.

Faster and more focused models are coming, but only the much pricier 911 Turbo (which you’ll read about here soon) will likely match the bandwidth of the Carrera. Fifty-seven years after launch, this is still the only sports car you need.

Price: £82,793

0-62mph: 4.2sec

Top speed: 182mph

CO2 G/KM: 206

MPG combined: 31.7

Spot the difference: new vs. old Porsche 911 Turbo

Porsche 911 Turbo 992 v 991

Every time a new 911 is launched, Porsche garners both praise and criticism for its evolutionary approach to design. Now, in the 40th year of the 911 Turbo, the latest ‘992’ 911 has a full-fat flagship. The new 911 Turbo has been revealed.

We compare new versus old, 992 Turbo versus 991 Turbo, to see how Porsche has changed the fastest 911. And we explain why this might be the defining variant of the 992.

Porsche 911 Turbo 992 v 991

The light bar

As we mentioned in our comparison between the 991 and 992 Carrera  models, the most obvious change can be found at the back, with the new full-width LED light bar.

When we first saw the Carrera sporting this new feature, we had an inkling the Turbo might turn out to be the most desirable 992. And the new hero wears this very ‘Turbo’ trope predictably well.

The exhausts

While these only just appeared on the 992 Carrera, the Turbo has featured high-mounted exhausts, recessed into the bumper, since the 997 generation. The 992 Turbo continues that, staying true to form with cuboidal pipes as an option. 

Porsche 911 Turbo 992 v 991

The hips

Another indication that the 992 was made to be ‘Turbo’, was the fact that no ‘narrow body’ configuration was offered, not even for the entry-level Carrera. In reality, that’s cost-cutting on Porsche’s part, but we couldn’t help but think of the imminent 992 Turbo. 

Specifically, the 992 Turbo is 10mm wider at the rear wheels. The familiar haunch vents carry over from the 991 Turbo, GT3 RS and GT2 RS variants, although they now feed air to the re-positioned air intakes. They share cooling duties with vents above the engine.

Porsche 911 Turbo 992 v 991

The spoiler

It wouldn’t be a Porsche 911 Turbo without a bit of a wing, although not too much. While the stubby retractable items we’ve seen over the last 20 years aren’t exactly whale tails, the new car stays true to its immediate lineage.

That said, there is a larger surface area, which, together with the rest of the 992 Turbo’s active aero, delivers a 15 percent increase in downforce over the 991.

Porsche 911 Turbo 992 v 991

Vents and creases

Last seen on the 993, retro bonnet creases are a callback to the air-cooled era. As for the ventilation, the new Turbo doesn’t stray as far from its Carrera stablemate, as all 991 variants did. Active vents in the nose work with the wing for increased downforce. 

Could the conservative changes to the Carrera’s look be a problem for those who buy a Turbo? Probably not. You know what you’re looking at as soon as you see the vents in the hips, not to mention the fact that the 992 Turbo is 42mm wider at the front than even the 991 version. 

Porsche 911 Turbo 992 v 991

Pushing the wheels out on the standard 992 gave a very classic hourglass look from above. The Turbo only exaggerates that. The 992’s front end is overall more upmarket and cleaner than before, so it’s no bad thing that the Turbo has massaged the existing look, rather than brought an all-new design. It’s function over flamboyance.

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The performance

We didn’t cover performance with the 992 Carrera, and admittedly it has nothing to do with the looks. But the long-standing reputation of the 911 Turbo as a supercar slayer warrants it. Especially given the new car’s very generous bump in punch. In full Turbo S spec, the new 3.8-litre twin-turbo flat-six delivers a massive 650hp. That’s a 70hp increase over the 991. 

It achieves that with bigger turbos, which should flow more freely thanks to their symmetrical layout, plus compressor and turbine wheels that rotate in opposite directions. In combination with the eight-speed PDK double-clutch gearbox and four-wheel-drive, the Turbo S rockets to 62mph in 2.7 seconds (0.2 seconds quicker than the 991), on the way to a 205mph top speed. Both are figures that match the newly-revealed McLaren 765LT.

