Just ahead of its debut at the 2015 Frankfurt International Auto Show, Porsche has dropped details on the latest mid-cycle refresh for the drop-top 911, and it comes with a few new exterior styling tweaks, the latest infotainment and driver’s aides, and most notably, a smaller, turbocharged engine.

It appears as though Porsche is moving to widen the appeal of the 911 Convertible, which makes sense given the automaker’s lineup of hardcore, track-oriented models. However, purists will still inevitably complain about the boosted cabriolet’s engine, despite it bringing more power and greater efficiency.

The car is even quicker, with performance figures seeing improvements across the board and new standard features that enhance its race-inspired capabilities even further.

Porsche says the car blends “performance and everyday usability,” a combination the brand is well established for delivering.

Updated 09/28/2015: We’ve added a series of new photos we took at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show. Find them in the "Pictures" tab.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2016 Porsche 991 Carrera Convertible.

  • 2016 Porsche 911 Convertible
  • Year:
    2016
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    flat-6
  • Transmission:
    6-speed manual
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    370
  • Torque @ RPM:
    331
  • Displacement:
    3.0 L
  • 0-60 time:
    4.6 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    181 mph
  • Price:
    101700 (Est.)
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Exterior

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2016 Porsche 911 Convertible High Resolution Exterior
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2016 Porsche 911 Convertible High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Per usual, Porsche kept the exterior changes to a minimum, with only a few minor tweaks to differentiate the new model from the old.

First up, the Bi-Xenon headlights are subtly revised, underlined by restyled four-point daytime running lights integrated with the main units. The front turn signals now have a slimmer design. The front bumper is also reshaped, with a grille that looks crisper than before, now equipped with active air flap technology (check out the Drivetrain section for details). There are also small creases in the hood line. On the sides are integrated door handle recesses.

In back is a new deck lid, now sporting vertical louvers over the engine compartment instead of the previous model’s horizontal slats. There are also three-dimensional LED taillights and four-point brake indicators. The optional sport exhaust (derived from the 2014 Porsche 911 GT3) has circular tips located centrally on the bumper, whereas the standard system has oval tips in the corners.

It’s the usual Porsche refresh – a few odds and ends scattered around the car to keep it feeling new. From nose to tail, it’s all 911 – that much is certain. But when it comes to actually spotting the differences, only Porsche zealots will be able to tell you the precise model year.

Exterior Dimensions

Height 50.9 Inches (1,294 MM)
Width 71.2 Inches (w/o mirrors)
Wheelbase 96.5 Inches (2,450 MM)
Length 177.1 Inches (4,499 MM)

Interior

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Like the exterior, the interior layout isn’t dramatically different from the previous model. Taking cues from the 2014 Porsche 918 Spyder, the steering wheel gets a redesign to mimic the wheel found in the halo car. The new steering wheel also comes with a new drive mode rotary dial, a feature of the optional Sport Chrono Package.

Taking cues from the 2014 Porsche 918 Spyder, the steering wheel gets a redesign to mimic the wheel in the halo car.

As before, there are bolstered, leather-clad sport seats, a tachometer mounted centrally in the gauge pod, premium trim and only-in-a-pinch seating for two in the rear.

Included as standard is the latest version of Porsche’s Communication Management (PCM) infotainment system, which throws in a seven-inch display screen and an online navigation module. The screen accepts multi-gesture inputs, as well as hand-written inputs so you don’t have to type everything out in individual ticks. All functions can also be controlled via voice command.

For the first time, the system integrates Google Earth and Google Streetview for easier navigation. Other features include onboard Wi-Fi connectivity for mobile devices, real-time traffic info and optional Apple CarPlay for iPhone users. There’s also Porsche Car Connect and Connect Plus, which allows remote control functionality like navigation information transfer and third-party music streaming.

Finally, there’s an optional electro-hydraulic lift system that increases front ground clearance by 40 mm (1.57 inches). Just push a button and lifting cylinders in the front axle raise the nose in as little as 5 seconds.

Drivetrain

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This is where things start to get interesting.

