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2021 Porsche 911 Turbo S Cabriolet review: Just in time for summer – Roadshow

What’s better than a fast convertible on a warm day?

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

Driving the 2021 Porsche 911 Turbo S back in March was a bright spot in what I think we can all agree has been a real dumpster fire of a year. The 640-horsepower 992 is a jolt of fast-car thrills right to the heart. And good news: The Turbo S Cabriolet is even better.

Like

  • Insane power, incredible speed

  • One of the best-handling luxury GTs around

  • Superb cabin trimmings

  • Easy-to-use PCM infotainment tech

Don’t Like

  • Still no Android Auto

  • Driver-assistance features cost extra, despite the $217K starting price

Yes, better. You get all of the Turbo S Coupe’s refined insanity with the added visceral quality of the wind in your hair, the flat-six engine roaring behind you. The top folds back in about 12 seconds and can be operated while driving at speeds up to 31 mph. I even think the convertible looks better, too, which is odd since I don’t really love the hunchback shape of Porsche’s more basic 911 Cabs. But somehow it really works here, amplifying the Turbo S’ wide stance and big rear wing while alluding to the massive power provided by the twin-turbo engine nestled underneath.

The Cabriolet is 154 pounds heavier than the Coupe, but I sure as hell can’t tell. Some Porsche forum super-user will correctly point out that the added weight makes the Cabriolet a tenth of a second slower to 60 mph than the Coupe, but it’s the difference of 2.7 seconds vs. 2.6, both of which are equally and scientifically classified as pants-poopingly quick.

The active rear wing can function as an air brake at high speed.

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

Coupe or Cabriolet, the 911 Turbo S is powered by a twin-turbocharged, 3.8-liter flat-6 engine, making the aforementioned 640 hp, as well as 590 pound-feet of torque. That’s 60 hp and 37 lb-ft more than the 991.2 Turbo S, a car that at no point felt like it needed more power. Revised cooling architecture feeds more air into the turbochargers sooner, so power delivery is, uh, what’s more immediate than “immediate?” Honestly, you could tell me this thing does the 0-to-60-mph dash in 1 second and I’d be like, yep, sure does.

Helping to make the most of that power, the Cabriolet gets all the same active-aero trickery as the Coupe. Put the Turbo S in its Sport Plus mode and the air intake flaps, front lip spoiler and rear wing all come alive. The latter can move into several different positions, and it even acts as an airbrake to keep that thicc rear end hunkered down. All of this allows the Turbo S to go faster with great composure, making it way too easy to reach go-directly-to-jail speeds. Speaking of which, the Turbo S Cabriolet will top out at 205 mph — same as the Coupe — and will do so before the eight-speed automatic transmission even touches seventh gear.

Top speed isn’t what sells this car for me, though; I’d rather follow my bliss on winding canyon roads, just like where I tested the Turbo S Coupe a few months ago. Top down on a sunny day, tight turn after tight turn, I still can’t feel the Cabriolet’s added weight, and there’s no apparent reduction in body stiffness. At the end of a long drive, my notes about the Cabriolet are the same as the Coupe: positive expletives, lots of exclamation points, “so good” with two underlines.

But really, what’d you expect? It’s not like Porsche is going to screw up the greatness of any 911 Cabriolet, let alone the capital-T Turbo. In the same way that the 911 Carrera 4S Cabriolet feels every bit as perfect as its Coupe counterpart, so too does the Turbo S. Steering? Beautifully weighted, 10 out of 10. Brakes? Endlessly powerful, easy to modulate and devoid of any squealing, despite being made of carbon-ceramic composite. Chassis? Oh, darlin’. This is one of Porsche’s best.

By the way, I know I complained about the too-stiff-on-the-highway PASM Sport suspension on the Turbo S Coupe, but I don’t have those same issues this time around. That’s because this Cabriolet is spec’d with the slightly softer standard setup, and it makes the Turbo S feel a little more comfortable (literally) in its own skin. There’s no noticeable loss of handling ability — it’s wholly deft while cutting a rug — and I find myself blasting down backroads at the same shocking speeds I experienced in the Coupe. Plus, this easy-riding tune makes the Cabriolet even better at the sort of grand touring 911 Turbos have always done beautifully. If you like your fast with a side of stiff, just wait for the new GT3.

The 992 911’s interior is fantastic.

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

The GT aura extends to the Turbo’s interior, which is as supple as it is stylish. All of the controls are exactly where you want them, the seats are super comfortable and there isn’t a bad-looking piece anywhere. No, I don’t love the little toggle gear selector, but you touch it so infrequently that it’s not worthy of complaint. If there’s a single nit to pick in here, it’s that the steering wheel obscures my view of the outer sections of the wide, digital gauge cluster. A small price to pay for a cockpit so otherwise flawless. And hey, with the 911’s roof down, it’s easier to access the little storage compartments in back, or as Porsche calls them, the rear seats.

The 911’s in-car tech continues to earn praise. It’s the same Porsche Communication Management software you’ll find in the Cayenne, Macan, Panamera and Taycan, on a 10.9-inch display. The usual goodies like navigation, Wi-Fi and Apple CarPlay are all included, though Android Auto remains absent. I like the reconfigurable home screen and crisp graphics, not to mention how quickly the system responds to clicks and swipes.

One bit of tech that deserves a special shoutout is the front axle lift system, a $2,770 must-have. Yes, lots of cars have this, but Porsche is one of a few that incorporates GPS tagging, so the car can learn to automatically get on its tippy-toes as you approach your driveway, or that gnarly dip on the entrance ramp to the highway.

White car with red roof. Good spec.

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

There are lots of other driver-assistance systems, too, though you only get parking sensors and Comfort Access with keyless start standard. Adaptive cruise control costs extra ($2,000), but you might as well just spring for Porsche’s InnoDrive tech ($3,020) which uses ACC and lane-keeping assist to make highway driving a breeze. You get traffic-sign recognition as part of InnoDrive, too, and with a car this effortlessly fast, you will absolutely need to keep an eye on speed limits.

At $217,650 (including $1,350 for destination), the Cabriolet costs $12,800 more than a Turbo S Coupe. Loaded up with a few desirable options, the Carrara White tester seen here comes in at $232,730. That’s a huge sum of money, but not out of the realm of reality for 640-hp convertibles. Relative to similarly stratospheric competitors — namely the $275,000 Ferrari F8 Spider, $574,000 Lamborghini Aventador SVJ Roadster and $315,000 McLaren 720S Spider — the 911 Turbo S is kind of a bargain. (Kind of.)

Coupe or Cabriolet, the 911 Turbo S is the supreme definition of ultra-fast grand touring. And with no loss of performance or luxury versus its fixed-roof counterpart, if you’re already in the $200K club, what’s an extra $12,800 for the added joy of going topless?

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