May 14, 2013
As you can see, there's not much sidewall to the tires on our Porsche 911. A set of 20-inch wheels doesn't leave much room for such extravagances. The result is a slightly jarring ride depending on what you consider jarring.
Personally, I think our 911 rides exceptionally well given its combination of paper thin sidewall and firm suspension. It's an easy everyday driver, even on the beat-up, concrete highways here in Southern California.
May 13, 2013
Our long-term 2013 Porsche 911's braking ability is outstanding in virtually every way. But there's that word: virtually. The one thing that could be better is the way our car approaches a halt in that tiny window of time just prior to when the tires stop rolling. Ideally you want a jolt-free stop, a result that comes from easing off the brake pedal ever so gently just as the car stops. The car then seamlessly transitions between rolling and stopping. In the trade this graceful halt is described as a "limousine stop."
May 10, 2013
This is nothing but nitpicking, but sometimes a car in this price range deserves it. I'm a little annoyed by the side mirrors on our Porsche 911, mainly because the bottom half of each mirror is covered in a big hunk of black plastic.
May 8, 2013
Before my cross-country drive in our 2013 Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet, I read through our long-term posts to see what I was getting myself into. One thing that stood out was a post by Erin, who was taking the car to NY for me, and addressed the Porsche's lack of garment hangers.
May 7, 2013
After our cross-country road trip the Pirelli SottoZeros were still showing good tread and hadn't suffered much wear over the past 6,500 miles. Still, we'd had enough with driving on winter tires. They were darned good when the weather got cold or when we hit bad weather, but the summer tires we had on our stock 20-inch wheels just grip so much better.
Mark and I took the car down to our shop, threw it up on our Rotary Lift and swapped the wheels in about ten minutes. (And for those looking closely, yes, I forgot to bring the center caps and had to install them back at the office. That took another 45 seconds.)
I still think the 19s look better. We're considering getting a set of summer tires for these wheels as well. What say you?
May 6, 2013
At the tail end of the road trip, our 2013 Porsche 911 Cabriolet declared that it needed service.
This wasn't an unexpected warning as we knew full well that the 911 requires a service at 10,000 miles and another one at 20,000 miles. We're not going to argue with a 10,000-mile service interval.
So, I got back to L.A., washed the car a few times and then called Beverly Hills Porsche, our closest dealership, to set up an appointment.
May 3, 2013
Between Erin and me, we drove our long-term 2013 Porsche 911Carrera Cabriolet from L.A. to New York to Maine and then back to Los Angeles. We covered 6,608.6 miles in less than two weeks and hit exactly zero car washes.
At the end of the 7,000+-mile Road Trip to Alaska in our Jag, the car looked like it had survived Superstorm Sandy after being fished out of the Hudson. This is why people hate black cars.
After 6,600 miles in the Porsche...it actually looked okay. Even the winter-spec tires weren't showing any wear from the days-upon-days of high-temp highway running.
The slippery Porsche shunned any real bug splatter and the light greyish color really hid the road grime. The only time you'd notice it was if you happened to touch the paint. Oh, the wheels were also a mess; had to hit them with $5 worth of that highly caustic (probably) green stuff from the self-wash just to make them presentable.
It took three carwashes to get it back to normal. Next stop: Porsche Service.
April 30, 2013
To be fair, I didn't know we were competing on fuel economy until I read Erin's post after I'd gotten home. I didn't know I was supposed to be trying for fuel economy.
I just knew this was a Porsche and that, after the first day's error, my radar detector was working very well.
April 29, 2013
Day 3 started off much like day 2 of my leg of the cross-country road trip in our 2013 Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet: I woke up long before my alarm clock was set to go off and I was feeling good. By day 3 of me and Kurt's road trip to Anchorage I contemplated faking a seizure so that I wouldn't legally be allowed to drive home.
I hopped into the Porsche that third morning like it was my first time driving one. The car and I were ready to go.
April 26, 2013
In the last post, our 2013 Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet was in a parking lot somewhere in Colorado with almost 9,200 miles on the odometer.
April 25, 2013
This maintenance minder popped up somewhere in Colorado letting me know that our 2013 Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet was due for its first service in 900 miles.
Sorry, buddy. We're just over 1,000 miles from home and I'm not stopping early for an oil change.
April 24, 2013
I am the polar opposite of Erin Riches. She plans things like road trips very thoroughly. She looks at maps, sets goals and hits them. I sort of assume I'm supposed to be heading roughly west and figure out the rest on the fly. So when managed 1,016 miles on day 1, I was pleasantly surprised.
When I sat down to dinner that night, I texted Kurt and asked if we'd ever done a 1,000-mile day during our Jaguar XF Supercharged Road Trip to Alaska. He confirmed that we hadn't, I blamed the slow photographer.