When we first spied the new 911 Convertible, early indications pointed to a revised powerplant stuffed into the trunk. Rumors of smaller displacement and forced induction persisted. It made sense – after all, Porsche had already phased out the naturally aspirated mills found in the Cayman and Boxster, instead opting for turbo four-bangers.

The trend continues with the new 911 Convertible, which, according to Porsche, receives a “completely new engine generation.” The outgoing 3.4-liter horizontally opposed six-cylinder on the base model is tossed in favor of a 3.0-liter boxer unit, while the S model sees the same 3.0-liter replace its NA 3.8-liter engine, but with higher output.

Both models use two turbos, which affects the engine’s character, but also makes it more powerful and more efficient.

Both models use two turbos, which affects the engine’s character, but also makes it more powerful and more efficient (not to mention placing the car in a better tax bracket in China).

The base 3.0-liter makes 370 horsepower – a 20-horsepower increase over the previous 3.4-liter powerplant. It also produces a healthy 331 pound-feet of torque, 44 pound-feet more than the last model’s 287.

The Carrera S adds a new exhaust system, modified compressor wheels for the turbos, and a retuned ECU to generate 420 horsepower from the same three liters, also a 20-horsepower increase when compared to the previous S’s NA 3.8-liter engine. Torque is boosted to 368 pound-feet, up 43 pound-feet from the last model’s 325.

Redline tops out at 7,500 rpm – relatively low for a modern premium sports car, but not unexpected considering the addition of turbos. The torque curve, however, is surprisingly fat, with max twist coming in at just 1,700 rpm.

Mileage isn’t exactly a deal breaker when it comes to a car like the 911, but since this model is supposed to be designed for everyday use, it bears mentioning. Equipped with the turbo 3.0-liter engine, the optional PDK transmission, and active front air intakes that close to reduce aerodynamic drag, returns look like 24 mpg city for the standard Carrera and 23 mpg city for the S. On the highway, expect around 30 mpg. In all, it’s an efficiency increase of roughly 12 percent over the outgoing model.

Much more important, however, is the car’s increase in performance. Equipped with the PDK transmission, the Carrera S can now hit 60 mph from a standstill in 4.1 seconds, cutting the old 0-to-60 time by two-tenths of a second. The standard Carrera (equipped with a PDK) also sheds two-tenths of a second to 60 mph, dropping from 4.6 seconds to 4.4 seconds.

Top speed gets a boost as well, rising from 175 mph to 181 mph in the standard Carrera. The S model can now hit 190 mph flat out.

Standard equipment for all models includes a seven-speed manual gearbox, which posts slightly slower acceleration figures.

As expected, the optional Sport Chrono Package makes its return, offering a rotary dial “mode switch” on the steering wheel akin to the 918 Spyder. Using this interface, drivers can select between four different drive modes, including Normal, Sport, Sport Plus and Individual. The Individual mode allows users to customize a variety of equipment settings, such as those for the exhaust note, the start/stop system, and the PDK transmission. On PDK-equipped models, there’s also a “Short Response” button that sharpens the drivetrain to deliver “maximum acceleration.”

Continuing the theme of performance meshed with everyday usability is the standard Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) system. Revamped for 2016, the PASM system now sees the chassis riding 10 mm (0.39 inch) lower than before.

The increase in power and tweaks to the chassis make the new hardtop Carrera S 10 seconds faster around the Nurburgring when compared to the last model, clocking in at 7 minutes and 30 seconds.

Equipment changes include new shock absorbers and a new, 19-inch five twin-spoke wheel design as standard. The restyled rollers are half an inch wider in the rear, while the rear tires on the S model get a 10 mm increase in width for 305 mm total. Porsche also says the new tires manage to combine the contradictory attributes of lower rolling resistance and increased grip.

The standard brakes include four-piston calipers front and back for the regular Carrera. The S gets six-piston calipers up front and four piston calipers in the back.

New for the 2016 S model is optional rear-axle steering. Derived from the 2014 Porsche 911 Turbo and GT3, this system offers crisper turn-in, perfect for back roads and track outings. However, Porsche is quick to point out its use in everyday situations as well, as it reduces the car’s turning radius by 1.6 feet (if that kind of thing is important to you).

