2007 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Cabriolet
2007 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Cabriolet. Click image to enlarge

Review and photos by Laurance Yap

Photo Gallery: 2007 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Cabriolet

Toronto, Ontario – Less than three years after the current-generation “997” Porsche 911 was introduced, the company now has fourteen variations of the car on offer. 911s, it seems, multiply like bunnies in heat when you’re not looking.

Have a look through a 911 brochure, or the Porsche Web site, and you find that the reason there are so many models is mostly because the company has adopted the same “configure your own” approach to its high-end sports cars that mass-market electronics firms have applied to their computers. With a couple of exceptions (the GT3, GT3RS and the Targas, which are only available with all-wheel-drive) you can pretty much get whatever 911 body style you want with whatever engine you want and whatever transmission and drive system you’d like. The result is that buyers forking out big bucks for their four-wheeled entertainment can now have exactly the set-up they think is right for themselves.

In North America, the 911 convertible is, marginally, the most popular body style – this despite the fact that the 911 coupe’s iconic teardrop shape is the reason it’s so well-recognized – and why not? With modern sound insulation, modern electro-hydraulics and durable fabrics, a 911 cabrio is no longer a fair-weathered friend. The soft-top now comes with a glass rear window, full power operation and seals much better than its predecessor; you can drive through a car wash and not get a single drop of water in the cabin. It’s so good, Porsche thinks, that the company no longer includes a removable hard-top as standard equipment; used to be the hard top was recommended for winter use.

2007 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Cabriolet
2007 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Cabriolet. Click image to enlarge

Being as popular as it is, the cabriolet is available with pretty much the whole gamut of engine and drive-train choices. You can have a 3.6-litre, a 3.8-litre or a turbocharged 3.6-litre flat-six. You can have rear- or all-wheel-drive (the Turbo only comes as all-wheel-drive). And you can choose a six-speed manual or five-speed Tiptronic transmission. My tester, the $136,900 Carrera 4S, came with the mid-level engine, a manual and all-wheel-drive, making it an ideal all-year car for Canada. A good set of snow tires (Pirelli now makes 295/30 19-inch rears that fully fill out the rear fenders) and a pair of winter wiper blades and you’re good to go.

This is a wonderful car to drive, and that’s largely due to the engine. Simply put, it’s the complete package. There’s plenty of torque from a dead stop, a strong, surging midrange and a screaming top end, all strung together with that delicious buzz-saw sound that has become Porsche’s signature. Blip the throttle and the revs rise and fall like a race car’s, with very little flywheel effect. Roll gently on the gas pedal with your right foot and you can dole out the power with incredible precision. Floor it and you get all the tire-screeching and gnashing sounds you want.

One thing that stuck out about the 3.8 – aside from the impressively flexible power – was its fuel consumption. While most Porsches I’ve driven have been impressively economical for their power and torque output (the 3.6-litre, 325-hp unit in the Carrera and Carrera 4 averages about 10 L/100 km in my hands), the S’ engine has always been a thirsty beast.

2007 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Cabriolet
2007 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Cabriolet. Click image to enlarge

In my experiences with several S models, including a coupe, Targa and convertible, I have never managed much better than 14 L/100 km on average – a big price to pay for the extra 30 hp you get over the “base” models. Drive around with the convertible roof down all the time, as I did during a gorgeous week in Toronto, and economy suffers even further thanks to a less-slick aerodynamic profile.

In town, the 3.8 is more flexible than the 3.6. You can leave it in the higher gears to cruise along with little complaint, and there’s enough torque on offer that even in sixth at 60 km/h, there’s no stuttering as the car accelerates up past idle and gathers speed. Few cars are so mechanically polished, and few possess a clutch pedal and gear shifter that are as intuitive to use: after five minutes behind the wheel, the controls move with such a natural, easy flow that it feels like you’ve owned the car for years (if only I were so lucky).

