May 15, 2013
Before Erin and I shuttled our 2013 Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet cross-country, we took it to the track for our usual instrumented testing.
And for fun, we decided to compare it against a more powerful 991 911, a 2012 Porsche Carrera S Cabriolet.
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 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 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 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 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 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 10, 2013
If you didn't read Part 1 of this 2013 Porsche 911 Goes to New York series, let me catch you up: It is 8:49 p.m. mountain time and I am 568 miles into a 973-mile drive from L.A. to Salida, Colorado. I'm in eastern Utah and I'm convinced that the 911's 3:10 a.m. (adjusted for mountain time) arrival estimate is way off. At least that's what I tell myself.
Eventually, I arrive in Grand Junction, Colorado, and exit Interstate 70 in favor of the far more scenic U.S. Highway 50. I know it's very scenic, because I've read about this highway, and occasionally during this drive, I catch sight of some really tall snow-covered mountains when the moon hits them just right. I can't believe how many Fourteeners this state has. In California, we have five (my favorite being Mt. Shasta). In Colorado, they have 25. The reality, though, is that it is completely dark, and I totally miss out on some cathartic moments as I'm unable to take in the magnificence. (Already I'm lobbying my spouse for a road trip on U.S. 50 this summer. He'll come around.)
Also, it doesn't take long to understand why the Porsche's nav system has decided it will take me so long to get to Salida. First, there are a lot of speed traps. Getting through Grand Junction alone takes at least a half hour, as U.S. 50 is a major surface street here, and littered with traffic lights and low speed limits. It's maddening for the hurried traveler (tip: don't be in a hurry). Second, within an hour or two, I'm aware that we're gaining elevation. It has started to snow and the temperature is dropping fast.
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.
March 25, 2013
The fact that we bought a standard Porsche 911 convertible with an automatic transmission and heavy 20-inch wheels has caused a few of my hardcore pals to snicker at its girliness. They, of course, tell me we should have bought a 911 S Coupe with three pedals. You know, the "manly version" of Porsche's signature sports car.
A quick blast on the Mulholland Hwy., however, the most famous mountain road in the world, shuts them right up.
You see, our "girly" Porsche 911 is still stupid fast in the hills. In fact, it's faster in the hills that 99% of my friends are able to drive it. And it'll go faster than any of us should really drive on the street.
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 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.
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 13, 2013
Okay, as much as I'd prefer that our long-term 2013 Porsche 911 was equipped with the conventional manual gearbox, I have to acknowledge the brilliance of its PDK transmission. It really is the best dual-clutch gearbox in production today. Not only does it shift imperceptibly smoothly, the gear changes occur in what appears to be no time at all. These characteristics are no surprises, and they're ones we've come to expect from competent, modern dual-clutch gearboxes.
What makes PDK stand above the rest is its manners, intuitive programming and quick reflexes. Unlike many other dual-clutch 'boxes, with PDK there's no low-speed nonsense, no clunkiness, and during three-point turns it swaps between 'R' and 'D' and back right now.
February 11, 2013
Remember when the Boxster came out and everyone complained about not being able to see the engine? Well, it's 1997 all over again. Our long-term 2013 Porsche 911 is the same way.
Hit the switch to open its engine cover and the clamshell motors upward not very far. Doesn't matter because there's not much to see or do here. Servicing the engine will at minimum require a lift and some surgery. Then again, service intervals are so long that tending to the engine itself will presumably be a rare occasion. This assumes that Porsche's recent DI engine architecture doesn't experience issues to the degree found in the earlier water-cooled flat-sixes.
Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor
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.
January 30, 2013
Yes, it was dark, rainy and 5:45 a.m., but I got off the freeway anyway in order to catch the 1,000-mile mark in our 2013 Porsche 911. It's a nice round number, and (I supposed) it represented the end of the engine break-in period.
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.
January 10, 2013
After my first jaunt in the new 911, I'm a bit torn. I really wanted a manual transmission, but after driving our PDK-equipped convertible I can't complain. That crazy mess of clutches and gears is magical. I've never driven an "automatic" this smart. It not only picks the right gear at the right time, it serves it up in seconds.
As far as the ride goes, it is on the stiff side. Sure, it's a sports car and all, but I just drove a Corvette ZR1 not too long ago that pulled over 1.0g on the skidpad and delivered a plush ride on the highway, too.
Speaking of Corvettes, I noticed that the shape of the seats in our 911 isn't all that different than those found in the current Corvette. Funny then, that the Porsche's seats are supremely comfortable and supportive while the Chevy's chairs are a blubbery mess. It's all in the details I guess.
Ed Hellwig, Executive Editor @ 361 miles
January 8, 2013
We just added a new, 2013 Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet to our long-term test fleet and I thought I'd start things off on the right foot: with a complaint.
We're going to have 12 months to drool over our new toy, so let's just get this out of the way right now. The 20-inch Carrera Classic wheels that were optional on our 911 are terrible.
There's one subjective and two objective reasons for this. Let's start with objective.
1.) The ride is harsh. Not quite Nissan GT-R harsh, but certainly not a ride that inspires trans-continental travel. Sidewall would make this better. I'd happily give up whatever roll stiffness you get with these tiny sidewalls for the shock-absorbing power of some big, meaty rubber.
2.) The brakes on the non-S model 991 911 are pretty small coming in at 13.4 and 13 inches front/rear and the giant 20-inch wheels make them look even smaller. It's just not cool.
Finally, the subjective reason: 20s are too big for sports cars. I don't like unnecessary flash and I'm even a little bummed that the smallest wheel you can get on a 991 911 is a 19x8.5. You could get 18s on the 997. I wonder if they'd still fit...