February 12, 2014
I had driven our 2013 Porsche 911 Cabriolet once before. Well, "driven" isn't the most accurate description of the experience. More like, "moved the car 10 feet to another parking spot." I don't think my feet even touched the accelerator. But, with the car's retirement date fast approaching, I knew I wouldn't get another shot. This is the story of how I got lost on the way to the gas station and ambled up and down Pacific Coast Highway one lazy morning in January.
January 22, 2014
There's not much in the way of stowage compartments in our 2013 Porsche 911. A center console will typically have one or two open cubbies and/or a pair of cupholders. These are usually big enough to securely stash my phone, garage door opener and office garage key card.
The 911's console has no cupholders (they are hidden within the passenger's side of the dash) and has only a small covered compartment along with a tiny open cubby. The former is shallow and not as easily accessed as an open compartment while the latter is suitable for holding a few sticks of Dentyne. All is not lost however...
December 24, 2013
Although I generally agree with Carroll's sentiments about our 2013 Porsche 911's limited abilities as a cargo hauler, I was determined to make our cabriolet work for a couple of kid-related errands I had planned over the weekend.
See, a friend and I went halfsies on a pair of pre-owned (but in good condition and still very safe) rear-facing infant seats. I also got three car-seat bases out of the deal, which is very useful given how many cars my husband and I have between us. My friend figured we'd use her Accord to haul the seats away.
"No, no," I insisted. "They'll fit in the Porsche. I just need to lower the top."
December 23, 2013
Getting comfortable in our long-term 2013 Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet takes no time at all. Last spring I drove the car from Los Angeles to New York, so I know exactly how I like the seat.
Many miles have gone by since then, but the Porsche's interior looks the same with one exception. The leather lateral bolsters on the seat-back cushion are showing some wear. And oddly the outboard bolster on the passenger-side seat is significantly more worn than the one on the driver seat. In fact, I think a little leather conditioner would eradicate most signs of wear on the driver-seat bolster.
December 13, 2013
I'm a wuss when it comes to the cold but I come by it honestly: I'm a native Californian, and I break out sweaters when the temperature drops below 70.
We had a "cold" snap recently, which meant the morning temperature was in the mid-to-high 40s, but sunny and beautiful. For a freeway-avoiding drive from Orange County to Long Beach, I took down the top on our 2013 Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet, engaged the electrically powered wind deflector and cranked up the heater and seat heaters. I like how little time the cabriolet operation takes: 2 seconds for the deflector to rise.
November 1, 2013
A couple of years ago, Porsche ran a campaign, Engineered for Magic Every Day, where owners could submit real stories of using their cars. One promotional commercial at the time showed a guy buying bags of cement with his Cayman and a mom picking up kids at school in a 911 Turbo.
It's a clever commercial, but the funny thing with having a 911 Carrera in our fleet is that we've pretty much validated the whole concept. For instance, the past week I've used the 911 to take my two kids to school every morning, and it's been great.
October 17, 2013
I like simple things that work well. Resetting the trip meter in our 2013 Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet requires only one press by one finger.
October 16, 2013
It's no secret that our long-term 2013 Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet has cupholders, but they are hidden from plain site.
Tucked away in a space above the glove box, two bottomless cupholders will pop out if you press on the narrow chrome strip. While they will hold a cup or bottle, they are no good for storing change, keys, phones, or other trinkets while driving.
October 15, 2013
I don't care what the technical name is for the aerodynamic bumps you see from the driver seat of the 2013 Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet, but they are quite handsome.
October 1, 2013
The steering. The sound. The physical sensation of sitting forward of both the motor mass and drive wheels. These are the traditional characteristics to crush on in our 2013 Porsche 911, or any 911.
September 3, 2013
Yesterday I had a lot of city driving to do. I took my 6'1" brother to the eye doctor, which was 22 miles from my house. They warned him that he would need someone else to drive when he was done. So, I drove him to his appointment in our long-term 2013 Porsche 911.
Due to congestion, you never know how long it will take to get from place to place in Los Angeles, so we gave ourselves plenty of time. Turns out we had a nice stretch of open highway on the way to the appointment and arrived 45 minutes early. This car loves the open road and despite him being nervous about his appointment, we enjoyed the drive listening to satellite radio and passing commuters in the carpool lane.
July 12, 2013
I like to use my left foot for braking. It feels natural once you get used to it and it's safer. There are plenty of people who will tell you differently, but to each his own.
As you can see, our 911 doesn't exactly accommodate left-foot braking. The brake pedal is clearly cheated over to the right. This obviously makes for easy to swap between the accelerator and the brake pedal with your right foot, but trying to squeeze both feet in there isn't very natural.
June 26, 2013
Last week I wrote a long-term update stating that Porsche doesn't clutter the 911's steering wheel with buttons.
I was wrong.
June 24, 2013
This morning I checked the Porsche's oil level. The entire process took about one second and I never left the driver's seat.
June 21, 2013
There's one thing a Porsche 911 can do that a Chevy Corvette, Porsche Cayman, Mercedes SLS, Mercedes SL, McLaren MP4-12C, SRT Viper, any new Lamborghini, and even a Nissan 370Z cannot: Take my kids to a ball game.
