2013 Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet vs. 2012 Porsche 911 Carrera S Cabriolet Track Test

Convertible vs. Convertible


  • 2013 Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet

    2013 Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet

    2013 Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet. | May 14, 2013

10 Photos

Edmunds tests hundreds of vehicles a year. Cars, trucks, SUVs, we run them all, and the numbers always tell a story. With that in mind we present "Edmunds Track Tested," a quick rundown of all the data we collect at the track, along with comments direct from the test drivers. Enjoy.

People have said that our long-term 2013 Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet with PDK is the last, or second-to-last 911 they'd ever buy. Not only is it an automatic and a convertible, but with "only" 350 horsepower from its 3.4-liter flat-6, it's the weakest 911 you can buy.

But what does more really get you?

Our 911 has a base price of $93,700. The next step up the Porsche ladder is the Carrera S Cabriolet that lumps together a 3.8-liter flat-6 producing 400 hp, Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) and several other less important features.

What do 50 hp and an active suspension do? And does it justify the $15,000 premium over the base 911? We went to the track to find out.

  2013 Carrera Cabriolet 2012 Carrera S Cabriolet
Price: $93,700 $108,950
Horsepower: 350 400
Torque: 287 325
Curb weight as tested: 3,376 3,477
0-30 (sec.): 1.8 1.7
0-45 (sec.): 3.1 2.8
0-60 (sec.): 4.7 4.2
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec.): 4.4 4.0
0-75 (sec.): 6.6 5.9
1/4-mile (sec @ mph): 12.9 @ 108.4 12.3 @ 113.5
     
30-0 (ft): 25 26
60-0 (ft): 102 103
     
Skid Pad Lateral Accel (g): 0.99 1.01
Slalom: 71.3 71.3

Vehicle: 2013 Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet

Odometer: 2,125
Date: 2/26/2013
Driver: Chris Walton
Price: $93,700 (Base)

Specifications:
Drive Type: Rear engine, rear-wheel-drive
Transmission Type: Seven-speed automated manual
Engine Type: Direct-injected, DOHC, 3.4-liter horizontally opposed six-cylinder
Displacement (cc/cu-in): 3,436/210
Redline (rpm): 7,800
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 350 @ 7,400
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 287 @ 5,600
Brake Type (front): 13.4-inch ventilated and cross-drilled rotors with four-piston fixed calipers
Brake Type (rear): 13-inch ventilated and cross-drilled rotors with four-piston fixed calipers
Steering System: Electric-assist, speed-proportional rack-and-pinion power steering
Suspension Type (front): Modified MacPherson strut, coil springs, stabilizer bar
Suspension Type (rear): Multilink, coil springs, stabilizer bar
Tire Size (front): 245/35ZR20 91Y
Tire Size (rear): 295/30ZR20 101Y
Tire Brand: Pirelli
Tire Model: P Zero
Tire Type: Summer, asymmetrical
Wheel Size: 20-by-8.5 inches front, 20-by-11 inches rear
Wheel Material (front/rear): Aluminum alloy
As Tested Curb Weight (lb): 3,376 (37.7% rear)

Test Results:

Acceleration:
0-30 (sec): 1.8 (2.7 w/ TC on)
0-45 (sec): 3.1 (4.1 w/ TC on)
0-60 (sec): 4.7 (5.8 w/ TC on)
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 4.4 (5.4 w/ TC on)
0-75 (sec): 6.6 (7.8 w/ TC on)
1/4-Mile (sec @ mph): 12.9 @ 108.4 (13.7 @ 105.9 w/ TC on)

Braking:
30-0 (ft): 25
60-0 (ft): 102

Handling:
Slalom (mph): 71.3
Skid Pad Lateral Acceleration (g): 0.99

Sound:
Db @ Idle: 48.9
Db @ Full Throttle: 87.1
Db @ 70-mph Cruise: 66.1
Db @ 70-mph Top Open: 73.9

RPM @ 70 mph: 1,800

Tester's comments:

Acceleration: Without using any performance-enhancing modes (Sport, Sport Plus or Launch Control), the Carrera appears to use quite a lot of clutch to produce a smooth launch. Once underway, the transmission supplies quick, seamless shifts. Selecting Sport Plus and utilizing Launch Control (there isn't an easier system to activate) revs the engine to about 5,500 rpm, and also uses the clutch. Shifts are noticeably quicker and only slightly less smooth. The results are astounding: Subtract a full second to speed from default mode across the board.