The biggest leap on from the 991 generation is the 0-120mph time. It’ll complete the sprint in 8.9 seconds – a full second quicker.

Porsche 911 Turbo 992 v 991

The price

Ah, the price. Gone are the days when the Turbo was the only 911 to tickle the £100,000 price point. While the 991 Turbo debuted in 2014 at around £130,000, the new Turbo S starts from £155,970 for the coupe, and £165,127 for the cabriolet.

That said, when you consider it could show most of the inventory at a McLaren dealer a clean pair of heels, it sounds like a bit of a bargain.

This modified RWB Porsche 911 is an extreme machine up for sale

BaT RWB Modified Porsche 911

The all-new Volkswagen Golf GTI might feature hints of tartan on the inside, but that is nothing compared to the interior of this modified Porsche 911. 

But this is not just any German sports car, but one that has been specially modified by Japanese tuner Rauh-Welt Begriff (RWB). 

From the exterior made to look like an original Carrera RS, to the upgraded engine and wide wheels, nothing has been left untouched

Rough World Concept

BaT RWB Modified Porsche 911

Currently available for auction on Bring a Trailer, this car began life as a regular 1987 Porsche 911 Carrera coupe. The car lived in Texas and California, before the RWB conversion in 2015.

Founded in Japan, Rauh-Welt Begriff creates bespoke 911s for customers across the globe. Founder Akira Nakai travels the world to fit the bodywork to each custom car the company builds, giving each a unique touch. 

Translated as ‘Rough World Concept’, RWB typically takes inspiration from Porsche GT race cars from the 1990s. However, this one has been inspired to look like the desirable Carrera RS from the 1970s. 

Backdated and widened

BaT RWB Modified Porsche 911

Before the RWB conversion, the Porsche was repainted in Light Yellow. The sunroof was removed, the fuel filler was moved to inside the front trunk, whilst the passenger-side mirror and windshield wiper were also chopped. 

The widebody RWB kit added new bumpers, a lengthened hood, and a rear engine cover with a ‘ducktail’ spoiler. Carrera decals were added to the side, along with a RAUH-Welt graphics on the windshield and spoiler.  

Drilled door handles, European-spec lights, and new chrome trim were also included.

Lower and more powerful

BaT RWB Modified Porsche 911

To ensure the 911 sits right, a set of three-way adjustable Moton coilovers were installed, with 17-inch Fuchs-style alloy wheels. Brake calipers and rotors were all replaced in 2018.

The air-cooled 3.2-liter flat-six engine has also been enhanced, with Jenvey individual throttle bodies fitted. A new ECU was installed to control it, whilst a Fabspeed catalytic bypass is mated to a dual-exit exhaust.

Although performance figures are not quoted, the work should mean this Porsche produces more than the 217 horsepower if originally left the factory with.

Not so mellow yellow

BaT RWB Modified Porsche 911

A five-speed manual transmission is controlled by a shifter topped by a Porsche 917-inspired wooden shift knob. It is one of the subtler parts of the interior, which is finished in a dramatic yellow tartan upholstery. 

The incredible yellow material covers the inserts for the sport seats, door cards, dashboard, and the storage bins replacing the rear seats. It makes for a bold statement, but one that works with the overall image of the car. 

Creature comforts like electric windows and climate control have been retained, whilst RWB also installed a MOMO Prototipo steering wheel. 

Media starlet

BaT RWB Modified Porsche 911

Attempting to put a price on a RWB Porsche is not easy, given the uniqueness of each build. That this car was featured in Super Street magazine, and driven by Porsche tuning icon Magnus Walker, will only help the desirability. 

The overall mileage covered by the Porsche is unknown, although 7,000 kilometers have been added since the car moved to Canada. Located in Vancouver, the Porsche is being sold on a British Columbia registration. 

Being such a rare vehicle, the RWB 911 has already provoked many comments on Bring a Trailer. The auction runs until Wednesday, March 4th, leaving plenty of time to prepare for that interior. 

