Detroit Auto Show: 2012 Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet strips for the Motor City

Article by Christian Andrei, on January 10, 2012

Porsche’s 911 Carrera Cabriolet is on display at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show. It debuts with an entirely new roof concept that merges the Coupé’s elegant style with the benefits of a light fabric hood. The Cabriolet comes with the innovations of the new 911 Carrera family but also has the new features for open sports cars.

Its intelligent lightweight design guarantees lower weight and extra sportiness, lower fuel consumption and more comfort.

Just like with the Coupés, the new Cabriolets begin with the 911 Carrera which is equipped with a 350 hp (257 kW), 3.4-litre six-cylinder engine and the 911 Carrera S with 400 hp (294 kW) flat engine and 3.8 litre displacement. The unveiling of the new Cabriolet was handled by Matthias Müller, President and Chief Executive Officer of Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG.

In his speech, he said that Porsche’s engineers have “built the best 911 in 48 years.” He emphasized that this applies to both the Coupé and Cabriolet. He also announced that it had a record 118.867 deliveries in 2011.

Porsche’s exhibits show a sporty theme, with the 911 Carrera Coupé, the Cabriolet, the puristic Panamera GTS (a variant of the Gran Turismo family with optimized driving dynamics); and the Cayman R (which gives the two-seater sports Coupé class a motor-racing flair).

The 2012 Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet features an innovative design, with its panel bow top tensioned over rigid roof surface that comprises four directly abutting segments. The four separate segments are the front roof frame, the rear window, and the two panel bows, all of which are made of magnesium. A large portion of the car’s frame guides are also made of magnesium, which is a very light material.

Only the lateral guides, the rear tension bow, and the drive levers are made of aluminium. All components of the frames are kinematically linked, therefore requiring only one hydraulic cylinder on each side in order to move the top. To close the top, the vehicle relies on refined electric central locking mechanism with lateral centering pins supporting it.

Moreover, the car’s panel bows and its top are not interlocked, so the four segments are able to dovetail one atop the other when the top opens. The fabric top, on the other hand, is stowed using the Z-folding technique. Because of this unique concept, the roof package needs minimal stowage space, specifically about 23 centimeters high and 55 centimeters long when in open position.

While the top’s front section remains visible when open, the flap, which is sickle-shaped, covers the rear section. And unlike the new 911 Carrera Cabriolet’s predecessor model, the car’s convertible top compartment lid, which is significantly enlarged, extends as far as its spoiler. As a result, there is no more need for a body joint, so the rear looks even more elegant.

With the car’s top closed, you will enjoy a level of comfort from climate and noise that is very similar to what the Coupé offers. For example, the car’s exterior material is underlaid with an insulating mat. In addition, dimensionally stable roof linings cover the roof segments, conveying a sense of comfort. The side panels are also entirely covered with fabric so no technical components are visible when the hood is closed. The headroom is also the same as what you see inside the Coupé.

The Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet features yet another innovation: a built-in electric wind deflector, making fitting and removal no longer necessary. This new deflector is attached to a tensioning bracket that is integrated entirely into the rear area when it is retracted, therefor it does not encroach on the space available on the rear seats.

With just one press of a button, the U-shaped bracket deploys in two seconds and unrolls a mesh that is being tensioned at 90-degree angles by another movable deflection bracket positioned behind the armrests of the front seat.

Additionally, the wind deflector may be deployed up to a 120-km/h speed. This makes the effect similar to that in the vehicle’s predecessor model, where the draughts are hugely eliminated and the wind noise is minimized while the top is open. And when the top is closed, the deployed wind deflector retracts automatically.

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