Braking: Pretty clearly, the car needs some heat in the brakes and/or tires for optimal results. Shortest stop was fifth out of six total. Very firm pedal, near-zero dive, arrow straight and exceptionally fade-resistant. Typical, bulletproof Porsche brakes.

Skid pad: Zero intrusion from PSM as the limit approaches and even surpassed. The car allows a skilled driver to adjust and optimize the rear slip angle with the throttle alone. It's as if PSM says, "I can tell you've got this so I'll stay outta your way." Steering weight seems a little excessive, as if Porsche overcompensated for the electric assist. Still, there's an admirable amount of feel here as the grip comes and goes from the tires. Interesting that it loses grip at the rear first.

Slalom: Wow, wow, wow. Exceptionally responsive steering that's laser precise and intuitive. Combined with no-B.S. stability system, the results are an amazingly capable and trustworthy sports car with very high but approachable limits. The only place where I felt like it was "saving me from myself" was at the exit where it took away throttle and disallowed any sort of opposite lock.

Vehicle: 2012 Porsche 911 Carrera S Cabriolet (991)

Odometer: 2,616
Date: 5/23/2012
Driver: Chris Walton
Price: $108,950

Specifications:
Drive Type: Rear engine, rear-wheel-drive
Transmission Type: Seven-speed automated manual
Engine Type: Direct-injected, DOHC, 3.8-liter horizontally opposed six-cylinder
Displacement (cc/cu-in): 3,800/232
Redline (rpm): 7,800
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 400 @ 7,400
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 325 @ 5,600
Brake Type (front): 13.4-inch ventilated and cross-drilled rotors with six-piston fixed calipers
Brake Type (rear): 13-inch ventilated and cross-drilled rotors with four-piston fixed calipers
Steering System: Electric-assist, speed-proportional rack-and-pinion power steering
Suspension Type (front): Modified MacPherson strut, coil-over springs, electrically adjustable dampers, active stabilizer bar
Suspension Type (rear): Multilink, coil-over springs, electrically adjustable dampers, active stabilizer bar
Tire Size (front): 245/35ZR20 91Y
Tire Size (rear): 295/30ZR20 101Y
Tire Brand: Pirelli
Tire Model: P Zero Nero
Tire Type: Summer, asymmetrical
Wheel Size: 20-by-8.5 inches front, 20-by-11 inches rear
Wheel Material (front/rear): Aluminum alloy
As Tested Curb Weight (lb): 3,477 (38% front)

Test Results:

Acceleration:
0-30 (sec): 1.7 (2.2 w/ TC on)
0-45 (sec): 2.8 (3.4 w/ TC on)
0-60 (sec): 4.2 (5.1 w/ TC on)
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 4.0 (4.7 w/ TC on)
0-75 (sec): 5.9 (6.7 w/ TC on)
1/4-Mile (sec @ mph): 12.3 @ 113.5 (12.9 @ 111.0 w/ TC on)

Braking:
30-0 (ft): 26
60-0 (ft): 103

Handling:
Slalom (mph): 71.3 (70.5 with TC on)
Skid Pad Lateral Acceleration (g): 1.01 (0.99 with TC on)

Sound:
Db @ Idle: 47.5
Db @ Full Throttle: 86.6
Db @ 70-mph Cruise: 65.2
Db @ 70 mpg with top open: 77.0

RPM @ 70 mph: 1,850

Tester's comments:

Acceleration: Default mode uses quite a lot of clutch slippage and feels pretty lazy off the line... and it is. Launch mode is also clutch-intensive, however, keeping the revs up and nearly allowing wheelspin but not quite. Huge difference in shift speed between "normal" and Sport Plus with launch and nearly a full second to 60 mph.

Braking: Tremendous brakes: powerful, fade-free, repeatable, immune to surface undulation, flat (no dive) and arrow-straight. Firm-hard pedal with moderate jump-in.

Skid pad: ESC off allows a slight rear drift all the way around the circle, adjusting both slip angle and "trajectory" with throttle alone: magnificent. Steering loads predictably and goes "free" as front grip approaches limit, but the kickback is gone and that's OK. Remarkably little body roll, especially with shocks in their firmest setting.

Slalom: Wow! There's so much grip and confidence that I can focus on varying my technique rather than being on high alert for a spin. Steering ratio feels a little slow, but it's crystal clear and super precise. I could take advantage of the confidence and steering for the exit where I pressed the throttle and input opposite lock simultaneously in one fluid motion. ESC is very subtle but very helpful.

