Unseasonably cool temperatures and frequent rain recently put a damper on top-down driving for convertible owners in our region.
I joined the chilled and rain-soaked drop top wannabes last month when Porsche Cars North America delivered its 2013 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Cabriolet for evaluation.
But as someone who sees the glass half-full, I saw the wet road conditions as a proving ground to experience the real-world traction of the Porsche 911 4S all-wheel drive system.
Not just a winter ally, all-wheel drive provides a reassuring safety net on wet roads with a Porsche Traction Management system that directs the majority of torque (325 lb-ft) to the rear wheels on dry pavement.
If rear wheel traction is compromised on wet surfaces, the system automatically sends the exact proportion of torque needed to the front wheels for seamless forward motion, keeping the car safely balanced and controlled on its intended course.
The 2013 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S features a color graphic in the gauge cluster showing the car’s front/rear torque split in real-time.
Another instrument displays at-a-glance numbers that indicate gear placement of the car’s seven-speed manual transmission while on the move.
The close-ratio manual gear box is mated to the Carrera 4S model’s 3.8-liter,400 horsepower flat six-cylinder engine that redlines at a lofty 7,800 revolutions per minute.
A Sport Chrono Package ($1,850) works with the seven-speed manual to rapidly match the engine speed when shifting to lower gears for race-inspired “throttle blip” downshifts.
The Carrera 4S at highway speed and in seventh gear renders fuel economy of 26 miles per gallon. City driving yields 18 mpg.
My test car came with an available Sport Exhaust System ($2,950) that endows this seventh-generation 911 with throaty pipes. I prefer listening to their exhaust note over the provided 12-channel 800-watt Burmester Sound System.
The rear-engine Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Cabriolet is quiet on the highway with sound pulled away from the closed cockpit at left lane speeds across the Borman Expressway.
Ride quality is pleasantly absorbent, even on less than perfect pavement. Steering input is superb. So is the stopping power of the 13-inch ventilated brakes.
Inside, Carrera’s leather wrapped cockpit seats two adults comfortably in front with twin rear buckets reserved for youngsters as back legroom winds up short when front seat occupants come in tall.
Sun-filled blue sky days came twice during my test period and with that the return of exhilarating 911 top-down driving enjoyment.
The 911 Cabriolet’s insulated fabric roof lowers in 13 seconds to a stowed position behind the rear seats. The forward portion of the top becomes the tonneau cover for a smooth bodyline appearance.
Cargo room is dedicated to 4.4 cubic feet in a front-mount trunk. Clubs fit across the back seat.
The 2013 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Cabriolet is an all-season daily driver for deep pocket buyers able to weather the starting price of $118,480 with freight.