Speaking of reductions, I’ve saved one of the most important figures for last. The increase in power and tweaks to the chassis make the new hardtop Carrera S 10 seconds faster around the Nurburgring when compared to the last model, clocking in at 7 minutes and 30 seconds. That’s mighty quick – in fact, it’s only two seconds slower than the old V-10 2004-2007 Porsche Carrera GT. While the official time for the ragtop is sure to be a little slower, these numbers should speak to the potential at play here.

Drivetrain Specifications

Model 911 Carrera 911 Carrera S
Cylinder layout / number of cylinders Boxer 6 Boxer 6
Displacement 3.0 l 3.0 l
Engine layout Rear engine Rear engine
Max. Power 370 HP 420 HP
Max. Torque 331 LB-FT 368 LB-FT
Compression ratio 10.0 : 1 10.0 : 1
Top Track Speed 181 mph manual (181 mph PDK) 190 MPH manual (189 mph PDK)
Acceleration 0 - 60 mph 4.6 sec manual (4.4 sec PDK; 4.2 sec (PDK with Sport Chrono)) 4.3 sec (4.1 sec PDK / 3.9 sec (PDK with Sport Chrono))

Safety

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Driving a rear-engine drop-top sports car comes with certain concessions with regards to safety, but Porsche helps to mitigate these with the usual slew of modern systems, including air bags for front-impact and side-impact protection, seatbelt pretensioners and side-impact beam bars. Porsche’s Stability Management System (traction control) is also standard. 

Complementing this is a variety of driver’s assist technologies. Park Assist uses four rear-facing sensors to issue an audible alert when identifying an obstruction. This system is standard on all Carrera Cabriolet models, and can be upgraded with an optional reversing camera and forward-facing sensors. There’s also a Speed Limit Indicator that feeds the driver crucial info collected via an outboard camera system, including “no overtaking zones.”

Lane Change Assist, which uses radar to monitor for other vehicles hidden in blind spots, is optional. Radar is also used for the Adaptive Cruise Control system, an option for vehicles equipped with the PDK transmission. 

Prices

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Unfortunately, all these new features and updates result in a price increase across the board, with the standard model rising $5,500 to $101,700, and the S rising $4,900 to $115,700. And that’s before you even touch the options list.

Speaking of which, there’s a lot to add to the 911 Convertible, if you have the means. Interior leather colors, adaptive sport seats, a dynamic lighting system, ceramic composite brakes, front seat ventilation, wood/carbon fiber/aluminum trim, a Burnmester surround-sound stereo… it all adds up. Fast.

Expect an official launch of the new 911 Convertible in the United States in March of 2016.

Model Price
Porsche 911 Carrera Manual $101,700
Porsche 911 Carrera PDK $104,900
Porsche 911 Carrera S Manual $115,700
Porsche 911 Carrera S PDK $118,900

Competitors

2014-2015 Audi R8 Spyder

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Combining a handsome exterior, two enormously powerful engine options, and everyday drivability, this flagship from Audi brings the goods.

Customers can choose between either a V-8 or V-10 powerplant, with transmissions including a six-speed manual and a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. Audi’s quattro AWD system comes standard on every model. The interior is decked out with a variety of high-grade features, like plush Nappa leather, LED lighting, and a Bang & Olufsen sound system.

In top-spec form, the R8 will hit 60 mph in a mere 3.6 seconds and reach a top speed of 193 mph. However, it also costs quite a lot, starting at $166,100, compared to the more 911-ish $129,400 V-8, which will hit 60 mph in 4.4 seconds and reach a top speed of 186 mph.

Read our full review here.

2016 Mercedes-Benz SL Class

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More of a street prowler than a track weapon, the Mercedes SL is a convertible hardtop for those who feel luxury and unlimited headroom shouldn’t come at the cost of performance. Four different models are on offer, starting with the SL400 Roadster. At the top of the heap is the much more expensive and far more powerful AMG SL65 Roadster, but the refreshed 911 will mostly compete with the middle-ground SL550 Roadster, which offers a twin-turbo 4.7-liter V-8 that makes 449 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque for a run to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds.

Read our speculative review of the facelifted SL here.

