Opinion: Is the 911 Cabriolet a proper Porsche?

I’ve recently taken delivery of a 991 Carrera 4S press car with a difference. Nothing to do with its options list (UK press cars are often found heavily stacked with Sports Chrono, Sports exhaust and the like) but rather concerning its body shape: it’s a Cabriolet. Usually, the Total 911 team can be found at the wheel of a plethora of flat-six sportscars with a Porsche crest on the front, but here’s the thing – they’re usually always Coupe.

Of course, the Coupe is rightly referred to as the body shape of the quintessential sportscar, thanks in the main to the increased rigidity provided. You’ll know it took Zuffenhausen some 30 years to successfully manufacture a 911 with it’s B and C pillars missing, without gravely compromising the handling, performance or safety of the car. Instead, those with a penchant for open-air motoring had to make do with the Targa model, until the arrival of the first 911 Cabriolet in 1983 during the 3.0-litre SC era.

Since then, the 911 Cabriolet has had some catching up to do in terms of its allure to the buying public – and same might say it’s still not deserving of the 911 badge on the decklid. However, those who believe the 911 Cabriolet has no appeal are naïve.

An enhanced roofline and stiffer body means the Cabriolet is a viable alternative to the Coupe as a 911.
An enhanced roofline and stiffer body means the Cabriolet is a viable alternative to the Coupe as a 911.

Sure, the Cabriolet slightly lacks the chassis focus of the Coupe, but then the luxury of having that roaring flat six encompassing your ears at every squeeze of the throttle pedal with the Cabriolet is something the Coupe can’t touch, regardless of the Sound Symposer’s efforts in the 991. There’s more room in the back for passengers too, who don’t have to squash themselves between the bench and rear screen of the Coupe – though with no great shield from airflow, I wouldn’t enjoy sitting back there for too long myself (does anybody enjoy sitting in the back of a four-seat convertible?).

The Cabriolet offers infinitely more headroom in the back compared to the Coupe.
The Cabriolet still offers an exceptional level of refinement you’d expect of a 911.

In terms of driving, the 911 Cabriolet is still exceptionally quick off the mark, and wind noise when hurtling along with the roof up isn’t greatly increased over the Coupe, owing largely to the sheer girth of tyres fitted to all models in the 991-generation lineup. The Cabriolet undoubtedly possesses the traits a 911 is famed for as a good driver’s car, and on first impressions, I’ve greatly enjoyed the top-down experience the Cabriolet offers. For me, it’s still every bit a proper Porsche.

What’s more, Porsche have had good practice of late in building exceptional sportscars with a fabric roof – just take in the new 918 Spyder hypercar. My argument then is not that the Cabriolet is better than the Coupe, or in fact equal to it. However, the 911 Cabriolet is a perfectly capable Porsche Sportscar and one that should not be so readily dismissed next time you walk into your OPC. I’m sure there are many 911 Cabriolet owners who’d agree with me.

Do you agree? Comment below or tweet us @Total911 with your thoughts.

Comments (5)

  • Paul Harford

    Yeah it’s a 911 through and through. I’ve been fortunate to have owned a number of 911s (my ex-wives might describe it differently) and the only place the body style/ technical underpinnings come into play (for me) was when I used to Time Trial, I had a serious coupe once. Otherwise rigidity concerns are kinda just so much talk. I like open air cars. I felt my Targa was like driving with an open parachute, but it was what I drove at the time… I still prefer sunroof 911s to non-sunroof and I’d own another cab in a heartbeat. Although if anything ever went wrong with that new top mechanism I suspect repair costs would cause a heart attack!

  • Ed Turner

    Had a Supersport Cab loved it, great car and quite rigid.
    Wish i still had it to be honest.

  • Radoslaw Pogoda

    Last week I drove both Carrera 4S and Carreras 4S Cabriolet on track during Porsche On Track event in Estonia. Being a convertible fan I might be biased, but even in those extreme conditions, I couldn’t find any faults with the way the convertibles stack up against the coupe.

  • Not all car owners are as fortunate as that of this 911 in having a pleasant noise-free top-down cruise! Well, most premium cars come factory-fitted with the tech to rein in the problem of wind noise and buffeting, but that’s not the case with regular not-so-premium roadsters. The problem was so bad that it was almost costing my hearing; fortunately, it was resolved in time by mounting an additional wind deflector. The Windblox windblocker has given a new lease of noise-free roof-down life to my Cabrio!

  • Jacobi Seymour

    Yeah, you are spot on about the wind buffeting in ordinary roadsters. It’s absolutely frustrating to listen to the wind humming for hours on end behind us and whacking hard on our head as we try to enjoy a topless drive on a weekend! There’s no point in driving al fresco then! Well, it’s much more than our hair-do getting messed up, huh! I finally decided to go with the advice of my buddy and installed a wind deflector. The Zefferus windscreen keeps my cabin noise-free and cozy even at motorway speeds!