Not only did I feel smug at my small accomplishment. I felt great. I was awake, alert, and had absolutely zero butt/back/leg/hip/whatever pain from sitting in a car for 14-ish hours.
It's almost like they design these things for endurance racing.
April 23, 2013
There are good ways to start a road trip and there are not so good ways.
I spent the night in Cambridge, MA before leaving on my route back to Los Angeles in our 2013 Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet. The apartment was 2ish miles from the Mass Pike and had ample, safe street parking. Perfect.
Except that there's an invisible line somewhere on this street that separates the towns of Cambridge and Somerville and, with my Cambridge parking permit, I was on the wrong side of that line in the mist.
I loaded my luggage into the frunk and, as my carry-on is exactly the same size as Erin's, it fit exactly the same with no room for my briefcase. I set that down on the curb, took pictures of every street sign within 200 feet (none said Somerville, two said Cambridge), got back in the car, set the nav and started my 2,995-mile drive.
I thought the trip was starting out on only one bad note. You, dear reader, via reading it a week after it happened, have noticed that the trip actually started out on two bad notes.
April 22, 2013
The danger of showing up, unannounced, to your mother's house on her birthday with a shiny new 2013 Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet is that she may think it's a surprise gift.
Good thing she knows I'm a journalist.
Still, the six-hour drive to northern Massachusetts was worth it. She hadn't seen her only child in quite a while, and I hadn't terrified her via a car with launch control in, like, ever.
I told her I'd take her to lunch. A spot up by Kittery. I told her we could put the top down and take the coast up.
I failed to mention what 350 horsepower in a Porsche was actually like.
April 19, 2013
I'm still not sure if it was worth it. Jacobs and I got the shot, but it cost me a safe exit from Manhattan. Traffic getting off of that island, if you hadn't heard, is a bit of a nightmare, especially if you're heading north into the 'burbs of Connecticut.
That's right. I was going north. Instead of simply heading back to L.A., I was taking a bit of a detour. My Mom's birthday fell on day 2 of the 2013 New York International Auto Show and, well, it's only a 4-hour drive...
April 18, 2013
If I needed any more conclusive evidence that New York is not the same as Los Angeles, I got it at the valet counter at Erin's Hotel. High-end valets in L.A. understand the needs of a driver with a valeted car and can grasp the concept of a car being dropped off by one party and picked up by another.
In NYC, you have to wait 25-30 minutes for them to retrieve your vehicle from some rat-infested subterranean nightmare and the fact that I had the valet ticket only convinced the hotel that I'd murdered the fair Mrs. Riches and was planning to flee with her Porsche.
Hey, at least they graciously offered to let me stand in their lobby while they tried to figure it all out.
I didn't really have time for the wait, though. This was day 2 of the 2013 New York International Auto Show, I'd already covered a few cars and had to get this car quick; me and Scott Jacobs had a date with Times Square.
April 17, 2013
So our long-term 2012 Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet made it from L.A. to New York. But that was only the first half of the road trip. I've turned the keys over to Mike Magrath for a second half. He's not taking the same route, of course. And he'll probably put the top down no matter how cold it is.
It goes without saying that we're competing on fuel economy. It's not just about logging the highest overall average mpg, either. It's about who gets the best mpg on a single tank, worst mpg on a single tank, and the most miles on a single tank. There's also the matter of who spends the most money on premium fuel.
Check my totals after the jump. These are the numbers Magrath has to beat.
April 16, 2013
For the last three days, I've been getting supportive emails and texts from my coworkers. "Don't be foolish," some of them begin, "just park the Porsche and somebody will come get it." But even during my worst hour, I know I'm going to complete the drive to New York somehow. And after stopping in Indiana last night, that goal is finally in sight.
First, though, the 2013 Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet and I will take in more of Interstate 70, plus I-76 (better known as the Pennsylvania Turnpike) and I-78. It's an experience I won't soon forget.
April 15, 2013
Two nights and a day after my road trip in our 2013 Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet stalls out in Kansas (due to a mechanical problem with the driver, not the car), the Porsche and I are back on the road to New York. Of course, now the goal is to get to Manhattan in time for the second press day of the 2013 New York Auto Show. There won't be time to explore any crazy back roads or tour the battlefield at Gettysburg as I'd planned.
I'm just going to have to be content with the 911's entertainment value when it's pointed straight down Interstate 70 (and then 76, 78 and every other numbing Northeast artery that comes after that). The PDK seven-speed, dual-clutch automated manual transmission makes this pretty easy.
April 12, 2013
If you read the last installment of our 2013 Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet's journey to New York, then you noticed it hit 5,000 miles. Here's where it happened. I can't remember the name of this exit off Interstate 70. This road runs both north and south of the highway, and there's not a lick of pavement. Not many cars look this good on a desolate dirt road. My weather app told me that we were in Ruleton, Kansas. I think it was about 30 degrees.