The manufacturer provided Edmunds the 2012 911 for the purposes of evaluation. Edmunds purchased the 2013 911 for the purposes of evaluation.

Comments

  • mieden mieden Posts:

    So...whats your verdict?

  • fordson1 fordson1 Posts:

    Not that much difference at lower speeds, but as they go up, the gap gets larger and larger. Only .5 second to 60 mph, but judging from the quarter-mile results, probably over a second to 100. I agree - no verdict from the tester? And since they took them to "the track," I'm kinda surprised at no lap times - this is where the better acceleration would show up, and probably the active suspension, too. You're taking two 3,400-lb. cars, one with 350 hp and one with 400 hp & active suspension to find the difference, and the only straight-line test regimen that takes you over 100 mph is the quarter-mile? The handling tests top out at 71 mph and change? You think the difference between four-piston and six-piston front brakes is going to show up in stops from 60 mph? The S is probably no better in autocross either, but...is that really where cars like this live?

  • joefrompa joefrompa Posts:

    Porsche is knocking on 3500 pounds with it's 911 S Cab? Yikes, that's alot of agility lost and yet look at the performance.

  • myob myob Posts:

    Way to keep writing columns for real people with real needs for cars, Edmunds. I'm sure the .2% of your readers looking to buy 6 figure cars will love this.

  • stovt001_ stovt001_ Posts:

    One article to the right of this one is a review of the new Silverado. I'd otherwise say myob's comment isn't even worthy of a response, but this one can be wrapped up rather nicely.

  • stovt001_ stovt001_ Posts:

    Anyway I'm genuinely surprised. I would have thought the performance gaps would have been larger. Maybe the S would show its advantage, with its variable active suspension, on a more varied surface?

  • davisdvm davisdvm Posts:

    I'm not sure how folks will interpret these numbers, obviously the S is faster. I suspect that the majority who lease this car will opt for the S because they can afford the lease payment and want the most performance. I can add that my son and I just participated in a Porsche World Tour thing in Sonoma and were able to drive both a standard carrera and the S version on the track. I also just turned in a 997 4S coupe so i'm familiar with the feel of these cars. The S version feels markedly stronger during acceleration. It can be described as "fierce" while the standard car is at best described as "strong". For my money it's a no brainer, the S version is a much more desirable car.

  • carmageddon carmageddon Posts:

    I suspect that the vast majority of the "people" who "have said that [your] long-term 2013 Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet with PDK is the last, or second-to-last 911 they'd ever buy" will never buy any new Porsche. What they really mean is that a PDK cab is the last 911 they'd ever fantasize about buying. Judging by the inventories our local Porsche dealers in Silicon Valley maintain, which I'm guessing tracks to what real world Porsche buyers actually want, demand for cars with manual trannies is close to zero. And at least here in sunny California, which is responsible for a huge share of Porsche sales both domestically and worldwide, convertibles are very much sought after as well. As to the base model versus the S and up variations, the dealers seem to stock (and re-stock) plenty of plain old Carreras. So while your test car may not be the stuff of college dormitory posters or smart phone home screens, it does fairly represent what today's 911 customers are plunking down their hard earned cash for (or more likely having their LLC's and LLP's make not so hard earned lease payments on). So while your choice of a test car may not

  • stovt001_ stovt001_ Posts:

    I'm not sure the prevalence of PDKs on the lot is due entirely to consumer demand. Porsche and the dealers make a LOT more revenue on PDK equipped cars as it is a very expensive option, and they will of course want to sell more optioned-out cars, especially if they keep no manual-equipped cars around for consumers to see the value.

  • Even for those that will never buy a Porsche this test is interesting for two reasons: - The base 911 is very, very fast, even in overweight topless form. Nice to know Porsche are all fantastic driving cars. - The base steel spring suspension is very good and complete satisfactory. It begs the question if PASM is really needed at least in its current development state. Porsche cars are a window for where all cars are headed 10 years out because the high price point provides room for them to put a lot of advanced features on their car way before volume production makes them affordable for all cars. From that standpoint, active suspension control is not on my list for the next decade but PDK or equivalent is making manual transmission today seems equivalent to manual spark advance in 1930.

  • vikasdesai vikasdesai Posts:

    @myob, this is the old inside line magazine, it's an enthusiasts magazine, whether you can afford the car or not it's fun to read about, who reads an enthusiast mag and complains about porsche's going head to head. BTw, edmunds times are SLOW... 0-60 in 4

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