The new Porsche 911 cabriolet has been unveiled at the Detroit motor show. The car features an innovative fabric and composite plastic folding hood to provide the soft-top with a cleaner appearance, improved aerodynamic efficiency and more refinement.
The new open-top 911 will go on sale in the UK in March priced at £79,947 for the Carrera cabriolet and £89,740 for the Carrera S cabriolet.
The cabrio is about 60kg lighter than its predecessor, features the longer wheelbase of the latest hardtop 911 and is about 18 per cent stiffer than the car it replaces.
Eschewing the traditional multi-layered fabric structure of the 997 series 911 cabriolet, the new model adopts a specially developed lightweight hood that uses a fabric-skinned composite panel for the upper and rear part of the structure, providing it with a more uniform shape together with a tauter fit, that is claimed to make it more resistant to buffeting at high speeds.
The new hood, which is supported on a magnesium frame, also receives a glass rear window glued directly to the outer fabric skin. The cabrio's development boss, Michael Schaetzle, says this process involves a newly patented process, developed by Porsche, and will also feature on the upcoming third-generation Boxster, due in 2012.
While the upper and rear parts of the hood receive composite panelling, the sides retain a similar multi-layered fabric design as used previously, which allows it to fold and stow behind the cabin underneath a larger tonneau cover than employed on the outgoing 997 cabrio. All up, the new structure takes just 11sec to raise or stow, and can be operated at speeds up to 37mph. Along with the new roof, Porsche has also provided the new cabrio with an automatic wind deflector. It rises in just two seconds, and takes up no extra space.
The soft-top will initially come with the same horizontally opposed six-cylinder engine choices as the 911 coupé. Buyers will be able to choose between a standard seven-speed manual or an optional seven-speed double-clutch gearbox.
Off the back of its most successful sales performance in history, with global sales up 11 per cent to 118,000 units, Porsche is targeting 25,000 sales of its latest 911 this year.