My wife is an extremely practical lady. She's undoubtedly the more grounded and reasonable out of the two of us, and that's evident in mere seconds to just about anyone who meets us. Typically, this is a really good thing, but her practicality often extends to cars, too, and here we diverge.
I love basically anything with wheels. But for her, a car needs to be useful, comfortable, not overly ostentatious, and if it's going to be expensive, it had damn well better feel like money well spent. Unfortunately, this means we don't share a lot of love when it comes to cars -- I adore the Porsche 911.and , but she hates both. One car that we both agree on, however, is the
That duality -- larrikin.-- has always been a part of the 911's appeal, and the 992-generation 2021 Carrera S Cabriolet continues the tradition honorably, which makes it the perfect car for my master-of-business wife, and for me, a barely contained
The 2021 Carrera S Cabriolet has a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged flat-six engine with 443 horsepower and 390 pound-feet of torque, and is available with either a seven-speed manual transmission or, like my tester, an eight-speed PDK dual-clutch automatic. Porsche says the PDK Carrera S Cab is good for a 0-to-60-mph time of just 3.7 seconds, not to mention a top speed of 190 mph.
The performance numbers for the 911 are impressive, sure, but they do little to illustrate just how truly rapid the car is in the real world. The steering is razor-sharp, thanks to excellent geometry and optional rear-wheel steering. The standard steel brakes (ceramics are optional) feel endless with no discernible fade in hard driving and brilliant pedal feel. The 911's sport exhaust yowling maniacally at full noise is spine-tingling -- especially with the well-insulated top lowered. This car is relentlessly enjoyable to drive, and that by itself is enough to make me love it.
The 911 has tons of interior space for the front passengers, which my wife and I appreciate and often struggle with in other vehicles. We're both very tall -- I'm 6 feet, 4 inches, and she's 6 feet, 2 inches -- and we're both able to get very comfortable, very quickly. My tester's 18-way adjustable sport buckets help with this. Add in the 4.6 cubic-foot frunk and back seats that better serve as parcel shelves, and the Carrera easily earns my wife's practicality seal of approval.
As I mentioned earlier, another big deal for my wife is how a car looks and feels from the right seat. The 911 Cab is an expensive car -- my moderately optioned tester retails for $157,270 -- so in her mind, there's a lot to justify. Here, too, the Carrera S Cab knocks it out of the park. The gorgeous Bordeaux red leather interior is perfectly trimmed, with nary a stitch out of place. The knurling on the PDK toggle gives it an almost industrial look and feel. The switches all have a weight to them and feel special. Across the board, from a livability standpoint, the 911 gets a big thumbs up.
Porsche's excellent in-car tech also goes a long way toward justifying the 911's price tag. The PCM infotainment system, with its extremely crisp and responsive 10.9-inch touchscreen and excellent factory navigation system are class-leading and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto being along for the ride makes it even better. PCM gets an update for 2022, but it's hard to find fault with the current system.
But more than anything, the 911 just makes both the driver and passenger feel special. And that's exactly why I took this Carrera S Cabriolet to my wife's business school graduation ceremony. As we pull out of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum parking lot, the 911's top down and exhaust valves open, you can't help but smile -- even without a newly minted MBA on your résumé.
The Porsche 911 Cabriolet offers a sense of theatre that one would typically associate with something from Italy, but does it in a way that you can genuinely live with every day and use as a normal car. It's a sports car that even my eminently practical MBA-toting wife can love. Now I just have to convince her that we need one of our own.