I spent a couple of days with a Porsche 991 Carrera S Cabriolet rental car last summer. In this report I will mainly compare the Porsche with my Ferrari California, which I sold a couple of months before this test drive.
The 991 generation Cabriolet has very good looks. With the roof up it looks much better than the previous generation 997 Cabriolet and almost as good as the 991 Coupé. With the roof down it is less beautiful than with the roof up, but still better looking than the 996/997. Possibly, the 4WD version which has a wider rear, would look better than this 2WD version.
How does it drive?
The 991 feels more planted to the road than my California. Despite the power deficit the Porsche is probably faster point to point; albeit with less passion and drama…
In spite of the car being a Cabriolet i couldn’t fell any chassis flexing. I guess you have to drive a Coupé back to back in order to feel the difference.
Feeling that body roll was virtually inexistent, I presumed that the car was fitted with active anti-roll bars, i.e. PDCC (Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control). In order to be sure, I drove to Porsche Center Stockholm Segeltorp and they confirmed that this particular car indeed had the PDCC option. There has been some debate about whether the PDCC options is any good or not. The argument against it, is that PDCC removes feedback to the driver. In the end I guess it is a question of personal preference; whether you prefer that the car feels “planted and on rails” or “more alive”. From a performance and technological point of view, PDCC is a tour de force. Maybe you can guess which camp I am in…
Although the 991 S has less power than my California, it feels plenty enough. The sound, even without sport exhaust, is very good; in particular the intake sound. The 991 has a Sound Symposer (http://articles.sae.org/10374/) that channels exhaust and intake sounds into the cabin (without creating artificial sound through the speakers!). The Porsche sounds great, but you can’t compare it with the glorious and symphonic sound of the Ferrari V8 in the California…
It is nice to be able to open and close the top at speed, which was not possible in my California. The cabin noise is low, even with the roof down. With the roof open there is much less turbulence than in the California and the foldable wind protector is very good. It can be raised and lowered at the touch of a button.
Summarising, the 991 Carrera S is an excellent allround open top sports car. My son and daughter love it… Would I buy it? Well, historically I buy an open top car every ten years; a Porsche Boxster S in 2001 and the Ferrari California in 2011. In both cases I would rather have bought the same car with a fixed roof had it been available (the Porsche Cayman didn’t exist in 2001). Having said that, it is good fun to have an open-top car and the kids love it, but all things considered I would rather go for the Coupé.
Update: See my review of the facelifted turbocharged second generation 991 Carrera S.