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Test Drive - 2012 Porsche 911 Carrera S Cabriolet

It's a Porsche. It's a 911. You know it's amazing.

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Story: Jonathan Millstein

Model Tested: PDK

Rating: 6 out of 6

“Classic” is not the word you’d use to describe most new cars, but the Porsche 911 Carrera S Cabriolet is just that. While many other cars rely on bells and whistles to sell, Porsche relies on performance and their sleek, timeless looks. Like its predecessors, the engine is housed in the rear, where the 3.8-liter, six-cylinder, 400 horsepower beauty is capable of producing a top speed of 185 mph…with the top down. You’d need a real heavy foot to ever achieve that speed, but you’d be surprised how much heavier your foot is when you’re behind the wheel of a Porsche.

Though the outside keeps the classic Porsche curves, the inside has been updated to fit the needs of the modern driver. The most impressive feature of the interior is the ease with which you can adjust the drivability of the car. A button cluster surrounding the gearshift lever allows you to put the car in Sport or Sport Plus modes, which open the baffles on the exhaust and let the ass end kick out more easily. Nestled between the extremes of normal and Sport Plus lies Sport, which provides the best drive in urban conditions; it alters the suspension and exhaust and disables auto start/stop, giving you close to the same performance as Sport Plus with a bit more ease of use on city streets. But where Sport excels in the city is in adjusting the automatic shift speeds; Sport shifts much sooner in the automatic setting, meaning much easier starting and stopping in traffic without having to work the paddles.

Even with the top down and the sick Burmester speakers drowning out the wind and exhaust on the open road, Martin Lawrence’s voice kept resonating in my head—“$80,000 for this car and you ain’t got no damn cup holder?” While this Porsche does have cup holders (progress is great) and is far more expensive than Will Smith’s car in the original Bad Boys, it does feel like the in-car entertainment is lacking. Porsche has never been known to be ahead of the curve with its in-car technology, but the mapping software and stereo setup is beginning to teeter on dated. But given that its cars are built to be driven and not to drive you, we’d say you should be more concerned about the police than the navigation as you unknowingly near triple digits in this sleek speed machine.

Specs:

Price As Tested: $142,895

Power: 400hp, 325 lb.-ft.

0-60: 4.5 secs.

Fuel Economy: 19 city, 27 hwy

Miles Driven: 120

Interior: There’s room for two people, with—arguably—room for up to two “6-year-olds” in the backseat, if you ask around the 0-60 office. Play it safe and stick to you and your girl.

Exterior: The smooth lines and bubbly exterior scream Porsche. That is, after all, a big part of the reason you’re buying it.

Floss Factor: If you feel like waking the neighbors, select Sport Plus, rev it and let the exhaust do the rest.

Flaw Factor: It’s a shame Porsche has yet to take a cue from their brethren at Audi and incorporate Google Maps.

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