2014 Porsche 911 Turbo S Cabriolet review
The Porsche 911 is an outstanding sports car. In fact, it has long been our favourite of the top-end options, but the 911 Turbo S Cabriolet costs £150,857 - £68k more than the 911 Carrera Cabriol...
Walk into a Porsche dealership and utter the words 'I’ll have your most expensive 911, please' and the 911 Turbo S Cabriolet is the car you'll be handed the keys to.
For your £150,857, you get a 552bhp Porsche 911 with a folding fabric roof, ceramic brakes, variable four-wheel drive with torque vectoring, and the potential to hit 62mph in 3.2sec; fast enough to bother esteemed exotica such as the Ferrari 458 Spider and Lamborghini Huracan.
What’s the Porsche 911 Turbo S Cabriolet like to drive?
The truly remarkable thing about the 911 Turbo S is actually how easy it is to drive. Whether you’re tooling round a city car park or gunning for a new lap record, it remains totally unflustered.
Key to delivering this unflappable character is the 3.8-litre, flat-six engine, mated to a seven-speed, dual-clutch gearbox, which will change gear with absolutely no pause in forward momentum, regardless of how hard (or gently) you are driving it.
The twin-turbo motor delivers its monumental reserves of power from very low revs, with no sudden surge as the turbos start working, so you can enjoy outrageous acceleration without having to rev the engine to its upper ranges, as you have to in non-turbo 911 models.
The brake and throttle responses in the Turbo S are also smooth and very easy to modulate, all of which adds up to an easy-going open air cruiser that’s perfectly at home even on clogged town roads.
Hit the open-road, and push the Sport or Sport Plus button, then floor the throttle, and you’ll be flung forwards in a gut-twisting, seemingly physics-defying blur of relentless acceleration.
The Turbo S is no less impressive at tackling corners. The steering is quite light, though it always feels direct and quick to respond, making it easy to place it on the road without it feeling nervous or twitchy. In hard cornering, it weights up to give you more confidence, so you can make the most of the outrageous grip and taut body control.
However, as with all four-wheel-drive 911s, the Turbo S Cab doesn’t turn-into corners with quite the same precision as the rear-wheel-drive models, and the nose will scrub wide if you go into a corner too quickly.
Still, while the ease of use offered by the 911 Turbo S Cabriolet is mind-boggling given its performance credentials, it also ends up feeling a little bit too easy. Even driven really hard, you get little sense of the speed you’re carrying, and the sophisticated electronic systems seem do all the work for you, which can leave you feeling a little bit removed from the driving experience.
Do you lose any of the handling poise as a result of the fabric roof? Not really – the body of the 911 Cabriolet is still so super-stiff that it feels near-enough the same as its coupe sibling.
Where there is a pay-off is in the ride comfort. Partly because Porsche has gone to such lengths to ensure the drop-top 911’s body is so rigid, it’s also quite unsettled over bumps and undulations, resulting in a fairly choppy ride around town, even with the adaptive dampers in their most comfort-oriented settings.
Still, it settles on the motorway, and with the roof up, wind noise is easily ignored – the slightly boomy tyre noise is actually more intrusive. With the roof down, and the standard wind deflector in place, there’s also very little wind buffeting even at higher speeds.
What’s the 2013 Porsche 911 Turbo S Cabriolet like inside?
The 911's interior takes its lead from that in the Porsche Panamera, with a dominant centre console dividing the snug cabin. The controls are beautifully crafted and nicely weighted, too.
Although the Turbo S Cab is hardly dainty (in fact it's one of the widest 911s you can buy), and rear visibility is a little restricted thanks to the smaller rear screen, visibility is good by sports car standards, so it doesn’t feel too intimidating to manoeuvre around town.
The driving position is set low to the floor, and the Turbo S gets electrically-adjustable sports seats that offer masses of lateral support, but that are also very comfortable for long journeys.
The back seats, of course, are still comically small and uncomfortable for adults, and even older children, if they fit at all. They do, however, make for useful additional luggage space. Of course, the roof doesn’t cut into boot space, because only the engine sits at the back.
The 105-litre boot in the car’s nose remains the same, meaning that you get a fairly deep, square space that will be hopeless for bulky items, but will just about take a soft weekend bag.
Standard kit includes 20-inch alloys, the dramatic body-styling and rear wing, sat-nav, climate control, cruise control, automatic lights and wipers, full iPod connectivity and a 12-speaker Bose sound system.
Should I buy one?
There’s no denying how brilliant the Turbo S Cabriolet is as a pure engineering achievement. Few cars are this fast, let alone also this easy to drive, even at alarming speeds. You could also almost persuade yourself that it’s good value – provided you count cars like the Ferrari 458 Spider among its rivals.
However, despite the on-paper figures suggesting otherwise, the 911 doesn’t quite deliver the same supercar experience as its more exotic competition. The Turbo S is also no more fun or engaging at normal road speeds than the Carrera and Carrera S models that we favour.
Even the standard Turbo Cabriolet is just as absurdly fast in normal use, and is £20k cheaper. So, while we’d absolutely recommend you buy one of the 911 models that we prefer, the Turbo S Cab only goes to prove that being the most expensive version of something is not always the same as being the best.
What Car? says
Porsche 911 Turbo S Cabriolet
Engine size 3.8 twin-turbo
Price from £150,857
Torque 553lb ft
0-62mph 3.2 seconds
Top speed 197mph
Fuel economy 29.1mpg
CO2 output 227g/km