Buyers can now leave their actual fingerprint on a new Porsche 911

Porsche 911 Exclusive Manufaktur Fingerprint

Buyers of exclusive German sports cars have long had the chance to add their own custom touches. However, Porsche has upped the ante with a new direct printing option.

It allows customers to add a replica of their very own fingerprint to the bonnet of a new 911, creating a truly unique vehicle. 

The bespoke creation is due to a new printing process, developed by the Exclusive Manufaktur department at Porsche’s Zuffenhausen headquarters. 

This fingerprint won’t polish out

Porsche 911 Exclusive Manufaktur Fingerprint

Sports car owners might typically spend ages detailing their cars to remove fingerprints. Porsche’s new process ensures the large scale replica applied to a new 911 stays for good. 

A specialist team at Porsche’s paint shop worked to develop the printing technology, allowing the complex design of a fingerprint to be replicated. 

Using a similar concept to an inkjet printer, a robotic arm is in charge of applying the fingerprint design. A clear coat is added afterwards to ensure the hard work is not rubbed off, with the bonnet polished to a gloss finish. 

Technology with a human touch

Porsche 911 Exclusive Manufaktur Fingerprint

Christian Will, Vice President Production Development at Porsche AG, comments that the “ability to control the nozzles individually permits targeted application of every paint droplet” with the new print head technology. 

Porsche will initially limit the painting technique to fingerprints for now, plans are in place to expand it to other customer-specific designs. 

For now, the fingerprinting option will be offered solely for the latest Porsche 911, starting in March 2020. Priced at €7,500 (£6,300, $8,100), this is a rather pricey way to add a custom touch to a new sports car. 

Leaving a mark

Porsche 911 Exclusive Manufaktur Fingerprint

Porsche is also keen to note that all biometric data is handled “to make sure it cannot be used for an unauthorised purpose”. How important that is when you have decided to publicly display your fingerprint to the world is another matter. 

Customers are kept fully informed of how the process works, and have control over their personal information. 

Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur has also recently announced two new body kits for the latest 911. These might be a more conventional option for buyers wanting to add a personal touch to their new car.

Porsche 911 GT2 RS review: wing and a prayer

There’s already a new ‘992’ Porsche 911 parked on every side street in west London, but we’re yet to see any go-faster versions. On past form, these will include a Turbo and Turbo S, GT3 and GT3 RS, plus the flagship GT2 RS.

The GT2 RS is the 911 at the peak of its powers. And the outgoing ‘991’ version is still the fastest, most powerful road-legal 911 to date: a hardcore hero with two seats, a titanium rollcage and an Airbus-sized rear wing. A 700hp twin-turbo engine means 0-62mph in 2.8 seconds and 211mph flat-out, plus the ability to blitz the 12.9-mile Nürburgring circuit in six minutes 47 seconds. Among series production cars, only the Lamborghini Aventador SVJ has gone quicker.

Arriving at Porsche HQ, I sign a disclaimer promising not to die, then collect the keys. The GT2 RS bristles with mechanical malice, its familiar silhouette peppered with aggressive aero addenda. The 3.8-litre motor clatters like a bag of bolts at idle, but proves even-tempered and superbly tractable around town. With the paddleshift PDK gearbox in auto mode (only the naturally-aspirated GT3 RS had a manual option), this racetrack refugee initially feels no more taxing than a common-or-garden Carrera.

Lulled into a false sense of serenity, I head west and arrive at the ‘Lambourn Triangle’ – a lightly-trafficked loop of Berkshire B-roads used as a test route by car magazines. Passing a national speed limit sign, I flatten my right foot and a wall of power wallops me between the shoulder blades. With 553lb ft of torque from 2,500rpm, the turbocharged Rennsport accelerates with the intensity of an avalanche, the industrial rumble of its flat-six amplified to a primal roar. Its sheer ferocity scrambles my synapses, pummelling the breath from my lungs. Mentally and physically, it feels all-consuming.

