WITH THE car’s engine parts, exhaust and brakes still clicking with heat exhaustion but a pulse rate that’s decidedly ice-cool, you may wonder, when stepping out of the updated 2016 Porsche 911 Turbo cabriolet, whether there is a faster way to chase the setting summer sun without breaking a sweat.
Facelifted for 2016, the latest topless Turbo looks smarter, has marginally more muscle and gains a few tactical tech enhancements to keep busy executives, entrepreneurs and the occasional premiership footballer connected to the outside world.
In other words, Porsche has been tinkering here and there, rather than ripping everything up and starting again, as it did recently with the introduction of the four-cylinder 718 Boxster and Cayman models.
Let’s start with the looks, shall we? Because, after all, who wants to spend nearly £136,000 on a convertible Porsche only to find that a cute little Mini soft-top, parked front of house at the swish riverside restaurant, is drawing more admiring glances.
In some ways, the 911 Turbo cabriolet looks at its best with the roof raised. The top of the windscreen is so low, and the window line so shallow, that it looks as sleek and low slung as one of Porsche’s old Speedster models, while at the back the roof tapers seamlessly into the rear bodywork. It’s slick work.
With it closed, the insulation is impressive, and noise from the wind and engine is subdued enough that you’d think nothing of driving to the south of France in one go. Rattles and squeaks were noticeable by their absence on our test car, and Porsche has fitted a pair of protective bars to all 911 cabriolets, which pop up if the car senses there’s a danger of the vehicle rolling over.
Lowering the roof is likely to make passers by stop, stare and think one of two things, either, “You flash git, I hate you,” or “You flash git, I love it.”
It’s a synchronised performance in moving mechanical parts that sees the engine cover lift up, glide backwards and swallow up the fabric hood in around 16 seconds, by our stopwatch.
Next, you can raise the electrically operated wind deflector, which does such a good job of keeping the breeze at bay that even Donald Trump’s barnet would remain unruffled.
Needless to say, heated seats are standard, but the heater struggles with the job of warming anyone in the front on a cold day and there’s no “air scarf”-style heating vent at the top of the front seats to keep necks from getting stiff.
Anyone sat in the back seats — most likely, children — is going to need a blanket to keep warm. In fact, it’s almost possible to forget they’re there, like the second class travellers at the back of the plane.
Put your foot down, though, and the 911 Turbo cabriolet’s trump card — namely, going ridiculously fast, no matter what the road or weather conditions — will result in squeals of delight or, possibly, terror.
The Turbo accelerates so quickly that it’s one of the few cars that can turn not only a passenger’s stomach giddy but also the driver’s. And this is no fluke; no matter how many times the driver opens up the throttle, they’ll feel their insides perform a somersault.
Forget the 0-62mph figure of 3.1sec; it’s the 0-100mph time of just 7.1sec that illustrates how bonkers this thing really is.
It’s a bit quiet, mind you. The Turbo has never been that noisy, but the latest model is all about the rush of air rather than the growl of the engine’s six horizontally opposed cylinders.
Unlike a Ferrari or Lamborghini, this is not an intimidating car to drive quickly
The new steering wheel allows drivers to flick a rotary dial and cycle between Normal, Sport, Sport+ and Individual driving modes. There is adjustable suspension, too, although you’d need perfect teeth to set the adaptive suspension to its sportiest mode, as it will shake fillings loose at the first sign of a pothole.
Curiously, and as an aside, Porsche has placed the button for the ESP stability control within reach of toddlers, whose child seats must be attached to the Isofix points on the front passenger seat. How long before wandering fingers give the driver of a 911 Turbo a nasty surprise…?
There is a limit to how fast this rocketship will take a corner, proving that even 911 Turbos cannot defy the laws of physics, and adhesion can be breached on deserted roads, but to properly explore the limits the tyres’ grip you’ll need to be set loose on a race track.
Then it’s a pleasure to find a chassis that has a surprisingly adjustable stance. And unlike, say, a Ferrari or Lamborghini, this is not an intimidating car to drive quickly, or one that forces the driver up onto a tightrope strung out at a potentially life-ending height in the air.
Then again, despite the fact it can build speed like an avalanche, it never stands the hairs on the back of your neck on end, or brings out beads of perspiration on the driver’s forehead.
Play silly buggers and the fuel consumption will fall to single digits – yes, under 10mpg – but when you’ve spent nearly £136,000 on a new car, such practical concerns are probably easily shrugged off.
Bringing things back down to earth are the huge brakes, which are more than up to the task of keeping tabs on this car’s monstrous performance.
So there you have it. The ice cool drop-top with red hot performance. A standard 911 Carrera 4 cabriolet probably represents better value for money, and could save you about £45,000. But do you really care? Thought not.