History

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Porsche first unveiled the 911 in 1963, and since then, the model has seen six generations. The current generation, the 991, was introduced on August 23rd, 2011 as the base Carrera, and subsequently various models were added to the lineup

Conclusion

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Let’s start from the outside and work our way in. First, the styling updates Porsche performed are minor. The new 911 looks a lot like the old one, but after staring at the two side-by-side, I like what little was changed. I think it looks a little snappier, slightly less curvy and more pointed. That’s all well and good – anyone expecting something dramatic for this refresh should probably have his head checked.

Next, the interior. Porsche is basically keeping up the Joneses here, revitalizing the model with the latest gadgets and connected features you’d expect from a car at this price point. Fine.

Now for the important bit – the drivetrain. For some folks out there, turbocharging the 911 is like giving your Grandma nipple tassels for Christmas – it’s best not done. Fair enough. If you count yourself among such individuals, I’d suggest immediately forgetting about a car without a roof. Instead, look into a Porsche with the letters G and T in the model name.

After all, Andreas Preuninger, the head of Porsche’s GT division, recently expressed his interest in keeping naturally aspirated engines for those who desire something more focused. This might be a 911, but it’s obviously better suited to cruising the beach lane instead of pit lane when placed next to something like the GT3 or GT4.

This is a convertible. A very fast, race-inspired convertible, but a convertible nonetheless. So who care if it doesn’t sound as good with a few turbos? You’ll be too busy chatting up some attractive locals to rev it anyway.

  • Leave it
    • Higher entry price, while options send it into the stratosphere
    • Engine note sullied by boost
    • Exterior and interior more or less unchanged

Updated History

Updated 09/09/2015: Porsche dropped the official details on the new 911 Convertible with just a few days before its official debut at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show.

Updated 07/27/2015: YouTube user walkoART caught the upcoming 911 Carrera Convertible testing on the highway. Enjoy!

Spy shots

January 22nd, 2014 – First sighting

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The revised 991 Convertible was caught testing for the first time today near Porsche’s facility in Stuttgart. Our spy pictures reveal a series of updated design features, like new front and rear bumpers, revised headlights and some additional air vents in the rear bumper. These vents indicate that a new turbocharged engine is currently in the works, as the rumored smaller-displacement, boosted engine requires a little extra cooling over its NA predecessor.

August 26th, 2014 – Updated 911 reaches pre-production

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2016 Porsche 911 Convertible Exterior Spyshots
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Now wearing a sleek shade of grey, it looks like the face-lifted 911 has reached its pre-production phase. In these images, we can see the active air ducts in the new front bumper, and the revised grille design on the rear hood.

Press Release

Celebrating its debut at the Frankfurt International Auto Show, the new 911 Carrera is taking performance and everyday usability to new heights. Innovative flat-six engines derived from four decades of turbocharging used in racing and on road cars not only make this the fastest 911 Carrera ever, but also provide abundant torque for superior passing power. An advanced chassis offering an even more sophisticated combination of ride comfort and performance characterizes the handling of the new 911. For the first time, rear-axle steering is available as an option for the Carrera S, significantly enhancing its already superb agility. These improvements reduce the lap time on the North Loop of the Nürburgring to just 7 minutes and 30 seconds, making it 10 seconds faster than the previous Carrera S.

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Many exterior features of the 911 Carrera have been visually refined from new headlights with four-point daytime running lights to integrated door handle recesses, a redesigned rear deck lid with vertical louvers, and new rear lights – including the characteristic four-point brake lights. The new standard Porsche Communication Management system with a multi-touch display offers an expanded range of functions and simplified usability.

New turbocharged engines: 20 horsepower increase, reduced fuel consumption
The completely new engine generation featuring twin-turbo technology enhances the driving pleasure of the 911 Carrera and provides a 20 hp increase compared to the previous models. The 3.0 liter engine in the standard Carrera now develops 370 hp. Using turbochargers with modified compressor wheels, a model-specific exhaust system, and a different tune for the engine management system, the 911 Carrera S delivers 420 hp from the same displacement. The new Porsche 911 Carrera and Carrera S engines are characterized by significantly increased torque. Offering up to 331 lb.-ft. and 368 lb.-ft., respectively, from 1,700 rpm up to 5,000 rpm, both powertrains supply generous torque over a broad powerband. Reaching up to 7,500 rpm, the new engine generation also maintains relatively high engine speeds for a turbocharged powertrain – accompanied by the familiar Porsche sound.