Thankfully, the Porsche has a chassis equal to its straight-line speed. Its ball-jointed, solidly mounted suspension is closely related to the 911 Cup car, but adaptive dampers and helper springs add a degree of civility. Brakes are huge ceramic composite discs with six-pot front calipers, while soft-compound Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres offer motorsport-grade adhesion – on dry tarmac, at least. Keep the throttle pinned until VMax and the RS generates 450kg of downforce, equivalent to nearly a third of its own weight.

The result, once I’ve recalibrated my brain to that pulse-spiking performance, is a car that’s fluid, intuitive and richly rewarding to drive. Turn-in is razor-sharp, the GT2 RS hard-wired into every ripple of the road, yet its ride is supple enough not to feel skittish. Rear-wheel steering improves stability at speed, too. As my confidence grows, I push harder, feeling the weight shift, brakes bite and tyres squirm. Despite that sledgehammer shove, everything moves with a measured directness that speaks of meticulous German engineering. I’m still in awe of this uber-911, but I’m no longer intimidated by it.

The turbocharged 911 has come a long way, from wayward ‘widowmaker’ to laser-guided missile. However much I up my game, the GT2 RS rises to the challenge. It’s a fitting flagship for the 991, and already a future classic. At present, the new 992 is only available in 385hp Carrera and 450hp Carrera S guises, but RS versions are already deep in development. How much further can Porsche push the 911? I’m not sure, but don’t bank on Lamborghini holding that lap-record for long.

Price: N/A (£228,548 when new)

0-62mph: 2.8 seconds

Top speed: 211mph

CO2 G/KM: 269

MPG combined: 23.9

Porsche 911 GT2 RS: in pictures

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Matt Farah Porsche 911

Rally-ready Porsche 911 is the perfect commuter car

Matt Farah Porsche 911

Many think the answer to speed humps and potholed roads is a crossover. They’re wrong. The correct answer is a ‘Safari’ Porsche 911, as auto journalist Matt Farah has discovered in Los Angeles.

Glamorous it may be, but Los Angeles has one thing in common with Britain: how damaged its road network is. Farah sought to find a solution.

”Although we are blessed with places like the Angeles Forest and Malibu Canyons, two of the finest places on Earth to drive a sports car, the city itself is a nightmare,” Farah explains.

“The infrastructure is crumbling, repairs are rarely thorough, the freeway expansion joints are a sports car owner’s worst nightmare, and for a city as ‘spread out’ as LA is, it’s awfully crowded all the time. It can be a real challenge in low, modern sports cars.”

A baja-bashing Ford Raptor might have been a more obvious choice than a 911. However, such a truck would be more difficult to thread through LA than the compact, classic Porsche.

Matt Farah Porsche 911

“I wanted something like the Raptor, but smaller, so the obvious answer was a rally car. Once I drove Leh Keen’s personal Safari 911, it was like a light bulb moment.”

Keen is a builder of go-anywhere Porsche 911s, aping the classic ‘Safari’ rally cars. Farah had a taste of the first build a few years ago. He then described it as “totally different to what most people think you should be doing with a 911”. Contrarian though the idea is, he was sold on the project: “I sent him a deposit check (sic) almost immediately afterwards”.

Going for an 87-onwards car, Farah wanted to ensure a better gearshift feel, and be able to pick the colour. Keen can handle the job from start to finish, including sourcing a car, if the buyer wants. Matt’s is a 1987 Carrera 3.2 in Cassis Red, a desirable colour preserved underneath a wrap.

Building a ‘Safari’ Porsche 911Matt Farah Porsche 911

Turning a sports car into a diet dune buggy is no small job: the parts list is extensive. Front to back, it features bash bars, skid plates, rally light pods, shaved side door mirrors, tucked bumpers, Braid Motorsport Fuchs-style wheels, Elephant Racing Safari suspension, a Quaife limited-slip differential and BF Goodrich K02 tyres. It’s jacked-up, jump-ready and looks the absolute business.

