Used 2013 Porsche 911 Convertible
- Precise steering
- effortless acceleration
- powerful brakes
- all-wheel-drive option
- spacious cockpit
- surprisingly fuel-efficient
- highly customizable.
- Option prices add up quickly
- no reverse camera available.
Used 2013 Porsche 911 Convertible for Sale
Edmunds' Expert Review
Even with a shrunken lineup this year, the 2013 Porsche 911 remains the definitive sports car.
There are only a handful of iconic cars whose complete redesign is both as highly anticipated as well as utterly feared by car enthusiasts as the Porsche 911. When the seventh-generation 911 debuted last year, people wondered whether the car would still have enough spirit to make it worthy of its iconic name. Now that we've had a year to reflect, we have to say that it was a storm in a teacup. The 2013 Porsche 911 is still very much a 911.
Of all the changes wrought on one of the world's most famous sports cars, last year's shift from hydraulic- to electric-assisted steering was one of the most scrutinized. Rest assured Porsche faithful, as the 911 still has lightning reflexes and a jeweler's precision, but is now more capable and more comfortable over a wider range of circumstances.
It's rare for any company to release every model and trim variant during a redesign year, and Porsche is no different. To give you an idea of scale, at its maximum number during the previous generation's production, there were 21 distinct Porsche 911 models available. Now in its second year of production, the new Porsche 911 is limited to a relatively skimpy six variants. But there's little reason to fret; with its sublime handling, impressively quick acceleration and everyday usability, even a basic 911 is an utterly fantastic sports car.
Of course, there are other choices when it comes to flashy metal. Rivals such as the Aston Martin V8 Vantage, Audi R8, Chevrolet Corvette and Mercedes-Benz SL are all desirable in their own right. But when it comes to a highly evolved and refined front runner, there is no substitute for the 2013 Porsche 911.
Trim levels & features
Last year's partial introduction of the seventh-generation Porsche 911 made things confusing for buyers. There was a dizzying array of 911 variants because some previous "997" generation cars were sold alongside the current "991" versions. With the exception of the potent "997" 911 Turbo, that ends with the 2013 model year when the entire Carrera (coupe) and Cabriolet (convertible) lineup is unified under the "991" roof.
The 911 starts in Carrera (coupe) and Carrera Cabriolet (convertible) forms. Up from here, there are the higher-performance "S" models or the all-wheel-drive variants (4 and 4S).
The 2013 Porsche Carrera is equipped with 19-inch alloy wheels, automatic bi-xenon headlights, LED turn signals and running lights, heated side mirrors, dual-zone automatic climate control, four-way power-adjustable partial leather sport seats with manual fore/aft adjustment, split-folding rear seats, a manual tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, partial leather interior trim and a faux suede headliner. Standard infotainment is covered by Porsche Communications Management (PCM) that includes a 7-inch touchscreen electronics interface including navigation, Bluetooth phone connectivity and a nine-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite radio and USB/iPod/auxiliary inputs.
The Carrera S version has this equipment plus 20-inch wheels, a more powerful engine, larger brakes and Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) with a lower ride height and selectable Sport or Normal driving modes.
The Cabriolet and Cabriolet S models are essentially the same but include a multilayer power soft top and power-operated wind baffle.
Notable stand-alone Carrera exterior options include 20-inch wheels, high-gloss anodized aluminum exterior trim, various body parts painted body color rather than the factory standard black, front and rear parking sensors, adaptive bi-xenon headlamps, a rear window wiper, power-folding mirrors, a sunroof in either steel or glass and a rear wing.
For the interior, options include various surfaces in paint, leather, wood, aluminum and faux suede as well as colored seatbelts, a full leather interior, full leather seats, heated and/or ventilated front seats, 14- or 18-way power sport seats with driver memory, Sport Seat Plus (standard seats with more side bolstering), a heated steering wheel, multifunction or sport-oriented steering wheels and a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel. Adaptive cruise control is also available and includes pre-collision warning and automatic braking.
Audio and communications options include voice control of navigation and audio, online services, an electronic trip/economy logbook, satellite and HD Radio.
Performance upgrades include a torque-vectoring differential (PTV), ceramic composite brakes, a two-position active suspension (PASM) with a lower ride height, variable power steering and a sport exhaust system.
