How do you improve a legendary icon and a timeless design? Dieter Losskarn travelled all the way to Greece to experience the newest rendition of the topless 911 on some coastal and mountain roads.
Mercedes-Benz engineers faced a similar problem while recreating a new generation of the famous G wagon. Just like the boxy Bauhaus vehicle from Graz the 911 is an automobile icon, which deserves evolution rather than revolution. And while previous renditions of the 911 all looked great, the 2019 turned out to be gorgeous. Just look at this almost Kardashian behind. The widest one ever. And from the three-dimensional Porsche logo to the powerful stance, it is firmly back to those classical lines.
Three months after the 911 Coupé the guys from Zuffenhausen released its convertible version. Being open is a tradition for Porsche. Their very first car, the ‘356 No. 1’ from 1948 was topless. And the Cabriolet versions of the 911 are part of the Porsche family since 1982. Five years later electrically operated roofs became standard.
The 2019 models feature a lighter Z-shaped (like the Bentley Continental GTC) electro-hydraulic roof system. It opens in just 12 seconds at speeds of up to 50km/h. An integrated wind deflector extends electrically as well, in two seconds. Once closed the Cabriolet looks just like the Coupé. Thanks to Magnesium elements, preventing the fabric top, which is available in black, dark-blue, brown and red, from deforming, even from bulging up at high speeds.
Back to the stance. The new 911 is wider, more self-confident and more muscular than its predecessor. But the contours are unmistakenly 911. The front LED lights are now standard and the bonnet is styled like the ones of earlier 911 generations. The rear end now has the typical LED light bar with the three-dimensional Porsche logo.
The front track width increased by 46mm, the overall length by 20mm and the wheels have different sizes, 20inch in the front, 21inch in the rear. Resulting in a more pronounced presence and a better drive. Talking about drive, the coastal road just outside Athens is waiting. I glide into the seat that fits like a glove. There is no more ignition key, it has been replaced by a rotary switch to start, but the position is still left of the steering wheel.
The cockpit feels decluttered with the rev counter in the centre the only analogue instrument left. Just like in the original 911 the instrument panel runs across the entire width. The gear shifter has been redesigned and looks a bit like an electrical shaver in its charger. The car does indeed shave of acceleration time. Thanks to 22kW more power and rear axle steering the new topless 911 flies around those twisties with confidence. Especially in the 4S all-wheel drive version. And the sound concert emitting from the exhaust pipes is so much more enjoyable with the roof down.
For the first time available as an optional extra in the Cabriolet is the Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM). The sports chassis lowers the open 911 by 10mm and results in a firmer and stiffer ride.
In addition to all the usual driver assist programs the new 911 features ’wet mode’. Acoustic sensors in the front wheel housings detect sprayed-up splash water and the driver gets a warning. Purists might frown upon such gimmicks, but you can switch most of the electronic stuff off and enjoy the original open Porsche happiness to the fullest. With the new 911 Cabriolet Porsche engineers once again proved impressively that you can still improve on perfection.
Porsche 911 Carrera S/4S Cabriolet
Engine 3.0-l. 6-cyl. Boxer, twin turbo, paired with an 8-speed dual-clutch PDK transmission and AWD in the 4S.
Power 331kW and 530Nm
Top Speed 306/304 km/h
0-100km/h 3.7/3.6 seconds
Price R1 874 000/R1 964 000