On the inside, Matt made a bold but practical choice for the trim. Replacing the burgundy leather is commercial-grade LA city bus fabric, designed for 20 years of constant wear. “It’ll probably outlast the rest of the car,” he says.

There were worries it wouldn’t match the rest of the burgundy leather that was retained (headliner, door uppers, dashboard upper and base carpet), but it turned out well. Even the new Momo Prototipo steering wheel was trimmed to match the burgundy, and apparently took 20 attempts to get right.

From the Baja to the boulevardMatt Farah Porsche 911

You can keep your Audi A1 Citycarver, or your Vauxhall Adam Rocks. Matt Farah has helped create the perfect city car. “It is literally my daily driver,” he concludes.

“I recently loaded three bushels of firewood behind the rear seats. I mean – it’s not meant for attacking the canyons or going to the racetrack, it’s meant for going to the shops, driving to my office, running errands and then taking to the dirt for some fun. It really is the best parts of a Baja truck and the best parts of an air-cooled 911.”

This patchwork Porsche 911 is a one-off prototype

Porsche 911 prototype 1974

When is a mongrel actually a pedigree? When a patchwork quilt of classic Porsche 911 parts is revealed to be an early prototype, a taproot model for future iconic versions, and the former company car of the man in charge.

Far from being a bodge job, this 1974 911 ‘2.7’ is genesis, a one-off, a factory-built hot-rod.

Ordinarily, pre-1975 Porsche 911s came with neither the enormous (and now iconic) ‘Turbo’ ducktail wing, nor a 3.0-litre flat-six engine. But this is no ordinary 1974 911, even beyond its slightly garish Lemon leather interior.

It’s far from being a cut and shut, as Porsche connoisseur and dealer Walter Hoffmann feared in 2008 when he was scouting for projects. He was even prepared to swap in what he believed to be a more authentic 2.7-litre engine once he got the car home.

Porsche 911 prototype 1974

But no. Any other older 911 with this mish-mash of parts from later cars could rightly be dismissed as such. Hoffmann’s instincts said otherwise of this 74 car.

A little more digging revealed it to be a prototype wearing to-be-productionised parts. The 190hp 3.0-litre engine was a precursor to both the naturally-aspirated 200hp variant that would go into production a year later, as well as the legendary 911 Turbo due at the same time.

It even came fitted with a then- state-of-the-art Bosch K-tronic fuel injection system. This was designed to improve efficiency in the face of the oil crisis. Likewise, as above, that wing must have looked out of place in 1974. A year before anyone had seen a Turbo badge on the rump of a 911.

Porsche 911 prototype 1974

A Porsche prototype is quite a cool thing on its own, even if it’s a mule the research and development department accidentally sold. This car, however, had a bit more time at the top of the tree.

See, it was the company car of the first person without Porsche in their name to take charge of the sports car manufacturer. From July 1974 to January 1976, it was in regular use by Dr Ernst Fuhrmann, the first chairman of the executive board of Porsche. Yes, the same Fuhrmann of the famous ‘Fuhrmann’ 356 engines. The man behind the powerplant of Porsche’s breakout racer and sports car.

Once in charge at Porsche in 1976, he would go on to press for the development of the 924 and 928 transaxle models, and as a result was even accused of wanting to ‘bury’ the 911. Are these ideas the product of time Fuhrmann spent escaping in his 911? The pedigree mongrel of a patchwork 911? To by a fly on the headliner. We’ll never know just how significant this car really is.

 

Give it some stick: Porsche 911 now offered with manual gearbox

Porsche 911 manual 2020

When the new ‘992’ version of the 911 was revealed, Porsche promised a manual gearbox to complement the PDK paddle-shift automatic.

Now, although referring to US-market cars at present, details of the new stick-shift are starting to trickle out.

Manual 911 could be more exclusive

Porsche 911 Carrera Coupe

A seven-speed manual transmission will be a no-cost option in the 992. However, in the US at least, it will only be available on Carrera S, 4S and related soft-top variants. Standard Carreras won’t be available with a stick. Furthermore, choosing the manual box will necessitate having the optional Sport Chrono Package.

