These are the first official shots of the Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet, which goes on sale in March 2012.
The convertible top still looks as if it was made of soft fabric, but it actually consists of three semi-rigid lightweight panels coated with a novel furry material, which conceals the cutlines.
A fabric top layer finishes things off, and is claimed to be very soundproof, while the rear glass screen is heated and scratchproof.
So the new Porsche 911 Cabriolet is a bit of a porker?
No, this doesn’t pile on the pounds: a focus on lightweight tech – such as the use of magnesium in the hood frame, together with other strategies deployed in the 911’s aluminum and steel bodyshell – means the new Carrera Cabriolet is lighter than the car it replaces, despite a 100mm increase in wheelbase.
Inspired by the Boxster, the folded stack does without a rigid tonneau cover on the 991. Naturally, everything is powered and the roof will flop up or down in less than 20 seconds at speeds of up to around 30mph because the folding process doesn’t obscure the rear lights or numberplate. Rival cabrios – particularly folding hard-tops – often require the car to be stationary before the roof will drop.
A sunroof... on a cabrio?
There’ll also be an optional sunroof section, a so-called top-glider, that our sources suggest will either be a large tinted glass or painted aluminium panel which comes to rest on top of the roof rather than between roof and headliner. A bit like on the Mini cabrio.
As per the 991 coupe, buyers can choose from either the standard seven-speed manual transmission (yes, seven), or the optional seven-speed dual-clutch PDK gearbox. No official word yet on the four-wheel drive models, but they’ll come on stream at a later date.
If you like your 911s open but not exposed, you'll have to wait for the planned successor to the 911 Targa. We hear it's due in late 2014, and will switch to the original's removable roof panels. There may even be a 911 Speedster this time round. Although unconfirmed, it would offer a chopped-screen version ideal for those in sunnier climes.