June 20, 2013
The coat hooks embedded in the 911's seat backs aren't especially useful. You can forget about using a nice hanger, as the cheap wire one seen here had to be severely misshapen to only slightly fit and even then, it quickly dislodged after only a minor jostle. Joan Crawford would not approve. Using them with a coat's internal tag hook works better, but the garment itself doesn't really have enough vertical real estate to hang down.
June 18, 2013
Porsche's 911 lacks even a single steering wheel button. This, I'd wager, is a choice. Possibly Porsche knows that a steering wheel's function is so fundamental to what happens while driving that cluttering it up with a bunch of buttons is something it refuses to do.
June 17, 2013
The presence of LATCH fasteners in our Porsche 911's back seats (I use the term loosely) means somebody thinks it's possible to put a child seat back there.
Here's the reality...
June 12, 2013
I'm not really a convertible kind of guy. I don't like roasting in the sun, I'd rather not have the wind in my hair, and the noise on highways gets old quickly. Now, I do appreciate the top-down experience more in cooler months when I can bundle up, throw on a hat and enjoy the car at slower speeds on a scenic and/or twisty road. There is certainly a more engaging experience one enjoys. Unfortunately, my wife takes little joy at any time of the year. She doesn't tolerate the cold and I certainly understand why she might not relish having long hair constantly whipping about her face. Put together, we are not ideal candidates for a lengthy drive in a convertible.
Nevertheless, the Porsche 911 Cabriolet turns out to be an exception.
June 6, 2013
Porsche can make a damn fine sports car, but when it comes to cupholders, it doesn't waste much time on them. The fold out contraptions used in the 911 are marginal at best, so they don't stand a chance against the monstrous Styrofoam cups used at a local teriyaki bowl stand I splurge on every once in a while.
June 5, 2013
Whenever I drive our 2013 911 Carrera I'm always struck by how well Porsche's engineers sweat the details. It's evident throughout the cabin and it almost makes it feel like it's worth over $100,000.
May 15, 2013
Most hardcore sports car fans would call the rear seats in the Porsche 911 useless. And they would be right to a large degree. You can't fit adults in them and even kids need to be small to wedge in there for any length of time.
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 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 21, 2013
My friend and gym companion Doctor Mike is a big fan of the Porsche 911. As in 6-feet, 7-inches tall, 270 pounds big. And as much as he loves the 911, the car has never been commodious enough for someone his size.
When I had our long-term 2013 Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet last night, I flipped the key to Mike so he could try it on for size it while I put some miles on the elliptical trainer. He came back all smiles. By lowering the seat completely, letting it travel back as far as it would go and setting the proper angle of recline, Mike fit nicely in the car. Even with the top up, he had plenty of head room. Kudos to Porsche for ensuring that it's not just compact, whippet-thin people who get all the driving fun.
Carroll Lachnit, Features Editor @ 3,470 miles
March 13, 2013
Last week my Mom flew into town from Vermont to spend a couple of days with me before heading down to a conference in San Diego. I hadn't thought about what car I would have in advance, and it just happened to be our long-term 2013 Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet.
As I was pulling into the airport I started questioning how smart a choice the 911 convertible was. And how much luggage my Mom would have.
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 15, 2013
When we were buying our long-term 2013 Porsche 911 many members of our editorial staff were passionate about the steering wheel. "Scott, whatever you do don't get a car with the standard wheel with those weird shift buttons," they told me several times. "Make sure we get the SportDesign steering wheel with the real paddle shifters."
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 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 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
January 23, 2013
This past weekend my family used our long-term 2013 Porsche 911 more like a minivan than a supercar. There were no Autobahn-style top speed runs, no hardcore blasts through Malibu's twisting mountain roads, no tire smoking powerslides and not one Saturday night top down cruise on the Sunset Strip.
It did, however, take us to the Honda Center in Anaheim to see How to Train Your Dragon. It also took us to my daughter's basketball game, out for fro yo, to the pet food store, to the movies, to Home Depot and, wait for it, to Staples for some new printer ink cartridges.
Turns out my daughters (aged nine and seven) fit snugly in the Porsche's backseat. And it turns out that every other mom and dad at the basketball game wishes they too had a 911 Cabriolet. No shock there. In the sea of crossovers, SUVs and minivans, the 911 stood out like Kate Upton at an Oldham family reunion.
There was the occasional complaint about space from my girls, but they couldn't have been too uncomfortable as they both fell asleep back there on the way home from Dragon. For the record, they also whined about the lack of cupholders in the back.
Since the 1960s the Porsche 911 has been an everyday supercar. It still is. Such a family weekend would have been impossible in a Chevy Corvette, an Audi R8 or a dozen other two-seater sexmobiles. But in the 911 it's not only possible, it's the point.
Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief @ 865 miles
January 17, 2013
Click through for a video tour of the interior of our long-term 2013 Porsche 911 Carrera convertible. I also start it for you so you can hear it.