That means no manual 911 will come without dynamic engine mounts, PSM sport mode or a wheel-mounted drive mode selector. 

Lighter, but slower to accelerate

2019 Porsche 911 Cabriolet

As you might expect, the seven-speed manual ‘box does come with a weight benefit. Manual cars will be down around 40kg compared with PDK-equipped models. A standard Carrera S with a manual will be the lightest 911 on sale, at 1,945kg.

Also unsurprising are the slightly stunted acceleration figures in comparison with PDK-equipped cars. While 60mph comes in under 3.5 seconds in a Carrera S PDK, it’ll be closer to four seconds in the manual.

Room for a ‘back to basics’ 911

Porsche 911 T

Given you need to have a ‘specced-up’ 911 in order to have a stick and clutch pedal, there is room for a ‘back to basics’ variant. We expect something along the lines of the 991 Carrera T (pictured above) will fill that gap. Until the GT3 arrives, that is.

Expect UK specifications to be revealed imminently, with manual cars expected in dealers by next summer.

2019 Porsche 911 Cabriolet review: no longer the soft option

2019 Porsche 911 Cabriolet

Forget Nordschleife lap-times or willy-waving top speeds. Sports cars are all about sensation: how they look, the noises they make and – above all – how they feel to drive. And nothing heightens those sensations like removing the roof.

Try telling that to Porsche purists, though. They have traditionally seen the 911 Cabriolet as a soft option: a car for boulevards, not B-roads. Granted, the drop-top 911 can’t boast a motorsport pedigree, or indeed a back-catalogue of RS- and GT-badged greatness. But its credentials as a driver’s car have never been in doubt.

So, let’s put snobbery to one side and judge the new Cabriolet simply as a sports car. Here’s hoping it’s, well, sensational.

It starts from six figures

2019 Porsche 911 Cabriolet

First, the bad news: you can’t buy a 911 Cabriolet for less than six figures. At least not yet. The two-wheel-drive Carrera S starts at £102,455, with the 4WD Carrera 4S from £108,063. That’s around £10,000 more than the coupe.

Only 450hp ‘S’ versions are available at launch, although an entry-level Carrera will follow later (and likely dip below £100k). Likewise, you must have the paddleshift PDK auto ’box for now: a seven-speed manual comes in 2020.

As you’d expect, the list of options is also longer than an orangutan’s arm. I’ll come to those later.

It does ‘schnell’ very well

2019 Porsche 911 Cabriolet

The 911 Cabriolet weighs 70kg more than the coupe (1,585kg total), but 450 German Pferdestärke – the same as a 2005 996 Turbo S – means it’s savagely quick. Nigh-on supercar quick.

Zero to 60mph takes 3.7sec in the S – or 3.5sec with the optional Sport Chrono pack, which includes launch control. In both instances, the 4S is 0.1sec swifter. Find an empty Autobahn and you’ll hit 190mph.

This latest 3.0-litre flat-six also serves up a monstrous slab of turbocharged torque: 391lb ft from 2,300rpm. Full power isn’t achieved until 6,500rpm, though, at which point you still have another 1,000 frenzied revolutions per minute left.

Not a case of copy and paste

2019 Porsche 911 Cabriolet

Designing a new 911 is, one might assume, the easiest job in motordom. A straightforward case of copy and paste. However, it’s also something of a poisoned chalice. Get it wrong and the faithful will never forgive you.

To the untrained eye, the 992 does look near-as-dammit identical to its predecessor. In fact, just 15 percent of parts are carried over and the bodyshell is all-new: now 70 percent aluminium, versus 31 percent in the 991.

The most obvious difference is the full-width rear light bar. Once the preserve of the Carrera 4, it’s now applied across the entire Porsche range. All 911s now have fulsome, Turbo-style hips, too – there’s no longer a ‘narrow body’ option. They’re needed to accommodate larger alloys, now 20 inches at the front and 21 inches at the rear.

