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2020 Porsche 911 Cabriolet Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader April 2019

The 2020 Porsche 911 Cabriolet is the new convertible version of the renowned rear-engine grand touring car. Convertibles aren't for everybody. They're noisier than coupes. They are objectively less safe than their hardtop counterparts. They are usually heavier than coupes, thanks to the need for additional chassis bracing and the addition of the machinery that operates the top. But when it comes to pure cruising enjoyment, the compromises of a convertible are blown away with the wind. The very first Porsche, the 1948 356 "No. 1" Roadster, was a convertible, and Porsche first offered a convertible version of the 911 in 1982: the 911 SC Cabriolet.

Porsche recognizes that not every owner wants to take their car to the track to trade paint with other sports cars. Some owners want to wring all of their driving enjoyment out of the open road. That's why there's a Porsche 911 Cabriolet.

What's New for 2020?

The 911 enters its eighth generation of production for 2020, known internally and by Porsche fans as "992." The coupe was released a few months ago, debuting many new interior and exterior design features, along with a new drivetrain and other technical details. The 911 Carrera Cabriolet now enters the picture bearing most of the same changes, along with structural updates and a new soft top with "panel bow" construction – a series of four aluminum bows and three magnesium panels concealed within the fabric top. These panels help form a curved, coupe like roofline that is more aerodynamic than before. A new, lighter-weight hydraulic roof drive can open or close the top in about 12 seconds at speeds up to 31 mph.

The traditional rear-engine/rear-drive layout of the 911 remains, with all-wheel drive standard in the Carrera 4S. A new flat-six horizontally opposed twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter Boxer engine tuned to produce 443 horsepower and 390 lb-ft of torque. The new powerplant can rev up to a 7,500 rpm redline, producing a flat torque curve along the way. A new 8-speed dual-clutch automatic PDK transmission is standard. See the 2020 Porsche 911 Cabriolet models for sale near you

What We Like

The new 911 Cabriolet carries the heritage of a beloved model well, while integrating modern technology and performance. Interior features befit a luxury grand touring machine. Serene as a coupe with the top up, and smooth and turbulence-free with the top down. 

What We Don't

No manual transmission option at launch -- Porsche says that a 7-speed manual will be available later in the model year. Options can add up to a big sticker price very quickly.

How Much?

There are just two trim levels of Cabriolet: S (rear-wheel drive) and 4S (AWD). The 2020 911 Carrera S Cabriolet starts at $126,100. The Carrera 4S Cabriolet starts at $133,400.

Fuel Economy

EPA estimates are not yet available for the 2020 911 Cabriolet. The outgoing 2019 911 model was rated at 22 miles per gallon in the city, 28 mpg on the highway and 24 mpg in combined driving. We expect the new engine and 8-speed automatic transmission to achieve a similar rating, or maybe even a little better.

Standard Features and Options

The 911 Cabriolet comes with a long list of standard features. On the powertrain side, there's the 3.0-liter twin-turbo Boxer engine and an 8-speed PDK dual-clutch automatic transmission with RWD (AWD on the 4S). Fully independent suspension all around, with MacPherson struts up front and a multi-link rear and anti-roll bars at both ends. Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) is standard, as are staggered 20-in front/21-in rear Carrera S wheels with performance summer tires. Vented and cross-drilled 13.78-inch disc brakes on all four wheels with red, all-aluminum fixed monobloc calipers (6-piston front/4-piston rear).

An auto-deploying rear spoiler, side air intakes with active cooling air flaps and air blades, recessed door handles, rear lid grille with vertical slats move air through and around the body. The Porsche logo is integrated into the rear taillight strip. The power-operated fabric top has a rigid glass screen with defroster element, and an integral electrically powered wind deflector to keep the cabin calm when the top is stowed. All of the exterior lighting is LED: headlights, daytime running lights, position lights, front direction indicators and side turn signals, three-dimensional taillights and third brake light, taillight strip with parking lights and rear drive lights.

