Porsche 911 Turbo Cabriolet

October 2007

picture of car from the front

Extra wings and spoilers mark out Turbo 911

Ratings

Overall Rating 8Overall rating

Value for money Rating 6Value for money

Space and Practicality Rating 4Costs

Space and Practicality Rating 5Space and practicality

Controls and display Rating 8Controls and display

Comfort Rating 6Comfort

Security Rating 9Car security

Safety Rating 8Car safety


Likes

  • Ferocious performance from turbocharged engine
  • Optional ceramic brakes offer mighty stopping power
  • Remains remarkably easy to drive
  • Balance and four-wheel drive are reassuring

Gripes

  • Engine sound is plain compared with non-turbocharged 911s
  • Convertible is arguably less attractive than coupe
  • Purchase and running costs likely to be very high
  • Handling is slightly affected by lack of metal roof

Porsche's iconic 911 model has remained at the pinnacle of the sports car sector for decades, thanks to a sound basic formula and a consistent programme of updates and improvements. There is also a model to suit the most demanding buyers, and the combination of a folding fabric roof and turbocharged arguably makes it the most desirable version on sale.

The 997-series Porsche 911 is already an exceptional performance car, offering the unmistakable silhouette which has remained a firm favourite with sports car buyers without looking outdated.

A series of wheel and exterior styling packages allow further tailoring, but the inherent proportions and details are simple and attractive. The 911 Turbo has a distinctive front and rear end, with larger air vents and deeper spoilers to channel air more effectively.

The biggest change in the Turbo over its siblings is, of course, the engine. The 3.6-litre flat six already used in the Carrera model undergoes substantial changes, not least the addition of twin turbochargers. That results in a dramatic increase in power and torque to deliver epic performance.

The four-wheel drive system harnesses this extra power, and it uses a viscous centre coupling within the system. This means that the 911 Turbo has permanent four-wheel drive, with at least five percent of the engine's power being fed to the front wheels. If the system detects rear wheel slip, it can divert more power to the front wheels, up to a maximum of 40 per cent. That gives the four-wheel drive variants superb traction, aided by the rear-engined configuration.

Our verdict on the Porsche 911 Turbo Cabriolet

The 911 Turbo Cabriolet ticks all the boxes that potential buyers could possibly want. Dramatic performance, the thrill of roof-down motoring, distinctive styling and a strong image are all present and correct. Some may find its technical brilliance somewhat sterile, but at the same time it remains sane enough to use every day.

Costs
Costs rating 4

Running costs for the 911 are likely to be high. Fuel economy is relatively low, while insurance and running costs will be at the higher end of the scale.

Space and practicality
Space and Practicality Rating 5

Front seat passengers have plenty of room in all directions, and are unlikely to have any quibbles. In the rear space is more restricted, though the seats are suitable for average sized adults on short journeys. Storage space in the cabin is relatively good, although the front boot is only suitable for carrying a couple of soft bags.

picture of car from the rear

Rear spoiler automatically raises at 75mph

Controls and display
Controls and Display Rating 8

The layout of the 911's cabin is impressive. It retains the classic five-dial layout for the instruments, supplemented by changeable digital displays. As well as being attractive it is very informative and easy to use. Some of the smaller buttons on the dashboard are quite small, but otherwise the cabin is faultless.

Comfort
Comfort Rating 6

The 911 does a good job of delivering respectable comfort levels. The seats are superb, firm and supportive even over long distances. Noise levels are quite restrained, the engine subsiding when on a light throttle. The ride is firm, but not uncomfortably so, only the worst potholes causing a disturbance in the cabin.

Car security
Security Rating 9

All Porsche 911 vehicles are fitted with a tracking system as standard, making it very difficult for the car to be successfully stolen. In addition it has an immobiliser and alarm as standard.

Car safety
Safety Rating 8

With the added benefit of four-wheel drive, the 911 offers a high level of active and passive safety. The excellent grip and high levels of braking power make it easier to avoid an accident in the first place.

Driver appeal
Driver Appeal Rating 8

The appeal of the Turbo is subtly different to that of the regular 911, as the turbocharged engine delivers huge performance but at the cost of the engine sound. The Turbo is incredibly fast however, delivering huge acceleration once the engine revs past 3,000rpm. The strong gearbox helps to get the best from the engine, although the Tiptronic version is faster still. In terms of handling, the Turbo Cabriolet is very reassuring, with highly accurate and informative steering while the optional ceramic brakes have huge stopping power. Inevitably the Cabriolet feels less stiff than the coupe, but this does not detract from the driving pleasure.

picture of car interior

Cabin is well constructed and comfortable

Family car appeal
Family Appeal Rating 3

The 911 is not an ideal family car, although it could carry two adults and children. Insufficient boot space would be the key issue, as is access to the rear seats.

First car appeal
First car Rating 2

The 911 is much too powerful and expensive for a first car, although in many respects it is easy to drive.

Quality and image
Quality and Image Rating 8

The 911's reputation is founded on high quality, and almost without exception it delivers. It feels thoroughly engineered throughout and robust, with the only demerit being the slightly flimsy nature of some of the minor switches. The 911's image is even stronger, remaining one of the most desirable sports cars ever despite strong competition, and its reputation as a superb drivers car is well-known.

Accessibility
Accessibility Rating

For a sports car, the 911 is easy to get into. The doors are long and open wide, and although the seats are low set, it is not a long drop down into them. Access to the rear does require the seat to be slid forward, which takes a few seconds if electric seats are fitted.

Stereo and ICE (In car entertainment)

With the optional Bose stereo system fitted, the 911 has a superb sound system. Radio, CDs and MP3 CDs can be played, and the sound quality is of a high standard. Steering wheel controls also make it easy to operate, and unlike many cars these controls are small so they do not interfere during spirited driving.

picture of car in detail

Folding hood neatly integrates into the rear deck

Colours and trim

The 911 is available in a range of mostly subtle colours, with brighter hues like red, yellow and white for the outgoing. Inside the cabin is understated and sombre, but can be brightened by choosing different cabin colours and materials.

Parking

Because of its unique shape, parking the 911 can be a little tricky. Visibility all round is generally good, but the sloping rear can make it difficult to judge. However, parking sensors are available as an option, and with the roof folded rear vision is much improved.

Spare wheel

Tyre inflation kit fitted as standard.

 

Range information

Petrol engine options: 3.6-litre petrol (325bhp and 415bhp), 3.6-litre turbocharged (480bhp), 3.8-litre petrol (355bhp). All are fitted with a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, with a Tiptronic automatic also available. There are no specific trim levels.

 

Alternative cars

Ferrari F430 Spider Incredibly rapid and desirable, less of an everyday car

Lamborghini Spyder Most usable Lamborghini ever is highly competent

Aston Martin V8 Vantage Volante Attractive and good to drive British offering

BMW M6 Convertible High-tech masterpiece with an incredible engine



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October 2007