One pleasing nod to the past is the bonnet recess in front of the windscreen. It was inspired by the original A- to G-series 911s, built from 1963 to 1989.

It’s a bit of a looker (even with the roof up)

2019 Porsche 911 Cabriolet

Unlike some 911 Cabriolets of yore, this one also looks good with the roof up. Its hood retains the iconic teardrop shape of the coupe, arcing smoothly into the 992’s bulbous backside.

Electrically lowering or raising the roof takes 12 seconds, at speeds up to 32mph. Once retracted, it lies hidden beneath the rear deck. And going al fresco doesn’t impact on luggage space because, well, the boot is in the front.

Rather than being strictly a ‘soft-top’, the Cabriolet roof consists of four magnesium panels covered in cloth. These allow for that sleeker profile, reduce interior noice and make the hood effectively slash-proof.

At last, the cabin doesn’t let the side down

2019 Porsche 911 Cabriolet

Ergonomics have never been a 911 forte. The outgoing 991, with its bewildering array of buttons, lagged at least a generation behind the rival Audi R8.

Thankfully, the 992’s cabin is a genuine step-on. Sure, there are a few age-old 911 quirks – such as the five-dial binnacle, with its outer gauges obscured by the steering wheel – but the new 12.3-inch touchscreen media system (shared with the Cayenne and Panemera) is intuitive to use and looks gorgeous. One notable black mark: there’s Apple Carplay connectivity, but no Android Auto.

Quality has taken a leap, as the 911 treads the blurred boundary between cosseting GT and serious sports car. I particularly like the kurled toggle switches on the centre console, which offer swift access to the drive modes and chassis settings.

Lest we forget, the 911 Cabriolet also has rear seats. The backrests are bolt-upright and it feels horribly claustrophobic with the roof up, but they’re still a useful advantage over many competitors.

It’s a 911 turbo that sounds like a 911 Turbo

2019 Porsche 911 Cabriolet

Among the many things to rile 911 superfans over the years (“You changed WHAT?”), the switch from naturally-aspirated to turbocharged Carreras was a notable line in the sand. Throttle response will never be as electric, they fretted, and the engine won’t sound the same.

Fire up the 992, though, and the rumble from behind your back is unmistakeably a flat-six. The difference here – particularly when you select Sport mode – is that Porsche is no longer being coy about forced induction. The new 911 whooshes and whoops, its wastegate chattering like a WRC car. It sounds overtly and gloriously turbocharged.

At higher revs, that noise swells to a full-bodied roar, the tailpipes snarling and spitting in unbridled fury. And it’s all amplified by having the roof down.

It’s good at playing Gran Turismo

2019 Porsche 911 Cabriolet

My drive starts on the outskirts of Athens, on roads peppered with potholes and forlorn 1980s hatchbacks. Time to ease myself in gently and test the 911’s grand touring credentials.

Its driving position is infinitely adjustable and very comfortable. The view ahead is framed by those voluptuous front wings and the curvaceous flanks fill the door mirrors. I select Normal mode and leave the gearbox, now with eight speeds, in automatic mode. So far, so good.

On the move, the 911 feels supple without being floaty or imprecise. The PDK shifts seamlessly and the engine remains muted. If you’ve just eased yourself out of a Mercedes-Benz SL or BMW 8 Series, you’ll feel right at home.

With the roof down, the cabin stays impressively calm, particularly if you deploy the pop-up wind deflector. You can chat to passengers at motorway speeds without straining your voice.

But scratch the surface and it’s still a 911

2019 Porsche 911 Cabriolet

Still, I didn’t come to Greece to pose topless (ahem). So I head inland for the mountains beyond Athens, and the sort of roads that resemble a hand-drawn scribble on the nav screen.

My Carrera S has Sport Chrono, so there’s a manettino-style dial on the wheel for engaging Sport and Sport Plus modes. I start off in the former and switch to manual mode, sensing the 911 stiffen and tense its fibres for action. The whole car suddenly feels emancipated.

