Try to name another instantly classic sportscar that has nearly 50 years of history upon which to draw. Go on. The fact is, you'll have a tough time coming up with anything to rival the Porsche 911's multi-generational run. It's a car known by single-word identifiers that demand reverence. Targa. GT3. Turbo. And, of course, Carrera. One of the most legendary model names in history carries on in obsessively improved sixth-generation form for 2010. Many would argue that a sportscar with that much lineage can be nothing else than a drop-top, and Porsche obliges with the 2010 911 Carrera and Carrera S cabriolet.
The 3.6-liter flat six that provides motivation for the 2010 911 Carrera cabriolet is good for 345 hp, more than double the original 911's power level. Carrera S models have even more fortified Wheaties, kicking out 385 hp. The underhood musculature is made possible by Porsche's deft embrace of the technological bleeding-edge. Direct Fuel Injection enables these engines to generate big power and remain flexible and responsive, an unimaginable trifecta for such a high-performing car not too long ago.
Porsche Doppelkupplung (PDK) sounds scary, but it's really a fiercely fast double-clutch gearbox that can be fitted in place of the standard six-speed manual. Team the PDK transmission with the optional Launch Control that's part of the Sport Chrono Plus Package, and you'll clobber acceleration numbers. The high-performance, seven-speed PDK that's available across the 911 range for the 2010 model year doesn't mean standard gear-bashers get the short shrift.
While there's plenty that's awesome about a transmission descended from the mighty Porsche 962 racecar, stirring your own still has an allure for many folks. For 2010, the standard six-speed manual has been strengthened with carbon-coated synchromesh on the first three gears, and triple synchronizers on first and second gear. Third gear is three percent taller, which bumps fuel economy without being noticeable to the old backside-dynamometer.
The stronger, slicker-shifting six-speed has a Start-Off Assistant standard for 2010. The system holds you in place on inclines, allowing smooth takeoffs instead of expensive roll-intos. Keeping the rear planted and the power flowing to the tarmac is the mission of the optional limited-slip differential, and it integrates seamlessly with Porsche Stability Management for confident traction.
When it's time to bring all the fun to a stop, Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes are available as an option with telltale yellow brake calipers peeking out from behind the wheels. The 2010 Porsche Carrera stops as enthusiastically as it goes, clamping the brake rotors harder than a metal-forming press with enough capacity to rein in even the gods of speed.
Holding it all up is an expertly tuned suspension with gas dampers and multiple links in front and a five-arm design in the rear. Carrera S models are equipped standard with Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM), and the system is optional on Carrera models. PASM-equipped 911s use re-tuned springs and sway bars to deliver a supple ride in “Normal” and “Sport” modes. PASM continually monitors suspension excursions and adjusts the dampers nearly instantly to reduce dive and squat. There's an active sport suspension based on PASM as well.
It's not all nuts and bolts and high performance. The 911 Carrera and Carrera S cabriolet are designed with an eye on the scales. Lighter weight translates into both increased performance and a smaller appetite for refined petroleum. Mileage numbers of 18 mpg city and 25 mpg highway are downright frugal. Pretty astounding for a convertible that returns supercar performance numbers and rings up at an MSRP of only $88,800 for the Carrera cabriolet and $99,800 for the Carrera S cabriolet. Try to find a car that's as durable, performs as well and, yes, is even practical.
Porsche also offers an unmatched ability to customize your 911 Carrera to fit your exact tastes. A panoply of seating, navigation, communication and entertainment options makes for a speedy, high-tech and ultra-comfortable convertible that operates in rarified air for a surprisingly reasonable starting price.
There is a reason for the long-serving primacy of the Porsche 911, and there's no arguing that a drop-top 911 Carrera or Carrera S would make the sun shine even on a rainy day when you slide behind the wheel.