Just like how nine out of ten dentists would recommend the toothpaste brand that paid them accordingly, many experienced automotive journalists tell you that the only car you'll ever need is a Volkswagen Golf GTI. No luxury sedans, bloated SUVs, or sports cars. To beat them all with a single car, just get a well-built, cautiously styled, practical five-seat hatchback with plenty of power, good handling, decent ride, and VW's straightforward infotainment system. Now, the only thing car journalists seem to agree more on is that any new Porsche 911 is as exciting and joyful as a tax cut for those who can afford a fully-loaded 911. Except for that one guy in the room who will never fail to tell you that all 911s have been the same since Ferdinand Porsche's 1939 KdF-Wagens.
The Porsche 911 really is the VW Golf of the sports car world. Except it's had more time to evolve, reaching a level of refinement that perhaps no other nameplate can claim. Not to mention how Porsche gives you, the luxury buyer, more choice. The previous 991.2 generation spawned 25 variants, from the base Carrera to Turbo S Cabriolets to the limited-edition GT3-powered swan song, the Speedster. But where do all those options leave the new 992 Carrera S Cabriolet?
The 992 is not a completely new car, but it's faster and more efficient in every quantifiable respect than a 991.2. For the first time, it comes with the widebody as standard, riding on a 40 millimeter wider track, front and rear. All this, the massive 20/21-inch wheels give the 992 a larger footprint than Gordon Murray's upcoming F1 successor, which is a mid-engined V-12 supercar. More worryingly, the new 911 Carrera S Cabriolet also weighs 3537 lbs., even without the most popular options ticked.
Porsche says that's fine, and you could argue that it is, because while this new generation certainly looks massive on the road (especially from the rear, thanks to the LED-strip and tall beltline), the 992 still feels tight and nimble. But while that may be the homework done, I don't find any weight gain justifiable in 2019, let alone another occupant's worth.
Then comes the engine, which at 443 horsepower is sufficiently powerful for a 3-liter twin-turbo flat-six, but also happens to be laggy for a 911. As a consequence of the extra horses, the torque you want comes on 600rpm later, peaking between 2300 and 5000rpm. Turbo lag isn't the work of the devil, but how you experience it will vary. McLaren's V-8s have plenty of lag, but because they are heavily boosted, you actually appreciate that split second delay, which allows you to micro-adjust your steering angle before the car engages Super Pursuit Mode. But in the 992 Carrera S, lag only reminds you why Porsche is still using a naturally-aspirated engine for racing, and why that makes the GT3 the best 911 around.
Of course if you wanted a driver's 911, you wouldn't consider the Cabriolet. But if this is what you're after, rest assured that having chosen the PDK, the open-top Carrera S will prove itself as your comfortable, predicable, yet shockingly fast happy place. Thanks to having that wider front track, it will grip in the corners like no common 991 could, and with those cleverly programmed shifts, peak torque will always be there for you. But there's a chain reaction at the end of that path. To combat all that weight, Porsche will add more, encouraging you to tick such options as the rear-axle steering ($2090), active anti-roll bars ($3170), the $8970 carbon-ceramic brake rotors and the $5460 Sport package, which includes the sport exhaust with the black tailpipes, the Sport Chrono package and the sport suspension. And with all that extra equipment onboard, the 911 Cabriolet becomes louder and more agile, but also less involving than before. Any mistake you make, this chassis can correct, blasting through the curves at a high pace almost on its own.
Alternatively, you can always choose the manual gearbox to shred some weight, which should make a noticeable difference in America, where the European-market particulate filter is not part of the 911's drivetrain. But the 911 Carrera S Cabriolet is a lifestyle car, and equipped with the 8-speed PDK, it offers the almost unbeatable package of a very fast, robust, comfortable and stylish sports car you can drive every single day of the calendar. No other 2+2 is as uncompromising as this 911, nor as versatile.
Porsche's well isolated, magnesium-layered fabric roof raises and lowers in 12 seconds at up to 31 mph, which means that once you're done enjoying the sunshine in a sports car that will also jump to sixty in 3.5 seconds, with a press of a button, you can turn it into the best commuter car this side of a Golf GTI.
The 992 Cabriolet doesn't mind the stop-and-go nature of traffic jams, the potholes and cracks of the neighborhood, heat, cold, rain or snow. It's an open-top Porsche for all seasons, designed to do everything not just well, but better than its sparse competition. Riding on this new chassis, the 992 punches sky high in the speed department even in Carrera S tune, and what this open-top version lacks in feedback, it makes up in comfort and intuitiveness. Judged as a speedy cabriolet, it would be a complete triumph, if only one could see out of its curvy, and now taller than ever body.