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2013 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Cabriolet Driving Impressions

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When taking a formula that has had the same basic fundamentals for upwards of 50 years, the end result is near perfection, and that is just what I have experienced in the latest 991 iteration of the Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Cabriolet.

Get clearance pricing on the Porsche 911 from a network of dealers to get you the cheapest price. Use a simple form to select the make and model and start saving. Remember to get quotes from the maximum number of dealers to give you the upper hand. Get a Free Quote on the Porsche 911 or other vehicles now.

Receiving an all-new design for the 2013 model year, the Porsche 911 carries on its well-known principles with the aid of new technology to make this the best 911 Carrera S yet. Being among one of the more powerful naturally aspirated Porsche 911 designated for the street aside from the GT3 and GT3RS, the new Carrera S is naturally placed on a pedestal well deserved of praise, which I kindly give it after spending a week behind the wheel.


The new 991 embarks on its journey to envelop itself in technological advancements that make it a first-class contender amongst its direct competition including those that cost almost twice as much. Equipping the 911 with all-wheel-drive as the Carrera 4S comes is never a take-away from performance due to added weight, but more of an incentive to push the performance limits without the after-thought of the rear-weight biased chassis biting you in the end. In other words, the new 911 C4S inspires confidence yet allows you to slide out of bounds without any heart-dropping after-effects.

Driving the new 911 Carrera 4S Cabriolet is a perpetual adventure. There is hardly ever a dull moment and driving it at legal speeds is also a delightful escapade. Couple the 3.8-liter boxster 6-cylinder engine with 400 horsepower and 325 ft-lbs. of torque and the crisp lighting-fast-shifting PDK 7-speed automated manual transmission together, and everything becomes a desirable match even for someone who balks at anything that has less than 3 peddles. Even in my relentless enthusiasm for a manual transmission, I find satisfaction with the PDK unit in knowing I would never be able to shift that fast thus yielding a faster 0-60 time of about 4.2 seconds in the C4S Cabriolet (3.9 seconds in the Carrera 4S Coupe).


For a vehicle that is capable of 185 mph, there is not much drama or swill in its quest to reach those triple digit speeds. Basically, the power delivery is utterly smooth from the flat-6 engine and power is never chopped up by the dual-clutch PDK transmission. Even in Sport-plus mode, a mode mostly designated for track endeavors and launch control take-offs, the transmission bangs through the gears with abrupt forward-thumps but never any type of power disconnect. In normal or Sport modes the PDK transmission emulates the smoothest automatic you would ever step foot in. As an automated manual gearbox, the PDK unit and tech-savvy engine management allows you to sail away without much intervention in full manual mode. However, during full throttle blasts with the pedal firmly planted on the floor, the PDK transmission will automatically up-shift right at redline banging through each cog with authority for the optimal acceleration. Though, the steering wheel-mounted alloy shift paddles allow you to take charge in shifts at any time and is not shy about letting the RPM gauge fly in the red during perfectly executed rev-matched downshifts.

Surprising efficiency is also a trait that has been injected into the 911’s modern-day formula by the Carrera 4S Cabriolet getting up to 26 mpg on the highway and 19 mpg in the city. A standard start-stop function is also beneficial for those puttering around but is disabled by default should you equip the 911 C4S with the Sport Chrono Package. Of course you may choose to re-enable start-stop, but what is the fun in that? I rather choose to just suck it up and fill up the 18-gallon tank with some premium fuel and let the fun sustain itself like it is supposed to.


Historically there is an expected unique balancing act when driving a Porsche 911, but through the years the rear-end weight bias has been foreshadowed by what technology and chassis design is capable of, making the latest 991 design easy to handle yet engaging for the daring enthusiast. Many of the handling traits of late model Porsche 911s has been embodied in the 991 but filled with limited intervention from the techno-nannys. The steering rack, for starters, is the first iteration of an electric assist but still manages to feed the driver with enough response that it does not dumb-down the over-all enthusiastic experience. The firmly planted 305/30 20-inch tires in the rear act as a full-scale slot-car component while the front 245/30 20-inch tires carve a narrower path much like the steady hand of a doctor performing laser surgery. All of these attributes come together to score just over a 1.05g on a 300ft skidpad, which can be visually demonstrated on the g-force meter as part of the optional Sport Chrono package (also incl. Sport Plus Mode, PDK Launch Mode).


The new 911 Carrera 4S Cabriolet’s optional Dynamic Chassis Control, combining active dampers with a sport chassis setting, aid in the vehicle’s handling and road-going stability. The package is a nice addition to not only adapt it to changing road conditions, but it provides a stable yet smooth ride over long trips. It would not be too far fetched to claim the Porsche 911’s Dynamic Chassis Control and Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) is among the best in the business for a sports car currently on the market. Adding a dose of German touring to the equation, the new 991 design can easily carve up canyon roads but still leave the driver in good shape even after hours of intoxicating adventure behind the wheel of a luxurious yet sporty cabin. Inside of the new Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Cabriolet the optional 14-way Power Sport Seats up front wrap around you for ample lateral support but still comfy as to not add any unwanted firmness. Conversely, the rear seating situation is more of a novelty unless you would like to allow small children to partake of the drop-top excitement of the 911 C4S. The two rear seats would otherwise serve as additional storage as the front-end truck only gives you 4.4 cubic feet of storage.

