Porsche 911 cabriolet: First official photographsTue, 22 Nov 2011 00:00:00 -0800
Porsche has developed an innovative fabric and composite-plastic folding roof for the 911 cabriolet as part of a push to give it a cleaner appearance, improved aerodynamic efficiency and greater levels of refinement than its strong-selling predecessor.
Pictured here officially for the first time ahead of its world premiere in January at the Detroit auto show, the new open-top 911 is planned to go on sale in North America in 2012 in Carrera cabriolet and Carrera S models.
Eschewing the traditional multilayered fabric structure of the 997 series 911 cabriolet, the next model (991 series) adopts a specially developed lightweight roof that uses two fabric-skinned composite plastic panels for the upper and rear part of the structure, giving it a more uniform shape together with a tauter fit that is claimed to make it more resistant than before to buffeting at high speeds.
The roof, which is supported on a magnesium frame, also gets a glass rear window glued directly to the outer fabric skin, something Porsche brass say involves a newly patented process. It's set to be used, too, by the upcoming third-generation Boxster, also due out in 2012.
While the upper and rear parts of the roof get composite paneling, the sides retain a similar multilayered fabric design as used previously, allowing it to fold and stow behind the cabin underneath a larger tonneau cover than with the 997 model.
The new structure takes just 11 seconds to be raised and/or stowed, and as before, it can be operated on the run at speeds up to 37 mph. Along with the new roof, Porsche also gave the 911 cabriolet a wind deflector that rises up at the rear at the press of a button.
The 911 cabriolet initially will come with the same horizontally opposed six-cylinder engine choices as the coupe variant. That's comprised of a new 3.4-liter engine producing 350 hp in the Carrera, along with a larger 3.8-liter engine with 400 hp in the Carrera S. Buyers also will be able to choose between a standard seven-speed manual and an optional seven-speed dual-clutch PDK gearbox.
All of the developments brought to the 911 coupe, including the Porsche dynamic chassis control, with its active stabilizer bars and Porsche torque-vectoring systems, will be included on the new 911 cabriolet.
By Greg Kable