Skip to main content

2022 Porsche 911 Carrera S Cabriolet Review: Still The Sports Car Icon

Perhaps the most iconic shape in the automotive world is that of the Porsche 911 Carrera. Identified by a gently tapering roofline that flows directly into a curved rear end, the 911 Coupe has not deviated from this design in its 57 years of production. To an enthusiast, the Carrera silhouette is sacred.

How, then, should we reconcile the Cabriolet version of the sports car world’s poster child? Is it less of an icon with a folding lid? By rigid interpretation, perhaps – but a fixed roof isn’t all that compels Porsche purists.

The other, equally essential components of a 911 include its flat-six engine mounted in the rear, telepathic steering, and precise transmission. Though each of these elements have evolved over the years – turbochargers now feed the flat cylinders, hydraulics have yielded to electronics within the steering system, and the majority of Carreras sold utilize dual-clutch automatic gearboxes – their marching orders remain the same: Deliver the best possible driving experience.

Unless, of course, we’d rather relax. The 2020 Porsche 911 Carrera S Cabriolet lowers its fabric roof in 12 seconds to welcome the sun, raises its wind baffle to quell turbulent air, conforms to driver dimensions with 18-way adjustable leather seats, and readies its adaptive dampers to soak up road imperfections. If this were the PDK version, we wouldn’t even have to change our own gears.

But it isn’t. This car is equipped with the optional seven-speed manual transmission – a rarity among contemporary performance cars and a refreshing reminder of the car-and-driver connection. Better still, this gearbox isn’t a piece of half-baked nostalgia, it’s as refined as you’ll find in any car on sale. Precise throws, notchy engagement, closely stacked pedals for ideal heel-toe-downshifts, and a perfectly sized shifter lay the foundations for a love affair. And for those out of practice or new to the manual religion, the 911’s clear friction point and stall auto-ignition take the fear out of rowing your own gears.

Running the 443 horsepower Carrera S to its 7,400 rpm redline grips our heart as if awaiting the answer to a marriage proposal. “Will you…drive me wild?” Yes.

A manual limited slip rear differential ushers the 911 through corners quickly and flatly while the steering dictates the exact amount of effort required to negotiate a curve. Strong bite from the brakes and a sure pedal load us with confidence as we scrub speed later and later before turning. Suddenly, our favorite stretch of road just doesn’t seem long enough.

Automotive performance looks very different today than it did when the 911 first greeted the world, yet Porsche’s finger has never left the pulse. Whatever may change about tomorrow’s Carrera – roofline, transmission, powertrain, or otherwise – it will remain the purest possible expression of driving pleasure.

Miles Branman
Miles Branman developed a passion for cars early on thanks to a neighbor’s collection of rare and exotic vehicles. What…
Maserati unveils two M20 limited edition cars at Goodwood Festival of Speed
Maserati MC20 Icona.

Maserati MC20 Icona Maserati / Maserati

Maserati unveiled two limited-edition MC20 special series cars at the Goodwood Festival of Speed July 11-14. The Maserati MC20 Icona and MC20 Leggenda, limited to 20 units each, celebrate the 20th anniversary of Maserati's 2004 return to racing. Other Maserati supercars will also make their presence known at the Goodwood Festival on display and participating in the Hillclimb, a 1.16-mile race to a hilltop where the Maseratis will be displayed.
Maserati celebrates the MC12 Vitaphone and Stradale race cars

Read more
We drove a Lucid Air Touring EV: Warp speed and and life-saving responsiveness
The Lucid Air Touring responded immediately to avoid a certain accident
Lucid Air Touring EV left profile with unobtrusive Stealth Package.


When Lucid representatives offered a one-week driving experience in a Lucid Air Touring EV, I expected it would look cool, ride comfortably, and accelerate quickly. The Lucid delivered on those expectations. Fair enough, but a $105k vehicle should live up to its promises.

Read more
McLaren SUV: What we know so far
McLaren may be collaborating with BMW, again
McLaren Artura Spider


More details have emerged about McLaren’s upcoming SUV. The British marque, which is best known for its supercars and hypercars, is expected to launch a direct alternative to the Ferrari Purosangue in the near future.

Read more