2012 Porsche 911

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Key Specs
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Road Test
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Key Specs

of the 2012 Porsche 911. Base trim shown.

Our Take

From the Cars.com Vehicle Test Team

The Good

  • Acceleration
  • PDK transmission performance
  • More stable handling
  • Performance exhaust option
  • Visceral feel that's becoming rare
  • Many options, usually sold individually

The Bad

  • Two Carrera generations both sold as 2012s
  • Backseat essentially isn't one
  • Expensive
  • AWD not available on new Carrera and S until 2013
  • Dreadful cupholders
  • Windshield glare from a light dashboard

Notable Features of the 2012 Porsche 911

  • Redesigned Carrera and S coupe, convertible
  • Prior and new generations sold as 2012 models
  • Rear-wheel drive on redesigned trims
  • AWD on previous-generation trims
  • New six-cylinder engines
  • New seven-speed manual transmission

2012 Porsche 911 Road Test

Joe Wiesenfelder

Like the Porsche 911 Carrera coupe, the 911 Carrera Cabriolet convertible was redesigned for 2012. Because they share features and most specifications, I'll refer you to my recent coupe review and devote this report to the convertible aspects.

A hardtop is certainly the purer sport experience in any car, but the redesigned 2012 Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet convertible gives up little to its exceptional coupe sibling.

As with the coupe, the sixth and new seventh generations were both built as 2012 models (a practice so fraught with problems that it's thankfully rare). If you shop for one, the giveaway for telling them apart is the new generation's parking brake switch on the dashboard, replacing the older version's conventional console lever. The 2013 models — all of which will be seventh generation — should hit dealerships well before 2012 ends.

At $94,650 including a $950 destination charge, the base Carrera Cabriolet is priced almost $12,000 above the equivalent coupe. It also exceeds Porsche's other redesigned convertible, the 2013 Boxster roadster, in cost by more than $44,000. (See all three compared side-by-side.)

Soft-Top: Mostly Pros, Few Cons
Both the Cabriolet and Boxster are soft-tops, and for good reasons. Retractable hardtops need trunk space for their lowered roof panels, and as mid-engine (Boxster) and rear-engine (911) cars, the Porsches don't have the room to spare. Their primary storage trunks are in the front. Soft-...

Like the Porsche 911 Carrera coupe, the 911 Carrera Cabriolet convertible was redesigned for 2012. Because they share features and most specifications, I'll refer you to my recent coupe review and devote this report to the convertible aspects.

A hardtop is certainly the purer sport experience in any car, but the redesigned 2012 Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet convertible gives up little to its exceptional coupe sibling.

As with the coupe, the sixth and new seventh generations were both built as 2012 models (a practice so fraught with problems that it's thankfully rare). If you shop for one, the giveaway for telling them apart is the new generation's parking brake switch on the dashboard, replacing the older version's conventional console lever. The 2013 models — all of which will be seventh generation — should hit dealerships well before 2012 ends.

At $94,650 including a $950 destination charge, the base Carrera Cabriolet is priced almost $12,000 above the equivalent coupe. It also exceeds Porsche's other redesigned convertible, the 2013 Boxster roadster, in cost by more than $44,000. (See all three compared side-by-side.)

Soft-Top: Mostly Pros, Few Cons
Both the Cabriolet and Boxster are soft-tops, and for good reasons. Retractable hardtops need trunk space for their lowered roof panels, and as mid-engine (Boxster) and rear-engine (911) cars, the Porsches don't have the room to spare. Their primary storage trunks are in the front. Soft-tops typically weigh less, too. The 911 Cabriolet weighs just 155 pounds more than the coupe, accounting for the top and reinforcement to maintain stiffness in the absence of a fixed roof.

The soft-top's main shortcoming is rear visibility when the top's up, where the cloth C-pillar is characteristically wide. There's no problem when the top's down, however, because it tucks down low and active roll bars stay out of sight unless a rollover causes them to deploy upward.

A powered rear screen is also pretty easy to see through. Meant to diminish wind buffeting at higher speeds, it motors upward when you hold down a button on the center console. It might not have impressed me as much as it did if the 2013 Boxster's screen were less obstructive. Between that car's screen (removable but not powered) and the fixed roll bars that bookend it, the Boxster's rear visibility is poor for a roadster.

The 911 convertible has some other common soft-top advantages, including quick operation — about 15 seconds, up or down, at the touch of a button. Unlike retractable hardtops, it doesn't require clearance behind the car for the trunk lid to tilt back, and it can be operated when the car's in motion. It also doesn't steal too much cargo space. The main difference is the area behind the cabin, which isn't a continuous storage hatch as it is in the coupe. Instead there's a compartment accessible from the rear when the top's up that's occupied when it's down.

The Cabriolet isn't as prone as you might expect to a traditional soft-top tradeoff: cabin noise. You hear some sounds from behind you when the top's up, but it's mainly the engine, and the same is true in the coupe. The cabin's well-isolated from exterior noise — for a convertible. It's actually better than the similarly priced 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL550 I recently reviewed, despite its retractable hardtop, which is a presumed advantage when it comes to noise isolation.