The wind gusts were considerable when I popped out of the car for a quick shot in the evening light. I didn't linger, either, lest I get run over by a tractor or a steer. In any case, the 911 remained in tip-top health when it passed this milestone.
So far, I've seen only one other 911 on this road trip: It was a 996 Turbo convertible, and I spotted it, where else, just outside of Vegas. I suppose it's the weather that's keeping all the Porsche 911 owners off the road, but really, with a set of snow tires, the 991 generation at least is quite hardy.
April 11, 2013
After a really long day and night behind the wheel of our 2013 Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet, I've arrived late at my motel in Salida, Colorado, a beautiful little mountain town at the bottom of the Monarch Pass.
Also, for those who have expressed misgivings about the wisdom of parking a 991-generation Porsche 911 at a Super 8: I've stayed in a fair amount of Super 8s over the years, and this one might be the best. It's freshly renovated, and my room is very tidy and decorated with photographs of the local mountains. I'd stay here again.
As predicted, I oversleep and miss breakfast. It's a sunny morning and much of the snow in the lot has melted, though honestly, I don't see how, as it's not even 20 degrees when I step outside. The motel is right there on U.S. 50 (or Rainbow Boulevard within the town limits), so after refueling I just continue east. The highest mountains are behind me, but there's still plenty of alpine scenery and it turns out the highway runs parallel to the meandering Arkansas River all the way until the latter empties into a reservoir in Pueblo.
The plows cleared most of U.S. 50 overnight, and the few remaining slippery spots are no big deal for our Porsche, thanks to its Pirelli snow tires. The ride is also quite respectable (not exactly compliant, but tolerably comfortable) for a sports car with the 19-inch wheel/tire package. If I bought a 911 and still lived in Southern California, I'd special-order a car with the 19s rather than buying one with 20s right off the lot. I'm older now. Ride quality matters to me.
April 9, 2013
Days ago, I told you the long-term 2013 Porsche 911 and I were on the road to Midtown Manhattan for the 2013 New York Auto Show. Well, we made it there. Although, as with most road trips, a few things didn't go according to plan. But the Porsche is alive and well, and if you follow @Mike_Magrath on Twitter, you also know that it escaped the city and went on to have more adventures on the journey back to the West Coast.
Now, we bring you the story of the 6,000-mile road trip in our 991-generation 911 Carrera Cabriolet. I'll tell the first half. Mike Magrath will tell the second half. At the end, we'll total up the miles, gallons, mpg and dollars spent on premium fuel, and ask you to vote on which editor you'd rather ride with on a cross-country road trip. Kidding. But I guarantee you will like one of us less after you read about this trip.
Here's how it started.
April 8, 2013
That's right, I took my dog Mya for a ride in our 2013 Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet. Every Sunday we go over to my brother's house to watch Walking Dead and, naturally, Mya has to come with us. But unfortunately for her we had the Porsche for the weekend. This would be her first time ever in a convertible.
And because of its low roof and her big head we decided to drive there with the top down. Fortunately, it was a fairly warm night so we were comfortable. The only one who didn't seem comfortable was Mya. Hit the jump to see a Vine video of how that looked.
April 5, 2013
It's about time. With the 2014 Porsche 911 GT3, the company finally got around to configuring the console shifter in the correct orientation, where you push forward to downshift. Our long-term 2013 Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet's lever (pictured above) is all bass-ackwards, a layout about which you've no doubt heard us gripe.
And now that the company offers steering wheel paddles that command downshifts with the left one and upshifts with the right one, they've got both interfaces sorted out.
March 27, 2013
Before leaving on my road trip to New York in our 2013 Porsche 911, I had to run a really boring errand. One of the suits I'll be wearing at the 2013 New York Auto Show needed to be picked up from the dry cleaners.
I figured there'd be a hook or some piece of metal somewhere in our 911 Carrera Cabriolet on which to attach the hangers. But no, the 991-generation Porsche 911 is still a driver's car, not a servant's car.
March 26, 2013
Satellite radio comes standard on a $14k Kia Rio. On a $94k base price (since increased to $96k) 2013 Porsche 911 Carrera cabrio, it's a $750 option. What?!
How can they get away with this? Because it's a Porsche 911. Well, that and something about "what the market will bear." Sadly for buyers and happily for Porsche, most folks looking at a new 911 probably aren't doing much comparison shopping. They want a 911.
March 22, 2013
Instead, I'm driving the route above. All the way to New York. I'm leaving this very morning (yes, Saturday) and I have to be in Midtown Manhattan by Tuesday afternoon for the start of the 2013 New York Auto Show press days.
March 22, 2013
When we were shopping for our brand new, long-term 2013 Porsche 911 Cabriolet, we were railroaded into getting the 20-inch wheels. No, we weren't bullied by salesmen or anything like that. We just didn't want to special-order a car and everything we found here in SoCal was equipped with the optional 20s.