2007 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Cabriolet
2007 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Cabriolet
2007 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Cabriolet. Click image to enlarge

With its engine slung out behind the rear wheels – and despite the extra forward weight distribution thanks to the all-wheel-drive system’s front differential – the Carrera 4S is still set up very stiffly to keep it stable in turns. Comfortable it’s not; though with the active suspension management on its comfort setting, it is tolerable over most city bumps and frost heaves. The benefit, of course, is handling that’s pretty astonishing for a car with a significant rear weight bias. You can charge around turns fast enough to raise all kinds of eyebrows without breaking a sweat and the suspension doesn’t get upset by bumps in the middle of corners; you feel a bit of kick through the seats and steering wheel but the car keeps going exactly where you point it.

While the 4S cabrio feels a bit softer to drive than the coupe, it’s still a pretty extreme sports car, especially when viewed in relation to class competitors like the BMW 650i (or M6) and Jaguar XKR. Both of those cars are significantly heavier – weighing several hundred pounds more – and offer usable back seats in much larger bodies. The latest Aston Martin V8 convertible probably comes closest to the 911’s thrills but its engine never feels as powerful as its 380-hp rating and its gearbox leaves a lot to be desired. As a sports car, the Porsche still sets the benchmark.

2007 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Cabriolet
2007 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Cabriolet. Click image to enlarge

While the torque feeding the front wheels (up to 40% of the engine’s power can be diverted there) slightly dulls the feel of the 4S’ steering, it’s still right up there with the best in the business, bending into corners telepathically and communicating every detail of the road surface. Needless to say, the brakes are awesome: the massive monoblock calipers – painted red on S models, as Porsche has done for years – haul the 911 down from big speeds with no drama and no fade. The car’s rear weight bias works here, too, enabling the rear brakes to work a lot harder than they would in a more conventional car. An expensive $12,000 upgrade to ceramic-composite brakes is available, but the standard set-up is so good I’d only advise the ceramic stoppers for serious track junkies.

However, for track use, I would advise a coupe. While the 911 cabriolet’s top is a very impressive piece of engineering – it doesn’t require the manual operation of any latches and can even be opened and closed at speeds up to 50 km/h – cutting such a big chunk out of the body has had its effect on the body’s rigidity.

2007 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Cabriolet
2007 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Cabriolet. Click image to enlarge

You don’t feel it most of the time, but hit a set of bumps set the wrong distance apart and the body shudders and vibrates; on rough pavement, the rear-view mirror wobbles as well, enough to make the image look just a little blurry. What was already a very compromised back seat is made even tighter – the rear-seat backrests now actually angle FORWARD! – and there’s a weight penalty to pay, too. On the other hand, the soft-top’s attractions are many: with the wind blocker in place, the cabin remains serene even at high speeds with the top down and it’s hard to put a price on the wind in your hair and the sun on your scalp.

While I would personally still prefer a 911 coupe to a cabriolet – for me, it’s all about that shape – the Carrera 4S cabrio makes for a very enticing all-rounder if you can afford the high entry fee. It provides almost all of the driving thrills of the 4S coupe with the added benefit of putting you outside during our short summer season. But that’s the beauty of all these 911 variations now available. You can have exactly the one you want.

Pricing: 2007 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Cabriolet

  • Base price: $136,900
  • Options: $6,790 (floor mats, $160; self-dimming mirrors, $50; heated seats, $680; coloured wheel caps, $260; extended navigation, $3,190; bose sound system, $1,950, wind stop with porsche lettering, $500)
  • Freight: $1,085
  • A/C tax: $100
  • Price as tested: $144,875 Click here for options, dealer invoice prices and factory incentives


  • Click here for complete specifications


  • BMW 650i cabriolet/BMW 6 Series 2007
  • Jaguar XKR convertible Jaguar XK 2007
  • Aston Martin Vantage roadster Aston Martin Vantage 2007

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