In Porsche’s 911 hierarchy the models with the longest name rule - so the Carrera 4S is better than the Carrera S then? Wrong, writes wheels’ Dejan Jovanovic
With the Carrera 4S, more is less.
If you want a convertible, then go ahead, the Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Cabriolet is brilliant. But buying an all-wheel drive drop-top sports car in a region where it rains twice a year – and even then, you’ll just take the Cayenne out – makes about asmuch sense as ticking the Dh1,590 seat heating and Dh900 steering wheel heating options. Although you’ll probably do those too, because full options…
On dry surfaces such as the ones we’re on 99.99 per cent of the time, all-wheel drive is good for only one thing, and that is leashing the rear end from stepping out through corner exits. That is not good handling, however; that is merely good acceleration. So why, then, does this new drop-top Carrera 4S accelerate from zero to 100kph just as quickly as the Carrera S? Because 50kg of all-wheel drive poppycock, that’s why. In fact from zero to 160kph the rear-wheel drive car is two-tenths faster.
I can’t understand, therefore, why anyone would buy this fantastic car for Dh481,130, when you could buy a fantastic car for Dh444,730. That’s at least four months of payments after 20 per cent down. Trade in a Corolla and you could call it six months; half a year of free Porsche ownership since the regular-wheel drive S Cab is 35 grand less.
Basically I could not recommend a Carrera 4 or 4S any less if it came with colonoscopy intervals of 30,000km instead of service intervals. But it’s a phenomenal sports car, so here’s some reviewing, in case it still counts…
This tester Carrera 4S comes in a striking Aqua Blue metallic with a matching soft-top and the Dh14,040 SportDesign package, which includes
the iconic ducktail rear spoiler, so I thoroughly recommend that when you don’t buy your Carrera 4S Cabriolet you make sure to tick this options box.
It also has 20-inch Sport Techno rims – these cost an additional Dh4,150, which you might want to know means you’re paying Dh207,50 per inch.
But what’s it like to drive? It’s just as awesome to drive as any 911 – full of vigour, with the most perfect driving position this side of a singleseater, luxurious cabin amenities, the best electro-mechanical power steering on the market, and an addictive engine note with the Sports exhaust flaps open.
Quickly the starting routine in a 911 settles into: twist Le Mans-inspired key, hit exhaust button, nail the throttle, then buckle up, select gear, etc… Ah, the Porsche flat-six, may it forever sound like a hoarse Johnny Cash belching in a tin can.
The engine in question in the 911 Carrera 4S Cabriolet is the 3.8-litre boxer with 400bhp at 7,400rpm, 440Nm at 5,600rpm, plus sevenspeed PDK and Sport Chrono options. Other extras relevant here include the recommended Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control (body-roll control) and Power Steering Plus – the company stubbornly sticks to counterintuitive gear-shift switches.
Being a drop-top there is also noticeable trim clatter if you hit a bump or rut in the road, but the chassis hasn’t got any flexing issues or anything like that.
Being wider than the reardrive models the 4S Cabriolet accommodates the rear track with flared arches and grips like it’s possessed; precisely like two-wheel drive 911s. If you switch all the
electronics off you just might get laughably predictable four-wheel skids with enough leeway to believe you’re in slow motion.
This is as focused and capable a sports car as they come, unless a Carrera S comes.
In our part of the world life is not a rat race, it’s a numbers race, with the winner being whoever gets the most digits on the boot (engine) lid. This, then, is purely an impulse buy – “But, the 4S has a 4 and the S doesn’t have a 4? But full options?”
So if you don’t know what you’re doing go ahead and make the salesman’s day. The rest of us will be on Porsche’s online configurator, speccing an S.
With a wider track,
3.8-litre 400bhp engine, SportDesign package and Sport Techno wheels, the new 911 Carrera 4S Cabriolet is impressive