Once we had the tire pressures set correctly the ride was vastly improved, but we still would have preferred the 19s.
Then Porsche read our comments, stepped up and offered us a set of 19-inch wheels to try on our 911. We agreed, but only if they'd throw in a set of winter tires.
Initially, we wanted all-season tires. Turns out that all-season tires don't exist for the 235/40 (f) / 285/35 (r) Porsche 19s. Winter tires, like the Pirelli Sottozero Serie II, do.
March 12, 2013
After we had our 2013 Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet towed to Allen Tire in Lake Forest to fix its flat left rear tire, the next question was: What caused it?
As mentioned in the last update, I had spun the tire around, felt all the tread and couldn't find a nail or anything obvious. After some air was added, it turned out to be a cut sidewall. How exactly it got cut is not clear, but the fact the rim is also slightly bent points to hitting a pothole.
March 11, 2013
It's never a good thing to see your 2013 Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet on a flatbed.
And few things are more miserable than realizing you have a flat tire. Especially when you're trying to get the long-term 911 to California Speedway to re-test it with lower tire pressures.
Since there is no spare tire onboard our 911 Cabrio, I called Porsche Roadside Assistance for a tow to a dealer or tire shop. The person I spoke with was very courteous and generally helpful. She said a flatbed tow truck could be there within an hour and 40 minutes, which seemed exorbitantly long to me. She also said they would tow it to the Porsche dealer in Newport Beach, which is quite a ways from my place in south Orange County.
And she made no promises as to how quickly the car could be ready once it got to the dealer.
March 6, 2013
Our long-term 2013 Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet is better than our Mercedes SLS AMG Roadster. Believe it. Now, a drop-top 911 with an autobox is nearly the last 911 I would buy with my own money. But you'd think that the SLS Convertible, so similar in morphism to the 911 'vert, would be head and shoulders above the Porsche according to any conceivable metric.
March 5, 2013
A recall has been issued for the Porsche 991. Seems the company discovered that the tailpipes of cars with the standard exhaust (but not the sport exhaust) can detach. This was observed in test cars in Porsche's fleet. So far, no reports of incidents in the field.
The recall applies to cars manufactured from March 7, 2012 through November 12, 2012.
February 25, 2013
Much like the exterior design of the Porsche 911, the design of the gauges hasn't changed much over the years. Porsche's designers still put the tachometer in the middle and everything else wherever its fits. It works, so why mess it up?
February 21, 2013
Apparently, nobody at Porsche realizes that a good chunk of the USA technically does not meet their minimum requirement of 93 octane.
February 14, 2013
I don't know. I guess this was cute for a couple of hours when it was introduced (I think) on the Panamera, but today the car-shaped key fob for our long-term 2013 Porsche 911 strikes me as...a bit cheesy.
The romantic notion of yesteryear was that the Porsche owner would plop his keys on the top of the bar with pride. With this thing, no way. It feels weird when operating its buttons, and sticking a miniature car into the key slot in the dashboard? Let's just say that this key fob would be the coolest thing in the world to the fifteen year-old version of me.
Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor
February 12, 2013
Dashboards are heavily textured not simply to look good, but so that they don't reflect light. It's an easy way to avoid casting reflections on the inside of the windshield. They're also almost universally colored black for the same reason. Dashboards of race cars are 'flocked' to take this visibility-maximizing approach to the next level.
February 8, 2013
An automatic in a Porsche 911? Yeah, it sounds bad, but only if you've never used Porsche's PDK automatic. It makes a very good case for the demise of the manual transmission.
Shifts from the PDK are ridiculously quick, well timed, and every bit as firm as you can muster with a manual. And that's before you even put it in "Sport" mode. You can try to confuse it and nothing happens, it does the right thing anyway.
February 6, 2013
Hanging the engine off the back end of the 911 creates its own unique set of challenges, like basic maintenance for one. The engine in a 911 is buried so deep within its bodywork that you're lucky to see so much as a single hose let alone any of the actual mechanical parts that make this thing run.
February 5, 2013
You might have noticed that all Porsche 911's look somewhat alike. Sticking to a design formula for over 50 years will do that to most people's sense of recognition.
The new 991-series 911 is way different. It's bigger, faster and has an all-new interior. Of course, none of that really helps when you spot one on the road and start thinking to yourself, "Is that a new 911? Or just one of the fourteen models that came out in 2012?"
January 18, 2013
The long-term road test on our 2013 Porsche 911 Cabriolet started off on a sour note. I was the one to break the news that our car had terrible ride quality, but it was the buzz of the office.
We placed the blame entirely on the optional 20-inch wheels. Sidewall, after all, is your friend. But after my long-term update and (our Editor in Chief complained about the issue on Twitter) we found out that there may have been another culprit: Our tire pressure.