On steeply climbing switchbacks, the combination of an engine beyond the back axle and steamroller 305-section rear rubber means incredible traction. The 911 hunkers down, then slingshots out of bends like a scalded cheetah. It makes you question the need for the four-wheel-drive 4S.

All that grip is complemented by an almighty wallop of torque, catapulting the car between bends with sustained, elastic speed. Those on-paper numbers don’t deceive: the 911 is awesomely and addictively rapid.

A car with Sports Purpose

2019 Porsche 911 Cabriolet

Nonetheless, a 911 isn’t defined by its point-to-point pace. How it goes around corners is what matters most.

You can breathe easy. The 911’s electric steering (another former bugbear of the fanboys) has evolved to the point where it feels as alert and engaging as a hydraulic system – while adeptly filtering out unnecessary white noise.

Equally, the 992 is a car you steer with the throttle, trimming its line with minute flexes of your right ankle. You feel the car pivot, sensing the available grip through the seat of your pants. It’s approachable and benign, yet aggressive and all-consuming. Having blasted to the summit, I turn around and do it again.

Our car had the optional PDCC chassis control, which all but elimates roll by actively stiffening the suspension. Even with it disengaged, however, body control feels iron-fisted. Any concerns about the 911 Cabriolet being a soft option have evaporated.

Half-way through my second ‘lap’ of the mountain, it starts to rain and the acoustic sensors in the front wheelarches suggest I switch to Wet mode. This ramps up the stability control and calms the car’s responses. I cruise back to Athens with wipers on and the roof firmly in place.

The joy of specs

2019 Porsche 911 Cabriolet

Like any upmarket German car, you can ‘personalise’ your 911 to the point of financial meltdown. The good news, as ever, is that most of it is window dressing. The basic package – including LED headlights, front and rear parking sensors, adaptive suspension and navigation – is all you really need.

Since I’m spending made-up money, I’d go for Sport Chrono (£1,646) and the gorgeous RS Spyder Design wheels seen here (£1,650). I’d also be tempted by the Sport Design Pack (£2,853), which improves the rear-end styling by relocating the number plate higher up. Oh, and perhaps by one of the eye-poppingly bright paint colours, such as Lizard Green (pictured).

My test car was fitted with rear-wheel steering (£1,592), boosting agilty at low speeds and stability as you go faster. However, without trying a 911 not thus-equipped, I can’t fully comment on its effectiveness.

Porsche 911 Cabriolet verdict: five stars

2019 Porsche 911 Cabriolet

The 911 Cabriolet is indeed a feast for the senses. Its brutally quick and deliciously tactile to drive. Against the odds, it’s aurally awesome too.

What impresses most is the 992’s sheer breadth of ability. How it can switch from calm to combative without pausing for breath. And how it’s still relatively practical for a sports car. As a daily driver, it would surely tick most boxes.

If I’m honest, I’d still err towards the coupe. But that’s more due to irrational prejudice than any discernable shortfall on the Cabriolet’s part. Perhaps I’ll just save up and wait a couple of years for the Targa.

Porsche 911 Carrera S Cabriolet: specification

Price: £102,455

Engine: Flat-six cylinder twin-turbo 2,981cc petrol

Drivetrain: Rear-engine, rear-wheel drive

Transmission: Eight-speed dual-clutch automatic

Wheels: 20 inches front, 21 inches rear

Power: 450hp@6,500 rpm

Torque: 391lb ft@2,300rpm

0-60mph: 3.7sec (3.5sec with Sport Chrono)

Top speed: 190mph

Fuel economy: 31mpg

CO2 emissions: 208g/km

Length/width/height: 4,519/1,852/1,299mm

Kerb weight: 1,585kg

Porsche 911 Cabriolet review: in pictures

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The story of the classic 911

A brief history of the classic Porsche 911

Launched in 1963 as the Porsche 901, the 911 was the subject of continuous development before making way for the 964 in 1989