The new Porsche 911 cabriolet features an innovative fabric and composite plastic folding hood to provide the soft-top with a cleaner appearance, improved aerodynamic efficiency and more refinement. (Scroll down the page for video of the new Cabrio on the road.)
Pictured officially for the first time, ahead of its official premiere at the Detroit auto show in January, the new open-top 911 will go on sale in the U.S. in the spring, priced at $97,300 for the Carrera cabriolet and $108,800 for the Carrera S cabriolet.
In place of 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 paneling, 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 11 seconds 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.
The soft-top will initially come with the same horizontally opposed six-cylinder engine choices as the 911 coupe. Buyers will be able to choose between a standard 7-speed manual or an optional 7-speed double-clutch gearbox.