October 11, 2012
2012 Porsche 911 Carrera S Cabriolet. Click image to enlarge
|Test Drive: 2012 Porsche 911 Carrera
First Drive: 2012 Porsche 911
Test Drive: 2013 Nissan GT-R
Comparison Test: Luxury ToysManufacturer’s website
Porsche Cars Canada
Review and photos by Jonathan Yarkony
2012 Porsche 911 Cabrio
In our recent Luxury Toy Comparison test, the Porsche 911 Carrera S Cabriolet placed second. Sacrilege.
And perhaps even curious, considering both Autos.ca Editors (myself and Mike Schlee) would pick it for varying and highly subjective reasons. But what we pick to fulfill our own innumerable childhood fantasies carries little weight in our comparison test rating system.
However, they carry a huge amount of weight in our personal lives, and for me, the 911 was always been the epitome of a sports car and the car I aspired to own. And since getting on an automotive journalism career track, that desire has only been compounded by the catalogues of effusive praise that the 911 garners in all its various trims, models, and special editions. Let’s pile on a little more.
Before even getting into the details of this car, I thought we should put to rest one of the talking points about any Porsche, and one of the key attributes that earns it such praise: the steering. Some have decried the electrically assisted steering right out of the gate, simply from looking at the spec sheet, and some have taken it down a peg relative to its forebears’ hydraulically assisted rack. Don’t listen to them. If anything, the qualities of this steering are even more genius because Porsche has somehow engineered the feel of genuine feedback into the resistance and assistance from the electric motors. It may not be at the levels of the Porsches of yore (did Ijust say yore?), but it puts pretty much any other car on the market to shame, barring Porsche’s own Boxster (and Cayman, I presume), or the Mazda MX-5 and Toyobaru twins.
The steering is a bit light for a sports car but heavy for a luxury car, and every nudge is followed quickly by change in direction—never has it been truer to simply look where you want to go and not to consciously try to steer the vehicle. Needless to say, turn-in is sharp, although not so sharp that the car darts around on the highway. However, it is a bit of a challenge to park, especially with the roof up; its curvaceous rear end is difficult to gauge, so the back-up camera was much appreciated on this press car.
Jonathan Yarkony’s daughter, on the ride of her life (so far). Click image to enlarge
This particular press car was the 911 Carrera S Cabriolet with the automatic PDK transmission, which we requested in order to compare it with other grand touring luxury convertibles, but with the Porsche it presents something of a paradox. Of all the 911s, perhaps only the non-S Cabriolet would fit more of a luxury role. Turbos, GTSes, GT2s and GT3s all become progressively more hardcore and track-oriented. But this is still a 911, and our comparison showed that it is still a sports car above all, just not as much as other 911s.
Now, it being a sports car is not to say that you can’t drive it to work everyday, but there are more comfortable options if that is your primary concern. The Porsche’s primary concern is handling. To that effect, this seventh-generation 911, model code 991 (sixth gen was 997), is longer, lower, with a wider front track, and lighter (1,490 kg compared to 1,539 kg). Much of that length is in the wheelbase, growing 100 mm to 2,450 mm to make the cabin nominally roomier. Well, it’s still tight, but we had no issues installing my daughter’s car seat in the seat behind my wife, and she was treated to the ride of her life, so far. Conveniently, installation of the car seat was easier by being able to drop the roof out of the way, so the convertible is definitely the 911 to go with for families.