It may have a soft top, but the Porsche 911 Turbo cabriolet delivers dollops of hardcore sports car thrills with the symphonic splendour of an open-air theatre.It may have a soft top, but the Porsche 911 Turbo cabriolet delivers dollops of hardcore sports car thrills with the symphonic splendour of an open-air theatre.
With its awesome performance, exceptional road holding and solid build quality, the Porsche 996 Turbo has earned the label of the sports car for everyday. And following the Carrera 4S Cabriolet, Porsche recently launched a soft top version of their 911 Turbo in Tuscany.
The latest Turbo Cabriolet gives very little away to its Coupé sibling as it tucks its hood away. Sharing the same rear-mounted water cooled, turbocharged 3,6-litre flat six engine (fitted with VarioCam Plus technology) as its tin topped sibling, the new Turbo Cabriolet produces 306 kW at 6 000 r/min and 560 N.m of torque between 2 700 and 4 600 r/min.
The lines of the Cabriolet mirror those of the Coupé - three aggressive looking air intakes incorporated into the front bumper and the wide air intake ducts integrated in the rear side panel, feeding air into the intercoolers. Outlets for boost air beneath the rear panel and the spit rear wing, which rises at 120 km/h to reduce lift force on the rear axle, are also carried over.
On the inside, equipment is the same as you would find in a 911 Turbo – with one difference. There is one extra button that is unique to the Cabriolet. This button, once depressed, activates the fully automatic roof. Impressively, it can be operated while driving at speeds of up to 50 km/h.
The process of retracting the roof takes just 20 seconds, whether parked or driving, while closing the roof on the move will add six seconds to this time as greater wind resistance is dealt with.
On the road, a perfectly civilised hum at low revs breaks into full harmony as the revs rise. Driving through a tunnel with the top down creates a magnificent mechanical crescendo.
By going topless, Porsche’s supermodel has gained a few kilos as reinforced, double thick panels are added to the side-sills and reinforcements are added behind the B-pillar to compensate for the rigidity lost by no longer having a solid roof. In topless guise, the 911 Turbo is just 0,1 sec slower than its fixed roof sibling. It will reach 100 km/h in a claimed 4,3 sec and reach a top speed of 305 km/h.
As a heat wave descended over the Italy, making the asphalt shiny and slippery in places, the Porsche came into its own and never felt as though the limits of its capabilities were close to being tested. With no hint of understeer into corners at speeds that would see many other cars sliding away, the Cabriolets front end went precisely where asked to, the rear end following in suit with traction breaking only enough to flatter the driver. The traction control was doing its job quietly in the background, of course.
As with the coupé, the four-wheel drive system, with a viscous multi-plate coupling, places between five and 40 per cent of the torque to the front wheels when called for, while PSM (Porsche Stability Management) linked to the standard ABS braking system controls each of the cross-drilled, inner-vented brake discs separately while also controlling the engine management system.
As with all Porsches, the 911 Turbo Cabriolet’s stopping power is hugely impressive. Bright red brake callipers can be seen through the five spoke rims ready and willing to bring the soft top turbo to a halt, from 100 km/h, in just 2,8 seconds.
Expect to pay in the region to R2 million for your 911 Turbo Cabriolet when it is launched at the beginning of October. Its standard equipment includes a colour-coded hardtop, wind deflector, climate control, heated glass rear window, bi-xenon headlights, and a BOSE sound system.