There are also bundled options. The Sport Chrono package includes dynamic engine mounts, a dash-top stopwatch, a performance display, adjustable drive settings, shift light for manual-equipped cars, launch control for PDK cars and a steering wheel display for sport modes. The Premium package comes with auto-dimming mirrors, dynamic bi-xenon headlights, headlight washers and heated power sport seats. The Premium Package Plus adds ventilated seats, keyless entry/ignition and ambient interior lighting. The Bose Audio package has a 12-speaker surround-sound audio system, HD and satellite radio and a six-disc changer. The even more premium Burmester audio package duplicates the above features, but adds more wattage and more sophisticated speakers.
Stand-alone Carrera S options are the same as the Carrera (except where noted above as standard on the Carrera S), plus dynamic stabilizer bars (PDCC), a Carrera S Powerkit that further increases output to 430 horsepower and specific engine compartment styling with a titanium-colored cover and carbon inserts.
Standard and optional equipment on the Cabriolet/Cabriolet S largely follow those of the Carrera/Carrera S.
The all-wheel-drive 911 Turbo (coupe and convertible) rides on 19-inch wheels, a more aggressive suspension tune, unique body styling, full-power front seats, a full leather interior, auto-dimming interior and driver-side mirrors and a 13-speaker Bose surround-sound system. The Turbo S version adds more power, an automated-manual transmission, carbon-ceramic brakes, adaptive sport seats and the availability of special two-tone interior color schemes.
Performance & mpg
The 2013 Porsche 911 line is powered by a horizontally opposed six-cylinder engine (two different sizes/outputs). It's connected to a seven-speed manual transmission as standard or a seven-speed automated manual (known as PDK) as an option. Rear drive is used for most 911s, but Carrera 4, 4S and all Turbo models have all-wheel drive.
The 2013 Porsche 911 Carrera has a 3.4-liter engine producing 350 hp and 287 pound-feet of torque. Porsche estimates the Coupe will go from zero to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds with the PDK, and in Edmunds testing a PDK-equipped Cabriolet did it in 4.7 seconds. The Carrera S is powered by a 3.8-liter engine that makes 400 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque (430 hp with the optional Carrera S Powerkit). In Edmunds performance testing, a manual-equipped Carrera S coupe went from zero to 60 mph in 4.6 seconds, while a Carrera S PDK did it in 3.9 seconds. A Cabriolet S PDK got to 60 in 4.2 seconds.
Fuel economy, of course, varies by model, engine and driveline, but not by much. From most to least efficient variants, the Carrera PDK earns an EPA rating of 20 mpg city/28 highway and 23 mpg combined, to the Carrera 4S Cabriolet with an 18 mpg city/26 mpg highway and 21 mpg combined estimate.
The obvious outliers are, of course, the Turbo and Turbo S models. The all-wheel-drive Turbo has a twin-turbocharged 3.8-liter engine that produces 500 hp and 480 lb-ft of torque. The PDK is available, but a six-speed manual is standard. An overboost function cranks the torque output to 516 lb-ft. In Edmunds performance testing of a PDK-equipped coupe, this engine was enough to hit 60 in a staggering 3.2 seconds. The Turbo S, also available as a convertible, should be even quicker, with 530 hp, 516 lb-ft of torque and standard PDK.
The entire Turbo line manages to achieve the same EPA-estimated 19 mpg combined regardless of engine output or transmission. Of course, your results may vary.
Every 2013 Porsche 911 comes with antilock ventilated disc brakes, stability control and front, side and side curtain airbags, and knee airbags for the driver and front passenger (except Turbo/Turbo S models). The optional adaptive cruise control system also features automatic brake application if it detects an imminent collision.
In Edmunds brake testing, the 911 Carrera S came to a stop from 60 mph in an astounding 98 feet. At the other end of the spectrum, a Cabriolet S required 5 feet more. Given this excellent performance, you'd only need the available ceramic composite brakes if you frequent high-performance driving events.
Any fears that Porsche strayed too far from the winning 911 formula with last year's redesign are completely unfounded. The 2013 Porsche 911 remains an extraordinary sports car. Quicker and more efficient, it now meets an even higher standard of handling and grip. The 991's electric-assisted steering doesn't quite match the previous car's hydraulic-boosted setup for feel, but the system remains incredibly precise, just as before. The flat-6 engine produces strong acceleration and sounds fantastic doing it. At the same time, the 911 is very comfortable over long distances, improving its ability to be an everyday sports car.
