The Do-It-All Sports Car

We hit the road again in the 992 Carrera S Cabriolet, this time delving deeper into its comparison with the hardtop variant.

Photo: The Do-It-All Sports Car 1
April 18, 2024

While reviewing Porsche’s current offerings for potential features, I realized we hadn’t tested many 992-generation 911 Cabriolets. When a trip to Porsche’s North American HQ in Georgia was added to my schedule, a drop-top 992 Carrera was the first car that came to mind as a car we’d like to cover more extensively. But what can be said about this machine that we haven’t already said about the 992 Carrera coupe and Cab in the past?

The 911 Cabriolet is often viewed as a cruiser that can match much of what its coupe counterpart offers. I say “much” because people can associate convertible sports cars, even those from Porsche, with chassis flex when driven aggressively. While those who have driven a drop-top Porsche in recent decades can attest to their rigidity, some stigma remains.

Our goal today is to drive a 992 Carrera S Cabriolet on highway and rural routes south of Atlanta to assess its suitability as a daily driver, a spirited backroad performer, and an autocross contender. We aim to determine how the 992 Cabriolet compares to the hardtop and where it falls between being a comfortable cruiser and a serious sports car.

Photo: The Do-It-All Sports Car 2

Tech Brief

This Carrera S Cab features a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter flat-six engine that generates 443 horsepower and 390 lb-ft of torque and comes with either a seven-speed manual or an eight-speed PDK dual-clutch transmission. Our PDK test car weighs 3,537 pounds, 85 more than the seven-speed version.

Underneath, it features a MacPherson strut front suspension and an aluminum multi-link rear suspension. It also has variable ratio electromechanical power steering, which provides an adaptive steering ratio of 15:1 to 12.25:1 (14.1:1 to 12.25:1 in cars with Rear-Axle Steering). Braking duties are handled by 350-mm diameter by 34-mm wide (13.8 × 1.3 in.) steel rotors with six-piston calipers in the front and 350-mm diameter by 28-mm wide (13.8 × 1.1 in.) discs with four-piston calipers in the back.

Our test car arrived with a long list of optional features totaling $31,780, including a Sport-Tex interior ($3,830), 18-way Adaptive Sport Seats Plus ($3,260), a Sport Exhaust System ($2,950), the Front Axle Lift System ($2,770), Rear-Axle Steering ($2,090), Adaptive Cruise Control ($2,000), and Lane Change Assist ($1,060). With these extras, the grand total for this machine is $177,530.

Photo: The Do-It-All Sports Car 3

Behind the Wheel

As I approach this convertible, it strikes an impressive figure—not quite as pretty as its coupe counterpart, but certainly not lacking in allure. The soft top stands out as the centerpiece, boasting Porsche’s claim of a 12-second opening or closing time. That figure proves accurate as I familiarize myself with the straightforward operating procedure. Like other recent Porsche convertibles, the top can be activated at driving speeds of up to 31 miles per hour.

Slipping into the driver’s seat, I am immediately enveloped in a sense of familiarity and comfort. The Sport-Tex upholstery feels luxurious, and the 18-way seats offer exceptional support. Glancing around, the straight lines of the dashboard evoke memories of classic air-cooled 911s from decades past. Centered in the dash is a 10.9-inch Porsche Communication Management system touchscreen, providing access to navigation, radio, and phone connectivity. While it takes a moment to acclimate to the system, it ultimately proves intuitive and user-friendly.

Starting the engine of a modern Carrera S with a Sport exhaust is always a delight, and today is no exception—the roar of the 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine upon startup is nothing short of exhilarating. As the car warms up, the exhaust note settles into a more subdued purr. Engaging the “electric razor” PDK shifter and setting off onto the highway, the Carrera S easily merges into traffic and effortlessly overtakes slower vehicles.

Photo: The Do-It-All Sports Car 4

Despite an appearance suggesting it’s for special occasions and not daily driving, this S Cab is comfortable and relaxed during highway cruising. If there are any minor complaints, the cabin noise when hitting moderate bumps is louder than expected. Also, people who prefer comfort to performance might find the ride stiff. However, I find it just right for a Porsche. Plus, the 911 wasn’t intended to be a star on the highway. It was made to impress most on winding roads.

I find a long, mostly deserted stretch of two-lane that brings out the best in this machine. While highway driving was fine, spirited driving on the backroads is nothing short of soul-soothing. As expected from a modern twin-turbo engine, power comes on strong at low revs and continues up to the 7,500-rpm redline. The steering feel while attacking corners is excellent. When approaching a corner and dodging small obstacles, you can feel precisely where the road imperfections are, allowing you to adjust your driving and vehicle placement so you can be more precise, too. Chassis flex and cowl shake are virtually nonexistent.

The overall stability through the corners is outstanding. I credit the optional Rear-Axle Steering setup, as it has always made 911s I’ve driven feel even more stable and like they have a higher limit. That stability builds confidence and a greater level of enjoyment, as you never feel the need to fight the car or feel like it’s not giving you what you need.

Photo: The Do-It-All Sports Car 5

The standard steel brakes perform admirably, offering strong stopping power for everyday spirited driving. While Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes may be preferred for more intense driving scenarios, the steel brakes are more than sufficient for the average driver.

Looking at the list of options again, I see some as “must haves” and others as “nice to haves.” I like and would order the extended range fuel tank ($230), Lane Change Assist ($1,060), and the previously mentioned 18-way front seats, the Sport exhaust, and Rear-Axle Steering. I would also likely order the Front Axle Lift setup. Meanwhile, the Sport-Tex upholstery, while excellent, doesn’t rank above standard leather for me. Adaptive Cruise Control ($2,000) is another fine option, but one I don’t use, as it tends to lull me into losing focus on the highway.

The Verdict

After several straight hours of driving, I feel relaxed and comfortable. That means this is a cruiser, right? Nope. While the Carrera S Cab is comfortable enough for daily driving, it also delivers a driving experience I would expect from a coupe. That doesn’t come as a surprise, as I know Porsche has worked to make the 911 Cabriolet platform as rigid as the coupes from the past. It may feel marginally less torsionally rigid in action than the coupe, but that difference is ultimately minor. Simply put, the Carrera S Cab delivers all the goodness its tin-top stablemate does, with the bonus of allowing you to lower the top on sunny days.

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The way I summed the car up after the drive was “the do-it-all” sports car. That message still stands true. The 992 Carrera S Cab can be a fine daily driver, a brilliant weekend fun car, and a machine you can autocross with the expectation of having consistent and dependable runs. I am personally not a convertible enthusiast. However, experiencing this one made me think of soft tops differently. Ultimately, the $12,800 extra the Cabriolet costs over the coupe is well worth it, from my perspective.

Also from Issue 309

  • Dieter Inzenhofer 911T
  • 993 Carrera RS
  • Paint-to-Sample 992 Carrera T
  • Market Update: 356
  • Sbarro Porsche
  • Porsche Active Ride Suspension Tech

Also Available

2023-2024 Porsche Buyer’s Guide
$14.95 (for U.S. residents)
Can be ordered with other back issues using the Printable Order Form. Or can be purchased separately.
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