Controls and access to them can be a guessing game for some not inclined to modern-day Porsche vehicles, as the new 911 uses some of the console layout cues taken from the Panamera. Still, the dashboard remains to pay homage to its roots but with a forward look to the future using advanced tech. The 200 mph speedometer to the left of the central-focused RPM gauge and then having the multifunction color LCD screen to the right of it places the prioritized information at the forefront. The two far-left and far-right pods in the gauge cluster relay analog fuel, coolant temp, oil pressure and oil temp. Everything is where it should be, no qualms here.


The multifunction display fed through the color LCD pod on the cluster allows you to gather additional vehicle information and access many other feature sets such as the optional Adaptive Cruise Control combined with Porsche Active Safety. The system works wonders for cruising and claims to aid in the avoidance of a front-end collision by applying last-minute brake pressure up to full ABS activation in the event that you are about to plow the pinnacle of German sport car engineering into the nearest object in front of you. Of course I didn’t want to check this feature out for myself, so I took use of the large 13.4-inch cross-drilled rotors and 6-piston caliper brakes with virtually no fade under heavy use and repeated stops from about 70 mph.


One of the many unique characteristics of the 2013 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Cabriolet is having the ability to drop the top here in the sunny state of Florida. Of course rainstorms rolled in during a couple days of my test drive in an attempt to put a damper on my fun, though the exceptional soft-top proved to be among the best in the business. Porsche’s soft top on the new 2013 911 Carrera 4S Cabriolet is well insulated to keep outside noises to a minimum. The smooth and quiet mechanics of the folding top work without fuss to quickly drop or raise the top in about 13 seconds. Both opening and closing operations can be done up to 31 mph, something that prevents the guy/gal behind you from becoming an impatient (and jealous) bystander when waiting for you take off at the fresh green light while opening or closing your top. It is inevitable that you must face the well-tuned sound of the Bose Surround sound audio system without going topless. Something probably not often explored by road-going enthusiasts, still remains to please the light-hearted audiophile with crisp tones high and low through the smallish cabin. Even with the top down the acoustics auto-adjust to ambient noises and the delightful tune of the engine.


Cruising around town the new 2013 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Cabriolet turns heads in more ways than one. The intoxicating sound is enough to get your heart pumping all before using launch control. The advanced launch control system, accessible through Sport and Sport Plus modes, is simple yet utterly thrilling. The launch control system is activated by pressing the Sport Plus button (or Sport button), holding the brake pedal, flooring the gas, and then releasing the brake pedal when you are ready to go. It is just that simple. The system will rev the flat-6 above 5000 rpm with a nice audible burble and exhaust clattering and then slips the clutch to modulate traction. Exhaust sounds can be modified through the optional Sport Exhaust System button, which opens or closes a valve within the exhaust for added performance and different sound tone. The intake sound composer also aids to an invigorating intake manifold vacuum sound, completely unique to the flat-6-cylinder engine. To top-off head turns, the motorized rear spoiler automatically raises at 50 mph and lowers at 19 mph. Through a console button you may manually raise or lower the spoiler, for that cool factor – although, just driving the new 991 Porsche 911 is cool enough by itself.


The pinnacle of German sports car engineering in a quest to seek perfection in one of the most recognized vehicles on the road today, the Porsche 911 sets its own pace in the enthusiast world and bows down to no others. Although the Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Cabriolet is going to set you back in the monetary starting spectrum of 6-figures, it remains to be a masterfully engineered piece of hardware for all types of paved roads – even the ones with rumble strips. Expect admission to be around $117,000 for starters if you want a drop-top 911 Carrera 4S. Plan to easily tack on another $33,000 for the optional equipment found on my test vehicle rounding out the price to about $150,000.

Get clearance pricing on the Porsche 911 from a network of dealers to get you the cheapest price. Use a simple form to select the make and model and start saving. Remember to get quotes from the maximum number of dealers to give you the upper hand. Get a Free Quote on the Porsche 911 or other vehicles now.

Copyright: 2013


  • Price: Base 911 C4S Cabriolet $117,000 / As-Tested $150,000
  • Engine: 3.8-liter DOHC flat-6-cylinder (boxster) 400 horsepower @ 7,400 rpm / 325 ft-lbs. torque @ 5,600 rpm
  • Wheelbase: 96.5 inches
  • Total length: 176.8 inches
  • Total width: 72.9 inches
  • Total height: 51.1 inches
  • EPA cargo volume: 13.8 cu.ft.
  • Curb weight: 3,340 pounds
  • Fuel tank: 18.0 gallons
  • 0-60mph: 4.2 seconds (using Sport-Plus Launch Control)
  • Top Speed: 185 mph*
  • EPA mileage: 19 mpg city / 26 mpg highway

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