To this day, the Porsche 911 is the first and only production car to feature a seven-speed manual transmission. It sounds implausible, and the shift pattern embossed on the cue-ball-shaped knob looks outlandish, but in operation 7th gear is locked out until you've first visited 6th gear and then it's just another upshift to the right of 5th. For those who enjoy living with three pedals, Porsche's manual is still one of the finest around.
However, to get the best economy, quickest acceleration and seamless shifting performance regardless of engine or driveline, Porsche's PDK automated-manual transmission is overwhelmingly superior to the standard transmission. Porschephiles might say otherwise, but our collective hunch is that they've yet to fully experience the utterly flawless PDK that's worth every cent.
Exceptional build quality and superior materials are consistent throughout the varied Porsche 911 lineup. Leather surfaces are top-notch and plastics are convincingly grained to match. Optional genuine leather, aluminum and carbon fiber are impeccable.
Since its introduction in 2012, the redesigned 911 interior features a center console that sweeps upward, creating a unified bridge between the center armrest and dash that's similar to the design Porsche uses for its Panamera sedan. The upside is that the gearshift is conveniently placed closer to the steering wheel; the downside is that the cabin feels less open and spacious than before.
The new car's longer wheelbase also translates to added legroom, but only by an inch for the front seats. Rear seats also benefit from added legroom, but are still barely suitable even for small children. Realistically, their flip-down seatbacks create a useful parcel shelf big enough to hold a golf bag. Extremely supportive and comfortable standard front bucket seats do a great job of holding both driver and passenger in place while cornering. The optional seats with more articulation plus heating and ventilating only improve on the excellent design. Roomy foot wells and a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel mean the 911 can accommodate drivers of nearly all sizes.
Interior controls are relatively simple to operate, and items like navigation, Bluetooth, the iPod interface and optional voice controls help make this sports car a viable daily driver. There are also plenty of places to stow all manner of personal effects.
Features & Specs
More About This Model
We went rogue during the drive of the 2013 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S in Austria. By dumb luck, we veered off the prescribed route and found ourselves smack in the middle of a winter storm while ascending a twisty mountain road. The white stuff was turning everything outside our windows into a frozen forest of white.
A little scary when you're behind the wheel of a 400-horsepower sports car. So did we turn back? Uh, no. We had Porsche's latest all-wheel-drive system to work with, not to mention a set of 19-inch Pirelli snow tires in place of the stock 20-inch summer rubber.
So we channeled our inner Ferry Porsche, the man who moved the family business to a farm in Gmund, Austria, after WWII, and got moving. We could picture him slipping and sliding a prototype 356 around these very same turns, so that's what we did, too.
It was a quick reminder why the 2013 Porsche 911 Carrera 4 exists. And it's why nearly 100 percent of all 911s sold in Austria and neighboring Switzerland are AWD models. There's just enough power to the front wheels to get up that slippery hill, but more than enough power rearward for giddy, tail-out fun.
The Carrera 4 is the all-wheel-drive version of the new 991-series Porsche 911. Its version of the Porsche Traction Management (PTM) system continuously transfers power between the front and rear axles via a multiplate clutch. It's basically the same system found on the 997 911 Turbo with a new emphasis placed on efficiency and fuel economy, partially through a "coasting" function when equipped with the PDK gearbox.
A new readout within the instrument cluster allows you to see exactly how the torque is being transferred front to rear. Porsche tells us that in theory as much as 100 percent of the power can be sent to either the front or rear wheels within 100 milliseconds. We never saw higher than 55 percent to the front, so don't mistake this 911 for a Snowcat. We like that it's an enthusiast-oriented rear-biased system, though, since it allows for plenty of tail-out, snow-spraying good fun.
How rear-biased? If we tried really hard (that's code for mashing the throttle while turning) we could do complete 360s in a snowy parking lot. And that's with the car's stability system turned on. It was even more interesting with the stability turned off, but given the conditions we didn't push too hard.
More Power, Less Fuel, More Quickness
In keeping with Porsche's apparent goal to offer no fewer than 400 different 911 models for you to choose from, the Carrera 4 can be had with two different engines, two body styles (coupe and cabrio) and two transmissions.
While the base engine has been downsized from 3.6 liters to 3.4 liters in the interest of fuel economy, don't be fooled. Porsche massaged another 5 horsepower (from 345 hp to 350) out of the direct-injected and variable-valve-timing-equipped flat-6. It's a bit more revvy than before, peak power coming at 7,400 rpm (up from 6,500) and torque is down 1 pound-foot to 287 at 5,600.