Inside, Sport Seats with electric angle and height adjustment and manual fore/aft position adjustment with embossed leather side bolsters and headrests and smooth-finish leather centers are standard, along with split-folding rear seats. A multi-function steering wheel is wrapped in smooth leather, along with door grab handles, door panel armrests and center console storage compartment lid. A single cup holder pops out of the passenger dash, and there's one cup holder in the center console. The door pockets can hold a larger water bottle on each side. A 4.6-liter trunk hides under the hood, big enough for an airline carry-on bag and a little more.

Standard electronics include Porsche Communication Management and Porsche Connect Plus, including navigation, Apple CarPlay, SiriusXM, 4G/LTE telephone module and wireless internet access, and Porsche Car Connect including Carfinder, Remote Vehicle Statues, Remote Services and Porsche Vehicle Tracking System. Sound Package Plus is standard with eight speakers, an integral amplifier with 150 watts of power and digital signal processing. ParkAssist with reversing camera is standard. So is Keyless Go, seat heating, HomeLink and cruise control.

Stand-alone options and packages are where the cash register bells really start ringing. Most appealing are the Sport Package ($5,460), which includes a sport exhaust system, the Sport Chrono Package, and PASM Sport Suspension. Rear Axle Steering is available for $2,090. A Burmester High-End Surround System runs $5,560. Adaptive Cruise Control comes in at $2,000. Adaptive Sport Seats Plus with Memory Package cost $3,470. A front-axle lift system is a wise investment ($2,770) if you have a steep driveway. The list of packages and options goes on and on. It's easy to rack up $40,000 to $50,000 worth of add-ons if you're not careful.

Safety

A convertible is inherently less safe than a coupe, but Porsche has put extra effort into making the 911 Cabriolet safer than before. The A-pillar and crossbar above the windshield has been strengthened. Full-size 2-stage airbags for driver and front passenger, along with Porsche Side Impact Protection add additional reinforcement and airbags. Porsche Stability Management (PSM) helps mitigate rollovers, while standard anti-lock braking (ABS) and Warn and Brake Assist help with stopping before a collision. Optional lane-keeping assist ($1,220), lane-change assist ($1,060), adaptive cruise control ($2,000), Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control ($3,170) and a host of other available safety features can be added to the Cabriolet as well.

Behind the Wheel

Finally, it's time to drive! While the 911 Cabriolet can be driven sedately, it is a car that loves to be pushed, and rewards its driver with a road-hugging, thrilling experience. It is plenty fast, capable of runs from 0-to-60 mph in 3.7 seconds (3.6 seconds for 4S) up to a top speed of 190 mph (188 mph for 4S), and has a low center of gravity that enhances cornering. Select "Sport" mode for the chassis, and you can feel every grain in the asphalt. Stick with "Normal," and you can smooth out the ride without losing contact with the road. Put the top down whenever the sun is shining (or when the moon is out), and you can revel in the smells and sounds of nature. You can also enjoy the music of the flat-six engine, a classic tune that never gets old. Steering is direct and precise, and gets even better with the optional rear-axle steering.

Other Cars to Consider

The 911 Carrera S Cabriolet doesn't have any direct competitors -- it is the only rear-engine sport grand touring car in its class. You might consider a front-engine GT or sports car, like the Ferrari Portofino, the Maserati GranTurismo Convertible, the Mercedes-AMG GT, the BMW 8 Series Convertible and the Jaguar F-TYPE Convertible. A Chevrolet Corvette Stingray starts at just $55,900 -- less than half the price of a 911 Cabriolet -- and packs more horsepower and torque. Some drivers prefer the handling of Porsche's own Boxster to the 911. But a 911 is a 911, and if you've got the fever, no substitute will do.

Autotrader's Advice

The 2020 Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet is a car that will spark joy with every drive -- even Marie Kondo couldn't argue with keeping one handy in your garage. Find a Porsche 911 Cabriolet for sale

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2020 Porsche 911 Cabriolet Review - Autotrader