January 08, 2013
This long-term test of a $109,745 2013 Porsche Carrera Cabriolet contains the disclaimer that we paid for this car with our own cash.
It's a big number and our accountant shed a tear cutting the check, but it had to be done.
Why? Well, we've never had a modern Porsche in our long-term fleet, for starters. That means we've never experienced Porsche's superb Doppelkupplung transmission for longer than a couple weeks. Also, we haven't had a modern convertible. So, really, we're killing three birds with one stone here. Even an accountant can't argue with that.
Plus, despite rumors to the contrary, the 911 is still hugely popular and important to Porsche. It is the No. 2 seller for the brand, falling only behind the Porsche Cayenne in terms of overall sales.
What We Got
Buying a Porsche is tricky. Without some serious willpower, it can also be incredibly expensive.
Porsche is known for a few things besides its exceptional sports cars. One of these things is its masterful use of medium-ticket options to drive the average price of new cars to astronomical levels. According to its literature, it is theoretically possible to get a 2013 Porsche 911 — the new 991 series — for $83,050. This car, however, is a phantom and does not exist anywhere near Los Angeles.
Even if our idea was to spend as little as possible on a new 911 and see what life is like at the bottom of the top of the heap, it wasn't going to happen in our homeland. Fortunately, we didn't want a total stripper. We wanted one equipped with the Porsche Doppelkupplung (PDK) seven-speed auto-clutch manual. The idea of shifting our own box into 7th gear and cruising had us salivating, but even Porsche will admit that the manual isn't a crowd favorite. We've never spent serious time with this transmission, and while we'll miss the clutch from time to time, this is the more representative transmission.
So we know we want the PDK. What next? Well, the 911 S model packs a 400-horsepower 3.8-liter flat-6 and a $14,300 premium over the regular Carrera's 350-hp 3.4-liter flat-6. Sure there are some other differences, but this can simply be expressed at $286 per horsepower. Even by Porsche standards this is a lot. And with a budget capped at about $100,000, we had to be smart.
Soon after we started shopping, we realized that sticker prices on Porsches are merely suggestions. We had our list narrowed to three cars. All had options we didn't really want but were close enough. (Porsche, of course, does custom orders, but we wanted this closed before the new year. Plus, waiting sucks.) The first dealer we contacted started chopping the price before we tried any of our time-tested tactics, but it wasn't good enough. Prices for 911s on dealer lots were still too high. Despite the first dealer dropping $10K off the price of a new car without any effort, we got rejected after making a similar offer on the car we really wanted — a less expensive silver convertible.
This is when we decided to turn to the professionals of AutoNation Direct, a car-buying concierge if you will. AutoNation Direct has worked with this dealership before and got us the deal we were after with no hassle. We paid $98,048 for a 2013 Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet with a sticker price of $109,745 and 9 miles on the odometer. The dealership even flatbedded it to our office for free the very same day.
What exactly did we get for our $98,048?
Well, the 991 series 911 Carrera Cabriolet starts at $93,700 and then there's the $950 destination fee. Beyond that are the extras. Agate Grey Metallic paint was $710; the Premium package with 14-way seats was $2,940; the PDK transmission we wanted so badly was another $4,080; the big, goofy 20-inch Carrera Classic wheels set us back $2,730 and the Porsche crest in the center of each cost $185; front seat ventilation cost $840; Sirius Satellite Radio is $750; and the SportDesign steering wheel with paddle shifters cost $490. Finally, our 911 is equipped with the $2,730 Sport Chrono package. This package lumps together dynamic engine mounts, a Sport Plus button which offers launch control and a racier shift program, and a stopwatch. This is perhaps the one option we'd have added if we'd ordered this from the factory.
Why We Got It
This isn't our first time around the block with a Porsche 911. You'll remember that recently we spent a year with a 1985 Porsche 911 that we were smitten with. That car, however, was a different animal than our current 2013 911. With the redesign last year, the 991 911 grew up substantially. It looked less like a frog and had an interior that looked more like the luxury spread found in the Panamera than those found in racing cars. Is this proof that Porsche had sold out to the 1 percent? Is Porsche more Newport Beach than Nürburgring?
We know this new 911 is good, but is it a good 911? Porsche's had more than 60 years to figure this formula out and now it's got nearly six figures of our cash.
Now we've have 12 months and 20,000 miles to find out if the 911 still has it. Follow along on our Long-Term Road Test page to read more.
Current Odometer: 260
Best Fuel Economy: 19.4
Worst Fuel Economy: 19.4
Average Fuel Economy (over the life of the vehicle): 19.4
Edmunds purchased this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.
Mike Magrath, Features Editor