Put your foot into it and it's no slug, 0-60 arriving in a claimed 4.7 seconds with the standard seven-speed manual, or 4.5 seconds with the seven-speed dual-clutch PDK (Porsche Doppelkupplungsgetriebe — go ahead and admit that it's just fun to say).
As fast as the standard model may be, Porsche says the take rate on the more powerful Carrera S is far higher, at least in the U.S. Forget the fact that it's $14,600 more expensive; it has a 400-hp 3.8-liter flat-6 and that's all that matters. Turns out folks who buy $100,000 sports cars don't seem to mind the premium.
More Wail Than Ever Before
Porsche's flat-6 has never sounded special at low revs. Direct injection doesn't help. But wick the C4S up over 4,500 rpm and it ignites with a delectable wail. Yes, that infamous Porsche wail you've read about since you were a kid. It's not a myth. Then again, it's not quite as raw as it used to be either.
Turns out all 911s now come with something called a Sound Symposer. It's operated via the Sport button on the center console and it directs more of the boxer engine's sound into the cabin via an acoustic channel. So the sound is real; it's just getting to your ears in a slightly more artificial manner. A bit odd maybe, but at least it's not synthetic like on the BMW M5.
With standard auto stop-start (which can be turned off if you find it annoying) along with more efficient engines and a "coasting" function in conjunction with PDK, both the Carrera 4 and Carrera 4S models get slightly better fuel economy than the outgoing models. The C4 has an EPA rating of 20 city/28 highway/23 combined, while the C4S achieves 19 city/26 highway/22 combined, both with PDK.
Same Sweet Balance
It's when you encounter a rain-soaked road that the 2013 Porsche 911 Carrera 4's balance, precision and true meaning for existence become utterly obvious. It's all about the confidence to go to the throttle at corner apex earlier and harder than you could in a C2. What's great about PTM's rear bias is that you can still get power-on oversteer. But with the constant switching of power front/rear and torque vectoring at the rear wheels, there's an extra bit of grip and unflappability that keeps things from getting too out of shape.
Since Porsche's AWD system adds just 110 pounds, hardly any suspension changes were needed to maintain the 911's fantastic handling. In fact, the springs and dampers remain identical to those on the rear-wheel-drive Carrera. Only the antiroll bars were altered to compensate for the C4's slightly more front-heavy weight balance, which still leaves 61 percent over the rear axle.
The electric-assist steering doesn't quite have the precision of the 997's hydraulic setup (snow tires don't help the cause), but it's still very intuitive. As with all 911s, the steering can feel overly light at times with that lump of an engine hanging so far off the back, but the faster you drive, the better it feels.
The adjustable two-mode dampers rarely seem too stiff. Then again, they never feel overly soft either. There needs to be more differentiation between their settings to make the system feel worthwhile.
The driving position, as always, is near-perfect. Fairly upright, good views out the front and a low hood; not much has changed. The new center console is very Panamera-ish with its long, slim profile and overabundance of small buttons. The car is put together superbly and there's fine leather throughout. Yet the 911 still has the two silliest fold-out cupholders in existence.
If You Can't Heel-and-Toe...
Although the large majority of 911 owners opt for the PDK, Porsche hasn't given up on its ultra-precise yet easy-shifting seven-speed manual. Far from it. In fact, there's a new rev-match downshift feature now similar to the one used on the Nissan 370Z.
Part of the $1,850 Sport Chrono package, the system is activated by pressing the Sport Plus button on the center console. It's a curious setup since you would think more aggressive drivers — like the ones who switch Sport Plus on for ultimate performance — would prefer to do the heel-and-toe throttle blips on their own.
Winter, Zen and the 911
When they go on sale in January in the U.S. the 2013 Porsche 911 Carrera 4 will start at $91,980 (including $950 destination) while the 4S will run $106,580. The C4 Cabrio follows in March at $103,880. Our Carrera 4S test car, which had several pricey options including the $8,520 ceramic-composite brakes and $5,010 Burmester sound system (plus $4,080 for PDK), would command some $127,000. That's more than a base Turbo.
So, is a naturally aspirated all-wheel-drive 911 worth that kind of money? Depends on the weather. Hard to put a price on the ability to carve up a mountain road during a snowstorm, but when you're lost and everything around you is white, seeing power going to the front wheels sure is comforting. And fun. Really fun.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.
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Should I lease or buy a 2013 Porsche 911?
Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.