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Traditionally, a new 911 offers enhanced performance and efficiency compared to the predecessor. Depending on the model variant, the new engines are almost twelve percent more efficient compared to the previous generation according to the New European Drive Cycle (NEDC). EPA ratings will be available at a later date.

The new 911 models also boast impressive performance: the 911 Carrera Coupé with Porsche-Doppelkupplung (PDK) and Sport Chrono Package sprints from zero to 60 miles per hour in 4.0 seconds – making it two tenths of a second faster than its predecessor. The 911 Carrera S with PDK and Sport Chrono Package needs just 3.7 seconds (also 0.2 s faster). Both models reach higher top track speeds: the 911 Carrera is now able to reach 183 miles per hour, while the 911 Carrera S can achieve up to 191 miles per hour. All new Carrera variants are offered with a manual seven-speed transmission as standard.

When equipped with the optional Sport Chrono Package, the 911 Carrera now comes with a mode switch on the steering wheel, derived from the hybrid map switch in the 918 Spyder. The mode switch consists of a rotary dial with four positions for the driving modes Normal, Sport, Sport Plus, and Individual. Depending on the optional equipment installed in the car, the Individual setting allows drivers to configure their own specific vehicle set-up for the chassis, Auto Start/Stop system, PDK shifting strategy, and Sport Exhaust System. On models equipped with the PDK transmission, the mode switch has a "Sport Response" button, which pre-conditions the drivetrain for maximum acceleration.

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A standard feature: reengineered PASM with chassis lowered by ten millimeters
The uniqueness of the 911 Carrera stems from its ability to blend refined everyday comfort with exceptional performance. On the new generation, Porsche has increased the dynamic capability even further than before. The revised PASM chassis (Porsche Active Suspension Management), which lowers the ride height by ten millimeters, is a standard feature. It helps improve driver control during fast cornering. New shock absorbers enhance comfort thanks to an even more precise response characteristic and improved body control during spirited driving. New standard wheels with five twin spokes are equipped with tires that offer reduced rolling resistance and enhanced grip. Furthermore, the width of the rear rims has been increased by 0.5 to 11.5 inches on all variants. The rear tires of the 911 Carrera S now measure 305 instead of 295 millimeters in width.

Rear-axle steering is available as an option for the 911 Carrera S, adopted from the current 911 Turbo and 911 GT3. It further enhances the turn-in behavior of the 911. Additionally, it increases driving precision when changing lanes at higher speeds. At the same time, it ensures greater maneuverability in city traffic thanks to a turning radius that is 1.6 feet smaller than without this option. The improved handling is transmitted to the driver via the new steering wheel generation with a design based on the steering wheel from the 918 Spyder. For enhanced everyday practicality, Porsche offers an optional electro-hydraulic lift system with lifting cylinders that are integrated into the front axle struts. At the touch of a button, the ground clearance at the front axle is increased by 40 millimeters within 5 seconds. This is particularly useful when clearing speed bumps or steep driveways.

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New Porsche Communication Management including online navigation
A standard feature of the new 911 Carrera models is the newly developed Porsche Communication Management System (PCM), including an online navigation module. The PCM can be operated by multi-touch gestures on the seven-inch display, similar to a smartphone. Handwritten user inputs are recognized. Mobile phones and smartphones can now also be connected via Wi-Fi. Also new is the option of connecting an iPhone® to the PCM to utilize Apple CarPlay™.

Real-time traffic information is available for significantly enhanced navigation. It gives the driver a quick overview of the traffic situation and guarantees dynamic adaptation of the route to this information. Google® Earth and Google® Streetview are also being integrated for the first time to offer better orientation. Porsche Car Connect and the Connect Plus module can be used for remotely controlled vehicle functions, transferring destinations to the PCM for navigation and streaming music using third-party service providers via the PCM.

Market launch in March 2016
The new Porsche 911 Carrera models will be launched in the United States in March of 2016.

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