Still a Two-Seater
Sometimes lowering a convertible's top makes otherwise worthless rear seats usable, but not in this case. The legroom back there remains scant at best, and the backrests are essentially vertical. You're best off folding them forward and using the space for storage. The sole advantage over the coupe back there is you can transport something tall with the top down. You can't exactly let cargo stick out of the 911's trunk — what with it being in front of you.

Behind the Wheel
Apart from the roof, the main difference between this car and the coupe I reviewed is that the Cabriolet is a regular Carrera while the coupe was the more powerful Carrera S. Even this car had spirited acceleration and a nice sound, including the optional sport exhaust and its "loud" button. Both non-S Carrera versions lose roughly two-tenths of a second in the zero-to-60 mph sprint, meaning a worst case of 4.8 seconds for the Carrera Cabriolet. As on the coupe, the optional PDK dual-clutch automatic transmission and Sport Chrono Package — both featured on my test car — each shave 0.2 tenths, for an estimated 4.4-second zero-to-60. Porsche says a comparably equipped Carrera S Cabriolet does it in 4.1 seconds.

Anyone can tell you a car with a fixed hard roof is the stiffer, lighter way to go, but the 911's convertible version is admirably rigid and exhibits all the coupe's athleticism. Like the coupe, it's a car you wear rather than sit in and operate. If you don't mind the other small tradeoffs, you're not giving up much. The Cabriolet doesn't even sacrifice mileage to the coupe: It's EPA-rated 20/28 mpg city/highway for the base engine with PDK in either body style, and 19/27 mpg for all other versions, regardless of transmission or body style.

The smaller engine's auto stop/start feature is notably more intrusive, though still not too bad. It might be coincidental, but so far I've found larger and/or more powerful engines to auto-start more smoothly, even when two sizes are available in the same car, as is the case here.

Annoyances: A Second Look
Returning to the things that bugged me in the coupe: The fake-metal trim and ridiculous retracting "cupholders" are as offensive as ever. Though this stereo was a different brand, its automatic volume again failed to compensate for changing noise levels. The Cabriolet's darker dashboard produced less windshield glare than the coupe's optional beige color, but I still think polarized sunglasses are a must.

This test car also added the optional keyless ignition, which is a lot like others, though most employ a push button or a small knob. In the 911 it's a big dummy key that sticks out of the dashboard as a regular keyfob would. It works fine; it's just odd looking. Ask anyone.

Safety
Due to their low volume, Porsches aren't crash-tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The 911 Carrera has six airbags — the front two along with two-piece side-impact airbags on either side. A torso airbag deploys from the seatback, and a head-protection airbag deploys upward from the door rather than downward from the ceiling. This gives the Cabriolet version head protection that some convertibles lack.

As is required of all new cars starting with the 2012 model year, the 911 has antilock brakes and an electronic stability system with traction control. See all the standard safety features here.

911 Cabriolet in the Market
Sportiness is about feel, not specifications, and convertibles are often geared toward what automakers call a more "casual driver." This is why it might be harder to find, say, a Chevrolet Corvette with a manual transmission. Even more than the coupes on which they're based, convertibles tend to lean toward touring rather than sport. Bucking that trend is what makes the 911 Cabriolet stand out even more than the 911 coupe does among its rivals: For its combination of sportiness and open-air driving, the Cabriolet's high price might be more justified than the coupe's.

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2012 911 Video

While it may look the same, the Porsche 911 was completely redesigned for 2012. Refinements include a new electromechanical power steering that loses some feeling, according to Cars.com Executive Editor Joe Wiesenfelder.

Latest 2012 911 Stories

Consumer Reviews

Exterior Styling
(5.0)
Performance
(5.0)
Interior Design
(4.7)
Comfort
(4.5)
Reliability
(4.8)
Value For The Money
(4.5)

What Drivers Are Saying

(5.0)

911 ? 997 Carrera 4 GTS Manual

by 997 C4 GTS from New York, NY on June 27, 2018

I love it. The 997, 911 Carrera 4GTS (2012) is a great sports car for car lovers. I find myself constantly finding excuses to drive it. Read full review

(5.0)

Wonderful Engineered Machine

by Rich H from Kildeer, Illinois on May 22, 2018

The car is wonderfully engineered. The Porsche 3800 engine has been around for a while with all of the bugs worked out through the experience of thousands of owners/drivers. The PDK transmission is ... Read full review

Safety & Recalls

Recalls

The 2012 Porsche 911 currently has 3 recalls

Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

The 2012 Porsche 911 has not been tested.

Manufacturer Warranty

  • Bumper-to-Bumper

    48 months / 50,000 miles

  • Powertrain

    48 months / 50,000 miles

  • Roadside Assistance

    48 months / 50,000 miles

CPO Program & Warranty

Certified Pre-Owned by Porsche

Program Benefits

24-hour road side assistance, battery jump start, flat tire service, emergency fuel delivery, lockout service, replacement keys, extrication/winch service and trip interruption.

  • Limited Warranty

    2 Years / Unlimited Miles Warranty coverage after the expiration of the new vehicle limited warranty or from the date of sale if the new vehicle limited warranty has expired.

    2 Years / Unlimited Miles Warranty coverage after the expiration of the new vehicle limited warranty or from the date of sale if the new vehicle limited warranty has expired.
  • Eligibility

    Under 8 years / 100,000 miles

    Vehicles receive a 111 point mechanical and visual inspection..

    See inspection details.

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The 911 received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker